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  1. #1
    Cherokee's Avatar
    Cherokee Guest

    Default Cherokee #6: Pronto & Aquila/Serpens

    Pronto & Aquila & Serpens

    Equipment Used

    TV Pronto
    Gibraltar Mount
    24mm konig, Ultima barlow, 6mm Radisn
    Nightwatch, Audbon book to the night sky, SA2K

    Another beautiful early fall evening of observing. The cool evenings
    and clear skies must make Fall one of the best seasons to observe in.

    I recently purchased a 6mm Radian. I needed a higher power eyepiece to
    enable me to split some close double stars. Given my positive
    experience with my Tele Vue Pronto, Gibraltor and star beam, it made
    sense to look into the Tele Vue eyepiece line.

    The Radian is larger and heavier then my 24mm Konig. It gives the
    impression of quality and substance; the same impression I have of my
    Pronto. Across other hobbies I've learned there are a handful of
    quality equipment manufacturer in each hobby. These handful produce
    long lasting, high quality products within their hobby market. Prices
    for their goods are always substantially higher then their

    This is my impression so far of the Tele Vue company and the reason I
    purchased their 6mm Radian eyepiece. Upon first use I confirmed a good
    choice. Very sharp images and quite comfortable to use.


    The most striking thing about Aquila is it's distinctive shape.
    Depending upon my whim I see either a bow & arrow or a kite. Aquila is
    easily spotted due to Altair (alpha Aquila) outshining all other stars
    in it's part of the sky.


    Easy to spot by following a direct line down from Lamda Aquila to
    12-Aquila. M11 appears as a distinctive fan shaped area of stars.
    Almost as if the stars were tossed outwards from a common point.


    I used my SA2k to locate this fain object. I followed a chain of 4
    stars downwards from M11 and this led me directly to M26. M26 itself
    is a very dim, compact hazy spot.


    My Nightwatch outlines Serpens as 2 stars and a straight line. How
    does this constitute a constellation??


    A huge sprawling cluster of stars. Overflowed my eyepiece view. Very
    impressive and well worth finding.


    A chain of bright stars. Easy to find as it's right next to IC4756


  2. #2
    Odysseus's Avatar
    Odysseus Guest

    Default Cherokee #6: Pronto & Aquila/Serpens

    Cherokee wrote:

    There are two parts to the official constellation Serpens: Caput (the
    head) and Cauda (the tail). You're probably looking at just the
    latter. The stars forming the middle of the critter belong to
    Ophiuchus. See


    for a traditional depiction; at




    is a star-map that indicates the whole figure.


  3. #3's Avatar Guest

    Default Cherokee #6: Pronto & Aquila/Serpens

    Cherokee wrote:

    I'm curious what magnification you were using. M26 is the faintest
    open cluster in Messier's list, but even so, you should be able to
    resolve some individual stars. My notes for the Ranger say that even
    in the suburbs, I could see one star easily with direct vision at
    60X, and 3 or 4 with averted vision.

    I don't know why I never thought of this before, but when I was
    looking at M26 last weekend, I realized that it is trivial to
    locate in a reasonably dark sky, as it forms an almost perfect
    isoceles right triangle with two naked-eye stars: Delta and
    Epsilon Scuti. No need to hop down from M11.

    As Anthony Ayiomamitis says, this constellation was brutalized by
    the International Astronomical Union when they "regularized" the
    constellations in the 1920's. As a side-effect of redefining
    constellations as regions of the sky rather than collections
    of stars, they ended up decreeing that no star could belong to
    two constellations at the same time. The critical stars in
    Serpens happen to be also the "waist" of Ophiuchus, so Serpens
    ended up split into two pieces. Serpens Caput, the head, is still
    a pretty interesting shape, but Serpens Cauda, the tail, is just
    a line of medium-bright stars. See the Ophiuchus/Serpens chart
    on page 128 of the Audubon Guide for details.

    No other constellation suffered as much, but Pegasus lost a
    critical star that it used to share with Andromeda, and Auriga
    lost a critical star that it used to share with Taurus.

    Now that you own a good detailed atlas, you should take a step
    backward and get a good all-sky chart, or set of charts. Here
    are a couple of suggestions:

    * Buy a planisphere. Immensely useful, and cheap. But limited
    detail, and seriously distorts the southerly constellations.

    * Orion's Deep Map 600 -- much more detailed than the above,
    but even worse distortion, and useless as a guide to what's
    up at any time and season. For many DSO's, will obviate the
    need to refer to Sky Atlas 2000.0.

    * Get a series of monthly charts -- minimal possible distortion
    for an all-sky view. I happen to think that the company I work
    for (Sky Publishing) puts out the best in the business -- and
    thought so before I started working here, too! Skywatch, our
    annual magazine, has a full set for the entire year.

    Yes, this is one of the finest and most under-appreciated clusters in
    the sky -- perhaps because it has an IC number rather than an NGC or
    Messier designation. And it's a perfect match for binoculars or a
    small telescope. IC 4665 is pretty nice too, although no match
    for IC 4756 (to my taste).

    - Tony Flanders

  4. #4
    Cherokee's Avatar
    Cherokee Guest

    Default Cherokee #6: Pronto & Aquila/Serpens


    Thanks for the very helpful response.

    On M26 I used a 24mm Konig. Using the formula for my pronto 480/24 =
    20x magnification. I find the deep sky objects I've observed to date
    appear more visually appealing at this low magnification. If you feel
    it worthwhile, I can use my barlow or 6mm Radian on future deep sky
    objects and note if I perceive more detail.

    I'll order up a Deep Map 600 later today. Sounds like another nice
    compliment to my object charts in Nightwatch and finder charts in


  5. #5's Avatar Guest

    Default Cherokee #6: Pronto & Aquila/Serpens

    Cherokee wrote:

    Hey, what do you have to lose?

    No, seriously, it's always worthwhile trying many different
    magnifications on anything you're looking at; one of the great
    joys of telescopes is that they make this so easy. It's not
    necessarily a matter of one magnification being *better* than
    another, but you'll almost always see different aspects at
    different magnifications.

    This came up recently with respect to the Andromeda Galaxy in
    another thread. It's wonderful at ultra-low magnification, when
    you can fit the entire disk in the field together with the
    satellite galaxies M32 and M110. But it's also wonderful at
    high power, where you start to see intricate detail around
    the core and in the arms.

    But 20X is a seriously low magnification even for a 70mm scope;
    I would say that most objects would benefit greatly from more
    power. Without a doubt, you will see more and fainter stars at
    80X than at 20X across the board, and in most (but not all)
    cases, you will also see fainter nebulosity.

    Here are some exceptions to the high-power rule:

    1. Double stars (and to a lesser extent open clusters) often
    look nicest at magnifications that are *just* high enough
    to pull them apart. Too high, and they may just look crass.

    2. Big open clusters are typically best framed when they fill
    about half the field. At higher powers, you may lose the
    contrast against the background.

    3. Small, sparse open clusters like M29 sometimes look best
    when they're smushed into a blur at low magnifications.

    The general rule of thumb is to use the lowest possible power when
    looking for an object, both to make the search easier and to give
    a sense of how it sits in the sky. Then bump the magnification up
    by steps until the view starts to deteriorate in an obvious way.

    - Tony Flanders



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