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27th January


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Notes from my log of 27th January


A clearish spell between 1800 and 20:00, strong winds creating alot of atmospheric turbulence. Full moon risen already at start of session washing contrast out.

I wanted to test the 8" Orion Newt out and do a few doubles with the Meade 127EDT, it wasnt worth even contemplating doing any imaging due to cloud scurrying past

8" OO Newt
I put the Giro altaz mount and pier extension onto the OO pier and the Newt was a joy to use, the eyepiece and finder were at a useable orientation and the set up was far more stable than with teh EQ mount. I counterbalanced the set up with one counterweight on the extension arm and all worked well with just a little tension on the lock screws. Movement was nice and easy without much stiction to get the scope moving.

I wanted to make sure that my collimation was right so I waited for the scope to acclimate for at least an hour before doing anything with it. I then tried defocusing on a few bright stars and the discs were even
doughnuts and showed good collimation. I turned it to Jupiter and was pleasantly surprised to see some good detail at times of steady seeing.
Conditions were not right for planetary but a later comparison with a view through my 5" Apo showed similar levels of detail but the contrast in the refractor was better. Which is only natural.


This scope is gonna be just what I need for planetary imaging, the new crayford with motor focus works easily and accurately, no shake when focusing now :D

Set the Meade 127ED Triplet up in the observatory and the observatory mount behaved itself all night, the new winter drying regime is working well.

Continuing my quest for obscure doubles I set out on a hunt through Gemini

STT134 - Now I set myself a task here, this double is reasonably easy to split at 31 arcseconds and with  mag 7 and 8 companions you may wonder what Im on about but the double is in the open
cluster M35 so I wondered if I was going to be able to pick it out. I neednt have feared because it was an easy one, sitting on the eastern edge of the cluster it was very easy to spot as there were no other mag 7 or 8 stars in close proximity.

STF899 - Mag 7 - 9 with 2" separation. I love setting myself hard targets on blowy nights. I could just split this at 71x but dead easy with 190x no colour difference

STT140 -              Mag 7 and 9.5 with 2.8 separation

71x showed an elongated star, conditions wouldnt allow a spli. 190x opened it up at times of steady seeing , not an easy one this.

STT142  -              Mag 6.3 and 9 with 7.9 separation

Easy at 71x slight reddish colour to the primary?

STF932  -              An equal mag double at mag 8 and with a separation of 1.8. Its funny how magnification and conditions sometimes show wont split but lower magnifications will, this one split at 71x, 190x image was just too wobbly to show it comfortably.

STF991  -              A triple now       Mags 8, 10.5 and 9 with split of 134 AtoB and 3.8 A to C.

Yep easy to split with 71x with B component quite easy to spot.

Zeta Gemini       - Makbuda, A bino pair according to that data base and yep what a lovely sigh. Mag 3.8 and 8 with an easy separation of 96". Looked lovely with 43x. Must try this in binos

STF1014 -             Im a sucker for punishment tonight picking hard splits, equal mag pair at 8.5 with
a small 2" separation. Difficult but 71x gave the best view and just split the components.


STF1027                -              Mag  8.3 and 8.4 with a separation of 6.9". 2 little eyes in the darkness at 71x, I love these equal to close equal mag doubles.


STF1035                -              Equal mag pair again at 8.2 with a separation of 8.7, 2 little yellow eyes at 71x

STF1037                -              Yet another equal mag pair at 7 mag with a tight 1.2" separation. A really difficult split taking 271x to show any split even then it was in and out due to turbulence.

As the cloud came over I finished the session with the Castor triple system. Lovely 1.9, 2.9 and 9 mag with close 2.2" between A and B and a wide 72.9" separation between A and C.


Cloud stop play




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Guest Ely Ellis

Excellent report Phil, I'm trying to catch up with you, last night I images some Auriga doubles only to find you have now moved on to Gemini.... give me a chance ;)


Makes great reading.



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