Patrick's January 2021 Reports

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patrickdives
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Patrick's January 2021 Reports

#1

Post by patrickdives »

Weekend of 1/15-1/17: Staunton River State Park. One of only two certified dark sky parks in Virginia, my wife Carrie and I enjoy a yearly trip here with our friends Steve and Terri. Steve was the one who got me started in this hobby, when he remarked about how clear my sky was at my old home in Gloucester and how I should get a telescope. Thanks Steve!

Friday night was a wash due to rain and clouds. We built a fire in the cabin and enjoyed a good dinner. Saturday morning greeted us with snow falling. The fire was burning and I was checking weather through the spotty cell service. It was calling for a clear sky but I was less than confident as snow kept coming down. We used the time to install the hand control cable for the ServoCAT, I ordered from Charlie at Markless. At approximately 4:00 PM, I began to see blue sky. We had the Obsession set up next to the visitors center by 5:00 PM.

Stars were shinning bright! What an amazing day!
M-43 Orion Nebula-It was absolutely gorgeous this evening and super clear. Multiple gas clouds were extremely vivid. The trapezium stars were extremely bright. Easily, one of the best observations of it! Ethos 21mm 81X

M-39, M-52, M-34 and Pleiades. These open clusters were quite spectacular under the night sky! I kept the Ethos 21mm 81X in use and eventually switched to my TV Nagler 31mm 55X eyepiece to allow more of the complete clusters to spread out.

Andromeda Galaxy and M-110. The galaxies were super bright and we viewed them with the TV Nagler 31mm at 55X. I always enjoy viewing them and they are a good measure of the sky quality.

M-81 and M-82-Bode's Galaxy and it's companion may have been the first galaxies I ever saw when I started the hobby back in 2016. I being the novice I am, expected only 1 galaxy and was blown away when I spotted 2 at the same time. They continue to be favorites and the dark sky really made these a delight on this evening.

Terri and Steve returned to the cabin around 2100. What!!! Carrie and I stayed and continued observing.

M-1 Crab Nebula-The nebula was obvious in the sky. You could see two spiral shapes coming off of it but it wasn't overly detailed. Ethos 21mm 81X

M-97 Owl Nebula-We couldn't make out too much detail. It was oblong shaped. I tried the Ethos 21mm and the Nagler 31mm trying to tease out detail to no avail.

M-76 Little Dumbbell Nebula-It was definitely noticeable how the nebula got its name. Not much detail but enough. Nagler 31 mm at 51X.

At this point, it was nearing midnight and we decided to wrap it up after revisiting some of the earlier observations.

Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 Observation from home in Williamsburg, VA. Bortle Class 5. I set up the Obsession on the pad I recently put down with paver stones. Collimation, star alignment and ServoCat syncing with ArgoNavis was completed and all was ready for the evening. I had the firepit stocked with wood for warming.

I started the evening with the Moon and snapped a few photos with my iPhone. Carrie and our neighbors, Peter and his family, walked down to observe with us. The kids really were excited to observe as they always are. It is so nice having the tracking function.

While we didn't have the 4-4.5 darker skies from the weekend before, we decided to concentrate on the same objects as the week before. I used SkyTools4 to give recommendations for best viewing times. I love this program and I'm really trying to learn the ins and outs.

The neighbors left around 2100 and Carrie retired for the evening around 2200. After she went in I stayed a bit longer until roughly 2300.

The highlight for me was M-36. I noticed nebula NGC 2258 in the southern part of the eyepiece. I didn't realize this was visible, as the last time I checked it out was when I was super new to observing and had the Zummel.

I will be back at it tonight and also plan on rising at 0400 Sunday morning to observe some new Messier objects.
Equipment: Obsession Classic 15, Televue Ethos (13, 21, 6) Televue Nagler (22, 31), Explore Scientific (6.7, 18),
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Re: Patrick's January 2021 Reports

#2

Post by kt4hx »

Very nice Patrick. Sounds like you had a nice outing at the park. Its always nice to get away and do some observing under darker skies that is for sure. That is why we go over to our second home in the mountains of western Virginia where I leave my 17.5 inch dob full time.

FYI, you may want to try pushing magnification more on the planetary nebulae to bring out more details. Keep looking up!
Alan

Astro Sky 17.5 f/4.5 Dob || Apertura AD12 f/5 Dob || Zhumell Z10 f/4.9 Dob
ES AR127 f/6.5 & ED80 f/6 on Twilight-II || Apertura 6" f/5 Newtonian on Twilight-I
TV Ethos 100° 21mm, 13mm || ES 82° 24mm, 18mm || Vixen LVW 65° 22mm
Pentax XW 70° 10mm, 7mm, 5mm || barlows
DGM NPB Filter || Orion Ultra Block, O-III and Sky Glow Filters || Baader HaB Filter
Primary Field Atlases: Interstellarum and Uranometria All-Sky Edition
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Astronomers, we look into the past to see our future." (me)
"Seeing is in some respect an art, which must be learnt." (William Herschel)
"What we know is a drop, what we don't know is an ocean." (Sir Isaac Newton)
"The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me...." (Blaise Pascal)
"No good deed goes unpunished." (various)
"I have become comfortably numb." (Roger Waters)
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Re: Patrick's January 2021 Reports

#3

Post by patrickdives »

Alan, that sounds wonderful! I bet you get some gorgeous clear skies. I will be pushing up the magnification. In all honesty, I sometimes am a bit lazy with changing out eyepieces but my goal is to get better about it. I will try tonight.
Equipment: Obsession Classic 15, Televue Ethos (13, 21, 6) Televue Nagler (22, 31), Explore Scientific (6.7, 18),
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Re: Patrick's January 2021 Reports

#4

Post by Makuser »

Hi Patrick. A superb report from you here. I was born in Winchester, VA, and lived there until I was 9. I still remember the clear night skies out in the countryside. Thanks for your fun read report Patrick, and the best of wishes on your next session.
- Marshall
Sky-Watcher 90mm f/13.9 Maksutov-Cassegrain on motorized Multimount
Orion Astroview 120ST f/5 Refractor on EQ3 mount
Celestron Omni XLT150R f/5 Refractor on CG4 mount with dual axis drives.
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Orion XT12i 12" f/4.9 Dobsonian Intelliscope.
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Re: Patrick's January 2021 Reports

#5

Post by patrickdives »

Hey Marshall! Thanks for your remarks. Winchester would be a great place.
Equipment: Obsession Classic 15, Televue Ethos (13, 21, 6) Televue Nagler (22, 31), Explore Scientific (6.7, 18),
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Re: Patrick's January 2021 Reports

#6

Post by kt4hx »

patrickdives wrote: Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:48 pm Alan, that sounds wonderful! I bet you get some gorgeous clear skies. I will be pushing up the magnification. In all honesty, I sometimes am a bit lazy with changing out eyepieces but my goal is to get better about it. I will try tonight.
Well, its about like anywhere, sometimes its wonderful as good as Bortle 2 while other times it can be cloudy for many nights in a row. On average its a Bortle 3 in quality. With the elevation, nearly 2,800 ft ASL, it is cooler in the summer at night than compared to home which is less than 100 ft ASL. Another plus is that even though I've seen a few mosquitoes in the summer, I've never been bitten, so they are not an issue.

To give you a sense of my observing over there, I have three reports below yours on this page from this month over there. Having the combination of aperture and darker skies is superb, as you well know. :)
Alan

Astro Sky 17.5 f/4.5 Dob || Apertura AD12 f/5 Dob || Zhumell Z10 f/4.9 Dob
ES AR127 f/6.5 & ED80 f/6 on Twilight-II || Apertura 6" f/5 Newtonian on Twilight-I
TV Ethos 100° 21mm, 13mm || ES 82° 24mm, 18mm || Vixen LVW 65° 22mm
Pentax XW 70° 10mm, 7mm, 5mm || barlows
DGM NPB Filter || Orion Ultra Block, O-III and Sky Glow Filters || Baader HaB Filter
Primary Field Atlases: Interstellarum and Uranometria All-Sky Edition
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Astronomers, we look into the past to see our future." (me)
"Seeing is in some respect an art, which must be learnt." (William Herschel)
"What we know is a drop, what we don't know is an ocean." (Sir Isaac Newton)
"The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me...." (Blaise Pascal)
"No good deed goes unpunished." (various)
"I have become comfortably numb." (Roger Waters)
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Re: Patrick's January 2021 Reports

#7

Post by patrickdives »

I'm going to take a look at your reports. I'm looking forward to them.
Equipment: Obsession Classic 15, Televue Ethos (13, 21, 6) Televue Nagler (22, 31), Explore Scientific (6.7, 18),
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Post by patrickdives »

1-23-21 It was an enjoyable evening observing. The sky was cloud free and the transparency was good. I lit the firepit with some trouble due to no starter logs and the wood I chopped yesterday was wet even though the trees were down for about 6 months. After a bit, we had a roaring fire going to warm up by with the 28F temp.

19:00 M-34 Televue Ethos 21mm at 94x Televue Ethos 13mm at 152x I used the 21mm to align the target. I concentrated my viewing on the arms that came off the open cluster and ended up switching to the 13mm at 152X. The stars were very bright and clear.

19:10 M-42 Orion Nebula. Televue Ethos 13mm at 152X. This never gets old, I absolutely love the Orion Nebula. I distracted my wife with it when I proposed so it will always have special meaning.

19:30 M-38 Starfish Cluster Televue Ethos 21mm at 94X. This is a pretty fun open cluster. You can definitely tell how it got its name.

19:43 M-37 Televue Ethos 21mm at 94x, Televue Nagler Type 5 31mm at 64x Object was visible despite Moon glow. It had spiral arms coming off it.

20:34 M-36 Televue Ethos 21mm at 94X. Very nice open cluster. it had a spiral shape to it.

20:41 Little Dumbbell Nebula Televue Ethos 21mm at 94x and Televue Ethos 13mm at 152X with UHC filter allowed the best viewing of the nebula. I started with the lower magnification and after seeing the same oblong blob, I decided to take Alan's advice and go up to 152X. This was a significant improvement and the dumbbell shape materialized a lot better.

20:50 M-43 Televue Ethos 21mm at 94X I enjoyed another nebula in Orion. One that I often over look for its nearby sibling that usually steals the show.

I retired after setting the scope to track the Orion Nebula, with plans to resume viewing at 0400. The plan was to grab some unobserved Messier objects. After the alarm went off and I went outside, the sky was overcast, with stars peaking out. The battery on the scope was dead. I recently ordered a replacement since it is 3 years old. I'm not sure if the small battery can't handle all night tracking or it was just long in the tooth? I may move into using the powered ground board if the new battery doesn't last longer. Better find out the battery shortcomings in my yard than a special observing night.
Equipment: Obsession Classic 15, Televue Ethos (13, 21, 6) Televue Nagler (22, 31), Explore Scientific (6.7, 18),
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Re: Patrick's January 2021 Reports

#9

Post by messier 111 »

very nice nights out , thx .
I LOVE REFRACTORS . :observer: :sprefac: :Astronomer1: :galleleo: :telescopewink:

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Re: Patrick's January 2021 Reports

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Post by kt4hx »

Glad going up to the 13mm Ethos worked better for you. As long as the seeing supports it, going higher on planetaries is a good ploy. BTW, I noticed you said the 13mm Ethos gives you 152x. I think that is a typo because if I understand your scope, you have a focal length of 1727mm, so dividing that by 13mm would yield 132x. In my 17.5 inch scope with its 1987.55 focal length, I get 152x with my Ethos 13mm. No worries, just something I noticed.

I liked your comment regarding M43 and that highlights something that observers need to realize. While the showpiece objects are beautiful and often entrancing, one needs to be sure they pull their attention away to check the field surrounding these objects. They may be rewarded with more than meets their eye initially. Excellent observations.
Alan

Astro Sky 17.5 f/4.5 Dob || Apertura AD12 f/5 Dob || Zhumell Z10 f/4.9 Dob
ES AR127 f/6.5 & ED80 f/6 on Twilight-II || Apertura 6" f/5 Newtonian on Twilight-I
TV Ethos 100° 21mm, 13mm || ES 82° 24mm, 18mm || Vixen LVW 65° 22mm
Pentax XW 70° 10mm, 7mm, 5mm || barlows
DGM NPB Filter || Orion Ultra Block, O-III and Sky Glow Filters || Baader HaB Filter
Primary Field Atlases: Interstellarum and Uranometria All-Sky Edition
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Astronomers, we look into the past to see our future." (me)
"Seeing is in some respect an art, which must be learnt." (William Herschel)
"What we know is a drop, what we don't know is an ocean." (Sir Isaac Newton)
"The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me...." (Blaise Pascal)
"No good deed goes unpunished." (various)
"I have become comfortably numb." (Roger Waters)
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Re: Patrick's January 2021 Reports

#11

Post by patrickdives »

Alan, Good catch! My fat fingers and grogginess must have hit the 5, instead of the 3.

I am learning that it really pays to research these magnificent objects. Astronomy has me in a constant learning state and I think that's a very good thing.
Equipment: Obsession Classic 15, Televue Ethos (13, 21, 6) Televue Nagler (22, 31), Explore Scientific (6.7, 18),
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Re: Patrick's January 2021 Reports

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Post by kt4hx »

patrickdives wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:20 pm Alan, Good catch! My fat fingers and grogginess must have hit the 5, instead of the 3.

I am learning that it really pays to research these magnificent objects. Astronomy has me in a constant learning state and I think that's a very good thing.
I applaud your desire to embrace the learning curve Patrick. It is through wanting to learn that we progress. The more we observe the better we train our eyes to spot objects and in many cases, details within them. But also I encourage folks to research objects, both those you've observed and those you wish to observe. I feel knowing more about them, such as their nature, appearance and history, serve to compliment our own visual inspections, making for a more complete observing experience. While not all objects we observe are true visual showpieces, the more we know about them, they more they come to life, even if they are only a dim small smudge of diffuse light.
Alan

Astro Sky 17.5 f/4.5 Dob || Apertura AD12 f/5 Dob || Zhumell Z10 f/4.9 Dob
ES AR127 f/6.5 & ED80 f/6 on Twilight-II || Apertura 6" f/5 Newtonian on Twilight-I
TV Ethos 100° 21mm, 13mm || ES 82° 24mm, 18mm || Vixen LVW 65° 22mm
Pentax XW 70° 10mm, 7mm, 5mm || barlows
DGM NPB Filter || Orion Ultra Block, O-III and Sky Glow Filters || Baader HaB Filter
Primary Field Atlases: Interstellarum and Uranometria All-Sky Edition
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Astronomers, we look into the past to see our future." (me)
"Seeing is in some respect an art, which must be learnt." (William Herschel)
"What we know is a drop, what we don't know is an ocean." (Sir Isaac Newton)
"The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me...." (Blaise Pascal)
"No good deed goes unpunished." (various)
"I have become comfortably numb." (Roger Waters)
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Re: Patrick's January 2021 Reports

#13

Post by helicon »

A couple of great sessions Patrick. Congrats.
-Michael
Various scopes, 10" Zhumell Dob f/4.9, ES AR152 f/6.5, AWB 5.1" Onesky newt, Oberwerk 25x100 binos, two eyeballs. Camera: ZWO ASI 120
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Re: Patrick's January 2021 Reports

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Post by patrickdives »

January 29, 2021

Around 1700 I started a fire in the outside fire pit for tonight's chilly observation session. It is current 28F and supposed to get down to 23F. Around the same time, I collimated the scope and discovered the collimation not far off. Neighbors are planning to stop by on and off, beginning around 1930.

1830-M42 started off the night's show. The Moon hasn't risen yet. Cloud cover is excellent, although seeing is supposed to be poor tonight according to the DSO browser webpage weather. That being said, the Orion Nebula was very clear and the gaseous cloud cover had very clear definition and was its normal pretty stuff.

1845-M36 An x-shaped open cluster. I counted 40 stars before I stopped counting. The stars could be sharply observed. I started off with the 22mm Ethos and as I was observing the first of two shooting stars went across the field of view. I zoomed in with the 13mm Ethos and after a quick adjustment to the positioning of the scope, I was treated to the second shooting star. I really enjoyed this open cluster this evening.

1953-M37 Very clear open cluster. An orange colored store was noticed in the middle.

1955-M81 and M82 were both untraceable due to the Moon's light.

2000-Peter and family from down the street left to go home. Their youngest boy, Joseph, gets so excited to see things through the telescope. It's awesome. Mom and Jacob the second oldest boy are also eager observers.

2010-Pleides was very pretty this evening. The stars were extremely sharp. Each looked like little glowing nebulas.

2015-Uranus. As normal, I made a funny joke about the planet when Peter asked how to best view it. My response, "with a lot of yoga." Poor planet, the butt of so many jokes. Jokes aside, it was very sharp in the 18mm Explore Scientific and even looked blue in color.

2137-M50 Nice open cluster. The pattern looked similar to this Star Wars fan as an Imperial shuttle with it's wings up, as it goes in for a landing. I could also say it resembles a bird in flight.

2200-I tried, unsuccessfully, to observe the Little Dumbbell Nebula and a couple of galaxies.

2230-I put the fire out and put the telescope back up in the garage. It was a nice evening.

For it being the evening after the full Moon, I didn't feel too bad about the night's viewing session.
Equipment: Obsession Classic 15, Televue Ethos (13, 21, 6) Televue Nagler (22, 31), Explore Scientific (6.7, 18),
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Re: Patrick's January 2021 Reports

#15

Post by helicon »

Congratulations Patrick on winning the TSS Visual Report of the Day for your January reports!
-Michael
Various scopes, 10" Zhumell Dob f/4.9, ES AR152 f/6.5, AWB 5.1" Onesky newt, Oberwerk 25x100 binos, two eyeballs. Camera: ZWO ASI 120
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Re: Patrick's January 2021 Reports

#16

Post by Ylem »

Congratulations Patrick, that is certainly an evening to remember.
Good friends and clear skies! :)
Clear Skies,
-Jeff :telescopewink:

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Re: Patrick's January 2021 Reports

#17

Post by John Baars »

Congratulations on the VROD!
Telescopes in Schiedam in frequency of use : * SW 150mm Achromat F/5, *grabngo: SW 102 Maksutov F/13,
*SW Evostar 120ED F/7.5, *OMC140 Maksutov F/14.3, *Vixen 102ED F/9, on Vixen GPDX.

Most used Eyepieces: *Panoptic 24, *Leica ASPH zoom, *Zeiss barlow, *Pentax XO5.

Binoculars in frequency of use: *AusJena 10X50 Jenoptem, *Swarovski Habicht 7X42, *Celestron Skymaster 15X70,
*Kasai 2.3X40, *Swift Observation 20X80.

Rijswijk Observatory Foundation telescopes: * Astro-Physics Starfire 130 f/8 on NEQ6, * 6 inch Newton on GP, * C8
on NEQ6, * Meade 14 inch SCT on EQ8, *Lunt.

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Re: Patrick's January 2021 Reports

#18

Post by Unitron48 »

Nice set of sessions and report! Congrats on the VROD...well deserved!!

Dave
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