After the fantastic weather – thunder and lightning. Looked outside about 11pm and saw that all the clouds had cleared so took the opportunity to get outside quick. By 12MN, it was surprisingly dark and I could even see the Milky Way – A rarity in Limavady!
Rather than haul out my heavy lead acid battery, I tried out my 22Ah Tracer light-weight lithium power pack. This performed impeccably for the 90 minutes or so I was out. Eventually the cloud closed in, but I managed to see 5 new Messier objects and 4 Herschel 400s in Perseus.
I used the iPAD app “DS Browser” to check that I was looking at the right open cluster – you just dial in the catalogue number and it produces a DSS image and some useful information about viewing times.
M22 GC Sagittarius* “Crackerjack cluster”
M28 GC Sagittarius*
M72 GC Aquarius
M73 Asterism Aquarius
M76 PN Perseus “Little dumbbell”
NGC 1513 OC Perseus
NGC 1528 OC Perseus*
NGC 1342 OC Perseus
NGC 1444 OC Perseus
After some solar observing earlier, I set up my scope in the twilight and enjoyed the almost full moon.
I used a Baader Hyperion 8-24mm zoom to quickly zoom in and out on interesting features. I found that a light blue filter increased the contrast nicely.
Im very slowly working my way through Charles A Wood’s “Lunar 100” published in Sky and Telescope . Observed the following:
7. Altai Scarp
8. Theophilus, Cyrillus and Catharina
10. Mare Crisium
Once it got um, sort of dark (well, it is Northern Summer with a fullish Moon), I worked my way through a few new Messier objects.
M2 GC Aquarius *
M15 GC Pegasus “Great Pegasus cluster” *
M21 OC Sagittarius
M11 OC Scutum “Wild duck cluster” *
M26 OC Scutum
M16 EN OC Serpens Cauda “Eagle nebula”
And finally, the blue-yellow double star Albireo in Cygnus.
Beautiful weather continues, so fitted solar filter and sol searcher finder.
Safety is paramount, so I used duct tape as well as securing screws to attach the filter
Finderscope remained covered up and used the “pinhole” camera of the Sol Searcher instead.
I held the filter up to the Sun to check there were no defects or tears prior to fitting it. Overall, I would say that it reduced the luminosity of the Sun to about the level of the full Moon.
Enjoyed good white light views of photosphere. One very large sunspot with penumbra and smaller companion. Sun seems quiet – at least at that level. Would need hydrogen alpha scope to see corona.
I checked that my observations were correct by comparing with a National Solar Observatory live images webpage: http://www.nso.edu/current_images.html
Yup, just a pair of sunspots visible – doubtless all the real action is in the H alpha.
Here is the NSO image:
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Stepped out at 1115pm last night to look at the Northern sky – Saw some noctilucent clouds – Not that intricate or layered but thought I would take a shot. These clouds are about 80 – 90km high and catch the last rays of the Sun. They are said to form on dust from meteors and comet dust tails.
Im not that fond of clouds… interferes with my astronomy.
Its not really the clouds’ fault, I guess I should learn to love them more.
So heres my first attempt at patching the relationship.