Observing

Observing Log 26/5/2018, LRO, Lichfield, UK

Observing Log 26/5/2018, LRO, Lichfield, UK, Andy and Damian.

Damian came around to my house and he demonstrated that the iPad Air 2 that he owns works with my older SkyFi wireless box on my Synscan EQ 6 mount – important as I need to upgrade my very old iPad and have been considering what is the best option to replace it. Earlier today, I had great difficulty getting my Windows 10 laptop to link to it, ruling out the option of a windows-based tablet.

The sky is quite bright tonight with a virtually full moon. For a bank holiday Saturday, the main A38 is quite noise at this time of night – unexpected. Also, it is very windy. Thunder predicted later in the night. On the positive side, Damian is having a whale of a time playing around with his laptop controlling the mount whilst I write this!

ISS (ZARYA), Satellite in Ophiuchus,26 May 2018, 23:22:36, Just watched the ISS rise over my house and brighten greatly as it rises higher until it was a spectacular sight near culmination and then slowly fade as it moved to the east.

Bode’s Nebulae – Messier 81, Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major,26 May 2018, 23:43:23, Took two attempts at alignment to get scope working well tonight. This is often the case. I have read online that it may be due to backlash when the user must fiddle back and for with the controls to centralise alignment stars, causing errors to creep in. Second time lucky today! M81 proved that alignment had been successful by appearing in the centre of the field of view. It only appeared as faint smudge with brighter nucleus – and looked smaller compared to our usual view, again demonstrating the poor sky. Currently, we are using my Explore Scientific 14mm 100-degree field of view eyepiece.

Hercules Cluster – Messier 13, Globular Cluster in Hercules,26 May 2018, 23:49:41, Top left of view of field so not quite spot on re GOTO but is putting objects in field of view of 14mm eyepiece tonight.

Whirlpool Galaxy – Messier 51, Spiral Galaxy in Canes Venatici,26 May 2018, 23:50: 39, which means that the fact that we could not see this pair galaxies demonstrates again the poor sky quality as we would expect to see it with this scope from this location.

Messier 92, Globular Cluster in Hercules,26 May 2018, 23:51:35, Seen but difficult to resolve stars similar to limitations in our view of M13 – I think sky is not transparent even though can’t see the cloud easily.

Ring Nebula – Messier 57, Planetary Nebula in Lyra,26 May 2018, 23:52:44, Better view but higher in sky. clear Outside app suggested 68-90% cloud by midnight – not that from here but still there is something obscuring view, suggesting the app has identified correctly deteriorating sky conditions.

Double Double – Epsilon1 Lyrae, Double Star in Lyra,26 May 2018, 23:54:44, With 14mm eyepiece we can just about split each of pairs.

NGC 6229, Globular Cluster in Hercules,26 May 2018, 23:57:31, Visible without too much difficult. Mag 9+ so surprising we can see it but prob as high up. This is a globular that we rarely look at – in fact, I can’t remember seeing it before. Not a bad one – recommend folks add it to their observing lists!

Kuma – Nu1 Draconis, Star in Draco,26 May 2018, 23:59:52, Lovely bright easily split double – to me looked like white and yellow/white stars, about same brightness.

Cat’s Eye Nebula – NGC 6543, Planetary Nebula in Draco,27 May 2018, 00:01:04, In Draco too, easily seen as out of focus star.

17 Draconis, Double Star in Draco,27 May 2018, 00:02:55, To me this double star looks like blue white and yellow white pair.

100 Herculis, Double Star in Hercules,27 May 2018, 00:04:03, A little known and little seen double star pairing, Sky Safari says – but we saw it tonight!

Omicron Herculis, Variable Double Star in Hercules,27 May 2018, 00:05:39, I could not split this even with 6mm Ethos, but it did not appear round but oval suggesting the double. These are 0.1 arc seconds apart, so we were asking too much of the scope in this sky to see this.

Nu Herculis, Variable Double Star in Hercules,27 May 2018, 00:10:55, Could not split this either – 0.5 secs.

(With all these double stars, we feel like we are following IN Nick’s footsteps!)

b Herculis, Double Star in Hercules,27 May 2018, 00:12:50, Can’t split this either tonight – 1.4 arc seconds.

Mu Herculis, Double Star in Hercules,27 May 2018, 00:15:31, these stars are 35 arc seconds apart according to Sky Safari app in the iPad. To me, the second one is much fainter than the primary component – easily seen pairing.

Sarin – Delta Herculis, Double Star in Hercules,27 May 2018, 00:20:26, Strange that we could not see this double star at all, even after checking the alignment of the mount to ensure that we were pointing at the correct location in the sky. Possibly the reason we can’t see it is that the sky is deteriorating. It is starting to feel like rain soon and the sky has a varying tint across it which suggests high moisture content and formation cloud. We will try to view M13 again. That will be a good test of sky conditions….

Out last object we viewed tonight: Hercules Cluster – Messier 13, Globular Cluster in Hercules,27 May 2018, 00:23:20, We could just about resolve some stars but not a great view. Time to pack up.

Andy

Devil’s light bulb vs iPhone.

Not a fan of either , but very surprised to get startling crystal views. Took over x200, some cracking details and fun to observe . This 35 year old Vixen 102 f10 punches above its weight as a classic achromatic.

So good that I put the phone over the eyepiece and took a few snaps. I have a digital cam holder somewhere. Seems strange that small eye relief eyepieces give results ,against bigger and longer eye relief ones, under ,

clear skies ! Nick.

The best of Ophiuchus.

Ophiuchus (” serpent bearer”) is below Hercules, it divides Serpens into two halves, heading for the galactic centre here. A realm of globular clusters, some 22 , most are detailed here. Some surprising other deep sky targets as well.

Globular clusters.
M9 – to the galactic centre, M10, M12, M14,M19,M62,M107, NGC 6273 (+6.7) , NGC 6304 (+8.2),NGC 6316(+8.4),NGC 6333(+7.7),NGC 6356(+8.2),NGC 6355(+9),NGC 6402 (70 variables here)(+7.6),NGC 6401(+9.4),NGC 6325(+10.3),NGC 6293(+8.2).

Open clusters.
IC 4665 (“summer Beehive”), stunning large cluster, unusually this is 15 degrees off the galactic plane.
NGC 6633 .

Planetary nebulae
NGC 6369 (“little ghost” +11.5),NGC 6572 (+8.0) the stunning very blue and bright “blue racquetball”), central star visible as a glow, NGC 6309 (+11.5) “box nebula”, NGC 6366 (+9.2).

Individual stars
Carbon star , V (SAO 159916) from +8-+9.4.
Barnard’s star, second nearest star to us, with an astounding 10.3″ proper motion per annum.

Binaries
Marfik (λ) 1.6″ separates this bright pair (SAO 121658)
Rho (ρ) a group of companions, nearest at 2.9″(SAO 184381)
Σ 2048 dusky companion at 5.6″ at 16h28.8m. -08 08′
61 Ophiuchi , bright pair at 20.6″ (SAO 122690)
69 Ophiuchi,(τ), challenging 1.5″ (SAO 142050)
Σ 2276 twins at 6.9″ (SAO 103373).

A packed constellation, the most stunning view being the very bright “blue racquetball”, a summer showpiece, under clear skies ! Nick.

A Day’s Observing from Streethay 19/5/2018 – The Royal Wedding…

The ‘big day‘… and the weather couldn’t have been better… sunny for most of the day plus into the evening forecast (although there appeared to be a layer of high cloud).

There was great excitement in the Briden household to see what our guest would appear in… would it be a one or two piece, perhaps sandals… or a hat.. or come completely ill-prepared…

Look who came around to play, after arriving in her (motorised) carriage !

Yes, well ‘Meghan‘ is a bit shy after all… and these solar hoods/veils can be a right pain to get into!

And a pic of ‘her’ using her own scope and trying a different… veil…

Our solar panels had a cracking day also – generating over 24kWh.

To get into the spirit of things Julie appeared with flags…

What a fine specimen of a man is our ‘Harry‘… It was a first chance for him to use his updated home-made sun shield – now faced with white card to reflect some heat and so stop the main cardboard construction warping (the other face is covered with DC-fix black self adhesive felt – the same stuff that ‘Harry’ had lined his 10″ OO Dob some years ago…)

Although the seeing was not so good today, one has to make do when the opportunity arises… besides it didn’t spoil the generally good feel of the day… we even managed a celebratory glass of Pimms No.1 no less – I say, can’t get more British than that!

Following two images are taken hand held, iPhone6 to a 32mm TV Plossl, (Takahashi TSA102s, Daystar Quark Chromosphere, 2″ Baader UV/IR blocking filter inserted before the diagonal), running at 107x

…showing a fantastic set of ‘Newton’s (wedding) Rings‘ there!

This prominence can be seen on the GONG images at the 8 o’clock position…

Time: 2.16pm

Copyright: GONG/NSO/AURA/NSF.

..and later at 4.44pm

Copyright: GONG/NSO/AURA/NSF.

My sketches of the evolving prominences throughout the ‘big’ day…

After a great day, we retired for dinner, then set up again with changed attire…. ready for the…. ‘evening event‘!

What a beauty, hey! Just checking how he looks on the ole social media! Here featured in a RAG jacket, matching trousers and footwear by….

Lunar shot taken at 9.50pm, iPhone 6 hand held to the 21mm TV Ethos (TEC 140-ED APO refractor)

..and another slightly later at 10.05pm (not so zoomed in) – those damn paparazzi, hey….

Had a chance to do some drawing…. managed quick sketches of both the Western and Eastern (Bridal) Veil portions. Seeing and transparencey was not good and my intended target, Jupiter, was just not great tonight to bother with…

Managed to just pick out the Crescent Nebula in Cygnus (only via my 2″ Lumicon OIII and UHC filters), but I’ve seen it through the same scope much clearer on a previous occasion.

Most tricky observation came early on in the evening after following Andy… sorry ‘Meghan’ to M81/M82… came across ‘Coddington Nebula’ in the same vicinity – IC2574, a spiral galaxy in Ursa Major, running at Mag 10.4. Took averted vision, patience and the superb Sky Safari Pro 5 charts (able to reverse the chart as well which really helps to double check everything). Discovered by Edwin Coddington in 1898 and classified first as a ‘nebula’.

Best observation was the ISS flypast just after half 12. Was able to use the laser pointer attached to the Nova Hitch mount to track it sufficiently well for brief periods to see the Space Station as clear as day through the eyepiece as it whizzed passed the ‘adoring throngs‘!

So to wrap up this post, a few pictures of the ‘Happy Couple‘ in the garden at Briden Palace!

Sweet…

…off on ‘honeymoon’ to RAG this Friday!

Damian (and Andy!)

 

Observing Log Streethay 19/5/2018 @ 22:00 -20/5/2018 @ 03:30

Damian and I spent a memorable evening outside last night. Not the best of skies. However with the help of his Tec 140 on his Nova Hitch and my Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 120mm on my HEQ5 Pro Synscan mount, we observed a wide range of objects including Moon, the Eastern Veil Nebula and Witches Broom part of the Veil (both of those required an OIII filter or UHC to view well & were virtually invisible without such a filter), Ring Nebula, multiple other planetary nebula, globular clusters galore, Jupiter (the tracking Synscan HEQ5 Pro really helped here allowing me to get Jupiter in the field of view and keep it there at 600x magnification – 6mm Ethos + 2 x Tele Vue Big Barlow + 2 x Tele Vue 1.25 inch Barlow! – where we saw a wealth of detail on the planetary belts, open clusters and a lot beside.

I “upgraded” to Sky Safari Pro 6 planetarium software on my iPad a few months ago when there was half price deal and it turns out that it is very difficult in this new version to e-mail our observations to myself so that I can upload them to this blog unless they are set up on the software correctly first under an observing list which I did not do last night – plus the software keeps crashing on me whilst I try to get them off the machine – my old iPad is the problem here. So, I will downgrade my version of Sky Safari software on my iPad back to version 4 or 5 which worked well on this iPad and where observations were easy to get off the machine. Thankfully, although I could not buy those older versions now, it turns out they are still available in the iTunes store under “My Purchases” as I previously purchased them…..so they are both downloading now!

Andy

Observing Forecast

Observing Forecasts for our area

 

Rosliston Forestry Centre:

http://clearoutside.com/forecast/52.75/-1.64

Lichfield:

http://clearoutside.com/forecast/52.69/-1.81

https://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/2644531

https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/forecast/gcqewq76c#?date=2018-05-18

http://7timer.org/index.php?product=astro&lon=-1.807&lat=52.7&lang=en&ac=0&unit=metric&tzshift=0&site=

Burton-on-Trent:

http://clearoutside.com/forecast/52.81/-1.64

Tamworth:

http://clearoutside.com/forecast/52.63/-1.69

Summer blast.

Some ace targets as we look into our galaxy, include the Cygnus clusters. Lucky to get a decent view of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. It seems to have developed a long fine streamer. There is also a noticeable barge to the northern belt.

Plenty of planetary nebulae around. In Cygnus and Delphinus  , two specials. NGC 6826 , the “blinking planetary ” which blinks vividly in and out .All bright planetaries do this trick , but this is the best one ! NCC 6905, the ” blue flash”  catch it right and it is a vivid blue. Not a time for galaxies , but I keep a note for later on as the Summer Triangle is with us into late autumn.Nick.

 

Great Hercules !

At last , Jupiter settled to give some x150 magnification views, lovely crisp bands and shading. An aperture mask is as good as anything to take off any brightness. Taken to using a large notebook instead of sheets of paper .

Hercules and Serpens are well placed. M5 is a spectacular globular cluster, however the night belonged to “Graff’s Cluster”, IC 4756. A beautiful scattering of stars , filling the eyepiece.

As it didn’t get much darker to midnight , I returned to some of the finest binaries in Hercules. OΣ 341 gives a lovely view of this multiple group , almost like an open cluster. Sarin is probably my favourite here. Expect to use some averted vision to get some of the faintest companions in summer skies. A bit more magnification will darken the field of view, under

clear skies ! Nick.

Hercules , summer views.

Something different from M13 and M92. The two planetary nebulae are very bright and obvious at low power . They both blink into invisibility and return , great to show everyone. Look for the bright , but fuzzy nebulae, focus on the stars, these won’t focus. Higher magnification shows more of the halo and core, but I like the contrast at low power.

NGC 6210 “Turtle nebula” some great excitement as this was one of the first Hubble images , taken to be a turtle eating a shell ! Discovered by Wilhelm Struve looking for binaries. To the south east there is the binary Σ 2016, separated by 7.4″.

“Webb’s Wreath ” is a magnificent ring like asterism. (SAO 85678)

NGC 6229 is a globular cluster some 99,000 light years on the galactic halo.

Very pleased to get these in bright summer and

clear skies ! Nick.