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Messages - Marko

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Observing Reports / Re: Observing in Australia (Part II)
« on: December 03, 2017, 11:12:38 PM »
Dragon's head and Bean Nebula stand out in my mind too with Bean Nebula really a wonder even in the 12" I had used.  Of course Tarantula is the king in the LMC but there are just a whole lot of other very interesting and large objects in that beast of a dwarf (Can a dwarf be a beast???  Yes I think so in this case).

Check out a picture of just the nebula I took on remote scope and note the area is solid light nebula around all the objects.

Wonderful report Steve.  Yes a 30" in the LMC would be one definition of true astro bliss.    Nice.

Observing Reports / Re: Solo night at Dinosaur Point, yes fun
« on: November 12, 2017, 02:41:07 AM »
All fine objects to be sure.    Glad it worked fairly well.   Having other plans I was unable to join in but till another time, Clear Skies Jamie.

Observing Reports / Re: Observing in Australia October 15-22
« on: October 26, 2017, 10:09:58 PM »
YEE HAWWW!     Major Congrats on completion of the NGC Steve!   Way to go!

Agree that southern sky is well worth the trip with spectacular objects and yes, the LMC is close enough so you actually have a huge number of NGC objects in it, many with great detail but in another galaxy!   

Again, AMAZING long term goal !

TAC Visual / Re: Lake Sonoma vs Dino Point vs Pinnacles
« on: October 19, 2017, 04:21:40 PM »
Peter:  Suggest you verify your SQM against 2 other people.   I found with two units so far that they tend to get better and better readings till I realized they were out of cal.   Also note that any dirt or partially blocked sensor gets you 'better' skies.   So I keep black tape over mine and now I always have 22+ readings.   YEAH!

TAC Visual / Re: Lake Sonoma vs Dino Point vs Pinnacles
« on: October 19, 2017, 01:06:37 PM »
There are 2 Pinnacles so I would like to hear the reply on this thread as well perhaps for both Pinnacles.

As for Dino the horizons themselves are very low with SQM in ballpark of Lake Sonoma but a little brighter at Dino.  The far away but bright light on the Damn does make the east horizon the highest and one tends to put scope on west side of car to minimize darn light distraction when looking into eyepiece.

11 ORs of mine from 2007 through 2012 yield SQM values between 21.0 through 21.3 with 21.15 area being most common  (my sqm broke around then so not sure on recent numbers there).   Only at Lake Sonoma once.

I publish a map of common sites and typical SQMs here:   Has not been updated for a few years.

TAC Visual / Re: Dinosaur Point is on again for the fall and winter
« on: October 05, 2017, 05:13:46 PM »
Thank you so much for your and the other gatekeepers for Dino for your efforts.

Observing Intents / Re: OI: CalStar 2017
« on: September 17, 2017, 04:11:19 AM »
I'll be onboard.   

It is now about time for the annual speculations on weather and what not.

See you there,

Equipment Discussions / Re: Cell Phone Supplier Choices
« on: September 13, 2017, 02:37:37 AM »
CalStar (old site) was iffy with Verizon but could work for text because as you walk around you hit a sweet spot and a message could get to you OR search around OR climb up the hill.   I don't recall on Whisper Canyon so will let others chime in, I sort of recall it was ok there last year on Verizon but not for sure on this memory.  At DARC which I think is your question I get nothing for Verizon. You can get cell coverage near I 5 around 8-12 miles away.   But a really nice upgrade to network was done there recently as long as it is up at the time in question.  You 'may' get reception at the damn between Mercy Springs and I 5 I had been told by somebody else.  I have been really tempted to get rental satellite phone sometimes but its not cheap and these days to rent a sat phone MUST get you on some kind of terrorist list I should think.  LOL

TAC Visual / Re: Congrats Mark McCarthy!
« on: August 27, 2017, 11:39:18 AM »
I have always backed away from the PN list because of it's almost 'You must be a scientist' set of requirements.

Well done to stick to that regimented AL achievement.   The PN list is quite an accomplishment.  well done!

TAC Visual / Re: Congrats Mark McCarthy!
« on: August 27, 2017, 02:10:14 AM »
Yes congrats Mark McCarthy!   
Both the H II and the PN are extremely involved projects.   
The PN club is particularly involved in that it is IMHO the most demanding of for requirements.
One has to document multiple eyepieces, make drawings for EACH PN that is done. 


Observing Reports / Eclipse 2017 from just north of Salem Oregon
« on: August 21, 2017, 10:42:04 PM »
Have had a wonderful visit with my brother inlaw and his sister (my wife of course).
Have been all about to many great places and today was our main course, the eclipse.

Having zero experience unlike many other TACos I will say that it has been an unforgetable experience to be remembered due to it is so unlike our normal experiences and I suspect there is some primal wonder having to do with our sun and what is 'normal' for it perhaps.

Viewed just north of Salem with a clear sky that I suspect had some smoke but it was not something that one could detect easily if at all when looking up where the sun was placed. Traffic in getting there was quite easy starting at 5:30am from 5 miles south of Portland to site by 6:30  but the way back had several accidents from extra eclipse crowd so delayed 1.5 hours longer than un-cluttered.

I had setup a small scope to be a sort of projector onto a tripod holding a flat white stiff board.  This made us rather popular at this site where we had maybe 15 onlookers at this simple rig.  There were perhaps 30 cars on a great big field where it was $10 per person for a ticket to Antique Powerland AND we got admission to see old steam engines and machines included.   The optics of my 'projector' were not offering a crisp telescopic view but one could see the 3 sunspots well into the disk and lots of people were taking pics of the 3" dia image of the sun prior to totality (nothing on this in totality as all eyes were to the sky and loads of 'oohs' and 'ahhs' and claping in totality.

Here are the distinct things that make this unique in my book
- The darkening of the sky was extremely gradual as it is with partial eclipse then within a minute of totality you could detect the darkening at a very quick rate.
- It got colder with no sun as the sun became a thin sliver.  This is of course obvious but I had not thought about it before.
- In totality the direct vision of the eclipse was not easily explained but was just like the photos one sees with a great deal of corona radiating outward from a very thin but crisp ring with black in the middle.  What was spectacular was the dynamic range of dark to light which was shocking because much like viewing the double double in a telescope the great range of light to dark in a bright cluster is more spectacular at the eyepiece  than on any  picture or monitor since a picture or monitor image  cannot replicate the real optical range of brightness our eyes can appreciate.
- Rather by accident we saw the smaller spots of light shining through a tree onto our dark car prior to and after totality made each spot of light into a crescent.  That was rather cool and again, not expected.
- The sky was not as dark as I had thought it would be
- It was over so fast I never got to looking for the planets or even Orion which I thought would be nice.   Lol.

Unforgetable just the same.

I kept this a fully visual experience and tried to soak it all in best I could as the time in totality flies by far faster than you would like it to last.

I thank Joe-Bob and James (T) and several others for giving me a nudge to do this trip as it is about as easy of a trip that can be done for an eclipse plus have a great visit with brother in law.

Observing Intents / Eclipse 2017: Planets in a row for eclipse
« on: August 20, 2017, 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'

Observing Reports / Re: Globular Cluster hunting -- in Barnard's Galaxy!
« 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!
« 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?

From the paper i take it Sc6 and Sc7 are around mag 15 and thus doable with very steady skies and 18" scope.

Nice tip for a mini-project.  I enjoy poking about for extra galactic globs in nearby galaxies.

Another link that I found more accessable to that paper was seen at

I also attach a quick finder 1-page summary just made for my usage at a later date.
Both Sc6 and Sc7 seem to show up nicely in MegaStar with DSS so other DSS sources should show them fine.


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