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Messages - Peter Natscher

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Observing Reports / Re: Pinnacles West with SCAC
« on: July 23, 2017, 11:41:22 AM »
Four of us were set up at the Pinnacles NP East side in the Bear Gulch Day Use Area parking lot.  SJAA had a large group back near the park's entrance.  We were a good 5 miles west farther inside the park towards the mountain ridges and trail heads.  The drive there took slightly longer than a drive to Dino for me from Monterey - 1hr25min.  Dave C. from Palo Alto made the drive south on 101 and 25 in 1hr30mins!  Horizons are aren't as good as the West side with Sagittarius barely clearing the east mountain top.  It was my first visit to the East side since 1975.  Jeff Weiss, Al Howard, Dave Cooper and myself were set up in a parking lot surrounded with some trees and mountain ridges blocking 17°-20° of the sky up from the horizon.  I had to change my observing list after seeing that I wasn't going to observe Sagittarius very much as planned as it partially passed behind a few trees in its movement west.  Spent more time with planetaries higher up in Aquila and Cygnus.  We had very dark skies SQL 21.76 and decent seeing in 65° shirt sleeve weather all night. Upon arrival at 6pm the temp. was 95°F.  A NELM 6.5 sky does wonders for a modest 16" telescope.  The tea pot sat on the mountain top still allowing me to grab one stellar planetary in Sagittarius for a sketch - NGC 6567.  I would go to the East side again during cooler and less populated times, perhaps during the late fall through early spring. During summer time, there are lots of all-night hikers with bright head lamps walking by ;(  The park has a 24hr activity policy.

Rants and Off Topic / Re: Welcome Back Brad Franzella!
« on: July 12, 2017, 07:02:24 PM »
I found a photo of Brad (at center with green shirt) and the TAC group attending the 2003 Alan Nelms Star Party in the Summit Lakes South camping grounds at Lassen Volcanic National Park.  Didn't we get rained out that trip?
Double click on photo to enlarge.

Observing Reports / Re: Old Time Fun At Montebello.
« on: July 05, 2017, 07:26:03 AM »
Hard to believe anyone looks like me.  We all have doubles, though.

Flash back to the 90's at Montebello: Where was Mike Shade and his fabulous potato gun?

TAC Imaging / Re: Jupiter stereo pair
« on: May 24, 2017, 06:48:51 AM »
Way Cool bringing the two images together with my eyes.  What telescope setup did you use for these images?

TAC Visual / Jupiter Double Shadow Transit, May 25, 2017
« on: May 23, 2017, 06:25:21 PM »
There will be another Jupiter double shadow transit from Europa and Io between 10:50pm and 12:10AM, with Europa leading.

Observing Intents / Re: Observing This Week and Weekend?
« on: May 19, 2017, 02:24:26 PM »
Thursday night At FP was enjoyable -- sketched galaxy groups and Hicksons of magnitude 14-15 in a NELM 6.2 clear sky, calm, 50% RH, 48-50°F, 1.2 arc-sec seeing.  I'm observing and sketching the Astronomical League's Galaxy Groups & Cluster list.  It's sure taking me longer to see and sketch these fainter objects with my 16" Dob. than it was with my past 24".  I'm getting aperture fever again   ;)  Higher power (350X) does help a lot if the seeing is good!

A new issue has cropped up -- there were bright flashing strobes (3 strobes) all night long from the KSBW transmitter tower high above, even casting a shadow around me.   >:(  I wonder how long this has been --  this wasn't happening a couple of months ago.

TAC Visual / Jupiter Double Shadow Transit Tonight, May 18, 2017
« on: May 18, 2017, 12:36:31 PM »
There's going to be a double shadow transit on Jupiter tonight from 8:52pm until 9:40pm.  The shadow's of Io and Europa will be seen traveling westward across Jupiter, with Europa leading.  Brighter moon Io will be transiting westward over the darker North Equatorial Belt if you can pick it out.

Observing Intents / Re: Observing This Week and Weekend?
« on: May 18, 2017, 11:53:01 AM »
Yep, the forecast for tonight is very good so I'm heading up to FP for a night of observing, and if the weather holds then Saturday too.  Go lots of sketching to do in galaxy land.

Observing Intents / Observing This Week and Weekend?
« on: May 17, 2017, 11:16:16 AM »
The skies have cleared and I'm planing to observe at a local dark site the next few days.  Initially I would like to get out Thursday and Saturday nights.  Anyone game for one of our choice locations?

Observing Intents / Re: New Moon weekend
« on: April 29, 2017, 08:21:17 AM »
I've observed with a 'biggish' 4 day old Moon before.  Luna will be only 24 degrees up in the west.  Transparency will be very good.  Just look at objects overhead and to the east.  Wagner and I did just that from Coulter Row one night a 'few' years ago.  Was a good night spotting mag 14 galaxies.

Observing Intents / OI - Fremont Peak -- FPOA Area 4-29-2017
« on: April 28, 2017, 07:59:05 PM »
OI - Fremont Peak FPOA area. Last chance April observing ;)  Wx forecast looks great!  4 day old Moon sets by 11:45pm but there's still darkness after that.

Observing Intents / Re: New Moon weekend
« on: April 17, 2017, 06:58:07 PM »
Forecast shows plenty of sun and clear skies for this weekend starting Thurs/Fri.  I might do FP or Pinnacles West main parking lot Thursday night cuz I will be up in Oregon this weekend.  Hoping the following weekend 4/29 forecast remains sunny also --  although there's a 3 day old waxing Moon setting high up in W. Gemini later on Saturday 4/29.

Observing Reports / Planetaries In Puppis
« on: March 29, 2017, 10:54:04 AM »
The weather was very good Tuesday night for observing a few planetary nebula with my 16" f/4.5 Dob from the FPOA Observatory on Fremont Peak last night, March 28, 2017.  Temperature was in the 50°F range with no dew, 70%RH, and light occasional wind that didn't affect the seeing.  The SQM by 10pm was 20.94. The seeing was very good at 1 arc-sec and transparency good for viewing my target objects positioned at -14°, -18°, -27° declination.I wanted to capture three small and medium size planetaries lying in Puppis before this winter time constellation disappears for another nine months.  Manually located and observed were:

NGC 2438 Puppis; RA 07 41 Dec -14 44; mag 11; 73"x68".
Moderate size circular ring nebula, ghostly grey in appearance with slightly darker center. Nebula easily spotted at 100X. At 350X, ring appeared uneven in brightness. A faint field star positioned at nebula's dark center but not the central star. Northern side of ring appeared brighter. NPB and OIII narrowband filters similarly enhance nebula shape and ring uneveness.

NGC 2452 Puppis; RA 07 47 Dec -27 20; mag 12.2; 31"x24".
Smaller disk shaped nebula among many field stars, grey in color and spotted at 100X. At 350X, uneven in brightness with north and south ends being brighter.

NGC 2440 Puppis; RA 07 41 Dec -18 12; mag 9.4; 74"x42".
Nebula was easily located at 100X as a small grey hazy oval patch with brighter center. With 350X, much detail was seen within the core as two small bright knots (NW-SE orientation) connected by a "U" shaped bridge bending north-westward between the two.  The elongated halo was finely extended at least 80 min in length. Use of NPB and OIII filters both enhanced the core area and halo.

Observing Intents / Re: Observing Tuesday NIght?
« on: March 27, 2017, 10:51:03 AM »
Going to Fremont Peak after all since the latest forecast shows the RH% considerably lower.  I'll be at the FPOA observatory offering a great S. horizon view into Puppis. I want to observe and sketch three planetaries in Puppis before that constellation is no longer visible by April new Moon.

Observing Intents / Observing Tuesday NIght?
« on: March 27, 2017, 07:45:40 AM »
The weather forecast looks good for Tuesday night at our observing sites.  It’s New Moon on Tuesday!  The Moon sets too late for Friday and the weekend observing.  Anyone interested in getting out to observe Tuesday night?

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