/ Observations

Saturday, August 5th 2017

A different night with similar conditions to the night before but with an even brighter moon. This time the scope had been given plenty of time to acclimatize. Some high level clouds dropped the transparency a bit. My plan was to try and split a few doubles mentioned in Turn Left at Orion and to have another go at Saturn. I didn't really succeed.

Transparency: 3-4, Seeing: 2-3
Scope: 1200/254 f4.7 Dobsonian
Moon: 13 days. Waxing Gibbous. Alt 14º. 97%
Weather: Partly Cloudy. 11ºc

22:10. Saturn

8mm + 2x Barlow
The drop in transparency meant I only saw one moon. Eyeballed it for some time to try and catch the Cassini Division but again no luck and at no point did seeing clear up enough to get a super clear sight. With Saturn so low on the horizon I'm not sure how I can do this.

22:00. ISS Chase

I have an app that goes PING when the ISS is just about to appear. I forgot I had installed it and it went PING. As soon as it appeared on the horizon I quickly targeted with the Telrad and the 9x50 RACI finder...and thenI remembered to put in an eyepiece! 25mm later I was chasing the ISS across the sky. I can kind of make out the solar panels or the heat sinks but it was so bright the glare prevented seeing detail. Next I'll use a moon filter to see if I can reduce the glare. It's good fun though and the Dobsonian is excellent for this as you can chase really fast.

22:45. Epsilon Boötes. Double Star failed attempt.

8mm. T4, S2
I haven't done much double star searches so I wasn't really sure what to be looking for, in particular how far apart stars are meant to be. I'd done zero prep so I had no idea of the ε Boötes separation. I stared and stared and couldn't split. Defocused the star to do a quick collimation check and it seemed OK but very unstable - I don't think the seeing was good enough to split this. Further investigation in Sky Safari shows there is a 2.9" separation.

The color contrast, enhanced by the stars' proximity to each other, is so striking that the discoverer (F. G. W. Struve) called the pair "Pulcherima" for "the most beautiful."

- From STARS, Jim Kaler

How big was Struve's telescope!

23:10. M57 "Ring Nebula"

25mm and 8mm
I needed something to cheer me up, and despite the bright Moon, the Ring Nebula was an easy find but with not much detail.

23:30 Σ2474 and Σ2470 "The Double-Double's Double"

8mm
Before attempting Epsilon Lyrae I thought I'd have a crack at an easier double, Struve 2474 and Struve 2470. Easily found by imagining a triangle with 𝜸 Lyrae Sulafat and 𝛅 Lyrae at two points, the Double-Double's Double is the at the third point to the East.

In the 8mm the colour difference between the two pairs is very clear, one pair being white and the other yellow. This was an easy easy split, which made me think splitting stars wasn't so hard. On to the Double Double...

23:45 Epsilon Lyrae "The Double Double". Failed attempt

8mm
I totally fluffed this up. I did see two bright stars but again due to my lack of preparation I wasn't sure what to look for. In the same view I saw a pair of pairs, with each pair about 1' apart. I thought this was ε Lyrae. It wasn't.

Closing notes

I'll have to try again with splitting these doubles, it seems like a fun challenge but it wasn't meant to be this night. I think the collimation of the scope might not have been spot on and I know the seeing wasn't excellent.

I'm using an A4 notebook for observation notes and I've started using address lables stuck in it for rough sketches. This is to get alignment of objects for later confirmation and not at all artistic. That's working well and looks good in the notebook.

I found the eye patch to be a bit confusing to use - I ended up using my bad eye to observe half the time, forgetting to use the covered over, adapted eye. The neighbours light went on half way through the session and I end up staring right at it as soon as I lifted the eyepatch to start observing. The moon was dazzling too and not in a good way and the whole experience was less than enjoyable. Putting it down as a bad night.