Bill Magee`s Journey



Starting these reports as a log of my observations on this site!
 Nov.15th 2009
Finally got out with my scope after about a week of steady blowing wind and not clear skies!
All observations from backyard filled with light pollution.(The town itself neighbors porch
lights and street lights)
I started observing at about 9:30 PM MST after letting the scope acclimatise for about an hour.
Only used Televue 32mm eyepiece with and without a 0.5 antares 1-1/4 thread on focal reducer.
Objects viewed:
Pleiades -Nice but can`t get all of the sisters in the field of view!
M31 Bright fuzzy(normal)Seems to all fit with focal reducer on.
M33 faint
NGC884 and NGC 869 (Double cluster in Perseus) Nice . Fit almost all of both clusters in view.
The wife came out and looked and said coooooool!(She is not as interested as I am to stand out
 in the cold and look at stars!)
M34 nice open cluster
M1 very faint and fuzzy
M78 very faint
NGC 2237, NGC 2238, NGC 2239 and NGC 2246 All part of the Rosette nebula. Full of stars but no
real hint of nebulosity.
M42 The great Nebula in Orion .Spent a bit of time viewing this favourite.Always a great object
 to view.
I saw two meteors.
Was Waiting for Mars and started to view at low power and then the wind the glorious wind
started to blow again!It was slowly picking up speed as I was observing !
Mars position was not the best as it was still over houses and garages.Maybe tommorrow night
I will try again!(I am Getting acclimatised for night shift on Tuesday.)
One thing about the wind blowing is I had no dew or frost formation and I think it Blew some
dust off of the front corrector plate on my SCT.(BONUS)
Quit Viewing at about 1:15AM MST
Hope others were able to be out viewing this night.
I will probably miss the Leonids due to work but will look tommorrow night if clear.

Dec.2009 to Jan4th 2010 no Telescope use as I was incapacitated with an Inner ear balance disorder!

 Feb.21st 2010

Finally a clear night and made time to observe what I could tonight without watching the Olympics!(I have been glued to the TV toooo long)!This has actually been the only clear night since I have been able to observe again (No DIzziness)and I wasn`t working!
Started at 7:00PM MST.
Started with Lunar observations using Televue 32mm plossl.Then upped power with 3X barlow.Very sharp views with both setups.(Moon ended up over buildings but not too much distortion.Took a few pics handheld to eyepiece (Afocal) Will post in Astrophotography section.
Next on the agenda Mars.Started with 32mm plossl and 3X barlow.Very small but could make out polar cap white and some dark areas.(Seeing came and went)upped power to 16.3mm erfle and 3X barlow.A little bigger and a little more detail. Tried the trick of looking at light from window of the house and then into the eyepiece to make pupil dilate and get a sharper view of mars.(Seemed to work) No pics.(would be kinda hard handheld afocally Never even tried)(Hoping to try neximage camera next time)
Went back to looking at Moon for a while then back to Mars.
Near the end of my session I noticed Saturn had risen so I pointed my old companion at it.It was fairly low in the sky but with a 16.3mm erfle with 3X barlow it still came into view and was a little shimmery, but it came in and out of focus to see the rings still very narrow.No planetary detail.
I only had to de ice my front corrector 3 times.My Eyepieces once.
Finished Observing at about 11:00PM MST.


 Feb.26th 2010

Went out for another skywatching session last night !
Duration 7:00 PM MST to 11:30 PM MST
Session joined by visitors who came by.I invited them for a look at the moon.
They enjoyed the views.Comments were (is that ever cool ,neat ,and the lunar mountains almost look like ice crystals .(never heard that one before).
I enjoy sharing my scope with whoever does come by! I invite them to eye the sky.
Skies clouded over for a while.Went inside for coffee and chat.
We went back out to look at Mars but Clouds and haziness prevented it.
After our guests left I Stayed out for a couple of hours on and off as the clouds cleared.
Mars -Never did get a real good view as the seeing was not very cooperative.
Saturn -As it rose a little higher its views were not that great either due to seeing conditions.( Also quite low in the sky)
Moon - Spent most of the time checking out the terminator area and when the moon was out in the clear! Had good views of Vallis Schrotter. Very neat Rille.(Picture above)Handheld Digital Panasonic DMC FZ28 on auto to 32mm plossl eyepiece on 3x barlow on Dynamax 8 SCT.(this scope is 32 years old)still using it.
Used 32mm plossl on 3X Barlow on 8"SCT.Also used 18mm A.R.on 3X barlow.
And I just had to look at Crater Billy.I could`t pass up on a crater with my name on it! LOL. Used same eyepieces as above.This crater has much darker material in it than the surrounding terrain.
Spent the rest of the time just scanning the moon.
Even with seeing not so great for planets the moon is always a favourite to scope!


March 6th 2010

Started viewing at 7:30 PM MST

Had first time scope viewer Bernice.She enjoyed the views of Mars Saturn and M42 .Her comments were (ever neat)

Viewed  Mars .Pretty good detail came and went as viewing progressed.Seeing was not really that good.

 Saturn got better to view as it rose higher in the sky.Good ring views .Very narrow.Not much for detail on the planet itself.

Spent most time on Mars and Saturn waiting for clarity (focus) of the objects to pop into view.

M-42 The Great Nebula in Orion.always a favorite to view. Could resolve the central stars quite well even though the nebula was over my house.

M-44  Praesepe The beehive star cluster in  Cancer. Nice group of stars.

M-67 Nice open cluster .Looked Just like the pictures but not that bright.(Dim)

Tried to find M 51 The whirlpool galaxy .Didn`t find it as there was too much light from town.

Finished session at about 12:30 PM MST


March 13th 2010

Started viewing at 8:00 PM MST

Set up to try to image Mars and Saturn with neximage web cam . Got some vids but nothing very good.The seeing was not good at all as the images bounced and blurred .Very hard to find focus and track.Still learning Hopefully will get some results in the future. The objects are pretty small with this setup.The magnification with the neximage on this scope is 422x and this old scope may not be capable of results.May have to also tweak the collimation.Will wait until a better seeing night and go from there.

The views with just the  16.3 mm erfle eyepiece and 3X barlow were not that good either.(388X)

I did find M-51 the whirlpool galaxy  later after neck craning and  a telrad  aided star hop.Was quite faint but could just see NGC 5195 its companion.

Finished session at about 12:00PM MST

Footnote To self!While using Telrad and Finder scope try not to breath on the eyepiece!!!! It happens!!Kinda hard to see through when fogged up!

First view of sunspots through this scope and Kendrick Baader Astro solar filter.

March 24th 2010

Used Kendrick Baader solar filter for first Time .Never Had a solar filter for this scope before.Fuzzy image but shows 3 sunspots.

The view with my eyeballs was very clear.

Took image at 3:16MDT .Afocal handheld with Panasonic DMC FZ28 digital camera on auto through 32mm plossl eyepiece with polarizing and orange filter.Very difficult to focus.Only had about 2hrs. of clloud breaks during session. Will try mounting camera on scope next time.

Another shot of same sunspots a but a little darker.

The skies have not been at all cooperative for night skywatching for over a week.

                   Observations Page 2

Observations April 15th 2010

April15th 2010

Went out to try and capture Venus Young Moon and Mercury.Took a quite a few tries at different settings as light clouds were obscuring the scene.Pic posted in My Astronomy Pics.

Started Observing with scope about 10:00PM MDT.
Very successful views of Saturn tonight.Good and steady crisp planet watcher eyeball candy.Got good seeing for once after many not so good nights of viewing saturn. Didn`t try to image and probably should have as I did get very good views at 498 power.12.7 A .Ramsden eyepiece on 3 X barlow.(Need to buy a plossl eyepiece near this size)(Pushing the limit of this scope)Very defined ring shadow on the planet and planetary bands showed up quite well.Could just make out the cassini division on the east and west ends even with the rings so narrow. The views were pretty steady till Saturn started to be located above our house.
As the planet progressed westward and was over the house the planetary band detail started to fade.The rings still were pretty clear as well as the ring shadow on saturn which was very narrow.The moons Enceladus Tethys and Titan were all close to the Planet . Rhea was a little farther out. Supposed to be a good night again tommorrow ..Might try neximage web cam.I didn`t want to set it up tonight and try because of the good views.Couldn`t tear myself away from the eyepiece! My wife had a look and commented that she had not seen Saturn so clear before.
Finished observing at 12:30 AM MDT.Saturn was well over the house by then.

Observations April 16th 2010

April 16th 2010

Tried again for Moon Venus Mercury picture .Captured all but Mercury very faint in the remaining sunlight.Pic posted in My Astronomy Pics.

After coming back from venus moon and mercury 2nd night shoot I set up scope and viewed Saturn again.Not so good tonight.Could not get good views above 300 power.Saturn was also approaching above the house and with the real warm weather we had today the house was letting off a lot of heat =turbulence.Still it looked pretty good at about 300 power.Seeing came and went and was not steady.
So I didn`t bother to try to image with webcam.Also Tired.Wifey has me doing spring chores.Maybe tommorrow night I`ll try.