Double checking suitable class viewing objects

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Pete
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Double checking suitable class viewing objects

Unread post by Pete » Fri Oct 07, 2016 10:45 am

Thursday, 6 Oct 2016

Tonight’s objective is to check out objects on the Backyard Astronomy class list to verify that they’re suitable.

The sky’s been clear all day and forecast to be wonderfully clear tonight. The 14” sits out in the dome - hot/cold/damp/dry. Been out there 10 years. And right now there are a couple of very small mold areas on the primary and the corrector plate is quite dirty. So taking advantage of the lovely summer-like day the optics were disassembled and thoroughly cleaned. The scope’s now bright & shiny.

I’m out around 18:30 powering up and re-synchronizing using Altair. 5-day old Luna is just settling into the treeline. Mars is visible in a small gap and will no longer be usable for class viewing. Saturn is also well into the trees tonight. Going around front, could that bright object about 30° high in the W be Venus? Nope, it’s Arcturus. Too bad as newbies love planets.

M11, the Wild Duck Cluster, isn’t very spectacular at 18:45 (civilian twilight). Neither is M92 or M13. Contrast is really critical and although all 3 are on the class observing list they’ve got to come later in the evening. M16 (the Eagle Nebula) is viewed as the sky continues to darken. Around ½ hour after sunset (19:00) the Eagle has decent contrast but even with Orion’s Ultra-Block filter the nebulosity isn’t visible. M16 wasn’t on the class list, and won’t be.
The Double Cluster is beautiful from a dark sky with a powerful binocular, but the 14” max FOV is only 40’ and it doesn’t work well. In the Nikon 10X50s I can see it but again it lacks punch. Scratch NGC 869.

M52 (open cluster in Cas) is a bit sparse in the 14”. Had been considering adding it to the class viewing list, but won’t.

Paul D had recommended NGC 457 (the Owl Cluster) as a good binocular object. While I think it’ll be too hard for the class to find in a binocular it a wonderful bright object in the 14” at 115X. Added to list!

M27 (the Dumbbell Nebula) is easily viewed unfiltered at 115X. The filter and 180X makes it really impressive. It’s on the list but we’ve not viewed it yet.
Brocchi’s Cluster (aka The Coathanger) is really the premier asterism at this time of year. Spence B originally showed it to Carrie & me thru his binocular at an ASSNE meeting back around 2003. The class has viewed it already. It pops into view thru the Nikon 10X50. Will revisit with the class.

M57’s on the list and it’s visited briefly just to see if a filter helps. It doesn’t. The class has viewed it and we may return to it simply because it’s so spectacular.

Stephan’s Quintet (NGC7317 thru 7320) This galaxy group isn’t visible to my old eyes and will be dropped from the class viewing list.

Open clusters M29 and M39 are checked out for possibly adding to the list. M39 makes the cut but M29’s too sparse.

Didn’t visit globular M15 but its still on the list.

Albireo and Mizar weren’t visited but they’re on the binocular list. We viewed them last class and given the dearth of binocular objects may revisit.

Viewed M31, M32 & M110. M110 is very borderline visible in the 14”. Can be seen with averted vision and scope movement only. Probably no suitable for class viewing.

Neptune is really tiny at 2 billion miles (4 light-hours) distant but the only planet we’ve got to work with. Viewing, it’s clear but low in the SSW around 20:20 and on the list. Should be bright enough for even a moonlit sky.

The dome’s shut down at 20:30, but before heading inside I double check Andromeda with the 10X50s. It’s a lovely dark transparent sky. There’s been a heavy dewfall and M31 is really easy viewing. Adding it to the binocular list as a prime target!

Conclusions & lessons learned: It’s a big class and we’ve no time to waste on objects that aren’t clearly visible. Don't even try for DSOs before 19:00. Got the list pretty well nailed down but remain open to suggestions.

hgp logged 10:30 hrs, 7 October 2016
Pete P.
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NGC7000
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Re: Double checking suitable class viewing objects

Unread post by NGC7000 » Sat Oct 08, 2016 4:10 pm

very nice report, Pete, and that's a great list of targets for any eyes, young or not so much.

What did you use to clean your corrector plate?

Tom
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Mark G
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Re: Double checking suitable class viewing objects

Unread post by Mark G » Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:20 pm

Pete,

Great post! 8)

Tom,

I prefer distilled water, and 90% alcohol.
Clear skies,

Mark

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Pete
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Re: Double checking suitable class viewing objects

Unread post by Pete » Fri Oct 14, 2016 11:53 am

Hi Mark,

I used to use a 50/50 mix of 90% alcohol and distilled water, but figured why bother with 90% and not use 80% if you're mixing in water anyway. And over the years figured from that, why bother with the water at all? Just using 90% alcohol for the cleaning part these days, but also use a touch of Kodak photoflow solution and/or breathing on the glass while wiping with lint free gauze pads.

There's also a packaged ASO Fine Optics Cleaning System on the market, and I occasionally use that or parts from it.

Pete
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Re: Double checking suitable class viewing objects

Unread post by Bruce D » Fri Oct 14, 2016 4:38 pm

Where does one get 90% alcohol anyway? Purely for medicin- err- astronomical purposes of course...
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Pete
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Re: Double checking suitable class viewing objects

Unread post by Pete » Fri Oct 14, 2016 6:08 pm

It's isopropyl, not ethyl. CVS has it on the shelf next to witch hazel.

Pete
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