OK, tonight is looking too uncertain now. Tomorrow has a much better forecast. I will cancel my trip this evening and notify those who were going to join me. As Scarlet would say, tomorrow, is another day, literally, will try again then! And dont you dare say you dont givadamn!
I think that’s the right call, Tej. There’s a very annoying blanket of high haze, which would make observing near impossible.
Tomorrow looks a little more promising. Sadly, can’t make tomorrow either, but hope it goes well.
Much better forecast for this evening, so I will be at Blackheath from 9:30pm. Again, anyone who’d like to join me, let me know, so I can call/text you if weather takes a turn for the worst. But its looking good at this point with at least some clear spells.
Target dishes: For starters, At 9:46pm there will be an ISS passby nicely arcing over Mars and Saturn. Then will turn attention briefly to Jupiter (no transits, or GRS but will look to see if Mike’s great bulge from the last main Flamsteed session is still there!) and then to the main meal, Mars. I have a #23a red filter which hopefully will enhance the dust storms and polar caps. Then, I’d like to look at a couple of ancient globular clusters, M13 (Hercules) and M3. Finally, for desert, will have a portion of Saturn Rings. If still there after midnight and skies clear and limbs not completely frozen, Andromeda galaxy would make a nice finish. Then I will stay on a while longer to image Mars.
I told a couple of members who might have joined me that it wasnt worthwhile coming as although there was some moments of good clarity in the end, it was mostly a hazy night despite the planets visible to the naked eye most of the night. So I was on my own but I tried to be productive by collimating my telescope at first opportunity of a visible star 🙂
I had to laugh at myself as I prepared for the ISS pass arcing over Mars and Saturn at 9:48pm as although the sun had set, the sky was still bloody daytime lit, couldnt see anything! I have to remember, that we still need to wait an hour for darkness to set in.
When it got dark enough, I viewed the planets regardless of the haze. Oh good, Jupiter moons dont look like triangles any more, after my collimation! As for Mars, I could see the polar caps and very faint regions of dust storms /mares but with my new 23a red filter, I was able to see those darker areas with much more contrast which was very cool. Dissappointly, with the same filter, the ice caps completely disappeared. So gain one set of visual features but lose another. I used the filter on Jupiter too and the bands certainly stood out but ultimately, the reddish tint on Jupiter puts me off. Its far more enjoyable to use on Mars, given it is the red planet, just a pity that it makes the ice cap less prominent to the extent of nearly disappearing.
Any of you, use colour filters on planets for visual?
Clear skies alert! Clear skies!
Looking great all through tonight for stargazing and daytime tomorrow for solar viewing.
I have a particular desire to do a Milky Way shot, so I will be heading out of London. I am thinking of checking out another campsite that I haven’t been to before, near Edenbridge. Dark sky rating appears to be very decent. Otherwise, I will head down to Knole House again and will welcome anyone to join me. I’ll bring my telescope to have a visual tour while I set a time lapse on the Milky Way. Will decide shortly where I will go.
We are at the peak of the Taurids meteor shower (4th/5th November). Its a very minor one at just 10-15 meteors per hour but what makes this notable is that it appears to be renowned for producing higher percentage of fireballs, last year being the most prolific. In fact someone saw one in London just a couple of days ago which by his description of its trajectory did source from Taurus constellation.
Unfortunately skies wont clear up until past midnight but when it does and finished with your Friday night clubbing, skies should be very clear, especially as it has been raining today, it maybe “cleansed” too! Tomorrow, looks even more promising though, with clears skies from 8pm-ish onwards.
So if you guys are out and about, keep a look out, you might get lucky…again, for some of us that were at last month’s Blackheath stargazing session 😉
I am feeling very starved of telescope use so I might take it out for a spin in Blackheath in the unsociable hours tonight and hunt down some nebulas and er…Bodes Galaxy 😉
I might do the same tomorrow or I might go test out a pretty large spacious campsite in the South Downs with easy access by train. If I dont, I might head up to Blackheath and let you all know, so some of you might like to join me, if I do.
Well its going to be cloudy both nights now, so forget all the above. I only bought two little colour filters, yesterday, I didnt think that was going to cause so much damage 🙁
I think you’ve had a lucky escape, Tej.
If you head to Blackheath tomorrow, you’ll be sharing your space with about 50,000 people, and several thousand fireworks 🙂
Lol, completely forgot about that.
You could always have fun pretending to be a complete loony, pointing your telescope at the fireworks and shouting things like “It’s the Taurids! We’re doomed! Run for your lives!”
“omg what do we do?!!?”
“…run! I’ll stay here and try eliminate them with this big orange sonic wave ray gun here”
“omg ok we will, good luck, hero, we all depending on you”
“yeah yeah whatever just go, and oh more thing, tell every one you pass by to stop the fireworks and turn off all lights, they are attracted to the lights, we need everywhere dark as possible…!”
We’ve had a few clear nights in the last few days. Pity I couldn’t take advantage but tonight looks to be clear skies again and possibly even tomorrow also. So I will head down to Blackheath this evening…well actually from 4:30pm to view Venus and Mars at their highest altitude just after sunset around 5pm ish. I will be focussing on Mars for an hour until it vanishes behind the trees/houses. Then I will remain until midnight-ish to tour skies. If anyone like to join me, I’ll be at the usual Flamsteed stargazing spot.
I’ll be bringing my Nexstar 8SE and I have a new toy, a ZWO ADC (Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector) to try out which I hope will give a clearer view of the low altitude Mars and Venus. Will be interesting to see how effective it will be. I know it wont be as good as Rupert’s Pierre Astro ADC but I effectively won half the value of it at an astronomy quiz at the astrocamp I went to in Wales, in which I won a £50 astronomy store voucher! I was one of 4 people in a team, we each won a £50 voucher. We are quite a close knitted team actually because we came runner up in the quiz last year too (winning a case of Baader Hyperion eyepieces) as a well as winning two other bonus masters quizzes (prize was case of beer!), so we make sure to stay good friends and keep same team ever since, lol.
Oh the ADC doesnt come with any instructions with it, so will have to figure out how to use it. From googling, I think I have to make the prism levers level with the horizon and then slide them to correct the dispersion but ensuring the levers are symmetrical? Not sure as it appears to be different setup for different types of telescopes and also different again if using a diagonal. Hope I figure it out before the damn planet vanishes!
Unfortunately, won’t be able to join you, Tej. Hope you manage to get some observing in… make sure you’ve got your thermals on! Minus 7 forecast on Blackheath overnight tonight.
How did you get on, Tej? Or are you still thawing out?
Brrrrrr! It really was freezing! I was wrapped warm though, used my dew heaters on my scope and had a hair dryer to rid the dew on my eyepieces and even grabbed a cup of hot chocolate from the nearby famous Tea Hut 🙂
So Ahmed had joined me saying he had nothing else to do apart from wife and kids needing his attention! As he was keen on looking into getting an ADC also, we planned to focus on using using it.
But then along comes a charming mother and daughter whom by coincidence had gcse astronomy homework to do in which she was assigned to sketch the skies for three nights. The daughter suggested to her mother that Blackheath should be the best place to get a view of the stars, not knowing anything about Flamsteed. The mother was shocked to see me and “no way, its a telescope!” in the middle of the park. I was still setting up when they came along and told them I will show them around the skies as soon as I set up. Ahmed soon came by and the Adc mission was abondoned as he turned into a teacher instead, educating them while I slewed to the objects he talked about. The mother was enjoying more of the tour as her daughter was mostly focussed on getting her homework done with her sketching. I told them about our regular stargazing events so we may see them again in future.
With Orion constellation now being a bit more sociable, Orion’s nebula was for me, the main treat. I had several eyepieces, barlows and powermates which i rotated through to test their performance. Orions nebula proves to be a really good test target as some eyepieces show up the fainter outer strands than others whilst the trapezium of young stars scatter more light in some eyepieces. Also enjoyed uranus and Neptune pushing my eyepiece power to around 6mm on my 8inch sct using both a 2.5x powermate and tv 3x barlow. Seeing was pretty good to do this but only south and west directions. Seeing was very poor in the north and easterly direction. Very contrasting. Strange.
I realise i have redundant eyepieces which i really should part with and find them a better owner so they can be enjoyed.
I left around 1:30am. I thought of sticking around for Jupiter and test my adc on it but as soon as i noticed the ICE around me…that thought immediately turned to packing up time!
Will post here again when I next do a clear skies ad hoc stargaze in Blackheath 🙂
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