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philjay

20 & 21st March 2015

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philjay

20th March


Location - Home – Solar eclipse


Watched this from home with a Lunt 60 and the occasional peek through eclipse glasses.


It was something special. Quite a bit of cloud around but we got up to max bite before complete cloud. Then I was able to watch it on the BBC.


There were several large prominences around and lots of surface detail to be seen. I


As I was packed ready to go to SGLX I wasn't geared up for imaging properly so I just stuck my Olympus EM10 on auto up to the ep to try a few shots but they weren’t great but they show what it was all about, I managed one at full coverage just before the clouds rolled in. Apologies for quality.


 


eclipse1.jpg


 


eclipse2.jpg


 


Location - SGLX Hereford


Equipment Meade 127EDT, HEQ5, Berlebach,


 


Vixen 30mm 2" LV (31x),22 (43x), 13 (73x), 5 (190x), 3.5 (272x)mm LVW eps, Vixen 2x LV Barlow


 


Lumicon H beta and O111 filters deepsky, Antares planetary filter set plus Baader contrast booster


A surprising 2 hours of very clear sky tonight between 2200 and 0000 hrs. I had forgotten my red screen so linking the scope to skymap was out of the question as the screen brightness was destroying my dark adaption and using skymap red screen made the sac data base illegible.


 


2 attempts at calibration, second was spot on with 22mm ep


So I went for the usual suspects plus a few others


Jupiter was past the meridian and very high. Showed well up to 5mm but atmospherics were a bit too much for detailed observation.W80 filter helped contrast. The GRS was just passing over the limb and going round the back. 2 moons were visible. Showed a couple of muggles Jupiter and they were impressed.


M81 and 82 were very nicely framed in the 22mm LVW, the 30mm LV gave a super view. Detail in 82 plus some outer halo in 81 suggesting arm region


Double cluster, superb as ever, the 22mm kept both clusters in view nicely. 30mm aced it giving a good view with colour.


STF1399 – tried this in Leo 7.6 and 9.6 mag with a 20 sec sep was easy with tonights clarity


Leo triplet – all 3 M66, 65 and ngc3628 were a doddle . 22mm and 30mm framed them nicely. I can never get 3628 from home even with the 6â€.


M51 – Excellent view with 22mm showing the 2 cores and outlying halo from the arm area. The bridge between the 2 eventually became evident with averted vision and patience but was very faint.


M87 – in Virgo, it was easy in 22mm no detail to speak of.


Porrima – Split with 5mm then cloud came over and stopped proceedings.


 


 


21st March  SGLX Hereford


Against all odds and the weather forecast a clear spell was with us from 19:30 to 23:00 with much steadier seeing than last night but a little less transparency.


 


Venus


Started proceedings off with Venus to align the finder. This was small, bright and  gibbous but I didnt go to much mag because I was viewing through willow tree branches but it served its purpose.


Goto 3 star calibration first time, great stuff. With good accuracy.


 


Jupiter


As  it was still twilight I had a look at Jupiter and was pleased to be able to get steady views with the 5mm (190x). 272x was just a bit too much for the conditions.


 


Plenty of detail in both equatorial belts plus the North and South temperate belts were visible at times of very steady seeing. I then spotted an object on the equator which I suspected may have been Io transitting approx 1/4 of the way across (time approx 1945). After checking on Skymap this was confirmed and if I was to wait about 15 minutes the shadow was due to appear. I carried on viewing trying different filters plus barlowing the 13mm which gave a sharper 140x view and waited for the shadow which appeared shortly after. IO transitted the meridian of Jupiter around about 20:04 and throughout the evening I popped back to Jupiter to see how the transit was progressing and I caught Io in the limb darkening of Jupiter about to emerge at 21:06. IO then slowly became more visible looking like a pimple on Jupiter for awhile then by 21:20 it was completely free.  All times approximate as I only had my old Timex with me.


 


Sirius B


No chance, Sirius was too low and atmosheri8cs were playing tricks too much to have a calm Sirius A image, even with placing Sirius A just under the field stops the image was dancing too much.


 


M42


With the 22mm this was nice and wide with plenty of detail in the fan and mottling around the Trapezium area. My nicest view this year. Swapped to Hbeta to reveal more of the outer regions of the fan then O111 which gave a much brighter view of the central fan area and some of the more outlying areas. Who said O111 filters are just for planetary nebulas? Theres plenty of O111 in M42, well worth a look.


 


M101 - Big and quite bright, no detail with 30 and 22mm eps  but the shape was evident


M3 - Nice with 5mm, outer stars resolving quite well


M37 - Wow a nice view with loads of stars and dark lanes. Dark lanes in the cluster reminded me of a Space Invader shape.


M36 - Sparse by comparison to 37 but still good


M38 - Fainter and more spread out than 36 but more stars. Resembles a strung out X.


NGC2903 Leo - Oblong core with faint outer regions evident. Shape quite apparent


M67 - Nice cluster, bright with lots of stars reminding me of a cup and saucer pattern


M95, 96, 105. All 3 easy with 30mm, no great detail just blobs.


M97 - It was there with eyes only visible with averted vision and the 13mm to darken the background.


M108 - Elongated with bright central region


M109 - Easy to see but not much detail


M106 - 13mm showed this nicely, time and averted vision reveled central core plus oblong halo, a nice view.


 


2300 Cloud encroaching stopped play


 


What a great couple of Astro days! Started with an eclipse then a couple of hours clear on first night at SGL then 3 hours ish on the second night with an IO transit to cap things off nicely. This hobby doesn't get much better than this very often :D 


 

Edited by philjay

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Daz Type-R

Nice report Phil, I will get round to mind later.  It was a good few days with some good quality skies at times.


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Tweedledee

Sounds like an exciting observing session, and you didn't lose any sleep :thumbsup: .


 


Like your filter work on M42. I shall have to give my DSO filters a go, I just keep forgetting to take them out.


 


I'm interested if you knew what the limiting naked eye magnitude was at Hereford.


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BAZ

A great report there Phil, I am pleased you had a good SGLX. You didn't need towing out this year. :lol:


 


The best view I have had of M42 was at Kelling, with your Ha filter, that really made it stand out and was almost three dimensional. Was it Ha, or Hb, I can't remember?


I could be tempted with one of those just for that.


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Johnnyaardvark

Super write up Phil. Thanks for sharing your experience. Quite inspirational.

Steve

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philjay

Ta chaps, yep it renewed my enthusiasm.

Pete, Im terrible at Vlm estimation, naff eyesight without glasses, lets just say both nights m44 was dead easy visually, Auriga clusters were naked eye as blobs. 20th was slightly more transparent but 21st was more stable, better jupiter views.

It was H beta Martyn, really good on emission nebula,, but the O111 is an eye opener as well.

Edited by philjay

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Tweedledee

Ta chaps, yep it renewed my enthusiasm.

Pete, Im terrible at Vlm estimation, naff eyesight without glasses, lets just say both nights m44 was dead easy visually, Auriga clusters were naked eye as blobs. 20th was slightly more transparent but 21st was more stable, better jupiter views.

Well, in that case it doesn't really matter about the Vlm, they were obviously superb nights :good3:

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Smithysteve

Great report Phil, you covered a lot of sights, it was quite a marathon! You must have been thrilled with that haul 😃Wow!

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