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Thread: Clouds, Clouds, and a Little Observing

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    Mark Moyer's Avatar
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    Default Clouds, Clouds, and a Little Observing



    I drove to the club's site Monday night. The various forecasts I use said wildly different things, but a couple of them were somewhat promising, so I took a chance. After 1-1/2 hours at the site waiting for clouds to clear I gave up and drove home.

    The forecasts for Tuesday night were much better. But I arrived to see clouds, clouds, and more clouds. While setting up, I was able to spy Jupiter through a hole in the clouds (saw Ganymede as it was just about to disappear behind Jove). That was a bit before 9. Then I waited for the clouds to clear. After 1-1/2 hours of waiting I finally got in some observing. With bad transparency. Ugh. But at least it was observing. I viewed an area that had a cluster of galaxies that ordinarily would be fairly easy to see, but because of bad transparency they took some work.

    Wednesday night was supposed to be good again. But again I waited over an hour for clouds to clear and again transparency was fairly poor. Sometimes you've really got to work for it. Started out with a quasar that I could barely see. Then galaxies (brighter ones). Then I viewed the new bright supernova, 2017eaw. Here's a S&T article for those who are interested in viewing this supernova:
    Possible Bright Supernova Discovered in 'Fireworks Galaxy' NGC 6946
    It was around mag. 12.5 when I saw it, though I think it should be a bit brighter now.

    Finally, just for kicks I thought I'd view Tabby's Star. For those who don't read astronomy news, this star has been receiving quite a bit of press because its variations in brightness (and lack of infrared) have baffled astronomers. Unable to come up with any explanation for its light curve, some have even wondered if the dips in brightness are due to the star being blocked by solar collectors constructed by an intelligent species. Here's the wikipedia page on it:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KIC_8462852
    I just saw some news that this morning it has started dipping again in magnitude (it was mag. 11.6 when I viewed it Wednesday night), so in case anyone is interested in watching the dips (and maybe seeing something the astronomical community doesn't expect!), here's how you can generate a map that has nearby stars labeled for their magnitudes (which you can use as a comparison to estimate its apparent magnitude). Go to AAVSO (i.e., https://www.aavso.org/). Hover over 'Observing', then 'Variable Star Charts', and then click on 'Variable Star Plotter (VSP)'. Under 'What is the Name ..." enter 'KIC 8462852' (its official name). Under 'Choose a Predefined Chart Scale' select what scale of chart you'd like and then click 'Plot Chart'. I used my own fairly detailed charts to get me in the right area and then used their 'E' scale chart, but depending on your own charts, you might want to print out charts at two different scales. Once it displays the chart, you can do a 'save image' and then open the file and print it.

    So all in all, I've been fighting the clouds but nonetheless having some fun. And just maybe tonight or tomorrow night will be better.
    Telescopes: Meade 4504 4.5" newtonian without motors; Meade LX200 12" with broken electronics and with home-made (as in 2x4s) tripod.
    EPs: Nothing fancy, mostly Plossls: 32mm, 25mm, 12.3mm, and 7.5mm. 2x Barlow.

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    Harshil Patel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Clouds, Clouds, and a Little Observing

    Good stuff...nice report of observation with cloudy sky...
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    Harshil.

    Telescope>> celestron power seeker 76az reflector.
    eyepiece>> 20mm, 4mm, 3x barlow.
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    software>> Stellarium

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    Default Re: Clouds, Clouds, and a Little Observing

    Good stuff, Mark. Been tough on thee galaxy trail here lately too. I've clawed out a few of them, but the transparency hasn't been the best on the clear nights. I've managed a handful but I had to work for them.

    I would like to catch that SN too!

    I need to get a bigger scope someday so I can keep up with everyone.
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    Bryan
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    Default Re: Clouds, Clouds, and a Little Observing

    Thanks for this report. The weather fifty miles north of you has been about the same, but it looks like a good weekend awaits us. I like your equipment list. My "matching" scope is a 10 inch Bausch & Lomb Criterion with a very loud motor on a lawn furniture derived wedge atop a sewer pipe column supported by drainpipe legs.
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    Default Re: Clouds, Clouds, and a Little Observing

    Quote Originally Posted by bladekeeper View Post
    Good stuff, Mark. Been tough on thee galaxy trail here lately too. I've clawed out a few of them, but the transparency hasn't been the best on the clear nights. I've managed a handful but I had to work for them.

    I would like to catch that SN too!

    I need to get a bigger scope someday so I can keep up with everyone.
    If I remember correctly, the SN peaks this weekend, so if you've got good weather ....

    And yes, you do need a bigger scope (though we have no illusions that you'd be merely 'keeping up' with everyone ).
    Why not do it? Just hold off on buying small scopes and EPs for a while and keep you eye on CN. With $2-3K I think one could (if they watch CN and Astromart persistently for 3-9 months) get something like a 22" scope. Let me know if you'd me to keep my eyes peeled.
    Telescopes: Meade 4504 4.5" newtonian without motors; Meade LX200 12" with broken electronics and with home-made (as in 2x4s) tripod.
    EPs: Nothing fancy, mostly Plossls: 32mm, 25mm, 12.3mm, and 7.5mm. 2x Barlow.

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    Mark Moyer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Clouds, Clouds, and a Little Observing

    Quote Originally Posted by Trombatissimo View Post
    Thanks for this report. The weather fifty miles north of you has been about the same, but it looks like a good weekend awaits us. I like your equipment list. My "matching" scope is a 10 inch Bausch & Lomb Criterion with a very loud motor on a lawn furniture derived wedge atop a sewer pipe column supported by drainpipe legs.
    I like it! Observing in style! If it works, then it's perfect.

    My fingers are crossed for this weekend. I worry that the good viewing will arrive a bit too late for Friday viewing and will depart a bit too early for Saturday viewing, but I'm hoping that both nights pan out.

    Have you been watching for aurora? From what the NOAA site says, early tonight is a possibility. Unfortunately our club site has somewhat of a light dome directly to the north. But I remain hopeful.
    Trombatissimo likes this.
    Telescopes: Meade 4504 4.5" newtonian without motors; Meade LX200 12" with broken electronics and with home-made (as in 2x4s) tripod.
    EPs: Nothing fancy, mostly Plossls: 32mm, 25mm, 12.3mm, and 7.5mm. 2x Barlow.

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    Default Re: Clouds, Clouds, and a Little Observing

    Hello Mark,

    congrats on the SN in the Fireworks Galaxy, and thanks for the alert.

    With my new collectible Asahi Pentax Xtra-wide binoculars, we have got clouds and rains.
    Glad, you have nailed the supernova down, and clear skies to you,

    JG
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    Default Re: Clouds, Clouds, and a Little Observing

    Interesting targets Mark! Thanks for sharing.
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    Scopes: Celestron 8" SCT, ES 127mm CF APO, Orion 120ST Achro. Mounts: ES Twilight I, Bresser EXOS2, SW SkyTee2, Orion VersaGo II. Binos: Orion 10x50, Celestron 8x42. EPs: TeleVue: Plossls 8-to-32mm, 2x-3x barlows; ES: 82o 4.7-to-11mm, 68o 20-24mm; Baader: BCO 6-10-18mm, Aspheric 31-36mm; Meade: 5000 UWA 14-18mm; Celestron: 0.63 reducer, Luminos 7-10-15mm, X-Cel LX 12-25mm; GSO SV 30-42mm. Filters: Zhumell: UHC, OIII; Baader: UHC-S, M&SG, CB; Orion: SG, H-beta; Lumicon: OIII, H-beta; DGM: NPB.
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    Default Re: Clouds, Clouds, and a Little Observing

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Moyer View Post
    I like it! Observing in style! If it works, then it's perfect.
    Have you been watching for aurora? From what the NOAA site says, early tonight is a possibility. Unfortunately our club site has somewhat of a light dome directly to the north. But I remain hopeful.
    I have to get well away from the city and evict those persistent clouds to have a chance at seeing the aurora. Thanks for the NOAA heads up. My favorite site:
    GPS Based Aurora Borealis Forecast. Get the Probability of a Visible Aurora anywhere on Earth.
    does not look promising, but I'll check again later.
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    Default Re: Clouds, Clouds, and a Little Observing

    Good stuff Mark, and nice idea about Tabby's Star. I'll probably wait till later summer when Cygnus is high up early. Of course, by then we might be talking to those aliens already
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