Sunday, October 23, 2011

Observing 10.22.11

It was a cool and very clear night. Unfortunately I was careless in composing my list - set Cartes du Ciel on the wrong date - and so most of what I intended to see was well in the East and wouldn't be coming up until the wee hours of morning. I didn't have the fortitude to wait for them, so I took in a few favorites and managed to catch some of my list between 11PM and Midnight:

  • NGC7479, Herschel 400, Barred Spiral Galaxy
Very faint and hardly larger than surrounding stars with a 25mm eyepiece. The thing that gave it away was the fuzziness. Magnifying didn't help with clarity, but did help with certainty.

  • NGC524, Herschel 400, Spiral Galaxy
  • NGC488, Herschel 400, Spiral Galaxy
  • NGC437, Herschel 400, Elliptical Galaxy
Like the galaxy in Pegasus, these were recognizable only as faint, tiny smudges. Magnification helped only slightly.

  • NGC246, Herschel 400, The Skull Nebula
A fitting one for the final days of October, the Skull Nebula was smaller but a little clearer than the galaxies in the 25mm eyepiece. The 15mm yielded good results. I tried it out with an O3 filter but I'm not sure it helped reveal any greater detail.

It was a great night for satellites and shooting stars, and I also enjoyed the Wild Duck Cluster, the Double Cluster, Andromeda and companion galaxies M110 and M33, and The Pleiades. Jupiter was a good sight with very visible bands, three moons in a triangle formation on one side and a single moon on the other.

The new reflex finder is great. The lens area is larger and is not hidden inside a deep tube. And there was no problem with dewing up - that is until around midnight and the entire telescope dewed up.

Instruments: 10" f4.7 Dobsonian telescope | Oberwerk 20x80mm binoculars

Friday, October 14, 2011

New Reflex Finder

I've been using an Orion EZFinder for some years now and it is pretty much falling apart despite that it hasn't seen very hard use. The replacement is a UAG reflex rifle sight. The UAG sports an aluminum body, 7 levels of brightness, 4 reticles (dot, circle dot, circle dot crosshair, and crosshair), and comes with a rubber lens cover. Construction seems solid and the controls work easily with satisfying detentes. It is designed for a .75" rail, which is larger than the dovetail mount for the Orion finder, so I have some customization to do.My only concern is that the aluminum body will be more prone to condensation than the plastic one. But we'll find out in practice. The UAG sight appears to be identical to Orion's EZFinder Deluxe, and I got it from Amazon for less than half of Orion's price.