Category: Deepsky log

Friday, September 02, 2005
A night of open clusters and double stars
On Tuesday 30th of August 2005 I got the 8-inch TAL 200K out around 20.30 hrs UT. The sky wasn't as clear as on the last two nights, but for observing some open clusters and a few double stars it would be OK. I also had a go at Mars and M77, and I did a little test comparing my two broadband filters, the Baader Skyglow and the Lumicon Deepsky filters. Are they of any use visually?

Posted by Math on 09/02 at 05:29 AM | (0) Comments | filed in: Deepsky log | Print
Sunday, June 26, 2005
Binocular delights
On the night of June 18 2005, Leo and I finally had a night with good seeing conditions to test the Baader bino viewer with the TAL 250K. The nights are very short in June but we still managed to get some satisfying views, not only with the 250K but also with the 7x50 Vixen Ultima binoculars mounted on the Sky Window.

7x50 Binoculars (Moon, M 29, M 39, 61 Cygni, Omicron 1 and 2 Cygni)
Around 21.00 hrs UT we started observing the Moon with the 7x50. It's amazing to see the sharp images that are produced with this little instrument. The contrast between the Mare and Highlands is very clear. The lavas of Mare Serenetatis, Tranquillitatis and
Posted by Math on 06/26 at 05:12 AM | (0) Comments | filed in: Deepsky log | Print
Thursday, June 16, 2005
The Summer Triangle
The days are getting very long at the moment, so you only get a few hours of observing time every night. Still there are always some interesting objects to observe, even with the naked eye. If you go outside around midnight you can see three bright stars high in the eastern sky, Deneb in Cygnus (the Swan), Vega in Lyra (the Harp) and Altair in Aquila (the Eagle).

Together these three bright stars form an asterism called the Summer Triangle. They range in brightness is from magnitude 0.03 to magnitude 1.25. Can you tell which one is the brightest and which one is the faintest? Maybe a good way to train your eyes and brains, learning to estimate the different magnitudes of stars.
Magnitude: the brightness of a star or any other celestial object. The higher the magnitude, the fainter the object.

On the map below (click to enlarge) you can see the Summer Triangle as a red triangle. Within the boundaries of this map lie two of my all time favorite binocular objects for 7x50 binoculars, the Cygnus star Cloud and the constellation Delphinus. In July/August I will try to observe these two brilliant objects. If I succeed, I will be back with some observing reports, finder charts etc. in the Deepsky Section (Binocular objects).


Image from SkyTools2 by Capellasoft, slightly processed

Posted by Math on 06/16 at 06:57 AM | (3) Comments | filed in: Deepsky log | Print
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Arcturus, the "golden" Bear Watcher

Last night the clouds parted for only two hours, so I quickly got out my telescope and hopped along a few deepsky objects. M3, M5 and M13 looked great but for me the most impressive object last night was Arcturus, the fourth-brightest star in the sky, and the brightest star north of the celestial equator.

Arcturus is a a really beautiful, magnitude -0.3 star, with a lovely golden-yellow colour.  Its spectral type is K1 and its surface temperature is 4.300 degrees Kelvin. This giant is about 37 light years away from us and has a diameter 25 times the diameter of the Sun. If it would replace our Sun, Arcturus would appear 12 degrees across in the sky (which Coronado would you need to capture the whole disk into the field of view?). 

Arcturus can be found at the tip of the big kite shaped constellation of Bootes.

Image from SkyTools 2 by CapellaSoft

Arcturus, or the “Guardian of the Bear”, follows the Great Bear (Ursa Major) across the night sky. The name Arcturus comes from the Greek “arktos”, meaning bear and our word “arctic” that references the Bear’s northerly position. (Kaler, The Hundred greatest Stars p.21) While observing Arcturus I realized that a single bright and colourful star against a black background can be as beautiful and spectacular as any other deepsky treasure. Be sure to pay Arcturus a visit the next time you’re observing! Take your time for a closer look.

Posted by Math on 05/10 at 02:04 PM | (0) Comments | filed in: Deepsky log | Print
Sunday, December 26, 2004
Observing double stars

On the nights of December 8 and 9 2004 I observed some double stars in Auriga, Orion and Gemini. The seeing and transparency was not very good (4 out of 10) on these nights. Even the big clusters in Auriga, M 36, M 37, and M 38 where no real fun to observe, but for looking at some double stars, it was proved to be OK. I observed from my own backyard (visual limiting magnitude 4 on these nights) using my TAL 200K, an 8-inch Klevtzov-Cassegrain mounted on the EQ6, and the Argo Navis Digital Telescope Computer.

I used most of my observing time for making field drawings of each double (or multiple) star. I sketched the double star components together with some field stars that where .....follow this link to read the full story and see all the field-sketches.

Posted by Math on 12/26 at 11:40 AM | filed in: Deepsky log | Print
Saturday, December 04, 2004
Observing the Andromeda Galaxy

Hi All,

I just added a new article to my site in the “Focus on....” section: Observing M 31,the Andromeda Galaxy. In the article you will find a little history of observing M 31, four of my own observing reports, what to expect when observing M 31, where to find M 31 (finder chart included), a table of data on M 31, M 32 and M110, some interesting links to detailed online photographic atlases of M 31 and more. I illustrated the article with sketches Al Sufi and Charles Messier.

I also would like to thank Sue French, Robert Gendler and Martin Germano who granted me permission to use some of their images/sketches for my article. Just follow this link to read the full story.


Posted by Math on 12/04 at 03:30 PM | filed in: Deepsky log | Print
Monday, November 15, 2004
Birthday of Sir William Herschel

Today 266 years ago, on the November 15th 1738, Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel was born in Hannover (Germany). For me personally, Herschel is one of the greatest deepsky observers of all time. He designed and constructed his own telescopes, the best there where at the time he was building them. He was also the first person to observe the deep sky systematically, which resulted in a catalogue of more than 2500 objects, the Herschel catalogue of deepsky objects. On March 13th 1781 he discovered Uranus. If you want to know a little more about this great astronomer, follow this link to read a short biography.

Happy birthday Sir William!


Posted by Math on 11/15 at 03:18 PM | filed in: Deepsky log | Print
Saturday, October 30, 2004
Deepsky observing with different instruments!

NGC 6633 and IC 4756
On the night of september 9th 2004 Leo (a fellow observer) and I observed with the 15x80 binoculars and Sky Window, 7x50 binoculars and the 10-inch Newton from Skywatcher. We started of with two fine open clusters NGC 6633 in Ophiuchus and IC 4756 in Serpens Cauda. These two big open clusters can be seen

Posted by Math on 10/30 at 02:01 AM | filed in: Deepsky log | Print
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