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Observing Reports / The partial eclipse from Palo Alto
« Last post by buynoski on Today at 11:05:14 AM »
     At first it looked like a complete cloud-out, but we got a fairly long break running from before to shortly after maximum eclipse. A small gathering of about 10 friends and neighbors got a good look at maximum eclipse of ca. 75%.

     The equipment in use consisted of a 60mm Coronado 0.5A-bandwidth hydrogen-alpha telescope, and one pair of eclipse glasses. 

     In the hydrogen-alpha, at 50X, one could see the roughness of the Moon's edge, i.e. the silhouette of the mountains on the Moon, plus the usual super-granulation on the Sun's surface.  The two sunspot groups and one large prominence, both of which the GONG website was showing to be there, were covered up by the Moon while we had our break in the clouds.  Seeing was surprisingly steady, very little if any noticeable "bouncing around" at 50X.
Observing Intents / Re: Eclipse 2017: Planets in a row for eclipse
« Last post by DDK on Today at 06:34:22 AM »
That's thoughtful, Marko. I'll be looking!
Observing Intents / Eclipse 2017: Planets in a row for eclipse
« Last post by Marko on Yesterday at 10:08:27 PM »
Just a reminder to those that do get to a location with totality.   There is one quick observation of 5 points of interest on a near line in totality.   The sun/moon will be next to Regulus and then below and to the left will be Mercury at lower left of this long line going up and to the right.  Mercury is always a lousy view as we see crescent only and super low.  Tomorrow is a time where it will be a sphere but only mag 3.8 but there is little time to really view it so just bino spot it fast.   if anyone is lucky enough to notice and it is really tiny but same brightness as the star 47 Leo at mag 3.8 that will be around 5 deg above Mercury (relative to horizon)    Anyway, besides that we have Mars at bright 1.7 or so and up and to the right 45 deg of sun/moon/Regulus also by about 10 deg.  As if not enough, continue on about 12 deg to beehive about on this same line which is a naked eye huge open cluster, M44. Finally  Venus 15 degrees farther which will be the brightest thing besides sun on this long line.
Clear Skies,   
Marko on 'The Oregon Eclipse Trail'
Equipment Discussions / Re: Comet filter?
« Last post by Don Pensack on August 12, 2017, 01:13:37 PM »
Many inexpensive O-III filters also transmit the C2 lines, so make decent "comet" filters.
[You'd have to know the spectrum of transmission, and Lumicon will test a filter for free or provide you details
on a filter they've tested.]
And since these typically have much narrower bandwidths than many "CLS/Broadband" type filters, also yield more contrast.
Note that they only enhance the gas tail.  The dust tail is usually full spectrum and usually best without a filter.
Equipment Discussions / Re: counterbalancing a truss dob?
« Last post by Don Pensack on August 12, 2017, 01:09:12 PM »
For looks, add two small finger-shaped pins to the bottom edge of the top side of the mirror box.
Buy a few dumbbell weights of 2.5 and 5 lbs.  Add the weights to the pins as needed.
If you only need one weight and not above 30° altitude, a bungee cord between the bottom edge of the top of the mirror box
and the rocker box below it will suffice as a "virtual" couterweight.  Just make sure the length of the bungee is the right length
that it doesn't start getting stretched until the scope is getting low.  As the cord stretches, the equivalent counterweight increases,
which is ideal.  If your eyepieces vary in weight a lot, a second hook and second bungee cord may be needed.
TAC Imaging / NGC 6946 Fireworks Galaxy and SN 2017eaw
« Last post by jeffweiss9 on August 11, 2017, 02:24:30 PM »
This is an 11.7 hour HaLRGB of the Fireworks Galaxy and its most recent supernova, SN 2017eaw (in the upper arm at 1 o'clock).  Taken during three different nights at the Bear Gulch Users Area at Pinnacles N.P., East. Conditions were excellent the first night with SQM readings to 21.80 (21.90 for another imager) and quite good the other two nights.  Great place.

Link at

Annual Star Parties / CalStar is 6 weeks away!
« Last post by CharlieWicks on August 07, 2017, 03:12:51 PM »

This is a reminder that CalStar is only 6 weeks away. There are still spaces left. Last year we sold out, so if you haven't registered and are planning to go, don't wait until the last minute.

Visit to register.

Clear Skies,

Observing Reports / Re: Globular Cluster hunting -- in Barnard's Galaxy!
« Last post by Marko on August 06, 2017, 04:05:58 PM »
No, did not even try for #1.  Of course I knew it existed due to how whole numbers dominate lists but because it does not show on MegaStar or I had not enough options on I did not go for #1.   I attach my finder chart used Oct 10, 2010 in very dark skies (you were not present but often were at this site).
Observing Reports / Re: Globular Cluster hunting -- in Barnard's Galaxy!
« Last post by sgottlieb on August 06, 2017, 03:36:48 PM »
NGC 1049 = Fornax 3 is the brightest globular, then Fornax 4 and 5 a bit smaller and fainter.  Fornax 2 is the faintest of the main 4, which are all visible in a 10-inch or 12-inch.

I would be surprised if you could pick up Fornax 6 as I called it "extremely faint" in the 48-inch, but Uwe Glahn writes that he glimpsed it a 18" from Namibia.  My full description was "extremely faint, small, very low surface brightness spot, ~0.3' diameter.  Located 7' due north of globular Fornax 4.  Pinpointing the location, a mag 15.8 star is 1.6' W and a mag 16.5 star is 2.1' WNW."   But Fornax 6 isn't a globular anyways -- it's either a group of extremely faint stars (~21st mag) or even distant galaxies!

There is a 5th globular, though -- Fornax 1, which is much fainter than the other 4 (perhaps close to 16th mag).  Perhaps this is the one you looked for?
Observing Reports / Re: Globular Cluster hunting -- in Barnard's Galaxy!
« Last post by Marko on August 05, 2017, 10:54:00 PM »
What is your count for Fornex Globs?   I seem to have 2,3,4,5  but called out 6 as 'iffy' and decided I would not count it but spent 20 minutes before saying 'no claim'.

I cannot say I recall noting any globs in M33 and this after a great deal of time was spent on assorted objects within it (mostly suggested by yourself I think, thanks).  is it too far away for globs?
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