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Messages - Marko

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1
TAC Visual / Re: Colliding Galaxies
« on: March 17, 2017, 04:33:34 PM »
Way to go Mr Steve!     For sure a keeper of a S&T issue.

Marko

2
TAC Visual / Re: Solar Eclipse
« on: February 11, 2017, 12:39:53 AM »
I'll be visiting my brother inlaw in Tigard OR to then head down south a tad or south east depending on forcasts.

3
Observing Reports / Re: OR: Dino Sat Jan 28 - A grouping of fellow TACOs
« on: February 08, 2017, 10:43:27 PM »
meant to catch Beta Mon but was sidetracked by other space goodies.
So again, thanks to all the 'team' of gatekeepers.
We were lucky to squeeze in Dino prior to all the rain.  Fun night.
Marko

4
Observing Reports / OR: Dino Sat Jan 28 - A grouping of fellow TACOs
« on: February 07, 2017, 02:21:31 AM »
Went out to the Dino partial gathering of the TACo tribe on Jan 28.

Well worth the trip for the skies and several TACos i had not seen for a very long time.

All friendly faces including Joe Bob and Jamie as gatekeepers (I belive) and David C, Peter N, George F, Tony H and myself and I hope I have not forgotten any other but all were well known TACos.

Skies were very fair Dino Winter skies and with both my SQM meters of no value anymore I will just say that the skies were just dark enough to detect mag 15.5 to 16.0 small galaxies in Persius cluster in my 18" which is rather good basically.   Seeing in the later hours after 11pm was extremely good so extinction was the only issue and a mild one at that.

I was on 'casual mode' with a few tricky objects thrown in to keep it interesting but mostly I was there for the great binding of TACo  astro-buddies.

Started the night due to a prior OR from 3-4 of these same folk for the prior Thursday night who discussed Hind's Crimson Star.  This star I have found is best found with telrad as the 4th star in a rather dim line of stars that goes direct N to S on the 5 hour Right A line and starts with 'top' star at dec -6 or so.  Keep going south and bingo the deep red Crimsom star is unmistakable in an 18" scope (need a bit of photons to get colors).

Next George brought to my attention Ngc2022 which was a donut PN with faint center dropout for a ring ratio of 1/3 so the donut width was 1/3 of diameter.   Non distinct but clear where the PN dropped off.    Best view was my NPB at near 278x. 

As i was then taking my first meridian view of Orion for this hear assorted voices rose around me to voice a great Horsehead Nebula, B33, view that Tony had pulled up in 18" F4.2 with 24mm.  So I used 17.4 delos with H-Beta for a fine view and it still was present but not as distinct in 11mm with NPB.  The horsehead is nicely found by dropping south 2.4 degrees from  the trailing Orion belt star to find 2 rather bright stars and one trailing which sports Ngc2023 reflection nebula (a dim grey glow).  So on the leading 2 stars imagine you can drop south to a 3rd point of an equilateral triangle and that is where horsehead resides.    A difficult object but can be had in as low as 10 scope with care and always H-Beta filter and not too narrow of a field.

A quick view of flame nebula, Ngc2024, was caught while in the area of Horsehead but with no filter.

So after more inspection of M42 where I like to view it using NPB and no filter but also an r' filter to better detect the very faint stars behind the nebula I was happy with Orion Nebula ... for now.   There was an easy 6 stars later in the night and with the r' I sort of felt I 'may' have seen more but it was not conclusive so not claiming more.

I viewed many 'classics' here such as the M38, M36, M37 brought to attention as I like them, especially the more yellow star or jewel at the center of M37 which makes M37 rate very high in 'monster clusters' in my book.   Jamie first started the Auriga Cluster Fest by the way.  (NOTE:  I did say  'fest' here ...).  The smaller clusters close to these giants such as Ngc1907 by M38 and Ngc1931 semi-close to M36 were also noted.

It was then off to M33 as it will be going bye-bye soon so a brief view and the ultra bright active region of Ngc604 was as always so very bright.   I did not spend time to track down the several other bright active areas here but have done that in the past as a project I recommend for fair sized scopes of 11" or better range.

Somewhere around this time the classic Ngc7789 (Caroline's Cluster) which I always visit in CAS was viewed as was M35 with its find older cluster of Ngc2158 of course had to be visited.

And speaking of 'pups' we had some great views through Peter N. scope with the rather large separation these days of 'the pup' which is a white dwarf near our northern brightest star of Serious (intentional misspelling there for Sirius)

I heard Jamie discussing 'the reggae star', Beta Mon, but did not view this time.  It is  a fun winter object ... 'mon'.

So we are off to a more serious target now and went for the 4 main galaxy asterisms in the Perseus cluster where Ngc1275 rules as 'king' on the SW point of the main 4 galaxies that form the distinctive parallelogram.   Then I like to look for the 'perseus cluster keystone' which is made up of Ngc 1277, Ngc1274 and then Ic 1907 and the most difficult PGC12430 at mag 15.5 so just visible in my 18" using 241 or 282x.   After that which is a 'standard candle' for transparency by the way, move west to a sort of  E-W elongated cross with Ngc1270 at the far east.   There are some other easy ones near the core of what we TACos sometimes call  'Albert's Birthday Cluster' and so you may look for PGC12448 SE of monster Ngc1275.    I like to look for 3 rather broad spaced galaxies that cap off the main core where Ngc1264 is at north then CGCG 540-85 south and then hook to SE to close the chevron at CGCG 540-87.   There are boatload more but for quick views I stop here.

Next or somewhere along the line later in the night a view of M47 and trailing sister cluster of M46 are generally viewed in winter and check out that darling donut planetary of Ngc2438 that is apparently within M46 from our point in space.   

Another challenge object was the 'peanut nebula' in GEM or better known as Ngc2371/2372.   This object is small but with enough aperture and generally NPB filter with 8mm for 243x it is possible to detect at least one of the 'wings' of this object but they are very faint.  There are two 'wings' and in excellent skies with 24" or sometimes 18" scope you can see them both.  This night I felt I only saw the stronger wing for sure but 'imagined' i saw the weaker one (does not 'count').

Around this time George was taking a peek at Hickson 44, one of the brightest ones, which has some interesting galaxies with Ngc3190 as a centerpiece flanked by Ngc3193 and Ngc3185.  The tough one in this quad group is Ngc3187 that is near Ngc3190 and in a similar elongation.

it was then off to another Messier-Shoulda-Been,  Ngc2903 which is an enjoyable and large object for a non Messier.  Too bad he did not nix M40 and sort dup numbers use Ngc2903 or Ngc7789 instead for Messier 40 and Messier 102 but so be it, cannot re-write history.  Anyway, Ngc2903 is a wonderful galaxy in my book.

Late in the night I could not resist a quick view of the Leo Triplet with Messier pair M66 and M65 joined by the dimmer but more interesting Ngc3628.

Closed out the night with a big fat cigar, M82 and then we all packed it in about 12:30

Major fun night and the company could not be better!

Thanks to GateKeepers Jamie and Joe-Bob!

Marko


5
Observing Reports / Re: OR: Dino - Sat 28Jan2017
« on: January 30, 2017, 02:27:48 PM »
It was great to see you Tony!    When I first started getting serious in visual Tony was there with his 18" and alas it was STILL there at Dino.   Tony used 24mm to get that great horsehead view.    It seems that you have to sacrifice detail to get quality on that object.  I use in 18" as 17.4mm Delos for best view but should have poped in my 24mm Panoptic as I think that is the sweet spot for horsehead as Tony knew already.   

Yes it was a very fine night of TACo bonding and I certainly enjoyed it as a wonderful laid back and very shared set of views on the many scopes that were present  (about 6 or so).

Marko

6
Observing Intents / Re: Dinosaur Point Saturday night
« on: January 27, 2017, 06:05:29 PM »
I'm in for Dino Saturday.   Thanks for your efforts Jamie.
Marko

7
Equipment Discussions / Re: solar finder ideas...
« on: January 21, 2017, 02:28:28 PM »
A small and compact design for wide field scopes (or 100mm binos) is a couple of parallel plates 2" apart with a hole in the one towards the sun and a back plate with foggy plastic.

Your holder with the screws is nice to center things so seems ok as you mention.  Easy to test before eclipse anyway you do it.

the tube is fine as well if you have all the stuff to make it I guess.

Here is the TeleVue design that is the two parallel plates
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=329861&gclid=CIyomsaj1NECFcS6wAodZ5wEnA&Q=&ap=y&m=Y&c3api=1876%2C92051677562%2C&is=REG&A=details


8
Equipment Discussions / Re: Fits In A Fit
« on: January 07, 2017, 06:08:34 PM »
Well I suspect 'Bragin Rights' goes to Alvin Huey of faintfuzzies.com for his 22" f 4.0 in one of the modern VW bugs.

Alvin writes and makes available high quality observing guides on faintfuzzies.com by the way

Attached is pic of the 22" packed in the VW

9
Equipment Discussions / Re: Fits In A Fit
« on: January 06, 2017, 03:48:56 PM »
This coming from a guy who routinely packs as much as an 18" dob and another person along for trips in his Fit ... I am not as impressed Mark.    the 18" and passenger WAS impressive but it had that 'sardine can' impression.

10
Equipment Discussions / Re: Squaring the focuser to the optics?
« on: December 30, 2016, 01:38:07 AM »
Sight tube is the tool, agree.

On my www.astrospotter.com I have this link on my links page that explains by S&T what I will elaborate on below:

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-resources/how-to-align-your-newtonian-reflector-telescope/

The goal is you want the focuser to point right at the secondary mirror and should not be distracted by the image in the secondary so much except to ensure the secondary is basically rotated to face the sight tube as best as you can estimate and it's angle is very close to 45 degrees or 'normal' for most dobs.  Only after secondary mirror is centered in the axis of the focuser using the sight tube do you worry much about precise tilt and rotation of secondary to see primary nicely and that is stage 2 of collimation with stage 3 being primary mirror adjustments.

Your goal is to adjust the sight tube so that the view of the actual secondary is seen as a full circle and just fits inside the sight tube as you look in the sight tube.  This will make it easier for next steps.  So a proper sight tube diameter for your scope is one where you can back it in and out to have the image of the actual secondary fit just inside the end of the sight tube view.   One trick is put a piece of white paper on other side of the secondary cage so you can make out where the edge of the secondary is.   If your secondary is in a holder you can put whiteout on the perhaps black holder edges so you can make out there the edge of the holder is but of course none on the mirror itself.   

So once you basically see the full outside rim of the secondary and you feel the focuser is very perpendicular to the wall of the secondary cage you wish to adjust secondary distance from primary so top and bottom of secondary is centered in the sight tube view.  (This is with reference to scope pointing straight up)

Next you should be able to adjust focuser so right and left side of secondary are both same distance from edges of sight tube (the farthest part of the sight tube you see should be just larger than secondary image to judge best).

Once you are roughly set you may wish to use laser to center laser dot in primary by adjustments to the secondary then verify the sight tube view still sees the full secondary nicely centered in sight tube view.

 With optics that are way off all these things become iterative so revisit this process if you had to move secondary angles to verify secondary is still centered in sight tube.

There is some discussion of this in 'The Backyard Astronomers Guide' which is big book but loaded with lots of other stuff.   


11
Observing Intents / Re: OI - Dinosaur Point, Thursday, December 1st
« on: November 27, 2016, 01:51:15 AM »
I'm off to New Mexico to visit my daughter next day on early flight so I'm out.

I encourage any others to go for this (given weather is a go) as Dino is a paved lot, plenty of space and a great sky with only exception being low to the east.   Great south and north and no nearby trees to block that object you were trying to track as it 'hit' a tree.   PLUS if you are lucky you get a coyote serenade!   

If this is your first fall/winter night out do dress really warm including warm shoes and head cover.  I'm sold on sky pants and other sky cloths and you will be ok.

12
Rants and Off Topic / Re: Several Decades Later ... Re-Watching Star Trek
« on: November 10, 2016, 07:23:44 PM »
John wins the prize ... whatever it may be.

I would have never 'sought out strange new worlds' in  Ngc321 had it not been for it being in a nice little group that in my observation from 11/22/2008 was logged.  It is a tiny mag 15.7 galaxy which places it at or near the limits of my 18" dob from a very dark site on a very nice night.  I called it the 'Ngc327 group' as I used to go through Uranometria and find groups then make a little chart from MegaStar/RealSky and use them on any given night as a project item.   

So I was a little surprised to see Star Trek call it a star cluster in that of all the bright and popular star clusters many in Messier class they pick some completely obscure NGC object that is not even a star cluster.  Of course most of the viewers would not care.     I think they knew about NGC and 'winged it' without even checking or transcribed what somebody told them to use incorrectly for the script.

It is one of the episodes that many people remember and as in so many others they totally go out of their way to violate the prime directive because  'Kirk Knows What Is Best For Any Given Civilization'.   Everybody knows that.  Right?

13
Rants and Off Topic / Several Decades Later ... Re-Watching Star Trek
« on: November 10, 2016, 02:18:26 AM »
Having quite a blast watching Star Trek from the pilot onwards after decades and after I know something of astronomy and engineering.

Have had my engineering schooling and fairly deep astronomy hobby and then a couple decades since I last watched Star Trek.    Am loving it big time.  It's a brand new perspective where only I and the times have changed but the shows remain as they were so long ago.

Too much to discuss but at a high level all sorts of pictures of astronomical objects grace the sets and a lot of discussion of astronomical object types and so on come up.  Last time through I knew nothing of these matters.

The episode where a civilization does all the war on computers is about 8 or 9 episodes in and that is described to be in 'Star Cluster Ngc321' at the very start.   Your homework is to determine what is wrong with that claim.

The 1st Khan episode comes up and earth history is often mentioned with things like 1990 having world war 3 and so on which is classic for future space shows and movies to so greatly miss how long it will really take to get to some level of space exploration and so on.    Think 2001 for example.  Won't happen for many decades if ever for example.

Loving it overall, a real treat

Marko

14
Equipment Discussions / Re: homemade truss dobson collimator
« on: November 07, 2016, 05:01:16 PM »
For any new scope I get in this catagory I recommend a full check as follows.

- Get hold or make a sight tube and this will allow you to properly position the secondary mirror in terms of distance from the primary and rotation in 2 dimensions.

There are two things to be evaluating here.   

1) You must be able to see the full secondary edges centered in the view through the sight tube.  This is assisted by placing a white paper on the other side of the secondary cage or as I did paint with whiteout or white paint 4 or more dots at the very end of the secondary metal housing IF you have such a housing.  Of course never paint on the actual secondary, use paper behind it to see it's edge.

2) You must be able to see the full primary edges also within the mirrored part of the secondary or you have to adjust tilt and rotation of secondary.  If you do have to adjust tilt or rotation you may have to redo part 1 above in an itterative way till you obtain 1 and 2

Only after 1 and 2 are setup need you even try to do typicall normal field collimation methods using laser or cheshire (which I like).

Often people jump right to collimations and if 1 and/or 2 are out it is often a hopeless situation in some way or another.

Marko

15
The Thursday views of deep south were stunning and a highlight on my CalStar 2016 experience.   Having viewed Ngc253 (and it's wonderful glob neighbor Ngc288) many times I am tempted to say that the Thursday night views outperformed all prior observations of these fine deep sky objects.   No idea how it got so darn clear in the deep south but it did on Thursday.      Then to really top it off Ngc55 which I RARELY view (as well as NGC300)   were also perhaps the best I have viewed (from California) for these objects.     

Jamie and Carter were right fine neighbors and the 3 nights as well as the 2 days were really a highlight of my year as the Gathering Of The Tribe at Calstar often is.  This year was the 'ying' and last year we were 'yanged' but it all works out over the years.   Much thanks to the efforts of Chez with 'Dan The Man'  and all his minions.   Wonderful to have a cooked breakfast!

Marko

Till next dark skies,
Marko

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