Category: Astronomy

Observing Session 16, January

It’s been a while since I got up at ‘Stupid O’Clock’ to do a bit of observing. But waking at 3am and feeling reasonably alert, a peek through the window confirmed perfect observing conditions and too good an opportunity to miss. Of the three Collinder Clusters I observed this morning, fate chose ones ones with huge 2 to 3 degree diameters, so for once all these had to be observed using the TMB. In retrospect, they would…


Observing Session 7, January

The first clear night of the year – although for only a couple of hours before the slow moving cloud started to roll in. Despite not having used the scope for two months, mount pointing was pretty accurate – with the first slew-to object only just outside the FOV of the 40mm. However, I wasted most of the session trying to keep the network up long enough to be allow the observing notes for Skytools 3 to…


Welcome to 2016

To put it quite frankly, the weather recently has been crap. Apart from one clear night on the 31st, December, where it looked pretty good until the point we got back from a  New Year’s party, I’ve not had one clear observing night since the end of October 🙁 2015 felt like a disappointing year for observations. The awful weather during the Spring and a rather lack lustre Summer wasn’t looking too promising on making…


A New Toy: 4, November

While my Altair Astro Sabre Mount is great for star hopping, the stiction in the bearings starts to become a problem when you add a heavier scope. The TMB80 wasn’t a problem, but with the long focal length 150mm RC, I was beginning to find that precisely centring the object would cause you to overshoot the target sometimes. The other problem is with this scope and the Van Slyke turret fitted, it was impossible to balance the…


Observing Session: 31, October

This evening was the first real test of my new SkyTee mount. Fitted with the turret, most of the star hopping done was made through the 14mm Delos – each hop being no more than a few FOV diameters from one object to the next. I also had another bash and trying to draw what I observe through the eyepiece,  using the iPad and a stylus.  The purpose is not to produce a work of…


Observing Session: 14, October

Well I guess the recent run of clear nights has probably come to an end. The high pressure that has been sitting over us for the last few weeks, has now made way for Low pressure, which is bringing in high winds and all the cloud from the North. Looking at the logs, I’ve had 12 observing sessions in a little under two months – a record number, which has included 50 unique objects observed….


Observing Session: 13, October

…and the clear nights continue to roll 🙂   Date: 13/10/2015 Time: 19:19 – 22:25 UT Seeing: II Mostly Stable, Transparency: I Extremely Clear, Temp:10.0c, Pressure: 1011mb, Humidity: 79%, Dew Point: 3.0 , Wind: 6.0mph, SQM: 18.3 NELM: 5.0 Collinder 401 In the Altair 250mm f/8 RC, 40mm Plossl, 51 X, 52′ West is to the 9 O’Clock I planted the scope on target and was expecting to see something that looked like an open cluster. NOTHING. So I checked the star field on Skysafari…


Observing Session: 11, October

A little bit of low cloud around, but the clear gaps in between them are large enough for a little keyhole astronomy.   Date: 11/10/2015 Time: 20:29 – 21:28 UT Seeing: II Mostly Stable, Transparency: III Mostly Clear, Temp:9.6c, Pressure: 1004mb, Humidity: 91%, Dew Point: 8.0 , Wind: 6.0mph, SQM: 18.4 NELM: 5.3   Collinder 349, IC4665 In the TMB 80 f/6, 26mm Plossl, 18 X, 2.8° West is to the 6 O’Clock. There is a…


Observing Session: 1, October

…and the clear nights keep coming.  The Moon is back but these small cluster observations aren’t particularly affected by its presence.   Date:  1/10/2015  Time:  19:54 – 00:29 UT Seeing: II Mostly Stable, Transparency: II Clear, Temp:10.5c,  Pressure: 1013mb, Humidity: 81%, Dew Point: 8.0 , Wind: 8.0mph, SQM: 17.8 NELM: 4.9   Collinder 420, NGC6910 In the Altair 250mm f/8 RC, 14mm Delos, 145 X, 29.8′ West is to the 7 O’Clock At the centre of the cluster are two bright stars of 7.2…


Observing Session : 30, September.

I’m quite gobsmacked at the number of clear nights I’ve had this month. At least the four night gap since the last session has enabled me to catch up on some sleep 🙂 Despite a little bit of Moon, tonight’s sky was pretty much perfect. I’ve just noticed the humidity was down to 72%, a figure I’ve not seen since earlier in the year in April.   Date:  30/09/2015  Time:  19:54 – 22:33 UT Seeing: I Perfectly Stable, Transparency:…