Saturday, August 11, 2018

onto the deep sky (Blue Mountains)

12:04 AM. Slewed to next and switched eyepieces.

Found a bunch of oculars on the east table, uncovered. Tidied the eyepieces and covered them. Dew was building. Bobbled one. Oops. Nothing to see here. Move along. Nothing expensive!

Tried for Palomar 15, a faint globular. Started with the 27mm; went to the 13mm. It was getting low...

12:26. Nope. Dang.

Checked in with Steve.

Next. μ (mu) Draconis, specifically BU 1088 C.

Fetched another eyepiece from the cabinet. Tried the occulting eyepiece too.

12:38. Couldn't see the star in the Arrakis system. ST3P said it was mag 13.8. The software said it was about 6 times the AB split. Nope...

Next. Very short slew. HD 156162 aka SAO 30299 aka STF 2146. On my View Again.

12:42. A triple. I thought I got it. Yellow and orange. Super tight. None were bright. These were the A and B stars.

A member visited. He reported seeing lots of meteors. I hadn't seen any yet. Chatted with Steve. They were both having imaging issues.

Charline popped in. She had a look at the double.

Chris offered a view of the comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner in his Dob. They all headed out.

There was another star. Wide. This was the C element.

The software view didn't make sense. The brighter one was on the right or north-east; the dimmer was left. But I was seeing a pair on the left or the south-west. But was opposite. It was very marked. I wondered if it was an error in the software. The brightness values seemed wrong too.

The wide pair was obvious at low power.

[ed: The WDS agrees with the data values in ST3P. The designated system was 17131+5408STF2146.

pair: last observation, angle, separation, star 1 brightness, star 2
AB:    2015,   224,   2.6,  6.92,  8.8
AC:    2016,   235,  89.3,  6.95,  8.87.

Aladin shows the pair to the north-east and the single to the south-west. I must have been doing something wrong. Maybe I had the eyepiece field rotated the wrong way. Should have sketched it...]

Returned from viewing the comet. Big coma. Nice big oval. Nice tail. Really obvious.

12:56. Slewed to next. 26 Draconis. I wondered what was going on. 241 at 25. The angle and sep...

No joy.

1:04. Noticed the battery level was low for the recorder. Swapped in some alkalines.

Saw a rhombus thing to the east.

A and B were too tight.

Chris said he saw a streak thing left of the Pleiades. Weird. Was it Steve? I asked Steve if it was Steve? He wondered if it was moving. I thought it might have had a green cast. It was nearly vertical, quite long. Steve fetched his camera and tripod to get a long shot. I said it would be neat to take a photo of Steve imaging Steve. It had changed. It was more diffuse at the top now. The sky was bright with all the light pollution from Collingwood.

Chose NGC 6068 for my next target. In Ursa Minor. A random addition to my observing list.

1:15. I noticed that there were lots of clouds around.

Faint. I saw something else. A faint diffuse oval patch. A little cluster of stars beside the galaxy.

The gang saw a great meteor.

Steve checked his image. It was a contrail.

Hey! Confirmed! Two in the view. I did in fact see two galaxies.

1:17. Big one was centred. NGC 6068 proper was fairly large oval. Bright star to the east. There was a smaller, dimmer fuzzy to the west, NGC 6068A. Nice!

Offered the view to Chris. Asked if he saw the "surprise." Not a full on Arp.

Really humid. Lots of clouds. Bad in the north. Perhaps it was the stuff I had seen over the Bay when I drove in. Steve checked the satellite imagery. He saw stuff coming in from the north although it was breaking up. West was obliterated. I considered targets by constellation. There was a big cloud straight up that made it seem like the Milky Way was huge.

Moved to my next quarry, another double star. Near Skat. HD 215812 or STF 2944. Didn't see anything... SAO 146315. Verified.

Chris packed up.

Slewed to Neptune. Asked Steve what he thought. Seemed right. But tiny. Verified the field. Bumped the power. Two pairs of two stars off to the right, with TYC 05248-1358 1. Triton was mag 13.5. It should have been at the 9 o'clock position. GSC 05248-1363 was the same brightness at the moon. Charline had a look. The separation was 13 arc-seconds.

Whoa. Focuser released. Unnerving even though it can't fall out...

Put the 10mm in the mirror diagonal. "There it is." It popped! Charline wasn't sure. Steve saw it, well away, around 8 o'clock. Yep. Not a stunning image. Chris saw it. Helped Charline see it with averted. Dropped the power, to the 18mm, now that we know where it is. Crisper. Got it with averted.

I had aimed to Aquarius before as it was clear; now it was Skat with clouds... Ha!

Charline said "Good night."

Tried for NGC 6632 in Hercules. Right on the edge of the clouds. Che. Pfft. "That's all I get?" It's big but not bright. Mr McKinney had a look. Faint. Yep. Bright core. Pretty big. Canted. Not too exciting. Lots of field stars. One of the ones automatically added.

Focuser slipped on Steve. He adjusted the tension. We wondered if something was wobbly with the slo-mo. Rubbery feel.

Chose something a bit higher. ζ (zeta) Her.

Steve spotted a meteor. We chatted about SB computers. Power and focusing. He's running Ubuntu. Sounds like a very neat solution.

2:16. I saw a super fast meteor down near the right hand side of Cap. Got one!

Chris headed to bed.

More clouds.

Considered the next. Something in Cygnus. Ah, one of the Caldwells. The Cocoon Nebula aka IC 5146. Combo nebula and star cluster. Steve said he had imaged it but never looked. Whoa. Straight up. Kneeled on the floor...

I didn't see anything. Neither did Steve... We tried to figure out the field.

Steve saw a bunch meteors. One was not Perseid. Shut up.

I wondered if it was a dark nebula... [ed: Yes! There is B 168 in the area.]

We both saw a meteor. Going the wrong way. Then one through Andromeda.

We continued to sort the field.

2:35. Oh, wow! Super fast speck of dust. Left a train. Above Pegasus. To the right of Cas.

Clouds in the west. Felt like we were in a bowl.

I wanted something good to finish on. Go out with a bang...

2:43. Searched for a target. Changed the class to stars to filter out fuzzies. Lacerta. SAO 51698 aka V402 or HJ 1735. There we go. In the big 'scope, a nice multi-star system. Nice colours. Beauty. D was to the west. B was medium to the right or east. C was below B, south. D and A were the same colour, kind of lemon. B was blue. Awesome. In the Tele Vue, I could see A, B, and D. Oh. Discovered the TV101 had the 5mm installed (I thought it was the 10 the whole time). From my double star candidate list. A very good choice.

Done. Parked the 'scope (with Steve's profile). Steve was packing up too. I closed the roof. Closed the flaps. Fired up the dehumidifier.

3:09. In bed, in the Orion room.

That was an OK night. Disappointed with Mars (er, the elusive moons). Really cooled off, needed multiple layers to keep warm. No bugs. Yeh. Glad Chris gave me the big OTA to play with. A bit of fogging of the eyepieces but not too bad.

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