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    Default More Trashy Sky Time...



    July 15th, 2017

    Well, I wasn’t expecting to go outside tonight. Clear Sky Alarm Clock said I’d have a 4 hour window, while Clear Outside said “Yeah, you can if you want, but you won’t much like it.” CO was just about correct on that bit.

    I’ve often lamented on the fact that whenever I set up a scope, the active and bustling neighborhood clears out as if a bad outlaw just rode into town. Such was the case this evening, yet again.

    My next-door neighbor was having a wedding shower for her brother this evening. Cars lined up and down the street, and plenty of people, adults and kids, milling about in their backyard, some playing games, while others clustered in little groups chatting and enjoying themselves.

    While all that was going on, I ventured forth and started pulling scopes out of the shed, curious to see if this would shut the party down. While I wasn’t planning on visiting or showing anyone my scopes or doing any sort of outreach, I certainly wouldn’t turn anyone away if they came over.

    I put the dob out in the scope spot, then parked the Twilight II with the two big fracs nearby, and then, why not, the ST80 on the Twilight 1, all in a line. Yeah, I know, I’m nuts, but it’s nice to have a tool available if I need it. And since I’ve got to pull them out of the shed anyway to get to the dob, what does it hurt to walk them a few feet further…

    Anyway, my son Devon was walking back and forth with me, chatting. I heard the neighbor’s son, 6 year old Cooper, announce, “Why are the telescopes out?” It was still quite daylit and nowhere near twilight. That was the only acknowledgement I heard, but I did see a few glances in my direction.

    True to form, that shut the party down. Folks began folding up chairs and carting them back to their vehicles and putting other things away. Within ten minutes, it was just me and Devon standing out there.

    I know it was just coincidental to the ending of the party, but, as always, I never fail to clear the neighborhood.

    A while later as twilight was deepening, I went back out to check on the sky. I had a line of thunderstorms off in the east, moving away in that direction, and the northern part of the sky was trashy with soup and high thins. Off in the southwest, another thunderstorm complex seemed to be forming. The bulk of the south appeared clear though.

    I decided to load an eyepiece in the dob and have a peek at Jupiter while I was out there.

    1. Jupiter
    (Planet in Virgo, mag -2.0, 99.1% illuminated)
    Observed: Jul 15, 2017, 21:32:00
    Comment: Jupiter provided a nice visage in the dob, though the seeing was rather yucky at this time. The moons and some background stars were providing an interesting view. I wasn’t quite satisfied with the dob view due to the seeing conditions, however. I moved over to the fracs. First, a peek through the AR127. Bah! The CA was flaring nicely without my semi-APO filter installed. I moved over to the 102 and tossed in the BCO 10mm. Nice sharp and crisp view. I admired the view for a bit. Europa was on the left, Callisto was around back of Jupiter and just visible, while Io and Ganymede took their places on the right. A small star was sitting above Io, and further down forming a long triangle with Jupiter and Europa was a double star with a dim companion. I went back inside to retrieve my clipboard and a sketch form. I could only find one sheet, and it had a nice greasy splotch on it from something. Anyway, I got my sketch sketched.
    Equipment: AD12, ES 82° 8.8mm, AR127, ES 82° 11mm, AR102, BCO 10mm



    After that, I returned inside, accompanied by Stubbs, for about a half hour, and then we both returned to the scope.

    The sky was much the same as I’d left it. The southern half was decent. I could see the Big Dipper in the northwest, but only the Big Dipper. Very few other stars were showing in that direction. Anything below Polaris’ altitude of 36° was MIA. East was still possessed of retreating clouds, and I was seeing lightning flashes in the southwest. Directly west displayed a whitish-grey line of more clouds just over the horizon.

    I had a mind to poke around a while and knock off a few Ophiuchus asterisms, and maybe spend a little time in Sagittarius as soon as it escaped the tree it was behind. M23 sounded like a good target to revisit after reading Alan’s excellent observing report this morning.

    I realized then than M23 was above the treetops, so no waiting required. Since my table and chair were already sitting at the Twilight II, I settled in at the AR127, centered Saturn in the Rigel, and via RACI, hopped my way eastward through 52 Ophiuchi and on to 58 Ophiuchi. From there, I continued eastward to a stretched out diamond shaped pattern of stars consisting of HD 162434 as the northern point of my diamond, and HD 162510 as the southern. M23 lies just under 1.5° eastward.

    I slid over to M23 and admired the refractor view for a bit. During my star hopping, I’d passed over a globular cluster that I had a mind to back track to, NGC 6440. I’ve previously logged this glob twice, both times about two years ago in the summer of 2015. I slid back over to the west and easily located this glob.

    Almost 22’ to the northeast of this glob lies NGC 6445, the Box Nebula. I’ve also previously logged this guy, but I could not see it in the 5”. I decided to move back over to the dob and see if I could scare it up.

    Back at the dob, I retraced my star hop and quickly centered this bright planetary nebula.

    2. Box Nebula - NGC 6445
    (Planetary Nebula in Sagittarius, mag 10.9, size 38” x 29”, SB 9.9 mag/arcmin²)
    Observed: Jul 15, 2017, 22:25:58
    Comment: At 84×, I've got a hint of a, well a fairly obvious patch of, stuff. I tossed on the UHC filter and this perked the nebula up a might. I seem to be picking up some manner of bifurcation across the center, or perhaps a darker dust lane. I'm getting intermittent glimpses of a gaseous finger arching outward toward the south. I am also getting glimpses of a stellar point of light in the midst, I think, perhaps the central white dwarf.
    Equipment: AD12, ES 82° 18mm

    Since I was at the dob and near NGC 6440, I moved over to the glob…

    3. NGC 6440
    (Globular Cluster in Sagittarius, mag 9.1, size 5.4’)
    Observed: Jul 15, 2017, 22:31:51
    Comment: Sliding a bit to the southwest, I easily swept up this little glob. There is a line of 4 stars in a straight row. The glob is the 2nd "star" in the line going from north to south. A decent round glowball, rather reminiscent of a small elliptical galaxy.
    Equipment: AD12, ES 82° 18mm

    The lightning flashes in the southwest seemed to be picking up. I glanced back to the north, and things seemed to really be yucking up in that direction. I was beginning to feel a little urgency with my meanderings.

    I moved back to the east to my previously mentioned elongated diamond star pattern and continued over to M23…

    4. Messier 23 - NGC 6494
    (Open Cluster in Sagittarius, mag 5.5, size 27’)
    Observed: Jul 15, 2017, 22:34:09
    Comment: Always a glory to behold, but with the drowning sky, I don't have much time to savor the richness of this open cluster. It does look really nice in the dob, the brighter stars intermixed with countless smaller suns. The whole of the cluster filled the FOV of the 18mm.
    Equipment: AD12, ES 82° 18mm

    Since NGC 6440 showed itself well, I recalled a few nights ago observing NGC 6760 in Aquila, and nearby NGC 6749 that I could not see with the AR127. Since I had the dob out, might as well have a go at it.

    I pointed back to the high east and centered Altair in the RACI. From there, I moved south through σ Aquilae and further to δ Aquilae. From there, I continued further to 21 Aquilae, then move to the eyepiece to hone on the glob’s position.

    I noted a pair of mag 8.5-ish stars forming a wide optical double. The glob should be just south of these two. I triangulated my positioning a bit, and stared hard, averted, jiggled, and swooped in on the position several times, but no glob did I see. I studied the area for about fifteen minutes. Nuthin’.

    Finally, I decided to move over to nearby NGC 6760 to see what it looked like, and get a feel for the sky conditions in this area.

    5. NGC 6760
    (Globular Cluster in Aquila, mag 9.0, size 6.6’)
    Observed: Jul 15, 2017, 23:00:42
    Comment: Fairly large, though dim, a mere round glowy patch with no resolved stars. I observed the glob both at 84× and 138×.
    Equipment: AD12, ES 82° 18mm, 11mm

    Satisfied with that view, I moved back over to 6749’s position. Man, I really wanted to see this glob, but it seemed to be fighting me tooth and nail!

    Studying Sky Safari a bit more, I realized I was a hair too far to the west, though only by a few arcminutes. I realized the glob should be sitting under an eyebrow of three mag 12-ish stars. Finding this trio, I again set about my cross-eyed averting and scope jiggling. Finally…

    6. NGC 6749 - NEW
    (Globular Cluster in Aquila, mag 12.4, size 6.3’)
    Observed: Jul 15, 2017, 23:09:42
    Comment: Sheesh. This glob is a nightmare. Fleetingly, and with averted vision, I began to catch glimpses of this dim and diffuse patch of light after running the gamut of 138×, 173×, 227×, and finally back to 173×. Faint and averted vision and small fuzzy diffuse knot of pull my hair out.
    Equipment: AD12, ES 82° 18mm, 11mm, 8.8mm, 6.7mm

    That glob was about to make me mad. I hate not scoring a target when I put my mind to it. Of course, we can only do what we can do with the prevailing sky conditions, and these tonight were definitely not optimal. Anyway, it was a kicking and scratching and biting dog fight, but I emerged victorious, though bruised and torn.

    After that mess, I wanted something easy. The sky appeared to be holding its breath and I didn’t know how much longer I had until things let go completely on me. Staying with the dob, I moved back over to Saturn.

    7. Saturn
    (Planet in Ophiuchus, mag 0.2, 99.9% illuminated)
    Observed: Jul 15, 2017, 23:15:46
    Comment: The seeing was a little improved from my earlier observation of Jupiter. I tried both my ES 82° 6.7mm and 4.7mm, but in both eyepieces, the FOV immediately about the planet was glowing. Not sure why, but I didn’t like it. I retrieved the Zhumell Z-series 5mm from my case and plunked it in the focuser. Ah, much better, and nicer eye relief too. The Cassini Division was in sharp relief, and quite obvious color banding was present on the planet. I just sat there and admired the beauty. As for moons, Titan was quite obvious, as were Rhea, Dione, Tethys. Iapetus was way off to the side, and little Mimas was fleetingly seen as a bright point just off the rings. Enceladus popped in and out of view as well. Very cool!
    Equipment: AD12, Zhumell Z-series 5mm

    I noticed the Teapot in Sagittarius had cleared the trees, so I elected to revisit my very first DSO, M22. I centered Kaus Borealis (λ Sagittarii) in the RACI and slid a bit eastward, sighting the glob through the finder. I swapped out for the 11mm and put eye to eyepiece.

    8. Messier 22 - NGC 6656
    (Globular Cluster in Sagittarius, mag 5.2, size 24.0’)
    Observed: Jul 15, 2017, 23:20:13
    Comment: Always a fine treat to observe, but oddly, M22 seemed a bit on the red side this evening, maybe even a hint of pink. I’m talking about the component stars. Sky conditions or is it always on the reddish/yellow side? I just don’t remember that business at all. Perhaps my dark adaptation was suffering from the brightness of Saturn?
    Equipment: AD12, ES 82° 11mm

    I slid a hair to the northwest and easily centered another globular cluster.

    9. NGC 6642
    (Globular Cluster in Sagittarius, mag 9.4, size 4.5’)
    Observed: Jul 15, 2017, 23:22:08
    Comment: Well, since I was right there. At 138x, a fine tight little glowball, a concentrated core with extended halo surrounding it. Things seem to be back to the typical silvery grey color.
    Equipment: AD12, ES 82° 11mm

    From 6642, I moved back over to Kaus Borealis, and slightly back to the east to center the next glob, all via eyepiece.

    10. NGC 6638
    (Globular Cluster in Sagittarius, mag 9.2, size 5.0’)
    Observed: Jul 15, 2017, 23:24:25
    Comment: Still at 138x, a decent glob, no resolved stars, but fine and reasonably bright, an excellent example of the species.
    Equipment: AD12, ES 82° 11mm

    Back to Kaus Borealis, I moved northwest almost 1° and landed on my next target. The drum beats of impending cloud doom were beginning to pick up their tempo.

    11. Messier 28 - NGC 6626
    (Globular Cluster in Sagittarius, mag 6.9, size 11.2’)
    Observed: Jul 15, 2017, 23:26:00
    Comment: Though small for a Messier glob (I suppose), it is nonetheless a bright little rascal. Nice core.
    Equipment: AD12, ES 82° 11mm

    Back down to Kaus Borealis and over to 6638, I then moved about a half degree northeast and pick up NGC 6644, a small but rather bright planetary nebula.

    12. NGC 6644 - NEW
    (Planetary Nebula in Sagittarius, mag 10.8, size 2.5”)
    Observed: Jul 15, 2017, 23:30:20
    Comment: Tiny little aqua ball, and a blinker. It really stands out with averted vision and almost disappears to nothing with direct vision. Kinda fun to observe.
    Equipment: AD12, ES 82° 11mm

    6644 is on the AL Planetary Nebula list, so I can check that rascal off. Sweet!

    Checking Sky Safari for something else to hone in on, it was then that the sky finally let go on me. The east was suddenly awash with a very large mottled round patch of clouds. Small puff balls and streaks were clutching past zenith from the north, and in the high south, furrows of widening grey were appearing. Time to pack up.

    So, accompanied by the increasing frequency of lightning flashes from the southwest, and now in the northwest, and some even in the east, I began putting my toys away.

    Stubbs accompanied me back inside where she ate a little kibble and followed that up with a merry chase around the house with Vincent. She is now snoozing in a chair in another room.

    Trashy sky tonight, and it only got worse. The forecast promises more trashy sky for most of next week. Unless things improve, it will be more clawing and fighting to grab anything new, DSO-wise.

    My report is done, it is late, and I’m going to sleep!

    Peace and clear skies, my friends.
    Bryan
    Scopes: Apertura AD12 f/5; ES AR127 f/6.4; ES AR127 f/9.4; ES AR102 f/9.8; iOptron MC90 f/13.3; Orion ST80A f/5; Meade NG60 f/10; Charmin TP40 f/2.2
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    Binoculars: Pentax PCF WP II 10×50, Bresser Corvette 10×50, Bresser Hunter 16×50 and 8×40, Garrett Gemini 12×60 LW, Gordon 10×50
    Observing: Herschel Tallies: H1 = 400/400 H2 =309/400 H3 = 211/300; 2,711 observations of 1,660 objects; Led Zeppelin

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    Days since last observing session: 5; Sessions in last 30 days: 9; Last night's excuse: High thins and crap transparency. Another bust dark cycle.
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    Default Re: More Trashy Sky Time...

    A nice report Bryan. At least you managed to take advantage of the sky available for a little while
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    Default Re: More Trashy Sky Time...

    Well, well, well. Such a deep subject this report. Actually, as I've said before, I suspect you are indeed the cause of the party foldups. Once, maybe twice could be coincidental. But not the repeated occurrences you've mentioned. Like I told you via PM, they likely see you as the weird cat guy next door who is out there spying on them with his telescopes. You may not think I am right on this, but I believe I am.

    Now, NGC 6749. I think you found out why many consider this the most difficult of the NGC globulars. It is nightmarish, particularly with some LP around, or poorer transparency. It just doesn't bring much to the table, and it can kick an observer's patootie repeatedly. But in this case, you stuck with it and it finally revealed itself in all its, ahem, glory! Well done son. BTW, someone has to take out the trash!
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    Default Re: More Trashy Sky Time...

    Bryan. I am so envious when i read your great reports. I have not seen a star or planet in three months now. It is so bad that I have not been able to see Polaris to Polar align the EXOS-2. A sad state of affairs. I digress. Thanks for the great read and valuable descriptive text. Clear skies.
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    Default Re: More Trashy Sky Time...

    at it again then Bryan - any chance you can come visit me and my friend - bring your scopes as it sseems your better at crowd dispersal than the rozzers
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    Default Re: More Trashy Sky Time...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabby76 View Post
    A nice report Bryan. At least you managed to take advantage of the sky available for a little while
    Thanks Gabrielle!

    Quote Originally Posted by KT4HX View Post
    Well, well, well. Such a deep subject this report. Actually, as I've said before, I suspect you are indeed the cause of the party foldups. Once, maybe twice could be coincidental. But not the repeated occurrences you've mentioned. Like I told you via PM, they likely see you as the weird cat guy next door who is out there spying on them with his telescopes. You may not think I am right on this, but I believe I am.

    Now, NGC 6749. I think you found out why many consider this the most difficult of the NGC globulars. It is nightmarish, particularly with some LP around, or poorer transparency. It just doesn't bring much to the table, and it can kick an observer's patootie repeatedly. But in this case, you stuck with it and it finally revealed itself in all its, ahem, glory! Well done son. BTW, someone has to take out the trash!
    I'm getting used to the door slamming and window shuttering. Definitely makes for quiet nights at the eyepiece.

    Yeah, that darn 6749, it was a definite wrasslin' match. Heck, I think I had an easier time with Mayall II on a windy evening with my charts flapping in the breeze and one hand holding my hat on.

    Thanks, Alan, I appreciate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter802 View Post
    Bryan. I am so envious when i read your great reports. I have not seen a star or planet in three months now. It is so bad that I have not been able to see Polaris to Polar align the EXOS-2. A sad state of affairs. I digress. Thanks for the great read and valuable descriptive text. Clear skies.
    Well, Peter, if I could disperse cloud cover like I can people, I'd definitely come over to help. I hope you get some clearing soon. You may need to move to Chile....

    Quote Originally Posted by hobbit1066 View Post
    at it again then Bryan - any chance you can come visit me and my friend - bring your scopes as it sseems your better at crowd dispersal than the rozzers
    Thanks Rob! I'll be over soon. I work for beer and sausages...
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    Bryan
    Scopes: Apertura AD12 f/5; ES AR127 f/6.4; ES AR127 f/9.4; ES AR102 f/9.8; iOptron MC90 f/13.3; Orion ST80A f/5; Meade NG60 f/10; Charmin TP40 f/2.2
    Mounts: Bresser EXOS-2; ES Twilight I; ES Twilight II; iOptron Cube-G
    Eyepieces: GSO Superview 30mm; ES 70°25mm; ES 82º Series; GSO 9mm Plössl; Zhumell Z Series 5mm; Vite Aspherics23mm, 10mm, 4mm; Orion Expanse 20mm, 9mm; BCO 10mm
    Binoculars: Pentax PCF WP II 10×50, Bresser Corvette 10×50, Bresser Hunter 16×50 and 8×40, Garrett Gemini 12×60 LW, Gordon 10×50
    Observing: Herschel Tallies: H1 = 400/400 H2 =309/400 H3 = 211/300; 2,711 observations of 1,660 objects; Led Zeppelin

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    Days since last observing session: 5; Sessions in last 30 days: 9; Last night's excuse: High thins and crap transparency. Another bust dark cycle.
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    Default Re: More Trashy Sky Time...

    Quote Originally Posted by bladekeeper View Post
    Yeah, that darn 6749, it was a definite wrasslin' match. Heck, I think I had an easier time with Mayall II on a windy evening with my charts flapping in the breeze and one hand holding my hat on.
    Plus one eye tied behind your back!
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    ES AR127 f/6.5 and ES ED80 f/6 on Twilight-II Mount
    ES 82° 24mm thru 4.7mm
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
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    Default Re: More Trashy Sky Time...

    Sounds like a very successive evening, Bryan! Well done reporting That really does surprise me about your neighbors (i.e., not taking any more of an interest and coming over). You have been doing this for so long and for so often, you would think by now they would all be somewhat familiar with your hobby.

    Dave
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    Default Re: More Trashy Sky Time...

    Congrats on the night out, a bad night at the scope is still better than a good day at work.

    I am also impressed to see a sketch, well done!
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    Default Re: More Trashy Sky Time...

    Having seen that picture of you looking like an astro-pirate with the towel, headlamp and eyepatch on it is easy see why the neighborhood clears out when you setup
    Congrats on a very nice session with the adverse sky conditions! Nice sketch of Jupiter, complete with an overlay of greasy nebulosity. Great report, it made for a very good Sunday morning read.
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