Observing in Lakeville last night

Bruce D
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Observing in Lakeville last night

Unread post by Bruce D » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:14 pm

Mike answered the call for an evening of informal observing and arrived in the driveway at 7:00 PM. He quickly set up his 20x80 Celestron binos to work on his AL Bino Messier list. I was still setting up and aligning, generating an observing list on the laptop, and making a caraf of hot chocolate. The temperature was in the high 20's with very little wind, a thin band of clouds just visible on my northern horizon which had given me some concern earlier (Mike confirmed that at his home some miles north of me it was overcast) were starting to dissipate. The air was clear and looked pretty steady, transparency good but maybe not excellent.

The night began with a very bright meteor arcing across about 90 degrees of sky. The trail showed white and bright green. It was moving slow enough that I was able to realize Mike was looking in the opposite direction, tell him "WOW look over the shed" and he could turn around and catch the last part of it's flight.

As I finished aligning my scope on Aldebaran and Vega, Mike put his binos on the Double Cluster which looked awesome. At the September meeting I had purchased Kenny's Meade 50mm EP (50X) in hopes that it would provide me with a very wide field of view. I put the scope on M45 to see if I could get the major stars in one field of view. Atlas didn't fit, although the "Diamond" filled the view nicely- but oh darn, I must have breathed on the EP because there was a haze around the bright stars. I checked the EP and it was clear, another look through the scope and I realized I was seeing tons of nebulosity in the cluster. Excited, I put a 0.5 focal reducer on the EP and checked again. Larger field of view, although Atlas still not in the same field of view as the rest of the asterism. However, the nebulosity was even more evident. I could even begin to see the Paint Brush (or as Mike referred to them, "Broom") striations in the nebula around Merope. I've never before seen more than a hint of nebulosity in M 45 before so I'm thrilled and very happy with this EP. It gives me a very nice combination of light gathering and low power. I'm thinking with the 0.5 FR it gives me about 25X- the stars are fine points and the view has almost a "rich field refractor' quality. There's a bit of seagulling around the extreme edges but I like this EP!

Next I put the scope on Jupiter. It was only a few degrees above the house across the street so I figured the view wouldn't be great but I haven't scoped Jupiter in quite a while because it was early AM for so long. It was also evident to me based on the position of Jupiter, and the constellations in general viewed in reference to where they were last time I observed, it has been quite a while since I've had some EP time. Thermals from the house were evident in my 26mm EP, but I remarked that it looked big, Mike confirmed that we are coming up on opposition in January. I made a note to return to Jupiter when it was higher.

The list I generated pulled up the Eskimo Nebula. I have never checked out this object as I thought it was pretty much a photographic target but I figured I would give it a try. It turned out to be very close to Jupiter but even lower, barely above the roof next door. It was a small indistinct little fuzzball. Glad I can check it off but nothing remarkable. Mike continued with his Messier list and we saw some nice sights, I checked out the Little Dumbell which, for it's size, looked very good (being near zenith), and for comparison, the Dumbell, which, being low to the horizon in the direction of Middleboro, was barely visible. I tried to check out a number of NGC galaxies and they were either just barely visible or (more often) not visible at all. I think there was perhaps some moisture high in the sky, we had no sign of frost or dew at ground level but the sky wasn't as dark as I am used to here on a moonless night. I had on my list a number of "the usual suspects" objects, but Mike gave me my calendar (which looks AWESOME!) and we got to chatting about astronomy etc. for a while.

By 9:15 or so I was starting to feel the chill and was thinking about wrapping up. I put the scope back on Jupiter which was now probably 30 degrees high, and the view in the 26mm EP (about 100x) was beautiful. There were a number of bands visible and the detail was very good. I put in my old style TV 10mm EP (about 250X) and the view was even better! There was lots of detail in the equatorial belts, "swirls and festoons" as Matt would say. I put in a BO 4mm planetary EP (625X) but the view fell apart. I was so anxious to get back to the 10mm EP that I forgot I had a 7.5mm which might have given me a useful image at 333X! After oohing and aahing over Jupiter for a while it occurred to me since it was almost in the same FOV, to check out the Eskimo Nebula again. OMG, good decision! Being much higher, the object really put on a show! The dense central nebula with an almost stellar core was very evident, as was the less dense surrounding nebula. With averted vision a slightly brighter ring around the outer edge was visible. I never realized this was such a fine object in a medium size (10") scope and will have to add it to my list of favs-.

Despite the steady flow of hot chocolate we were both getting chilled, for a final object at Mike's suggestion I put the 50mm EP back in and went to the Andromeda galaxy. It was beautiful. filling most of the FOV. I thought I detected a grainy, or shimmering quality to the galaxy. A fine object to end a fine night of observing. By 10 PM we were packed up, said goodnight, and Mike was heading home. Thanks for stopping over Mike, as always enjoyable company, and a long overdue night of excellent observing.
Bruce D
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Apollo XX
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Re: Observing in Lakeville last night

Unread post by Apollo XX » Sat Nov 30, 2013 3:06 pm

Awesome report, Bruce, and I want to thank you for putting out the invite and inspiring me to get back to work on the Bino Messier list! I hadn't had the binos set up since Stellafane, so it was really good to not lose a whole section of sky to Father Time (which has happened to me repeatedly with the AL Double Star chase). It was also great having the wide-field of the binos vs. the telescopic view through your scope to compare and contrast to.

At Stellafane I had left off in the area of Perseus, and so that's where I picked up again. I located M34, which was way up there and got a sketch of it. A little to the south and east, M45 was just begging to be viewed and sketched, so that's where I went next. Even though Double Cluster isn't one of the targets on the list, how can you not go there when it's very dark, very clear and up at Zenith? It was stunning! The background behind the clusters was just littered with a gazillion faint stars, and the clusters stood out like sparkling jewels. After that I concentrated on sketching the string of relatively faint clusters from Gemini up through Auriga, those being M35, M36, M37 and M38. By this time Orion had snuck around the back of Bruce's house, and I was able to make a drawing of M42. That was it for the bino list on this night. So far, between Myles Standish, Stellafane, and Bruce's house in Lakeville I've got 40 Messier objects viewed through binos and sketched, and hopefully by next February I'll be able to get the remaining ten or more required to complete the Astro League Bino Messier Challenge.

I also got plenty of time to enjoy the view through Bruce's scope as well. It was really neat seeing the little Eskimo Nebula for the first time, and the 10" scope did a nice job of bringing it out. Jupiter was great too, especially being it's the first time I've gotten to check it out during this apparition. The seeing was steady enough to allow for some very detailed observing, which can't always be said for cold night viewing. No amount of stellar seeing or good transparency can do anything for good 'ol M33 however. For a galaxy that blows you away in images, the view through the eyepiece just makes you go "huh, is that all there is?". :lol:

That was a great time, Bruce, and once again thanks for putting the invite out there.

Mike M.
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Mark G
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Re: Observing in Lakeville last night

Unread post by Mark G » Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:12 pm

Nice report guys. As was Pete's productive evening. 8) Glad you both got some great observing in. 8)

I remember Rob C on a "rant" observing M35, M36, M37 and M38 at my yard. :lol: :lol: Something about "might as well spin my scope around"... "Seen one open cluster seen them all" :!: :lol: :lol: :lol: Remember Rob :?: Perhaps I post that Joke observing report thread we had via email :?: :!: :lol: :lol: I saved it as a word document. I thought it was hilarious :!: :!: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Clear skies,

Mark

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RobCos
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Re: Observing in Lakeville last night

Unread post by RobCos » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:28 am

HAHAHA, I remember that night Mark, it's one of my favorites! Ironically enough, i've come to appreciate open clusters after all these years to the point that I started crossing them off the Astronomical Open Cluster list...of course, I stopped that awhile back as I never seem to finish anything list wise. lol
Lacking a witty and/or insightful signature line i'll just say "WHO'S YOUR DADDY!?"
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WCGucfa
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Re: Observing in Lakeville last night

Unread post by WCGucfa » Sun Dec 01, 2013 1:35 pm

Super reports, Bruce and Mike! I felt as if I were right there with you!
Now I'm yearning for a 50mm EP for the Antares 152"!...Mark, are you reading this?

Bill G.
Comets:40, Best Meteor shwr: Leonids '01, Best Aurora:Oct. '03.
Total.Sol.Eclipse,7/10/72 from Nova Scotia.Annular Sol. Eclipse '94,
Trans.of Venus 2004&2012.,ShoeLevy crash into Jupiter '94.
4/25/66 fireball-9 mag.,SN2011fe,N2012aw,DelphN2013.
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AndyG
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Re: Observing in Lakeville last night

Unread post by AndyG » Sun Dec 01, 2013 5:31 pm

Great reports, Bruce and Mike. I wish I could have been there observing with you. Unfortunately we were driving home from Virginia that night. We got home at about 3AM and I got out of the car and saw the clear, moonless sky and felt bad about missing a good observing night. But I'm glad you guys were able to take advantage of it!
Andy
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Paul D
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Re: Observing in Lakeville last night

Unread post by Paul D » Sun Dec 01, 2013 8:46 pm

Mark G wrote:Nice report guys. As was Pete's productive evening. 8) Glad you both got some great observing in. 8)

I remember Rob C on a "rant" observing M35, M36, M37 and M38 at my yard. :lol: :lol: Something about "might as well spin my scope around"... "Seen one open cluster seen them all" :!: :lol: :lol: :lol: Remember Rob :?: Perhaps I post that Joke observing report thread we had via email :?: :!: :lol: :lol: I saved it as a word document. I thought it was hilarious :!: :!: :lol: :lol: :lol:
OMG!!!! I remember writing the false Rob report. Mark may have to edit it because I think my choice of words was a bit strong. But it was funny and part of the fun was knowing that one of the few times Rob has actually made an observing list it was mostly open clusters. :lol: :lol: :lol:
Paul...

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Bruce D
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Re: Observing in Lakeville last night

Unread post by Bruce D » Sun Dec 01, 2013 11:15 pm

Thanks guys, I'll have to check what the moon will be doing, if it's not too bright and the weather is clear I'll probably put out an invite next weekend.
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Mark G
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Re: Observing in Lakeville last night

Unread post by Mark G » Mon Dec 02, 2013 6:56 pm

WCGucfa wrote:Super reports, Bruce and Mike! I felt as if I were right there with you!
Now I'm yearning for a 50mm EP for the Antares 152"!...Mark, are you reading this?

Bill G.
Sorry Bill The closest I have is a 2" 63 mm Paul Rini MPL I'll not sell. Talk about low power in an RFT :!: :shock: :lol: :lol: Well as long as there isn't a secondary obstruction that is :!: :lol: :lol:
Clear skies,

Mark

iOptron CEM25P w/ Tri-pier
CGEM DX
LXD750 w/ CDS #1697
LXD75 w/ #497 autostar Hypertuned
Antares 8" f/5 Newt
Antares 4" f/15 "Vixen Spec" long focus refractor
Orion 4" f/7 ED refractor
Astro-Tech 65mm Quad APO
and so much more
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WCGucfa
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Re: Observing in Lakeville last night

Unread post by WCGucfa » Tue Dec 03, 2013 9:29 am

Thanks Mark.

I probably wouldn't have been able to afford it anyway. :oops:
By the way, my first image with the 80ED has been taken! Needless to say, I'm VERY happy!
I'll post it as soon as I straighten out some image server problems I'm having.

Bill G.
Comets:40, Best Meteor shwr: Leonids '01, Best Aurora:Oct. '03.
Total.Sol.Eclipse,7/10/72 from Nova Scotia.Annular Sol. Eclipse '94,
Trans.of Venus 2004&2012.,ShoeLevy crash into Jupiter '94.
4/25/66 fireball-9 mag.,SN2011fe,N2012aw,DelphN2013.
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