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Thread: I saw the ISS!! (and other stuff)

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    Mark Moyer's Avatar
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    Default I saw the ISS!! (and other stuff)



    I was lucky enough to get in three clear nights in a row -- Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. I saw a total of 63 objects, almost all new. On top of that, it was so much warmer than the winter observing but a bit too chilly for mosquitoes.

    As usual, most of my observing consisted of random semi-faint galaxies. But there were a few highlights.

    One highlight was Hickson 69. This has four members. In some sense I saw all four, but two were too close for me to distinguish them (so I really saw only three of the four). But one thing nice about Hickson 69 is that besides the four very close members were 7 other IC galaxies, with all 11 galaxies lying within a 20 arc-minute circle. It was a fun one!

    Another highlight was dipping back into some Minkowski planetary nebulae. With the seasons shifting, at later hours (e.g. 2am) we're leaving the main galaxy-rich areas and getting more into the Sagittarius-Scutum-Aquila area, with more open clusters and planetary nebulae. So I tried for some more Minkowskis. These are typically small planetary nebulae, with many (most?) looking stellar. They require an OIII or something similar to see that they are planetaries. What makes these challenging, rewarding, and frustrating is that they vary quite a bit in difficulty. So of those that I attempted, some were quite easy (an easily visible 'star' that seems to brighten considerably when viewed with the OIII), some were quite difficult (scanning and scanning so carefully with the OIII to find things that are hard to see at all), and some I just couldn't find. Anyway, I found 5 one night and another 1 the next night.

    But probably the most exciting was seeing the ISS. Just a day or two before I had commented to my observing friend Greg that we should try to view the ISS with the club's 18" scope. I thought that with one of us looking through the non-magnifying finder and tracking the thing, the other could maybe see the ISS through the EP. Well, I was out there alone and knew the ISS was coming, so I got my small binos ready. It appeared and I watched it easily through the binos. It was moving slower than I expected, and seeing it through the binos was much easier than I thought it would be. So then I thought maybe I should see if I could view it through the finderscope on the club's scope (I forget what it is -- at least an 9x50). I used the non-magnifying finder to track the ISS and slid over to view through the finderscope. Hey, this is again much easier than I expected! So then I thought I should try to view it through the EP. Unfortunately, I had last used the scope viewing galaxies and so my 14mm EP was in there, whereas my wider angled 50mm would have been better for trying for the ISS. But there was no time to switch EPs. So I tracked in the finderscope and then slid over to view through the EP. I was able to do this several times, but the ISS would almost immediately shoot out of the EP fov. You'd think after years of using the scope I'd know which way to move the scope when something is moving out of the fov, but I'm just not used to something moving that fast. Eventually, though, I got the hang of it a bit and was actually able to track (at least for a little while) the ISS with it in the EP fov. Even when I kept it in the fov for a while, it was moving around like crazy within the fov, so I couldn't get a careful look, but the two solar panels were not only obvious but *large*! Because it was jumping around so much within the fov, I wasn't able to see more details. But it was still a blast seeing the ISS at 150x!

    Oh, I forgot one other highlight. One of the three nights Greg joined me. On that night we saw an Iridium satellite, but it was flashing quite a bit brighter than I'd ever seen. It was literally lighting things up! At one point I was watching it but Greg was looking in the opposite direction. It flashed, but before I had a chance to say anything, Greg said something like, "Whoa! What was that?!" So just from the ground lighting up it was obvious to him that it had flashed again. I looked it up afterwards, and we were apparently seeing Iridium 15. The forecasting tools said it would flash at m. -5.7 or m. -5.8. But the forecasted times were off a bit, which makes me wonder if maybe the forecast was off a bit and whether it could have been flashing even brighter than that (not that I'd be a good judge of whether a flash was m. -5, -6, or -8). In any case, although I love galaxy hunting, it was a lot of fun having a diversion like this.

    Thanks for reading and sharing in three quite nice nights!
    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.

  2. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to Mark Moyer For This Useful Post:

    bladekeeper (06-14-2018),ic_1101 (06-14-2018),j.gardavsky (06-13-2018),kanadalainen (06-13-2018),kingclinton (06-14-2018),Trombatissimo (06-13-2018)

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    Default Re: I saw the ISS!! (and other stuff)

    Nice going. I saw a rectangular shape in my 8dob 25mm, one of these days I will try to track it like you did. ☺
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    SkyWatcher Pyrex dob8, Swan 25mm, 10mm Luminos, OIII filter (thanks, Bryan!
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    Default Re: I saw the ISS!! (and other stuff)

    Thanks Mark for the great report. Summer observing is so easy compared to the winter.

    I have looked at it a number of times with naked eyes, and binocs but not tracking with a big dob. Congratulations!
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    Ian
    Scopes Orion XT10i f4.7 "Frosty", old Sears 6305 60mm f15 "Raquel"
    Binoculars Asahi Pentax 7x35 and 7x50, Beck Kassel 8x30 and Celestron 15x70
    Eyepieces: Leitz Periplan GF, ES68s, ES82s, TV Naglers, Meade 4000 super plossl, Nikon CFI, Olympus FK, Paracorr I, Abbe Orthos: Carl Zeiss Jena K7x (35mm), K10x (25mm)
    Asteroid count: 0 Herschel 400: 74 Planets: 5 Novae: 1 S30: 2

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    Default Re: I saw the ISS!! (and other stuff)

    Dang, 63 mostly all new objects. I have to go back to last November to count that high. It's been a bad several months so I'm selling out and buying knitting supplies.

    Congrats on three nights in a row, Mark!
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    Bryan
    Scopes: Apertura AD12 f/5; Celestron C6-R f/8; ES AR127 f/6.4; ES AR127 f/9.4; ES AR102 f/9.8; iOptron MC90 f/13.3; Orion ST80A f/5; Celestron Premium 80 f/11.4; Celestron C80 f/11.4; Meade NG60 f/10; Charmin TP40 f/2.2
    Mounts: Celestron AVX; Bresser EXOS-2; ES Twilight I; ES Twilight II; iOptron Cube-G; AZ3/wood tripod; Vixen/Celestron Polaris
    Eyepieces:
    GSO Super Plössl 40mm, 32mm, 15mm, 9mm; ES 82° Series; GSO Superview 30mm; Celestron Plössl 26mm, 20mm; ES 70° 25mm; ES Plössl 25mm; Vite Aspheric 23mm, 10mm, 4mm; Orion Expanse 20mm, 9mm; KK Ortho 18mm; Bresser 70° 15mm; BCO 10mm; ES 62° 9mm; Zhumell Z Series 5mm
    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, Apogee 20×100
    Observing: Herschel Tallies: H1 = 400/400 H2 =319/400 H3 = 220/300; 3,012 observations of 1,781 objects; Song in my head: Live - All Over You

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    Days since last observing session: 3; Sessions in last 30 days: 10; Last Night's Excuse: Cloudy Early and Clear Late

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