Monday, June 07, 2010
Observing the Pleiades with binoculars

Last winter I made a detailed sketch of the Pleiades (M45) in Taurus. The sketch was made outdoors using a felt-tip pen and white copy paper. Later this spring I scanned the sketch and processed it using Photoshop. The instrument used during the observation was an 8x42 wide angle binocular, with a field of view of 8.2 degrees, mounted on the SkyWindow mirror mount. For a detailed observing report and further background info, please visit my website dedicated to double stars and open clusters,


Click on the image to enlarge

Posted by Math on 06/07 at 03:36 PM | (0) Comments | filed in: Deepsky binocular | Deepsky observing | Print
Sunday, June 06, 2010
Observing deepsky objects with a binoviewer......
I finally had a chance to test my new binoviewer on some deepsky objects, and I must admit, it did not disappoint me. Of course the binoviewer is not very useful on the larger open clusters or on double stars, but on objects with some kind of "surface" like planetary nebulae and globular clusters, it is definitely an improvement over the view with just a single eye. I had a look at three globulars, M13 and M92 in Hercules and M56 in Lyra. All objects were viewed at a magnification of 217x.

M13 was simply stunning, watching it drift across the field like a giant spider with several legs of stars stretching out from the crowded centre, a very large and attractive globular cluster. M92 was a very different story. Compared to M13, M92 is very compact, with not so many outlying stars, but with a very bright core. M56 surprised me. Until now, from my suburban backyard, it looked very dim, a faint smudge of light with little or no detail. But now, even during the period we call the grey nights (it doesn't get really dark), I saw M56 partially resolved in individual stars, thanks to the observation with both eyes.

Below you see a comparison of the three globular clusters from the POSS-1. The National Geographic Society - Palomar Observatory Sky Atlas (POSS-I) was made by the California Institute of Technology with grants from the National Geographic Society. All three images cover an area of 1 degree by 1 degree.


After the globular clusters I had a go at a few planetary nebulae, The Blinking planetary (NGC 6826) and Hidden Treasure 78 (NGC6210). The sight of the blinking planetary amazed me. For the first time ever I saw this small nebula in full color, right at first site. A small blue-green patch of light. During earlier observations of this nebula, I always had trouble to see the color. NGC 6210 in Hercules was jumping at me with a bright blue color. Is it easier to see color with two eyes?

After tonight I definitely know that the binoviewer will be used for observing smaller deepsky objects like globulars, planetary nebulae and galaxies. But I am also very curious what this binoviewer will do on extended nebulae, like M42 or M17.

Posted by Math on 06/06 at 10:21 AM | (0) Comments | filed in: Equipment | Deepsky observing | Print
Saturday, June 05, 2010
First light for the binoviewer
Today I tested my new binoviewer on the Sun. I directly connected the Baader Maxbright to the Herschel Prism on my 4-inch refractor. I had to use a 1.7 corrector to get into focus. With the 25mm Televue plossls, I achieved a magnification of 70x. My first impression was stunning, what a detail! A glowing green Sun set against a pitch-black background. But what really amazed me was the intricate detail I could see both in the sunspots of active region 1076, as in the area surrounding it. Very clear were the faculae around the whole region.

Below you see an image of the binoviewer. I also shot two pictures of the active region with the Coolpix 4500. However, the live view through the binoviewer/herschel shows much more detail than I can record with my camera.




Posted by Math on 06/05 at 03:31 PM | (0) Comments | filed in: Equipment | Solar scraps | Print
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
The Sun is a little active again
Hi all,

On Monday the 24th of May I shot a few images of the Sun with my Coolpix 4500 connected to a 32mm Plossl eyepiece. The first image shows a large prominence. The image was shot through the Coronado PST. The second and third image were shot through the Herschel prism, mounted on a 4-inch refractor. The filters used are a Baader Kontinuum filter and a neutral density 3.0 filter, also from Baader.You can click on all three images to enlarge them.




Posted by Math on 06/02 at 03:41 PM | (0) Comments | filed in: Solar log | Solar scraps | Print
Monday, November 30, 2009
Update on
Hi all,

I have to apologize that I have not posted a lot in 2009, but due to some personal things, my time was very limited. I did however put a lot of effort in, my new website about observing stars and starclusters. Right now I have documented 24 objects which I have observed in the last year, with sketches and very detailed observing reports: 12 open clusters and 12 stellar objects. In the next few months a hope to add a group of asterisms. Very recently I added a "search engine" to and an article about my observing reports. Just have a look at my new site. Any tips and/or comments are of course appreciated.

And here's a sketch of M44 that made it into Astronomy Sketch of the Day:


Anyway, I hope to post a little more in my blog again in the next months.

Clear skies to all of you..........

Posted by Math on 11/30 at 08:27 AM | (0) Comments | filed in: Deepsky observing | Print
Friday, August 14, 2009
NGC 2420 in Gemini


Just a quick update on my new website I added another sketch to the open cluster section. Last winter I observed NGC 2420 in Gemini. This little cluster lies in the neighbourhood of the Eskimo Nebula, For a detailed observing report, some info on the discovery of this cluster, a finder chart and other interesting things on NGC 2420, please follow this link to NGC 2420 on



Posted by Math on 08/14 at 04:18 PM | (0) Comments | filed in: Deepsky observing | Print
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
eta Persei
eta Persei is a bright double star, placed within a striking asterism. When I was writing my notes on this double, I found out the collecting the right data on individual stars is sometimes much more complicated than you think. I got some help from an Austrian astro-photograpeher, Peter Wienerroither. His image of eta Persei was a great help identifying all the components of eta Persei. To read the full report, just follow this link to StarObserver.


Posted by Math on 06/17 at 05:47 AM | (0) Comments | filed in: Deepsky observing | Print
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
NGC 6910 The Rocking Horse Cluster
NGC 6910, a small and compact open cluster in Cygnus. When observing this open cluster you see bright yellow stars, that are in fact B-stars. So they should appear white. What causes the yellowish appearance is explained in this article, where I got some great help from Professor James Kaler, author of some of the best books on stars, and Dr. Franz Gruber, who sent me a few magnificent deepsky images of the Cygnus area to illustrate the high degree of nebulosity in the Cygnus area. To read the full story, and have a look at the wonderful images of Dr. Franz Gruber, follow this link to


Image by Dr. Franz Gruber

Posted by Math on 06/10 at 04:30 AM | (0) Comments | filed in: Deepsky observing | Print
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