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Old 08-28-2010, 10:56 AM   #16
george7378
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Thanks for the report - the best way to see detail in the ISS is to track it as steadily as you can (with good focus, of course). Something to try - let it move across the field of view without trying to track it and see what it looks like - I find that I can pick out some really nice details without even tracking it. Also, there is a really big difference between its apparent size when it is low on the horizon as opposed to high up - try when it reaches a nice elevation above the horizon.

As for my sighting of the ISS - it was at mag. -2.8 (which looked really bright in the dusky, moonlit sky) and the pass lasted almost from horizon to horizon, with a slow fadeout as it approached the glare of the Moon. I really love watching the trees to try and spot the bright dot moving between the branches - it's just great when it arrives on time, and I always get excited when I see it coming.

The pairing of the Moon and Jupiter is still pretty nice too - they make a great photograph if you can get some night-time landscape scenery in too.

Images:

http://orbiter-forum.com/showthread.php?t=17848
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Old 08-29-2010, 12:38 AM   #17
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Today, same as yesterday. Still no luck on the M57. I also tryed both the M13 and M27, but because of the moon, I couldn't find neither Hercules or Sagitta constelations.

I started with a quick observation of the Moon and Jupiter, before trying the M57.

For the first time, Heavens-Above has failed. There was suposed to be a bright pass of the ISS today, but all I saw was something as faint as Mars. I hope tomorrow is better. Also tryed Envisat, but it wasn't better than the ISS. I looked for it in the sky, but saw nothing.
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:17 PM   #18
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Today, nothing special, although I saw the ISS through my telescope again. Saw the solar panels, with the modules and truss, just like before. I need to get a better eyepiece. Latter I saw something strange. It was probably something burning in the atmosfere, but I never saw something like that before. The attachment is a drawing I made of the object. What was it?
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File Type: jpg semtítulo.jpg (1.4 KB, 11 views)

Last edited by diogom; 09-08-2010 at 12:35 AM.
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:50 PM   #19
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6th September, 2010

This morning I saw:
-the Moon (naked eye)

It was only a quick naked eye observation to control the alignment of the Stellarium landscape texture that I made for my usual telescope location:


Later today, a hour ago, I saw:
-the Andromeda nebula (binoculars and telescope)
-Jupiter (binoculars)

I took a closer look at the sky in Stellarium this afternoon.

I saw that the Andromeda nebula was in a good position to find it quickly, went out and found it with my binoculars. I decided to take a look with my 150mm/1200mm Skywatcher refractor (propably not the best to watch deep-sky objects). Only the center of the galaxy was visible as a faint point of light, but it was great to see it at all (I miss those cold dark winter nights, they usually cause the Orion nebula to be visible with the naked eye). After taking the scope back inside, I took a chair and saw Jupiter and it's moons through binoculars for some minutes, and also watched our faint, but visible home galaxy.

The ISS visibility is sadly close to an end, and here it was a bad summer for astronomy, the last great night here was August 13th with 17 perseids. Last year I usually saw the ISS several times a night (while watching all that Apollo 11 anniversary stuff on TV).

Ok, that was it for tonight, I'll make sure to take my camera with me next time.

Last edited by astrosammy; 09-06-2010 at 08:53 PM. Reason: moon -> moons, Jupiter has more than one of them :-)
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Old 09-16-2010, 07:20 PM   #20
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Had a really cool moment this morning, one hour before sunrise: I looked out of my window (facing to the south) and saw Jupiter low in the western sky. Then I turned my head to the south east, and there was it: A bright star, and also the only one visible at that time. I was very happy, I found one of my favourite stars for the first time this year, Sirius!
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Old 10-01-2010, 01:10 PM   #21
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Last night I saw the Andromada (Ughhh, how do you spell it?) Galaxy. But even with binoculars it looked like an extremely faint smudge. What's up with that?

I also saw Jupiter but no moons. And while trying to find the Andromada Galaxy, because I expected it to be more then a faint smudge, I found a star cluster in Cassiopiea (I hate these constellation names... Someone should rename these so people can spell them) about 5 times.
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Old 10-07-2010, 10:03 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwog View Post
 Last night I saw the Andromada (Ughhh, how do you spell it?) Galaxy. But even with binoculars it looked like an extremely faint smudge. What's up with that?

I also saw Jupiter but no moons. And while trying to find the Andromada Galaxy, because I expected it to be more then a faint smudge, I found a star cluster in Cassiopiea (I hate these constellation names... Someone should rename these so people can spell them) about 5 times.
The Andromeda Galaxy will always look like an elongated smudge - the spiral arms are hidden in the coma of starlight because the galaxy is edge-on almost. That may have been the Double Cluster you found - it really shows some nice colours and star varieties through a telescope.

This is my latest observing report for 7/10/10:

Sights:

- Comet 103/P Hartley
- M31
- M32
- M110
- The Garnet Star
- The stars and dark nebulae of the Milky Way
- Jupiter

Tonight was beautifully clear for the most part, and I thought I would have a go at finding my first comet. I have tried on previous occasions to find Hartley 2 and failed, but tonight, I got a great introduction to comet observing. I found the double cluster first, and explored the path between the clusters and the stars of Cassiopeia, and eventually, my heart leaped as I finally found the fuzzy green ball. As I became more dark adapted, the atmosphere of the comet, thousands of kilometres in diameter, became apparent. It was very close to some reasonably bright reference stars, so I kept checking up on the position every 5 minutes or so, and over the course of the night, the comet moved from one end of the little line of stars to far beyond the other - I couldn't believe how quickly it was moving! While watching it slowly fall across the sky, I couldn't help but wonder how a 'snowball' 1.5KM across could produce such a large coma. I can't believe I finally found it, and it was amazing to see such change in an object over such a short period of time.

The night was beautifully dark, and after spending a little time laying back under the beautifully structured Milky Way with its stream of light and light-year long dark strands of dust, I turned the scope to the noticably ovular smudge of M31. The galaxy was more amazing than I have ever seen it before, with the faint outer arms stretching beyond the field of view, and the beautiful elongated core surrounded by a coma of floating starlight. The two satellite galaxies were fantastic, with both exhibiting evident shape, and the brighter of the two looking distinctly like an egg-shaped oval. I received the streams of million-year old photons feeling elated - seeing such detail through the telescope while standing under such an amazing sky was truly magical.

I also learned about the Garnet Star recently, and after much searching around the dense star fields of the Milky Way, I found the distinct red point. Seeing such an amazing star, which is one of the most luminous known to us and would reach out to Saturn if placed in our solar system, was a though provoking experience. The only thing giving away its powerful secrets was the strong red tint, while the size and shape of the star did not suggest of the amazing power it held. It is also hard to get my head around the amazing distance at which it lies - it is over 5000 light years distant, and yet, it is still a prominent naked-eye star. I'm just glad I can watch from a distance!

Jupiter was also lovely, with a prominent North Equatorial Belt against the glowing disk, with more subtle cloud zones showing through with time. The moons were aligned so that I could see all four, and complemented the scene nicely.

So, the main sight tonight was Comet Hartley, as it provided a fitting introduction to comet observing, and although it was only my first comet, I can safely say that it will be far from my last! More observing experience also seems to be showing me more detail in objects like M31 - I remember my first viewing, which was over a year ago, and how I progressed to spotting the satellite galaxies, and the coma of dimmer starlight surrounding it. Now that I am getting to know the galaxy, it is revealing some of its most subtle and beautiful details to me.
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Old 10-08-2010, 12:14 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by george7378 View Post
 So, the main sight tonight was Comet Hartley, as it provided a fitting introduction to comet observing, and although it was only my first comet, I can safely say that it will be far from my last!
Congrats! My first was Halley, way back when I didn't really appreciate what I was seeing. My most recent was C/2009 R1 in June. 103P/Hartley is currently not visible here but there should be good viewing in November when it heads back south.
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Old 10-08-2010, 12:37 AM   #24
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A few Weeks ago I had Jupiter in my Telescope and you could see Io, Europa, and I think Callisto (I think My Celestrons motor was acting up so I had to dial it in by hand so I didnt have assistance)
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Old 10-31-2010, 03:21 PM   #25
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Last night gave me a mercifully clear spot among the clouds, during which I could observe some of my favourite objects with my new 10 inch telescope.

The first thing I centred on was Jupiter. It was easy to find with the optical finder, and helped me align properly. I first tried it with the 10mm eyepiece @ 120X, and the amazing sharpness of the details just blew me away! I saw the NEB's crisp outline against the light disc, but I was easily able to spot very intricate details such as festoons and boundaries between the light and dark material, and there was even a small 'nick' in the NEB where the light material was cutting into it in the north-east position on Jupiter's disc. As well as this, I could see a faint colouration where the SEB is hiding, and both polar hoods were showing nicely. The south polar zone seemed to have an area of more intense red stretched across it, and I even saw some streaks of red in the SEB's slot. Later on, I watched the great red spot quickly appear and rotate towards the central meridian, and it appeared as a sharply-defined oval cutting into the south polar zone.

Aside from the details on the disc, I saw all four moons, and I swear one of them was glowing bright gold - something I have never seen before. This was probably Io.

So, I saw more on Jupiter last night than I have ever seen in my life, but I didn't focus on this giant planet alone. The first DSO I viewed was the double cluster, which was a fantastic object in my old scope, so you can guess how I responded after seeing it in the 10"! I couldn't believe how many stars filled the field of view, with many peppered around the main cluster as well as a goldmine of bright colours and also fainter stars which I was never able to see with the old scope. Something I like doing is opening both eyes with one looking down the EP and one looking at the scenery around me - I tried it, and the double cluster's star fields were spattered across the hedge and the wall of the house - they all stood out so well even when they were overlayed on the world around me!

I also couldn't resist M31, and when the clouds finally cleared around it, I could see the faint outer regions stretching across the view, which complemented the bright core by giving a real shape to the galaxy. I saw the satellite galaxies as defined ovals too, and the nebulosity of M31 bridged a far larger gap between the objects than ever before, hinting at how much more of the galaxy was visible. I looked at the object from many angles, and I think I also saw a dark dust lane later in the night - it seemed to arc round the core in an oval, and cut through the very diffuse outer regions of the galaxy and disappeared around the front of the core. Trying to entice the details out of this object was very rewarding, and the dark skies at home will be even better at it.

I saw a new galaxy too - the ghost of Mirach. I have never found it before, but as soon as I found Mirach, I could see it - looking very cometary with its elliptical diffuse 'coma'. Mirach and other stars such as Vega and Albireo also showed some beautiful colours, and I was really able to find a lot more double stars than ever before - probably a combination of the light gathering, sharp optics and high magnification.

M33 was quite hard to find, and I think a darker sky is needed to appreciate the details, as it appeared as a rather small glowing mist and it was quite hard to decipher the boundaries of the galaxy, but I appreciate that it is very dim and requires good conditions to see the structure. I can't wait to start exploring the spirals of objects like M33 and M51 when I get a dark sky.

I saw a favourite nebula of mine too - M57. While my previous views of the object were very pleasing, the magnification and light-gathering power of the new scope made it even better. I found it straight away once it was in the field of view, and the sharpness and size of the 'smoke ring' were a great improvement. I was able to use lots more magnification, and the nebula took on a nice ovular shape with the two caps at either end adding to the shape. The centre also showed off some nice faint nebulosity, and I was able to observe without averted vision and see the sharp shape of the outer ring.

I spent the evening flicking between these sights while sitting at the eyepiece until about 22:30, when the clouds rolled in. I really can't wait to see some other planets, especially Saturn, which should give some razor sharp details, especially on the rings. I am also looking forward to observing the previously unavailable intricacies of galaxies with spiral arms and dust lanes.
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:40 AM   #26
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This morning as I was driving into work I saw a meteor, might have even resulted in a meteorite. It was approximately 0514 eastern time. I was headed out of the pan handle of West Virginia (where I live) to northern Virginia (where I work). Looking at Google earth I was driving about NNE on route 9 (winding over the blueridge mountains, around 39-14.867N 77-46.013W) the elevation of the road at that point is about 900ft with the mountain top ridge at about 1100 ft elevation a quarter mile SSW. I saw something bright in my peripheral vision (to the NW) and turned to see a fast moving glowing/flaming object streaking across the sky roughly parallel to my path. the reason I listed the altitude is the meteor was approximately 10 degrees above my line of sight, really low! It appeared about the size of a thumbnail on an outstretched arm. The flame trail must have been miles long. There was no way to accurately judge how far away it was, but I'd guess less than a mile, it covered 90 degrees of my vision (before going behind the tree line) in about a second. The object itself was glowing white with a slight green tinge, the flame trail was similar but far more green.

This was one of the most impressive sights I've seen. I have seen Perseid meteors before and thought the little streaks of light were cool, but this was like something out of a movie. I'd love to try to track down where it hit, but I have no idea where to even start on a quest like that
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:17 AM   #27
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24/02/11

Sights:


- Saturn
- M3 (Globular)
- M81/M82 (Galaxies)
- M42
- M51
- ISS
- Double Cluster
- NGC 2655 (No Supernova any more)

The evening started with some satellites. I tried to see NanoSail-D first, but I don't think I did. Instead, I saw an erratic flashing satellite, which I think was Iridium 17. See here.

The ISS came over at about 19:20, and I tried to take some video through the scope. My efforts did not yield much - just a few frames which show some reasonable detail. Here they are - I think it was out of focus though:

Slightly blurred ISS | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Turning to NGC 2655, I could see the same star patterns as before, and I also saw the faint, round galaxy sitting in exactly the same place, but the SN was gone from my field of view. I am guessing that it has either completely disappeared, or has left the limiting magnitude of my scope. It was quite interesting to return, and see that the heavens aren't that constant after all!

The Double Cluster hasn't been viewed by me in a long time, but it was very nice to return and view it at low magnification see the different colours of the stars. There was a layer of high-altitude cloud which blocked it out slightly.

After observing some of my favourite galaxies, I waited for the cloud to clear for Saturn to come out. When I finally saw it for the first time with my new scope - I couldn't believe my eyes! I could get the magnification up to 240X and see amazing details such as banding on the clouds, and even the area where the planet cast its shadow on the rings! The rings themselves were unreal - so sharp and thin at the edges, and yet so vast when you look at how they curve perfectly round the planet. I was amazed at the improvemet over my old scope, and I just couldn't stop looking at the fabulous perfection , and the real 3D feel that the rings give to the planet. The area where the rings crossed in front of the planet was really well contrasted against the disk, and there were some moons visible too. It was about 01:00 when I finally went to bed, but I can't wait to get another look at the planet.

I was also able to get a good look at M51 at the time, and I saw the best view I have ever had of it. It was very high up when I looked, and I could easily see the two spiral arms with averted vision, even at 120X. When I didn't use averted vision, I could see a glowing haze with some noticeable structure surrounding the brighter core. I will spend a lot more time studying this galaxy when it is more favourably placed.

Finally, I looked at my first globular cluster with the 10" scope - M3. I couldn't believe the improvement over the SW130 - it was just beyond description! I staryed at 48X, and could see a very bright glowing haze with lots of tiny little pinpoints of light hanging around it - like little pin-sharp diamonds in a pool of light. I immediately went up to 120X, and could then see even more of these magically distant points of light, right into the core. I was amazed that I could resolve individual stars in this tiny little mini-galaxy, even though it was probably tens of thousands of lightyears away. The stars in the cluster looked a lot 'smaller' than the foreground milky way stars - I could immediately see that they were a lot more distant (they just looked tiny) - is this just an illusion? I suppose it is, as we see all stars as points of light. I think globulars are my new favourite DSOs - I have never seen individual stars in them before!

In short, there are a lot more things I want to see with my 10" scope, after getting this taster tonight.
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Old 03-05-2011, 09:19 PM   #28
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The weather was a little hazy, but I got some nice viewing before the clouds came in.

I started by looking at random areas of the constellation Leo, in the hope of finding some galaxies. I was obviously looking in the wrong place, because I only saw stars! I got some nice doubles, and there were some interesting looks formations and asterisms.

Saturn: The planet was especially steady tonight, and I directly saw the Cassini division when the air was still enough. I could also direcly observe some amazing cloud features in the northern hemisphere - most notably, a large dark band of brown/yellow cloud conpletely circling the northern hemisphere. There was also a nice line of moons, and I could see the area where the planet cast a shadow on the rings.

M81/M82: I look at these galaxies nearly every session, and tonight, they didn't disappoint. I saw a dark mottling all along the line of M82, and observed it at 240X magnification. M81 showed a nice symmetrical oval with some notable outer haze. I love how they are constantly hanging in suspended collision in the eyepiece - I could even see the lovely shapes and positions of the galaxies through the finderscope. An owl kept hooting as I observed them - it was quite a nice ambience - sounds of life on Earth mixed with the amazing sight of two colliding island universes. I showed my Mum who happened to be outside at the time, and she couldn't believe the clarity and shape of the structures (she has only previously had a little look at M31 through an SW-130 - there's quite a difference!)

M3: It took me a while to find this cluster tonight, but I eventually saw the glowing jewel-box enter the field of view. I could immediately see some stars hanging around in its halo, and increased the magnification to about 240X to see the wondrous cluster in all its splendour. At this magnification, I could see individual stars right into the core, and didn't even need to use averted vision. I once again noticed that the stars of the cluster somehow look much farther off than the fireground stars - I wonder what the night sky must look like from right in the middle, with over 100 stars in a 1 light-year cube?

I only really spent time observing these objects tonight - I was planning to start a sketch, but the clouds rolled in before I could! I did, however, view an unknown galaxy and an unknown globular cluster when I was panning around in the region under Coma Berenices and to the left of Leo. The galaxy was quite a bright spiral with a very defined core and some surrounding nebulosity, and the globular was slightly dimmer than M3, and was a little more tightly packed, but I could still see individual stars nearly into the core. Globular clusters are so fascinating - little tiny glowing balls of light that look so strange against the dark sky...

That's about it - I may also have seen a meteor travelling through my EP - it seemed too fast for a satellite, and I didn't see anything when I looked up - it was going from left to right when I was looking in the Leo region. It was a fabulous night - one where you just spend ages staring and staring at the same object, and with Saturn, M3 and my favourite galaxy pair on show, I had plenty to look at.
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:22 PM   #29
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You describe things really well George
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Old 03-06-2011, 08:20 PM   #30
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Thanks It's not that hard when you have such amazing sights to describe - it really does look beautiful.
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