NWRP 27Nov21


Brian LaFitte
 
Edited

27 November 2021, 1730-2000 EDT

Northwest River Park  (36.586115, -76.152646)

Clear Skies, Seeing: VG, slight humidity, ~36F 

Orion Skywatcher XT10 Classic Dobsonian, Plossl’s: 25mm, 20mm, 17mm. Tele Vue 2x Barlow

 

OBJECTS:

Polaris:  used to align my home-made setting circle

Venus: AZ/ALT: 218/16  -4.63 magnitude, disk illumination ~31%. Distance from Earth: .4 AU. Beautiful, very bright, could clearly make out its crescent using low power magnification.

Jupiter: AZ/ALT: 196/37  -2.31 magnitude, disk illumination ~99%. Distance from Earth: 5 AU Very crisp views, could easily make out bands, and 3 of its Galilean moons: Ganymede, Io, and Europa.  48x-140x used.

Saturn: AZ/ALT: 215/25  .7 magnitude, disk illumination ~99%. Distance from Earth: 10.3 AU. Also very clear viewing, could make out the Cassini Division between the A/B ring. 17mm plossl/Tele-Vue 2x Barlow used, still very small under this magnification.

Pleiades (M45): AZ/ALT: 78/26  1.2 magnitude, Distance from Earth: 444ly. Very easy to spot with naked eye, looked amazing through to 9x RACI, through the EP I was amazed at how easy it was for my scope to get personal with this open star cluster.

Andromeda Galaxy (M31): AZ/ALT: 69/67  3.4 magnitude, Distance from Earth: 2.5M ly. This was the first time I’ve seen this galaxy through my telescope, looked like a feint ball of grey dust. I do not have great optics but this was a joy to see.

Double Open Star Cluster (NGC 869/884): AZ/ALT: 42/50  located among the Perseus constellation. 3.8 magnitude, Distance from Earth: 6781.7 ly. Almost 3d looking, strong central concentration of stars, large brightness range of at least 100 stars.

Triangulum Galaxy (M33): AZ/ALT: 87.5/55.3  5.7 magnitude, Distance from Earth: 2.72M  ly.  This object took my eyes some time to adjust before I began to see its shape, although I could make out much. Also my first time seeing this object.

Jellyfish cluster (M30): AZ/ALT: 197.5/55.3  7.7 magnitude, Distance from Earth: 27,074  ly.  Very hard to adapt eyes with my equipment, but could faintly see its intermediate concentration of stars.

M2: AZ/ALT: 209/48  6.3 magnitude, Distance from Earth: 39,144  ly. Globular star cluster with a dense concentration of stars. This mass or nearly 150,000 stars was easily spotted once I got my coordinates correct, mostly due to how bright it appeared.

Ring Nebula (M57): AZ/ALT: 283/42  8.8 magnitude, Distance from Earth: 2870  ly. I am sure I was spot on with this object but I just could not see anything. I tried switching Ep’s, and checked my coordinate several times but just could not see anything.

Notes and other things:

I was running a bit late due to some things happening at home but arrived around 5:30 (I dislike setting up in the dark, but oh well). There didn’t seem to be anyone having issues with their equipment, and I was happy to note that I had set up beside Melvin again. I always like hearing my wife ask him what he’s up to. There were roughly 12 to 15 telescopes at this event, and plenty of enthusiasm. Someone had mentioned that my digital inclinometer was entirely too bright, I didn’t feel this way at all but what the heck… a little red tape never hurt anything, right? I did end up having a little bit of a dew issue with my RACI and couldn’t get it to clear up very well (probably from breath). We ended up loading the car at about 8pm, I really wanted to stay longer but life had other plans.

 

Things to improve

*** try to build or purchase dew protection

*** remember to bring the “50 things to see with a small telescope” book

*** modify base with leveling adjustment knobs

***adjust phone adapter to a certain EP at home before an event

*** research and purchase a decent higher power Ep.


George Reynolds
 

Brian,

An excellent observing report!  I will expect you to reiterate a summary of it at the club meeting this coming Thursday during the "observing reports" segment of the meeting.  You did well to see 3 planets and 6 out of 7 DSOs you attempted.  M57 is a tricky object to find, and its low surface brightness makes it hard to see if you haven't done it before.  When I was first starting out in astronomy, I had a similar experience with the Andromeda Galaxy.  I knew where to look (I thought), but just wasn't seeing it.  At a Skywatch I asked fellow member Dale Carey for help, and he pointed it out to me with binoculars.  From that day to this, I have had no trouble finding M31.

A dew heater is indeed a necessary item to have.  Before I got mine, I had to pack up early numerous times because my optics and finderscope dewed up and I couldn't see a thing.  If you can wait, we will be having a workshop in the spring on making dew heaters and solar filters.  If you can't wait, expect to spend a couple hundred dollars for a dew heater and straps.

You appear to have a good range of eyepieces, with the 2X Barlow.  I would recommend a good 10mm ep to add to your collection for high power (120x by itself, and 240x with Barlow).  I also recommend a lower power, wide-field eyepiece for finding objects in the sky, something in the 30- to 40-mm range.  A 2-inch eyepiece would be helpful too, but not absolutely necessary.

As for your book, "50 Things..." I'm not familiar with it, but I do recommend "Turn Left at Orion" by Guy Consolmagno.  When you make a list of items to observe on a given night, do not be TOO ambitious.  A list of 10 or 12 objects (as you did at Saturday's Skywatch) is usually more practical.  You shouldn't try to race through a list just to check things off, but spend a little time on each one, (as it seems you did, according to your observing report), to really SEE it.  Let those photons hit your eyeballs and you'll find that the longer you look at an object, the more you will see.

BTW, one correction I might make on your report -- the time zone is EST, not EDT.  We went off Daylight Saving Time a few weeks ago.  Emoji

Good job.  Keep up the good work.  I'm sorry I could not have been there last night.

George

George Reynolds

"Solar System Ambassador" for South Hampton Roads, Virginia
Back Bay Amateur Astronomers (BBAA) 
http://www.backbayastro.org


 


On Sunday, November 28, 2021, 01:37:52 PM EST, Brian LaFitte <tacticalsbr@...> wrote:


[Edited Message Follows]

27 November 2021, 1730-2000 EDT

Northwest River Park  (36.586115, -76.152646)

Clear Skies, Seeing: VG, slight humidity, ~36F 

Orion Skywatcher XT10 Classic Dobsonian, Plossl’s: 25mm, 20mm, 17mm. Tele Vue 2x Barlow

 

OBJECTS:

Polaris:  used to align my home-made setting circle

Venus: AZ/ALT: 218/16  -4.63 magnitude, disk illumination ~31%. Distance from Earth: .4 AU. Beautiful, very bright, could clearly make out its crescent using low power magnification.

Jupiter: AZ/ALT: 196/37  -2.31 magnitude, disk illumination ~99%. Distance from Earth: 5 AU Very crisp views, could easily make out bands, and 3 of its Galilean moons: Ganymede, Io, and Europa.  48x-140x used.

Saturn: AZ/ALT: 215/25  .7 magnitude, disk illumination ~99%. Distance from Earth: 10.3 AU. Also very clear viewing, could make out the Cassini Division between the A/B ring. 17mm plossl/Tele-Vue 2x Barlow used, still very small under this magnification.

Pleiades (M45): AZ/ALT: 78/26  1.2 magnitude, Distance from Earth: 444ly. Very easy to spot with naked eye, looked amazing through to 9x RACI, through the EP I was amazed at how easy it was for my scope to get personal with this open star cluster.

Andromeda Galaxy (M31): AZ/ALT: 69/67  3.4 magnitude, Distance from Earth: 2.5M ly. This was the first time I’ve seen this galaxy through my telescope, looked like a feint ball of grey dust. I do not have great optics but this was a joy to see.

Double Open Star Cluster (NGC 869/884): AZ/ALT: 42/50  located among the Perseus constellation. 3.8 magnitude, Distance from Earth: 6781.7 ly. Almost 3d looking, strong central concentration of stars, large brightness range of at least 100 stars.

Triangulum Galaxy (M33): AZ/ALT: 87.5/55.3  5.7 magnitude, Distance from Earth: 2.72M  ly.  This object took my eyes some time to adjust before I began to see its shape, although I could make out much. Also my first time seeing this object.

Jellyfish cluster (M30): AZ/ALT: 197.5/55.3  7.7 magnitude, Distance from Earth: 27,074  ly.  Very hard to adapt eyes with my equipment, but could faintly see its intermediate concentration of stars.

M2: AZ/ALT: 209/48  6.3 magnitude, Distance from Earth: 39,144  ly. Globular star cluster with a dense concentration of stars. This mass or nearly 150,000 stars was easily spotted once I got my coordinates correct, mostly due to how bright it appeared.

Ring Nebula (M57): AZ/ALT: 283/42  8.8 magnitude, Distance from Earth: 2870  ly. I am sure I was spot on with this object but I just could not see anything. I tried switching Ep’s, and checked my coordinate several times but just could not see anything.

Notes and other things:

I was running a bit late due to some things happening at home but arrived around 5:30 (I dislike setting up in the dark, but oh well). There didn’t seem to be anyone having issues with their equipment, and I was happy to note that I had set up beside Melvin again. I always like hearing my wife ask him what he’s up to. There were roughly 12 to 15 telescopes at this event, and plenty of enthusiasm. Someone had mentioned that my digital inclinometer was entirely too bright, I didn’t feel this way at all but what the heck… a little red tape never hurt anything, right? I did end up having a little bit of a dew issue with my RACI and couldn’t get it to clear up very well (probably from breath). We ended up loading the car at about 8pm, I really wanted to stay longer but life had other plans.

 

Things to improve

*** try to build or purchase dew protection

*** remember to bring the “50 things to see with a small telescope” book

*** modify base with leveling adjustment knobs

***adjust phone adapter to a certain EP at home before an event

*** research and purchase a decent higher power Ep.