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Adventures with Telescopes

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Fallingstar1971

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Man, I was so hoping to bing Vesta Tuesday or Wednesday. (Its sitting in downtown Leo right now, right in the backwards question mark) Tuesday was hopeless, however (snow), cloud cover for Wednesday on weather.com showed some breaks forming in the clouds.

So I ran outside last night and looked up.

To the northwest/west, the skies were as clear as glass.

All other directions were completely covered with clouds.

I wasnt about to stay in AGAIN so I loaded up the scope and wheeled it across the street. Fired up the fan and watched the skies as the scope cooled down. Clouds moving from north to south. Yet oddly enough, northwest/west was still clear (minus a dark cloud band on the horizon)

So, the Moon was gorgous, Orion was in the clouds, but I did peek at the Orion Nebula (I have some artistic talent, when I can operate the scope without gloves Ill start sketching at the eyepiece) More on Orion in a minute.

The Great galaxy in Andromeda was beautiful. I saw a faint disk with a very bright nucleus. Had some trouble at first locating it due to the orientation of the sky (I usually look for it in the fall between its rising and being overhead, I can find it in a whole two seconds naked eye using averted vision. Now in the winter its setting and a little harder for me to find (just not used to looking for it at that time of night I guess) But find it I did. (Orion XT8 Classic and a 32MM EP)

Still, I guess I cant really complain. I had one whole quadrant relatively clear, But I was really hoping to learn a bit about asteroids and maybe even attempt to track it each night. I may not have the Hubble, but I CAN see a great many things.

And a note about stars......

Yes they are little dots, most of them.........

However, Betelgeuse, Rigel, and Arcturus (off the top of my head) all show as bright 4 pointed stars in my FOV (32MM or 25MM gives the same results) (If stars are considered the gems in the sky, then these stars are of the highest quality)

I have higher power EP, but I typically do not use them except for the moon and planets. Speaking of the moon, I saw a huge, well defined, raised crater sitting along the moons terminator. Very nice indeed, almost filled my FOV (4MM EP w/ Zhummel moon and sky glow filter)

And lastly, back to Orion for a sec. I just finished looking at Andromeda and decided to look to the south. I saw a HUGE BRIGHT LIGHT to the left of Orion, between Orion and Sirius (no it wasn't Sirius, but it was in the same area of sky. It was much, much brighter than Sirus)

But before I could spin my scope to it, the clouds rushed back in covering the entire southern sky (at least the parts I wanted to see anyway)

To add to my disappointment, about 3 seconds after moving the scope I heard a jet, then one flew overhead, and backtracking its course, you guessed it, it came from the same section of sky as my mystery light. No UFO, No supernova, and when I got a few seconds of no clouds over Orion, the light was gone, and Betelgeuse was still there. It was just a plane flying directly twords me. (I did bing the plane as it flew overhead and was able to manually track it for two or three seconds before I lost it in the clouds, it WAS a plane. It had wings, blinky lights, and was not being chased by other planes. So no PMs about UFOs plz)

O well. I think I will stick to trying to bing Vesta :)

Venus is next, as soon as I can bing it without setting my eyes on fire. (you cannot hide next to the Sun forever, Planet!)

And as for Mars and Saturn, all I have to say is QUIT HIDING BEHIND THE EASTERN CLOUDS !

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MeteorWayne

Guest
Nice story...can't fight mother nature. I was hoping to see the ISS this morning...clouds broke up 20 minutes later :(

BTW, I am moving this to Ask the Astronomer.
 
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Fallingstar1971

Guest
I watching the cloud cover map on weather.com with great anticipation, so far its looking good. Really cold, but good.

Pizza, then coffee, then collimation , then Im out...... :)

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MeteorWayne

Guest
I'd strongly suggest that you use the clearskyclock rather than weather.com. TWC is not interested in astronomy, the ClearSkyClock is.

Here's the link; find the location closest to you...if you need help, eitherv post here or PM me.

http://cleardarksky.com/csk/

Wayne
 
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Fallingstar1971

Guest
Thanks.......

I did go out tonight, got about an hour in before the clouds returned. One of these days Ill get some clear skies.......

That site is nice, Im glad they are rated by number as well as color ( I have problems with red\green) Good thing most deep sky objects come through as mostly black and white, makes the playing field even :)

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Fallingstar1971

Guest
No new observations other than snow and clouds, and snow.

But I do have a new telescope adventure!

My dad came to me the other day asking what would be a good starter scope for my niece.

So we sat down with my catalog (I was at work) And I showed him the picture of mine in the catalog. (XT8)

He looks at the XT10 and asks me why I didnt get THAT one. (I heard this and just gave him this "look" like whaaa?!?!???? Aperture fever runs in the family it appears, I may need to list this as a hereditary illness with my doctor :)

Anyway. instead of giving him a lecture, we went to my house and I let my scope to my talking for me.

"Go ahead, pick it up" I say.
"Kinda heavy," He says "Not too heavy, but bulky"
"Easy to bump into stuff," I said, "I can manage it though with my mini-cart, a packing mold and some bungee cord."

He smiled, hes a biker and uses bungees ALL the time.

"Now thats the smaller one, and its "kinda" heavy. The 10 inch weighs more. Now let me ask you, how many times are you going to carry something bigger than THAT outside for the little one? And before you answer, let me just say that every cool thing in the sky that I have seen so far had very cold windchills in very cold weather. So, take my original question, and add the fact that you ARE going to be cold."

"However, I have a solution for you that will work perfectly." First, let me ask this. Do you plan on taking any pictures?
"No," he repiled, "This is so she can look and see."

I then flipped back to the page with the Dobs, and showed him the 4.5 inch.

"This is the exact same aperture I bought long after the 2.5 inch from back when I was 9. I could see the rings of Saturn, belts on Jupiter...ect. The only thing different is that my 4.5 came on an EQ mount, which is slightly harder to learn that a dob."
(OK its not THAT hard, but in comparison, a dob is simpler) I explained to him that just starting out they should opt for the lighter 20lbs scope. It will show them PLENTY to wet there appetite. When they think they are ready for more, I told him to stop by and borrow my scope (or more likely go out with me, because if your here to borrow it then the skies are clear and Im going too :) ) . I then kinda cornered him into a commitment. Im like, "Hey," promise me your going to go home and order this and I will give you THIS: (Explorer Zoom Lens) Its "good", but if you dial up say, 9mm. Then you swap out with an actual 9mm EP, the 9mm EP gives a better view. But here. Take this, it will give you an idea on how things are going to look, and when your ready for some EP, come back and borrow a few of mine. Decide on what you like, THEN order."

Now she is but wee. So I told him to make a household rule, at least until shes older and can respect the Sun. NO TELESCOPE OUTSIDE UNTIL THE SUN IS SET. Just the tiniest fraction of a second looking at the Sun through an unprotected telescope and you LOST YOUR EYE. No second chances. Now you see, now you DONT. No scopes outside until after Sunset. (I will eventually teach her solar projection, but today they have some pretty awesome solar filters for the aperture tube. I think I will recommend one of THOSE if she gets interested in the Sun.) But until then its best that the scope stay indoors during the day.

So, he went home and ordered it, hes waiting for it to come in. When It shows up Ill help assemble it, and hopefully we will have a clear sky on a day we both have off. Ill grab my scope, he and my niece will grab theirs, and it should be an AWESOME night!!!

Meanwhile, I need to call my HMO and see if "Aperture fever" is covered on my healthplan.

OK thats it for now, will get back with some observations, but Im still two days from PARTLY cloudy I think, so whoa is me :(

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Fallingstar1971

Guest
Went out tonigh, skies were descent, was surveying Ursa Major and stumbled across Bodes galaxy and the cigar galaxy in the same FOV. Awesome


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