Went out last night and set up scope at about 11:30 PM MST and started observing at about 12:10 AM MST.
Clouds everywhere with a few breaks.Very windy but about 1 deg C.
Looked at M-42 always nice .M-44 Beehive cluster in Cancer(Fit most of it in GSO 50mm superwide 2"eyepiece.Looks much better in darker skies.
Did not hook up power just manually moved scope to track and no dew shield.
Checked out the moons terminator later as it came into viewing area.Very turbulent air.Went up to about 200x.
Waited for Saturn to be in viewing range.At about 2:15 AM MST.
Could not get any decent views as the air was boiling.Could tell that the rings were now more exposed.Most of the views were like looking through Galileos scope and the planet had ears.
Only got to 100x as there was no point in trying anything higher.Unfocusable.Very unstable air.Wind Cloud moonlight.Got to see Saturn for the first time this year anyway.Hope for better nights to come.
Gotta work tonight and quit viewing at 2:55 AM MST as it looked like the skies were not getting any better.
Well the sky cleared and I spent the better part of this afternoon watching sunspots.Some people may think of it as like watching paint dry but I still watched none the less off and on from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM MST. Used Kendrick Baader Solar filter on front of scope and sun shield.
Used 32mm televu plossl ,21mm Orion stratus and 50 mm GSO eyepieces.65x 100x and 42x. the 21mm had a lot of color fringing at the edges of the eyepiece .
Saw the groups of 1161 1157 and the recently FIRST X-FLARE OF THE NEW SOLAR CYCLE area of 1158. Looked like a few of the spots in 1158 were getting closer and may team up to make a bigger one.
Well the sunspot paint dried as old sol was now at the peak of the house and disappearing behind it .Put all equipment away as I will not be stargazing tonight.(Last set of early morning rising (3:45 am) to go to work).Soon I will be almost normal after my last set of Night shifts.
Observations Feb. 19th 2011
Set up scope at 6:30 PM MST Started viewing at about 7:45PM MST
Using My Iphone app Star Map Pro to get celestial coordinates to use setting circles on scope to find objects.
First time using this .Very very handy.Used log book in app to note objects seen.(Night vision Mode)
Do not like using laptop in the cold outside so narmaly I just star hopped or wrote coordinates on a piece of paper.
Very quick finding these objects and were always in the field of view with coordinates from the app.
Made a stand to hold the iphone on pier but it was too cold out to leave it in the elements so I just kept it in my shirt pocket.
Star hopping is also great but when its -17 C out the fingers get frozen quickly.(Gloves are too bulky)
Asked Neighbours nicely to turn off their outside light.They did and I invited them for a look but said it was too cold!(I may be part Eskimo?)
Observations of Objects with 50mm superwide eyepiece only.(42x)
M-1 dim Crab Nebula Mag.8.4
M-42 Bright Very nice as usual. Could see a pink tinge again.My Wife looked at M-42 later with me but cannot see the color ,only grey green.
Upped the power to 100x with 21mm Orion stratus.Very crisp view of some faint nebulosity filaments and very clear trapezium view.
Back to 50mm eyepiece.
M-78 Nebula -dim Mag.8 can`t see very much nebulosity just the stars .
M-50 Open cluster quite good at Mag.5.9
M-41 Nice open cluster fairly bright at Mag.4.5
M-93 Open cluster dimmer at Mag.6.2
M-46 Open cluster dim at Mag.6.1
Waited for the Nano sail To appear in the northwestern sky with wife.We saw it at 9:12 PM MST in exactly where It was
supposed to be according to Heavens Above web site coordinates.Got to at least Mag.2.5 then dimmed out but no flare.
Did not try to see it with scope.
M-47 Nice brighter open cluster at Mag.4.4
M-48 open cluster at Mag.5.8
M-67 Tight open cluster fairly dim at Mag.6.9
M-44 Very nice bright open cluster at Mag.3.1 can almost fit it all in in this nice to use 50mm GSO superwide eyepiece.
M-45 The Pleiades Always beautiful and bright at Mag.1.2 was far in the western sky by this time of night but can see most of it in this eyepiece.
I think I will be using this one a lot.
Tried to find M-105 and other Messiers in Leo region but now the bright Moon light was stealing away the darkness.Will try at a later date.
One last look at M-42 .Packed things away at 10:15 .Was tired after an early morning rise at 3:45AM MST for my last set of Day shifts.
One more set Of Night shifts and will be able to sleep to 6:30 AM MST when I start Regular Day shifts Mar.02.
After a long non scoping time mostly due to weather and the time to go view the sky I finally got out last night for a short viewing session .Set up scope on tripod as my pier area was very muddy and had ice around part of it from the quick melting snow.(Will have to plant grass or sod around it this spring)
Had all our children and 9 out of 10 grandchildren at My son Lawrence and daughter inlaw Leslies place for Easter weekend. Set up scope in driveway to view Saturn.This was the only half decent observing night while there.
Viewers were David, Cathy ,Lawrence ,Dwayne ,Danielle,Arora ,Arianna,Eric,Tyler,Brandon,Sydney,Annie Hannah,Madison,Kayla, and myself.I don`t think My Daughter Sandy looked through the scope that night.
Pretty good views at up to 200x . Posted each viewer in Scope viewers album
Some of the kids lined up to view had wet hair as it was fairly late and they just bathed or showered.
Not an observation but rather an event that my Son Lawrence made possible for me.
Lawrence bought tickets to View the STS 134 Endeavour Space Shuttle Launch as an Early Retirement gift for me.(Still have about 2 years more to work)
He and I travelled to Florida to witness the launch.The launch did not happen due to Electrical technical problems.It is now supposed to Zoom off to the ISS on Monday May 16th at 8:56 EDT.
Had an awesome wonderful time there with Lawrence touring the Kennedy Space Center ,Disneys Epcot center ,Universal Studios,and a walk on Cocoa Beach where I put my Feet in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.
Here is a link to pics Taken at the Kennedy Space Center http://www.flickr.com/photos/skywatcher88/sets/72157626634231820/
Observed the moon with a Small 60mm 700mm FL Bushnell Refractor telescope that a co worker gave to me.
He was going to throw it away .I told him I would use it with my Grandchildren.
I had an adaptor made to fit 1-1/4 inch eyepieces instead of the very cheap plastic .965 eyepieces.
I also modified my german equatorial mount tripod originally for a 4-1/2 inch newtonian reflector,to fit this scope on. It works pretty well and the moon views Arora Arianna and Eric and I had on the 13th of May were pretty good.My three grandchildren who live in Hinton had a sleepover with Gramma and Grampa as their Mom went to Edmonton and their Dad (my son David)had to work
Grandson Eric looking at moon through 50mm criterion eyepiece and right angle diagonal attached to adaptor.
The mount is way more stabler than the original altazimuth mount and easier to track using right ascension knob and declination control knob.
We viewed a bit then the clouds rolled in.
May 14th I got to haul out my Dynamax 8 SCT and observed the Moon and Saturn.Grandchildren were at home now and wished they stayed one more night to see some more of the moon and Saturn. I also used the small refractor above.Saturn views were fairly good at up to 200 power on the Dynamax 8 and good glimpses of the cassini division and rings and ring shadow came and went.Was very windy. The moon was also very good but some unstable air at higher powers through the 8 inch SCT had me view at only up to 200x .Saturn through the refractor was very tiny even with a 12.7mm eyepiece.Did not see much.The moon with the refractor was quite good with the12.7 mm eyepiece.Tried my 32mmplossl on the refractor but could not reach focus(in). .
Above moon pic taken with Panasonic DMC FZ28 digital camera Handheld through 32mm plossl on Dynamax 8SCT
Some processing with Registax5.1 .The eyepiece views were much better than the photo.Can never seem to capture yet what my eye can see.
Have not observed much at all this spring as the rotten weather was always around when I had time off to observe.
Wanted to view Messiers and NGC objects in Coma Bernices this session but the moon was way too overwhelming to even try (I looked for a while but could not find any)as it was just too bright.
Observations June 9th 10th 11th 2011.
Finally got out to observe celestial objects with my scope after long session of none. Observed Moon and sun with newly constructed helical focuser .Worked well on both at up to 300 + power. Of course clouds ended each session early as I was only out for a couple of hours each night and about half an hour of solar viewing.
Very nice views of the moon last night until it set behind house.Then on to Saturn as the clouds covering it had dissipated.
Tried out helical focuser on Saturn last night. Very nice views with this as a finer focus was achieved with little effort other than waiting for scope to settle after touching focuser. Got up to almost 500 power but too much turbulence to focus well .
Saturn was way in the west southwest (Not a great location from my backyard) and had a nice low power view of it and Porimma (Gamma Virgo).Could make out gamma virgo as a double star at 300 power. At 300 and down to 100 power Saturn was very nice.Good views of Cassini division and ring shadow on planet and at times very crisp views of darkness between planet and rings.Seen Titan and another two moons which I am not certain from memory of exactly where they were also by Saturn. Some light clouds came and went as I viewed the planet and they acted as a filter to see some planetary bands better.Wifey came out and looked for a bit .She also had a peak at the moon the other night.She liked the Saturn views.I packed things in at 12:30 AM as the Mclouds were here to stay.
I am also now afflicted with floaters in both my eyes and can be quite annoying for lunar and planetary viewing.My left eye was perfectly clear until about a month ago.
Used tripod for the three sessions as I planted grass around pier area and am waiting for it to grow thick before I use the pier again.
Also used dew shield as the humidity was high.Worked fine for the session.
Looks like I won`t be combing through Bernices Hair( for messier objects etc.) this year as it is now getting too far in the west from my backyard observing area.(too much stray light and also gets dark much later as summer is almost here.May try at another location if weather and timing permit it.
After a long road trip to Northwestern Ont. from Chilliwack (3250kms) I managed to view with scope three times.I shared views of Saturn with new scope viewers in Kenora Ont. ( Dave and Ruth. )(Daughter in Law Leslies Father and Step mother) Had a great stay at their place at Sandy lake near Kenora Ontario .
Set up Scope at brother in laws camp at Rolland Lake near Jellicoe Ont.and had a few new scope viewers there also.
We viewed the Moon and Saturn.Saturn is not in the best location but the views were appreciated by Darryl ,Eric (Brothers in law) and Natascha (Nephew Johns girlfriend) John, Keesha (Niece) Jordan (Keeshas boyfriend) Father in Law Artie my Wife Darlene, my son Lawrence and his three children Sydney Brandon and Tyler.(Payton the youngest at 18 mos was asleep)
I Did not get pics of all the viewers as the mosquitos swarms were absolutley crazy and threatened to cart all of us away into the wild black yonder.
Tried to get bino view and scope views of M6 and M7 ( Moon light and some cloud interfering).Very low on the horizon.Have a few more nights here to try Messiers around Scopius if the clouds stay away and moonlight doesn`t hinder the sky.Have not set up scope in Geraldton yet as travelling back and forth between Geraldton and Jellicoe visiting relatives and old friends kind of tires you out.Was going to set up tonight but looks like the weather is going to put a damper on that.
Observed sunspots for a few hours on Fri and Saturday.
Checked out the groups 1260 1261 and 1263 .Above pic taken with Panasonic DMC FZ28 camera on auto to 21mm Orion stratus eyepiece on Dynamax 8 SCT with Kendrick Baader solar filter on front of scope.Adjusted and cropped pic with windows photo gallery.Have not observed night sky with scope for a few weeks.Timing cloud etc. prevented that.
Sure glad that I have this solar filter so I can use the scope when the sun is spotted.
Observations Aug.5th to 7th 2011
On Friday night Aug. 5th I Went outside to see if I could see any
Auroral activity coming from the latest CME as advertised at
Spaceweather.com. At about 11:30 MDT I did see some aurorae in the Ursa
Major region of the sky as this was the clearest spot and the rest of
the sky was scattered with my pals the McClouds.I also seen a greenish
glow to the Northeast horizon over town where there were no
clouds.Then it was totally overcast and quit looking at about midnight.
On Saturday I spent part of the day setting up hardware to hang tarps
around my Pier area to block out annoying neighbors lights and
streetlights.I hung three tarps and a Black curtain (The black curtain
was used for Halloween decorating in our house(Not any more! It is now
dedicated to the Tarp obsevatory in the backyard)
I Din`t think I would be eyeing the sky on Saturday night as the
forecast was not too favourable.The sky was pretty clear almost all the
way to the western Horizon at 10:00 PM MDT so I set up my old friend
and waited about half an hour for cool down time to view.
I set scope on Polaris to see if any shifting had occured on the pier
over the last year.I hadn`t done this yet as I have hardly used the
pier due to the grass growing session and rotten weather putting a
damper on celestial night time observing most of this year.
Things were still pretty good and did a wee bit of an alignment of pier
with the Pole star.
Started Observing at 10:45 PM MDT by telradding to the Ring Nebula in
Lyra.The nebula was right in the center of the 2inch 50 mm GSO eyepiece
Small little fuzzy donut M 57 Always a favourite to view.Upped power
with TV32mm plossl and enjoyed the show for a while.Checked Dec.
Coordinates on scope and was correct.Set RA setting circle on scope for M57 .
Next view was a telrad aided alignment to Albireo .Very nice double
star with Albireo A (amber) and Albireo B (blue-green)Looked great in
both the 50mm and 32 mm eyepieces.
My Tarps were working out well in hiding stray light but noticed those
western clouds were now getting closer.
I used coordinates instead of starhopping to Comet Garradd.It was in
the 50mm eyepiece view and upped to the 32mm .What A nice fuzzy
whiteish gray comet.I did not notice a tail although it looked a little
After viewing the comet for a while I decided to zig zag the scope to
find M 15 as I knew it was not far from comet Garradd. Found it and
enjoyed this nice Globular cluster for a while and zig zagged back to
comet Garradd .Well the clouds were now approaching and covering the
sky for the most part.Went inside and waited and checked the calsky
weather map if I might be able to view more.Not likely.Spent a bit of
time on computer checking other objects to view just in case .I went
out to start putting scope away and good thing I did as it started to
lightly drizzle.This was about 1:00 AM MDT.
Waited for Nano Sail D to fly overhead on Aug.13th 20011.Finally got a pic of it as I have seen it on several occassions this year.Captured at 11:02 MDT from backyard with the full moon hiding behind my shed.Panasonic DMC FZ28 digital camera on starry night mode 60 sec. exposure.I watched the sail blink accross Cygnus at a very fast rate of speed.Mag. was about 1.5. I also viewed two bright Perseids but did not manage a pic of them.
Observations Aug.23rd 2011 and Aug.25thto 26th 2011
On the evening of Aug. 23rd I Went out to see the ISS fly by and watched it with 10x50 Binoculars.Very Bright pass .
As it went right through the coathanger asterism I decided I would try to hunt for some objects over the next hour or so before I went to bed.
Well I stayed up a little longer right til before midnight and wasn`t dissappointed as the sky was crystal clear.If it wasn`t a work day on wednesday I would have set up my 8"SCT scope. Could just see Comet Garradd and M71 in Sagitta.M-27 (Dumbell dim) M 31 Andromeda Galaxy (bright) could also see it naked eye.Double cluster in Perseus(Nice fairly bright and easily seen) Tried for the ring nebula M-57 but was not really sure that I saw a small tiny smudge there or not.(Could have been just my mind filling in the blanks as I know exactly where it is after seeing it through my scope so many times.
Also looked at through the binos were M-39 Open cluster fairly bright M- 29 open cluster dim and could just make out M-56 Globular cluster (dim)
Checked out the nice double Star Albireo (Very close together in binos but could see the color difference Bluish and yellow orange).
Moved to Hercules and M-13 globular cluster fairly bright and M-92 globular cluster dimmer than 13.
The messiers objects viewed through the binos are are little more than just smudges some very dim and others as the double cluster NGC 884 and NGC 869much brighter.
I spent most of my time binocular viewing checking out Comet Garradd .
Last night Aug.25th I set up Scope on Pier and set my Tarps up to block out stray light in my what I now call Tarp Observatory.We have new Neighbours in the 4 plex building next to us that like to light up the neighborhood with what looks like two billion candle power twin porch lights.
Tempted to use my Neighbourhood light pollution filter By DAISY.Might have to make some ICE BBs.(LOL) I think I seen this idea on a CSI tv show but they were ice bullets.Tarp is working ok but the sky in that direction NW is almost like full moonlight.
Set Scope using telrad on area of Sagitta where M-71 is located.Did not see it right away as sky was not too dark yet. Waited for Darker skies but the seeing and transparency was not as good as on the 23rd. Some clouds must have sensed that I wanted to look in that area of the sky so they also hung around there for a while also.
But Finally the darkness got darker ,the clouds went to bother some other sky gazer and I could now see M-71 And Comet Garradd in the same field of view through 50mm 2" (42X) eyepiece.The objects were almost identical in brightness but the comet a little brighter.There was a bigger change when I compared the two with the comet showing brighter when upped to 21mm orion stratus(100X) Garradd had a wee bit of a fan shape to it .(Tail) Just had to move right ascension control knob back and forth a lttle bit to compare the two objects shape and brightness while viewing with higher power eyepieces..
Looked at both with 10 x 50 binos and could barely see any sign of them being there.Could also see a slight redorange glow to the sky from town lights bouncing off of whatever light haze that was above me.
I also checked out M-31 and tried to find Bodes nebulae M-82 and M-81 in Ursa Major. I could see them both in the field of view of 50 mm GSO(42X) and 32mm T-V plossl (65X)(Just)
Not very bright but could make out the shape of the galaxies.
Was going to try for M-101 and M-106 again but the sky conditions and the neighbors darksky eyeball killer lights prevented me.
Too Bad I didn`t get to see M-101 the pinwheel galaxy as a new Supernova has been found there just the other day.I wouldnt have seen it with my scope but the photons no matter how miniscule would have been beaming at me.Spent a lot of time viewing comet Garrad and M-71 again and called it quits at 12:45AM MDT.
Got up early Sat. morning at 4:30 Am MDT to see if I could detect any Orionid meteors.Saw 3 dim ones between
4:45 AM and 1 bright and 2 dim ones between 5:00 and 5:30 AM MDT. Just lay back in a lawn chair and obseved with eyeballs.
Sunday afternoon Oct. 23rd observed sunspot groups 1330, 1325,1324,1327 Through 8 " SCT and Kendrick Baader solar filter.Used 32mm plossl ,2 inch 50mm and 10mm super plossl to view .
The 10mm super plossl is only useable without eyeglasses due to short eye relief.
There are very many spots and most look small and in reality the larger ones are bigger than the earth in size !
Waited til dark and tried to see Comet Garradd. Saw it around 8:00 PM MDT. Looked larger and fuzzier than last look.
There is a defined fuzzy tail better seen with averted vision.
Was waiting for Jupiter to make its way above neighbours garage but clouds rolled in and quit observing at 9:00 PM MDT. Put gear away.
Not much observing at all with telescope lately due to weather and timing.
Received a pair of 20X80 Celestron Skymaster Binoculars for Christmas from my awesome Wife.
Binos are too heavy and too powerful to be hand held.
I first put them on a tripod but was not that stable as the camera tripod was too light.
I then fit the Binos to my old Newtonian Equatorial mount on its tripod and used it in an alt azimuth mode.Worked quite well but anything past a 45 degree angle was way too tough on the neck.
After researching the net for ideas I built a parallelogram mount for the big binos.Works awesomely.
Binos on old equatorial mount
Now mounted to parallelogram mount! Much better and very easy to use.
Observations so far with this setup:
Had a clear but cold sky tonight.Only -27 Deg.C out .
Bundled myself up and went out with the parallelogram bino mount now to be referred to as the P mount.
Got it set up rather quickly and started to look at the skies Focusing was easy as the binos were still warm.I didnt have to focus at all afterwards.
First object was Jupiter with Io on one side Europa and Ganymede close together and Callisto further out.Jupiter Very bright and could tell there was a sky haze surrounding it along with chimney smoke getting into the picture.
The P mount worked well just standing as I scanned for other objects.
Next were the Pleiades which looked awesome with the wide field of view.
Onto M-42 and surrounding areas in Orion.Beautiful!
Then The Hyades (Very nice)
Headed for Zeta Taurus and could just make out M-1 above it.
Swung back over and up to look at M-31 The Andromeda Galaxy.Big fuzzball.Can`t wait to see it with these Binos in a real dark sky.
Went to M-38 M-36 and M-37 in Auriga.Showed up very well.
Last thing I found and looked at was Kembles Cascade with NGC 1502.
I was outside for about an Hour (About 6:45 PM to 7:45 MST )and called it quits.My toes were the only cold thing on me.
No sore neck even though some of the objects were almost straight up.A bit of a shake but with P mount but settled quickly if I just held the aiming handle and then eased off.
I covered the Binos with the lens caps before bringing them in .It was a little tough to do out in this cold and to accommodate the single eyepiece end cover (Covers both) I could not open the binos easily as they were stiff(May have to find single covers for them).As soon as I brought the Binos and counter weighted end inside then the P mount everything frosted up instantly.
Can`t wait for the next outing.Hope the weather is a little milder.
Jan 19th 2012
Went out for an hour from 7:00PM to 8:00PM MST to view with 20x80 binos on p mount.-27 t0 -28.5C when I came inside to regain my humanity!
Double cluster in Perseus NGCs 869 and 884
M-81 and M-82
Venus (Very Bright but showing haze and neighbours outside light caused some internal reflections.The mount is easy to move to get away from surrounding lights.)
Jupiter (only saw 2 moons Ganymede and Callisto out further to west and on the charts Io and Europa were close to the planet but probably lost in the haze to see them)
All Good views but chimney smoke wafted in the way quite a bit.
Was surprised to find M-81 and M-82 as I was looking directly into and above the brightest part of the towns sky glow.
Looked for M74 and M-77 but no luck and I think my eyes were frozen.
Wife came out for 17 seconds and took a pic of me enjoying myself in the Yard.
Went out at 7:00PM to about 9:00 PM MST for another observation night with the 20x80s on the P mount.A little milder at -3 C.
M-42 M-43 NGC 1981 (same field of view)
M-81 and M-82 which were higher in the sky and showed up a little better with less town sky glow.
NGC 2244 (no nebulosity)
Looked for M-77 and M-74 and doubt I will see these from my backyard with binos.(Need a dark site)
Tried to find M-79 but too low in the sky?
Just scanned around the sky sitting and standing using the P-mount with the binos.Standing is a lot easier to find things.Then move the chair into position lower the binos and relax and view.
Was not a great seeing night and the wind started to blow snow around. The fairly brisk wind also affected the mount but was tolerable by just steadying with the aiming handle.I added another handle at the other side of the binos for steering sideways.I did notice tonight that there was some dimness of the stars right at the edge of the field of view but not blurry. Clouds rolled in.Took about 4.7 minutes to put everything away.
I am waiting for Bernice to fling her hair my way to view all the DSO dandruff located there.LOL.Hope to view with scope and binos at a dark site. She should be coming by this time of night in the springtime.
Went out with P mount and observed the Moon at almost first quarter. At 20X this is a great way to view the moon as it looks more 3D than with a telescopes one eyed view.Not as much power though but a much wider field of view with the binos.
Also looked at most of the DSOs in the previous posts now with a little moonlight all were visible but not as good as looking at them in a darker sky.
Went to Jasper National Park on Feb.3rd to try P mount Bino ViewingI took a few pics insteadas the moon was very bright and lit up the sky way too much. Link to pics at photobucket SkyPics in Jasper Nation Park
Observations Feb.4th to 5th 2012
I haven`t had the opportunity to use my scope for about two months now and set it up around 7:00 PM MST and started viewing at 8:00 PM MST.
I purchased a 2" GSO crayford focuser through Canadawide astronomy buy and sell for a decent price in Nov. last year and have not tried it out yet.I had an adaptor made to fit my old Dynamax 8" SCT(50mm to the 2" -24 TPI focuser) The focuser would fit the 50 mm male thread but was way too loose for my liking so my friendly machinist aquaintance made me one to suit.With this arrangement now I also needed to use my counterweight set on the scope to balance it.I also did not have an adaptor to fit my
2" SCT star diagonal but the barrel of my 2" 50mm GSO eyepiece worked just fine but could not use the 2" 50mm eyepiece.I`ll have to purchase a barrel to fit the 2"SCT star diagonal or get one made.Any one have a spare?
This has been the first real clear sky for an entire night that I was able to take advantage of for a long time.Too bad the moon was out or I could be closing in on the end of my Messier 110 list I restarted about 2 years ago.( I have never seen all 110 in my many years of looking)
I was going to try finding the dimmest DSO I could in an almost full Moon lit sky(92% illumination)
But first I got bright Venus in view and noticed it at a little over half illuminated. Used 32mm eyepiece.
Then on to Jupiter althiugh not at its best spot in the sky it was still worth the look.Used 32mm, 21mm and 10mm eyepieces.(moon filter)
Watched Europa slowly disappear into the planets light with Ganymede and Callisto out on the opposite side.As this orb was over the house but fairly high the seeing and focus came and went.The GSO focuser was working nicely.Could see the planets bands quite well.(No great red spot as it was not on this side of Jove).
Tried to find M-74 I think I glimpsed it but at Mag.9.3 I am not so sure.Used 32mm eyepiece.no filters.
Now onto that great big light shining down on me.The Moon was a great view and checked out all along the terminator and inward to craters visible.Probably spent an hour looking using higher power up to the 10mm (210X) Great view of Heroditus and Aristarchus craters with a stunning view of Schroters valley.This is where the crayford focuser really made its purchase worthwhile.Small tweeks with the 10:1 focus adjusting knob made the moon look more like I was in orbit around it.Should have bought one of these a long time ago.
Went inside for a coffee and let my eyes settle down after looking at the bright moon.
Went back out to observe some DSOs after about a half hour break.
The DSOs observed :All objects dimmed due to moonlight and Magnitudes listed are from Winstars program values.Used 32mm eyepiece(65x) on all DSOs.
M-41 open cluster at Mag 4.5
M-79 Globular cluster Mag 8.4.(very dim)
M-78 Nebula Mag. 8 (dim)
M-42 Nebula at Mag.4. Always nice but washed out by moonlight.Resolved the central stars nicely.
M-47 Open cluster Mag.4.4
M-46 Open cluster Mag. 6.1
M-50 Open cluster Mag.5.9
M-48 Open cluster Mag.5.8
M-93 Open cluster Mag.6.2 had to wait for this object to clear between the trees as it was very low on my horizon.10 degees above horizon line.
M-67 Open cluster Mag.6.9
M-44 Bright open cluster at 3.1 but does not all fit in the field of view.Scanned all around it.
M-66 could barely see this galaxy at Mag 8.9 and did not see M-65 nor M-105 , M-95 and M-96 under the Lion as all were dimmer than Mag.9 (The seeing limit for a moonlit sky with my old 8" SCT scope and my old floater reduced vision eyes?)
Did some scanning in Bernices Hair but knew I would probably not find any DSOs as all would be too dim in these undark sky conditions.Didn`t find any scanning then used coordinates to find a few but none were visible.Should have but could not find M-49.
Went on to view Mars as it rose up higher. Small but bright orange orb but could not get any good planetary detail at all.(Didn`t try a filter :probably should have)
Went back inside for about half an hour to wait for Saturn to get higher above the horizon and hopefully view Comet Garradd after that.
Checked to see if I could find M-104 the sombrero galaxy.Found it but took a while and was very dim at Mag.8
Viewed Saturn at about 2:10 AM MST and could see the rings but the view was not real clear.Still too low at about 13 degrees above my horizon.
Tried to find objects in Coma Bernices again for about a half hour scanning and using coordinates but no luck.
Decided to pack scope away and use my P mount to bino view Garradd later on as it would be in behind my neighbours garage for hours before it came into the scopes view.So packed scope gear away and went in the house for about an hour.
Brought out the P mount and binos at about 3:40 AM MST.
Lined up on Bootes bright star Arcturus and scanned to Find M-13 globular cluster Mag. 5.9 in Hercules and then just scanned to find M-92 Mag. 6.5 and comet C/2009 P1 Garradd was in the field of view also with it at about the same Mag of 6.2 .Definitely bigger than my last view of it.Hope to use the scope to see it again.
Checked out the Moon still in the sky with the binos (Nice)and also just scanned around.
Quit Viewing at 4:00 AM MST and packed the binos etc. away and went to bed.
The view from Backyard setup.Looking at M-93
Observations Feb.6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 2012
Had good skys Monday to Thursday to observe with P mount and 20x80 Binos.
Had the scope out on Wed. night.Could just Barely see M-74.(Fleeting views) It`s called the ghost for a reason.I would still like to see this Messier in a dark sky with the scope.
Went out to scan the skies each night with binos for a few hours as the moons appearance in the sky with its bright glow came later each night.I looked at the full Moon With the Binos and with no filters for them I put on my clip on sunglasses and viewed it with a little less blinding light.Looked great as a sepia toned sphere.
I noticed the difference in each DSO object being progressively better each night as the moonlight was not interfering with the views.
On Thursday evening my three Grandchildren came over and we all had a look at M-42 ,The Pleiades ,Jupiter and its moons,M-31, and various other sky wonders and let them each just scan the sky with the P mount and 20x 80 binos.This mount works well in the fact that as I got an object in view and then just pulled the mount down to their different heights the object was still in view for each of them respectively.They each in turn tried to find objects I pointed out to them and with a little practise they had no trouble in lining the binos up to see the wonders.We all had a good time even though it was a little chilly outside.
Before the grandchildren came over I had Venus and Uranus in view.Light Clouds obscured Uranus but Venus shone through when I wanted to show the children the sight.
The twin girls who are ten spent more time outside looking with grampa than my grandson of nine years of age.Arora and Arianna saw a few shooting stars but grampa missed them.
I was going to view some more last night but I was fixing one of my grandaughters bicycle but when I was done the clouds rolled in.Would have been the longest stretch of sky observing for me in a very long time.
I could see M-40 in Ursa Major on Wed.night with the binos as a double star(Just barely) but for some reason it looked like a fuzzy object to me.Has any one else seen this?Most of what I have read about M-40 is that Messier made a mistake in naming this as a nebula.I Didn`t get a look at it in the scope on Wed.as a few trees were in the way.Will try at a later date.
I have seen more satellites in the sky now with these binos than ever before .Almost everywhere I look one crosses the field of view at some point.On Tuesday night I watched a bright pair one following the other in the same trajectory about 2 degrees apart to the north above Ursa Major traveling easterly.???
Observations Feb.11th to 12th 2012
Took the scope out and set it on the pier at 6:35 PM MST in a clear looking sky. Went inside to wait for cool down .
Came back out about 7:20 PM MST and the sky was overcast with clouds but the big dipper was still out in the open.I swung the scope to find M-40.Used 32mm plossl eyepiece and found the double star messier object with not really any indication of a nebula type object.Through the finder though It seemed to have a hazey look to it(8X).Didn`t bring out the binos to look at it as the clouds were approaching.
Clouds stayed til around 9:15 PM MST .Was going to pack scope away but decided to stay out and try to find Messiers around Ursa Major area and later if clear around Leo.
Ursa Major was in a fairly good location relative to the scope and not obscured by the few trees and neighbours garage.It was also more to the east and a little further away from the towns central sky glow for the rest of my session.
First started off with a quick look at Jupiter and its moons being further in the west it still showed some detail of cloud bands but chimney smoke was getting in the way.
Had a look at M-42 .Nice as always and good resolving of the central stars.Only used 32mmplossl eyepiece for the whole session.Went on to M-1 by star hopping and scanning.Dim but found it.Didn`t use coordinates tonight.Hung a dark Tarp to shield myself from the streetlight and neighbours to the northwest 1 billion candle power outside twin porch deck lights.Did not bring out the binos but would like to view all these DSO objects if possible with them in the future from my backyard.
Onto M-40 again at about 9:45 PM MST.Double unremarkeable star view with about the same magnitudes.
Other DSO Objects around Ursa Major area:Just star hopped and scanned to them using Starmap Pro on my Iphone as a guide map.I Like this program as it has a note book feature that you can type in the object you have seen and any other remarks and the time is automatically recorded.Also Has red night sky color option.Also coordinates if using setting circles.
M-109 dim galaxy
M-108 dim galaxy first time view.
M-97 The owl nebula .Dim but could see it quite well.This was a first time view for me with this scope.
M-94 dim galaxy in Canes Venatici
Then clouds started to enter the picture again so I had swung over to Leo to find M-65 and M 66 together with NGC 3628 out of the field of view of 66 and 65 which was hard to see at all til I tried again later with the clouds getting in the way on and off .Had a quick look at Mars but no surface details at 65X,(small) and turbulence.
Went back to Ursa major area for
M-51 Whirlpool galaxy not he best view I`ve had but could see it and its companion NGC 5195.Need a dark site for a good view.Actually located in Canes Venatici .
M-106 dim galaxy in Canes Venatici
Tried to now get M-101in Ursa Major but didn`t as the sky worsened and that was the end of my session for DSOs in the Ursa Major area of the sky.Also wanted to try for M-63 in Canes Venatici but didnt get to it.
Went back to Leo to try NGC 3628 and saw it but very dim. Couldn`t get to M-95 nor M-96 nor M-105 under Leos belly as the clouds were overtaking the sky.
No Chance of seeing anything in Coma Bernices with the clouds and now the moonlight entering the picture.
The moon came up and as it was still low to the horizon I had a peek at it then packed things away after playing cloud dodging most of the session at about 1:30 AM MST.
Observations Feb.13th 2012
Had a good few hours of scoping last night from 7 to 9 PM MST.
Saw the GRS on Jupiter using 21mm eyepiece (100x)with polarizing filters to cut glare.
Seeing came and went but saw it and the cloud bands.Tried 32mm with 3X barlow but could not get good focus.Turbulence.Jupiter not in the best place in the sky now.
Finally got a good and solid view of M-74 after many times looking for it and barely seeing it.Was the best I saw of it yet and with averted vision showed a lot better.Used 32mm and 21mm eyepieces no filters.
Also looked at M-77 and NGC 1055 together
M-1 better than last view but still pretty dim grey smudge.
M-78 fairly good
M-42 the great nebula in Orion was stunning .Spent quite awhile there just enjoying.
Only spent a couple of hours viewing as I had to work today.
Maybe a bit of Bino viewing tonight .
I am working on a focus motor for my 10:1 knob on my GSO 2"crayford focuser. At higher powers just touching it shakes the scope and have to wait for settling and hard to focus well that way.I used eyeglasses on and eyeglassses off for each object.They looked a whole lot better glasses off.But of course I had to refocus quite a bit each time.
Observations March 21st 2012
I looked outside after I posted a reply on Mikes post at skynews discussion forum and saw the sky was clear.I had my scope cooled down in my shed so just mounted it on my pier and started looking at Jupiter and Venus at about 9:00PM MDT.
Too far west to get a good view but both planets looked good and Venus showed its Phase at about 1/2 .Used 32mm plossl and 21mm Stratus eyepieces for the planets and DSOs.
Next went on to Mars but could not get a good view of any detail above 195X. 32mm plossl and 3x barlow(Still pretty small at that magnification).Some air turbulence and not a good seeing night.
Found M-95 which was quite dim and not really dark out yet.Could barely see it.Waited for about 1/2 hour then:
Went to M-96 then M-105 with NGC 3384 but could not see NGC 3389 with them and then to NGC 3433 .All very dim smudges.Went back to M-95 and could not see SN 2012 aw. at all.
Tried to find comet Garradd and did after acrobatic maneuvers as it was quite high in the sky above and to the left of Duhbe on the Big dippers bowl.About70 Degrees up to the NE. Had to find it in my finder scope by just scanning slowly.This is where a right angle finder helps out a lot when not using coordinates.The Telrad was almost useless as I could not get a good view straight thru.Garradd looked as Mike said in his post as a little like a dim Globular cluster .
Lined up again to M-95 but did not see the supernova. Was almost 15 to 11:00PM MDT so I packed things away cause I had to work in the morning.Will try again this weekend and stay up for Berenices comb over and a Virgo sweep for DSOs if weather permits.
The Handheld motor controlling the focus motor worked well with barely any jiggleys while moving as compared to hand focusing the 10:1 knob on the 2" GSO crayford focuser.Some wind also shook the scope from time to time.The Dew shield is a little like a sail and probably didn`t need it on in the breeze.Usually if there is any wind dewing does not occur so easily.
Observations March 24th to 25th 2012
Set up equipment at around 8:30 PM MDT .Hung Dark curtains around pier area to help in observing of some dim DSOS to float by this evening.
Started observing at 9:00 PM MDT with the slender crescent Moon ,bright Venus and Jupiter.Had some light clouds in the area but got to view the three orbs
in their recent alignment.Took a few pics.
Waited for clouds to go bother someone else and returned to the scope at 10:00 PM MDT.
Started again with Mars to set coordinates .Did not stay to look very long as I was interested in finding DSOS tonight.
All objects observed with 32mm plossl and or 21mm Orion Stratus eyepieces.
Started with M-95 dim .I just glimpsed the supernova SN 2012 aw residing there but it was a fleeting in and out view but was in the correct spot after reviewing
pictures of it online.Pictures don`t always orient in the same way as your own view is so you sometimes need to think upside down and backwards of where the stars actually are.
M-95 galaxy at Mag 9.7 is pretty dim from this semi urban sky where I observe from.
Then I started to comb through Berenices hair and scanned thru Virgo for some photons from galaxies and globulars far far Aaway.Used setting circle coordinates and some star hopping to find the following.
M-85 galaxy mag.9.1 fairly dim. Coma Berenices (CB)
M-64 galaxy mag. 8.4 CB
M-53 Globular cluster fairly bright mag 7.7 CB
M-61 galaxy mag.9.6 dim in Virgo (Vir)
M-49 galaxy mag 8.4 thought it would be brighter but was dim Vir
M-98 galaxy mag.10.1 could barely see it CB
M-99 galaxy mag.9.9 could barely see it CB
M-100 galaxy mag.9.4 dim CB
M-84 galaxy at mag.9.1 dim Vir and
M-86 galaxy mag.8.9 dim both in same field of view of 32mm plossl .Vir
M-88 galaxy mag.9.6 dim CB
M-91 galaxy mag.10.1 very dim CB
M-90 galaxy mag 9.5 dim Vir
M-87 galaxy mag. 8.7 brighter than the above Vir
M-89 galaxy mag.9.8 Vir
M-58 galaxy mag.9.7 dim Vir
M-59 galaxy mag.9.6 dim Vir and
M-60 galaxy mag.8.8 brighter in same field of view with 32mm plossl.Virgo. It was now 1:20 AM MDT .
M-68 globular cluster in Hydra at mag. 8.6 pretty good dim view .Saw it at 1:45 AM MDT and just got it brfore it set below the roof line
It is very low to my horizon here.9+ Degrees .
Waited for M-83 galaxy to pass by the trees and before it got to the roof line but didn`t get to see it.I just missed it as I was inside checking computer if I could get it.It would only get to 7+ degrees above horizon line from here. Now 2:30 AM MDT.
Went back inside for a while to warm up.and Came out to look at Saturn at only up to 100 X.Very nice.
Looked at M-3 bright Globular cluster at Mag.6.4 Very nice view .
Found NGC 5466 globular cluster very hard to see at a dim mag.9.1 seemed to fade out.(getting tired)
Tried for M-102 not sure I saw it so will try at a later date.
Quit viewing at about 3:15AM Absolutely no frosting or dewing this session.(Dew shield on)and tried to be quiet while I put things away.