Sunday, June 17, 2018

first light with RC 16 (Blue Mountains)

Saturday 16 June 2018. First light with the GSO Ritchey-Chrétian 16-inch telescope! It worked.

the RC 16 ready to go

But the skies were not great. Still, we were happy. Millie, Grace, Sailu, Tony, Ian W, Dietmar, Thomas, and myself herded into the Geoff Brown Observatory.

We viewed the Moon. Very nice. Ian did a walk-up hand-held iPhone shot. Quite good. Mare Crisium was obvious. Little Picard was stark.

Ian and I were happy with the collimation.

Pointing was wobbly. Had to manually align then sync on objects.

10:33 PM. Viewed something... I forget what... Jupiter? Saturn? Venus?

I asked for Porrima. They entertained me, viewing a double star. Asked people about the colours.

Ian asked for the 10mm eyepiece. I thought it was in the Tele Vue.

Sailu and I talked about red stars. The Garnet was not my favourite.

I created a new telescope profile in my SkyTools software. 16" or 41cm aperture. Focal length is 3251mm. Focal ratio is 8. It was nice to be able to use the optical condition of "very clean" for a change. New info sheets will need to be made up.

I wondered about a galaxy. We headed for the Leo triplets. Sky not quite dark enough yet.

Sailu and I talked about software. He used EKOS. We talked about kStars.

Millie and Dietmar headed to bed.

Sailu and I viewed M66, M65, and NGC 3628. We could see the dust lanes in galaxy 3628.

Rhonda and I chatted by SMS. Told her we were enjoying first light.

Everyone was gone. I considered my own programme now with the new OTA.

Ian returned. Asked to go to Jupiter as the sky was better. A pretty good view.

Slewed to HD 125906, a double star target. Almost exactly between the stick figures of Virgo and Libra. Suggested by the ST3P software from the Nightly Observing List Generator. Nice. Noted the tight pair in the centre. Noted a pattern of stars up and right for me (north), evocative of Auriga.

11:18. Reviewed the Virgo star field in SkyTools 3 Pro after ensuring I had the GSO 16 active with the Tele Vue 27 Panoptic. First use of the new telescope configuration with the atlas screens. Nice. Working well.

A triple. The brighter star was to the right or north. The B element was a touch fainter. Magnitudes 6.8 vs 7.5. I did see a faint star to the left or south. The closest star of the Auriga pattern was PPM 197487. I saw a faint star between in and the AB: GSC 5562-648.

I saw the C star, STF 1833 C. Opposite the PPM. Closer than GSC 5562-648. South of AB. Magnitude 13.9. Oh...

Hotel foxtrot! Suddenly realised with the bigger 'scope now I could see fainter moons...

Slewed to Jupiter... Started verifying the field.

Thomas dropped in. Told him I was going for Himalia.

I saw it for a second...

Messaged the super.

Helped Thomas. Guided him to the three vertical stars (north-west to south-east) with GSC 5577-564. Nearly equidistant. The top was slightly further. There was a brighter star to the right or north-east: GSC 5577-566. Further north-east GSC 5577-273. A bit fainter. Left or south-west of 566 was the moon. About the same brightness as the dimmest of the three vertical stars.

I saw it again, briefly, with averted vision.

11:39. Got it! Happy about that. Very happy. So my plan worked, using the new 'scope, that Ian suggested had 30% more light gathering power. The mag limit of the new 16-inch 'scope is 16.5; Himalia is 15.1.

Asked Thomas what he wanted to look at. He had no preferences. I noticed the handle of the Big Dipper up high. Suggested M51 (Messier 51).

Ian W arrived for a look at the elusive moon.

Thomas called it a night.

Slewed to a new target. The Ring Nebula (M57, Messier 57). Lovely. Lots of detail in the nebula. Could not see the star.

Ian chose M27, the Dumbbell. Big! Very nice. Bad point. I panned to it using the 101. Ian wanted to look at it with a UHC but I couldn't remember if we had one. Regardless, he liked the view.

Ian wanted Saturn... OK, fine.

We chatted about the new observation work for Sunday morning and general CAO close-out Sunday afternoon.

Added M51, the Whirlpool, to my list. It was pretty spectacular. Thought I could see The Bridge.

Synced then slewed to M100. Didn't see anything so I picked a bright star nearby. Synced on Denebola. Then back to the galaxy. OK. Super faint. No interesting field stars. Large. Lots of averted vision. Face on. Nothing like M51. The single bright star was HD 107726.

Sounded like Ian was closing up.

Tried for the comet again, C/2015 O1, in UMa. Used NGC 4088 to start.

A mottled galaxy, 4088. Canted. Bright star nearby. Streaky bright small galaxy "over there" (to the south): NGC 4085.

The comet should have been above or north of the galaxies. Near a backwards L. Nothing obvious. It should have been near the mag 13.2 star GSC 3457-80. Nope.

12:43, Sun 17 Jun '18. I was tired. Considered eta CrB. I had seen all the elements. Still it was on my View Again list. And it is a Fast Mover.

Synced and slewed. Tough. Told the software I had the 10mm installed. West to the 8 o'clock positon. I saw a rod oriented west-east. 0.4" apart as of May.

3 hours left on the recording.

Mosquitos were bugging me.

12:57. Chose HD 85458 in UMa. Used the HIP number 48369 in TheSky. Cool! Beside Bode's. Switched back to the 27mm. Probably not a good candidate. Really faint. Hold the phone. A quad.

A and C are oriented north and south with A to the south. C and D are a close pair but easy. In the TV101 one can see the A and C. In the RC16 all four stars are visible. A and B are 2.1" apart. Wow! Fun with the galaxy right there. OK. It's a keeper.

Parked. Did a big shutdown, thinking ahead to Sunday day proper...


That was a ton of fun using the new telescope.

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