Archive for October, 2010

The hunt for Rocky UV11

The Evening of the 27th October proves both different and exciting.

Earlier in the week Richard Miles, Director, Asteroids and Remote Planets Section of the BAA sent out a bulletin stating 2003 UV11, a relatively large near-Earth asteroid measuring roughly 400-500 meters across, is currently making a close approach over the next few days. In so doing it will become one of the brightest such objects for several years attaining a V magnitude of about 11.9 on October 29 and passing closest to the Earth at a range of 5.0 lunar-distances”

I had looked at this and was mildly interested, in the near past I had picked out large bright asteroids such as Vesta etc and historically at the University of Hertfordshire observatory I had undertaken a project to photograph a fainter asteroid so that it showed up as a trail, which was the extent of my experience in this field!

My good and very dedicated astronomer friend Andrew Robertson had also received and read the bulletin, clearly it excited him and he soon sent me a follow up message on the matter. We discussed practicality, weather patterns and tactics and decided to give it a go.

 Now Andrew has the capability to download the asteroids ephemeris onto his laptop and use that to send his accurate mount to the exact spot where UV11 is at anytime. I don’t have that capability. What I do have are bright friends ;¬), one of whom is working away this week, Simon Kidd, so he could join in, but Es Reid showed interest and wanted in!

Now with Es, a boffin of the first order a visit to the observatory, and these aren’t infrequent will involve feeding him. This occasion was no different but then he did bring a nice Haggis from the Isle of Lewis along with him. Having enjoyed this treat along with home grown potatoes & carrots (yep I do have other hobbies apart from astronomy), we moved out to the observatory at about 8pm local time. The sky had been strikingly clear and transparent but true to form as we opened up cloud started to build no doubt attracted to the 20” mirror!

We loaded the Watec 120N+ video camera into the focuser of the 20” and sent the mount to Jupiter with a view to synchronising mount and software prior to a star hop to Aries and the speeding stone!

Well 30 minutes of now you see me now you don’t with Jupiter saw us retire to the office and plan out the route of the asteroid. Using Richard’s ephemeris for midnight on 26th and 27th we plotted a path on my Sky Atlas 2000 in white china marker, we then estimated with some reasonable degree of precision the likely whereabouts of the flying stone at that precise moment. Comfortable that we were getting somewhere with this project a look outside revealed two things (a) that it had rained, lightly and (b) that it was now clearing!

It was now that a text came through from Andrew in darkest Norfolk telling us that he had found the asteroid and was tracking it in his Dall Kirkham Tak Mewlon visually.

The pressure had just been turned up, we managed to hop our way from southerly Jupiter to Gamma Aries in the NW, a mag 4.52 rather nice double star that was to be our launch pad to UV11 (sounds like sun screen doesn’t it? J)

It was around then that two disasters struck! In no particular order, my young son Aubrey came out in his pyjamas to wish us good night, in the dark and wearing his Mothers boots, he tripped on the gravel path and fell headlong into various buckets of rain water by the greenhouse! The observatory door opened accompanied by a sobbing, soaking, grazed and filthy little boy! Dad had to leave the obsy and take him indoors for comfort and cleaning.

The second disaster was due to a wiring fault as yet not determined, that saw the Watec camera pack up completely!

I returned to the observatory duties having been handed over to Aubrey’s Mum and swapped the camera with an older model Watec that thankfully worked.

We were soon starring intently at a monitor displaying a 11.9’ x 11.9’ fov of view which we had identified as the likely location for the speeding rock. Also contained in the fov where a pair of very nice galaxies, one large NGC772 and one small NGC770 mags 10.3 & 13 respectively, 772 showed wonderful structure and my fingers twitched in sketching anticipation, no time alas.

The phone rang; it was Andrew, had we got it? No we hadn’t but we had the galaxies was it close?     “Oh I watched it pass them an hour ago” came back the response.

Andrew gave us the RA & DEC coordinates from his handset; we used those to close in on ‘Rocky’ but what transpired later that happened was every time we used his coordinates by the time we got there Rocky had just left..grrrrrr.

We took a break after what must have been an hour of hopping from ‘it must be there spot’ to the next and staring at the screen trying  to detect movement, Es took the right half of the screen, I took the left, there was plenty of false alarms I can assure you!

We decided to go for a visual approach, embracing a wider fov. Out in the observatory the Moon now shone brightly and the sky was less than transparent. Using a 22mm Nagler that gave a 86x 0.6 degree fov. Once again the hunt resumed, the sky was far from dark with the moon glow and scatter but familiar objects such as the aforementioned galaxy duo and 2 particular stars mag 8.8 TYC 1210-290 and a pretty double Sturve 189 were soon recognised. Both Es & I studied the field, I thought I saw a mover but Es couldn’t see it, I then concluded it was wishful thinking!

Another call came in from Andrew asking if we had it? He talked me through the position in relation to Surve 189, this later turned out to be a deciding factor.

Es and I were both for giving up at this point; we had spent 3 hours plus in a fruitless chase. I came down from the eyepiece, and then changed my mind! I couldn’t take the ribbing from ultra competitive Andrew if we failed. One last go I said taking out the eyepiece and putting back in the camera.

Back into the warm office we studied the monitor negotiated the star field now familiar from the visual observation we stopped close to a 4 star asterism, then one moved! Bingo we had it J

We centred the asteroid, sent a message of victory to Norfolk and then spent the next 30 minutes watching this tiny star move across the monitor at around 2cm per minute, it was riveting. We tried to take a video to show movement using the capture software on the laptop, unfamiliar with this process I failed but managed a dozen or so single frames which I’m hoping at the time of writing Simon Kidd might be able to stitch together to form something of interest. Es in the mean time stole blue tack from behind picture decorating the observatory walls, rolled it into balls and periodically stuck them onto the monitor screen to mark the progress of the asteroid! Who said we aren’t scientists? J

Asteroid Clip

It was just about midnight when we closed up and Es left for home, having come so close to giving up I think we all, including distant Andrew were delighted that we had given it one last go! 

Dale Holt

On the Double

2010-October 23rd

My friend Andrew Robertson is a keen double star observer, before he moved to darkest Norfolk he spent many years under murky suburban skies he therefore specialized in planetary and double star observing as they are largely unaffected by light pollution.

A week of so back he sent me his list of 25 ‘Autumn Doubles’ with the Moon just 24 hrs past full and a clear sky I decided that I would star to work through them, visually I hasten to add no video camera involved and I would be working with the 6” triplet refractor.

Zeta Aqr was my first observation, very distinctly elongated at 61X split cleanly and absolutely at 169X into 2 delightful slightly creamy white suns.

Next I went for Gama Cet, Andrew stated on his list, “difficult needs good seeing”, we something wasn’t good enough as I couldn’t split it on this occasion and I took it up to 211X.

Another Gama next this time in Aries, a very nice sight comfortably seen at 61X looking even more wonderful at 169X, Andrew stated “superb” and I agree. Staying with Aries the next stop was Lambda, easily seen at the search magnification of 69X, quite wide a notable difference in magnitude between the primary and secondary, there was also a colour difference, I found the mag difference made it hard for my brain to pick a colour for the fainter secondary, I’m going for a white primary with a hint of reddishness for the secondary.

The 3rd star in Aries to be observed was Epsilon I got it to elongate at 169X which gave me hope of splitting at a higher power, using a 6.4mm eyepiece took the power to 211X and split them nicely most satisfying. I saw little if any colour difference.

A change of constellation to Pisces and a look at Zeta which was readily split at 61X, I should have said that I was using a Vixen 24mm-8mm zoom for convenience. Andrew stated both components white, I though there was something a little bluish about the secondary. They made a fine sight.

It was around 11pm now and tiredness was making itself felt. I put the scope onto Jupiter which was fairly steady at 169X; I noted a shadow transit pretty high up on the upside down globe so it would have been towards the southern polar region. I sent out a text message to a few friends whom I though maybe interested and turned in for the night.

A very pleasing departure from my ‘normal’ observing but very enjoyable, this could become a regular pass time!

Dale

Shy planetaries and galaxy duo’s

 
                                          I got out this morning just after 5am local time (after the Moon and just pre-dawn) I wanted to get some more observations and sketches as requested by Stewart Moore BAA Deep Sky Section Director  for his Lepus list. But before I did I picked up on a comment rather than a challenge raised yesterday by Andrew Robertson about the PN close to Mu Orionis  he had either observed it or attempted to. I think Andrew referred to it as Abel 12 but I may have got that wrong, I have labelled it as per my planetarium software as PK 198-6.

It looked great with the camera albeit b&w no colour, a grey ghostly shadow of bright Mu, excellent object. I just detected poking over a diffraction spike between the star a PN a faint & tiny star. I suspected that this was a secondary part of a stellar double act. I bit the bullet and drew it in. A little web research revelled that Mu Orionis is a multiple star complex. Andrew Robertson’s research indicated that I may have caught a mag 18.2 component! How exciting? link
 
With Stewart’s list I managed NGC1888 and got NGC1889 which almost touches as a very pleasing buy one get one free bonus 🙂 These are a delightful contrasting galaxy duo. click link
As I was in the neighbourhood I stopped off at the Planetary nebula IC418 still in Lepus, not on Stewart list but it would be rude not to as I was passing. This was tiny but bright mag 9.3 14″x11″ RA- 05 28.0 Dec -12 41. I was disappointed that I couldn’t pull out the bright central star listed at just over 10th mag, I suspect this was due to the similarity in mag with the shell, the eye can detect such subtle variations but the camera was ‘burnt out’ on the shell and lost the central star to that effect. The sky was also very bright at this point, I had to turn the gain right down to keep the nebula visible against the light background. I did get a hint of a empty centre (ring like structure) not sure if that is real? I have never seen an image of this PN.
 
I would like to have seen it visually but time had run out, I will revisit when it is an evening object. NSOG notes indicated that it was elongated? It looked very round to me, almost perfectly so! link
 
 
I hope you find this to be of interest?
 
I’m not going to post this on the Webb Society Yahoo group as it is rather like talking to yourself there, somewhat embarrassing & disconcerting.

Excuses

After a great early hours session on Saturday morning the rest of the weekend was something of a disappointment from an astronomy perspective. I received a second-hand Intes Herschel Wedge in the post on Thursday, complete with x2 dark polarising type filters and a Baader Continuum filter. On Saturday morning I made a flying visit to my optical guru friend Es Reid in Cambridge, the sun was playing hide & seek behind the clouds so Es & I got the briefest of views with a Le Soilel using the wedge fitted to a 80mm ED refractor, things looked promising but it was fleeting.

Saturday gave me no more opportunities to view the sun, not because it wasn’t seen but due to other commitments. The evening cleared out and the sky looked good. I travelled to a party giving a friend and his family a send off to an exciting new life in Italy and on returning home felt too shattered to observe L

I set the alarm for another early morning rising to follow up on the Saturday morning success but by 2am local time the sky was clouded out!

Sunday brightened mid morning and I got a look at the sun with the Herschel Wedge, it was spotty, 2 singles (1115 & 1113) and a lovely little chain(1112)

I now made an error of judgement, instead of sketching so I had something tangible, I sent 40 minutes messing around with my Watec 120N+ Video camera and filters trying to get a more detailed image on the monitor! I failed to achieve this (a) before it clouded over! & (b) before I had to dive off on another family commitment!

Sunday night it was clear again, Moon & Jupiter were calling to me but I had a social engagement with friends and didn’t return home until midnight, yes you guessed it, too tired again and working early the next am!

Glad I got that sob story off of my chest :¬)

Oct 16th 2010

A nasty wet and blustery Friday evening cleared out unexpectedly for me just before midnight. I only became aware of a clear sky as I was about to climb into bed! I had reached the point of no return as far as sleep was concerned but I did set the alarm clock with a view to rising early if the sky was still clear.

I awoke for the alarm shattered the still of the early morning and likely saved myself a tirade of complaints from the family. I could tell by looking out of my west facing bedroom window that transparency was only moderate.

I was soon dressed and brewing tea, the observatory was open just after 4am local time. Things then slowed down somewhat as I fiddled a faffed around trying to synchronise the telescope with the goto software on radiant Rigel, as I write I must put this down to being half asleep!

Finally getting things running I enjoyed a stunning and very green view of the Orion nebula through the 20” employing a 22mm Nagler eyepiece, few visual views in astronomy can surpass this I though as I marvelled at the complex nebulosity completely filling the field of view. click here

Nebulous objects are always challenging to sketch with their numerous regions of varying brightness and contrast, getting the look in a negative sketch i.e. using heavy dark shading where the image is bright and vice versa right takes time. I was very pleased with the number of fainter stars that the camera was pulling out in the field. With a sketch completed I became aware that outside the sky was brightening.

I wanted to get a sketch of at least one of the Lepus challenge targets levied by Stewart Moore the BAA Deep Sky Section Director in the latest section Newsletter. I decided upon NGC1832 a mag 11.3 galaxy reasonably high in the constellation which sits humbly under the great hunter, perhaps hiding?

Click here

Dawn was upon us it was 6am local time so I was pleased to see the relatively small galaxy clearly on the monitor, better still there was obvious spiral structure evident. I sketched quickly not only was the sky bright but my southern horizon is my poorest and never particularly dark let alone at dawn!

With the sketch in the bag, I closed up a damp and dewy observatory, decided that sleep was pointless so opted for more tea and getting the sketches scanned and archives and this Blog entry written up before the weekend started in earnest.

As I write the radio informs me that tonight is to be clear & frosty J I shall return.

Pax Stellarum, Dale

Meeting with Miranda

I had hoped for much from the nights of the 8th, 9th & 10th of October falling just after new moon and on a weekend, combined with what was forecast for the SE of the UK as 5 glorious days of India summer!

Not unusually but nonetheless disappointingly for my region the weathermen had it wrong! Friends further east fared rather better but for me observation was limited to a sunny Sunday 10th and the earlier part of that night.

Observing opened as the sun dropped in the west with me grabbing 15 minutes of white light observation with the 6” refractor before it was occulted by the house. This was long enough to make a low power study and sketch of a small sunspot AR1112 with 3 distinct umbra close to the limb.

From here I used the goto to put Venus in the field of view, showing as a fine arcing burnished platinum crescent I called my youngest son Aubrey and his visiting friend to come take a look. I think they were impressed? Or perhaps they were being polite!http://www.chippingdaleobservatory.com/gallery/index.php?level=picture&id=297

Now with the day coming to a close I was looking forward to some deep sky observing. I parked the scopes but left the observatory open to ensure cool & stable glass for the approaching evening.

It was shortly after 9pm local time when family matters were done and I got back out to the observatory. I aligned the scopes and goto software on Jupiter; I was running 2 Watec cameras 1 each through the 20” Newt and 6” refractor.

From here I went straight to Uranus with a view to trying for some of the fainter satellites. I didn’t dwell long just long enough to turn the camera running through the 20” to max and make a rough sketch on a scrap of paper. My friend Andrew Robertson did kindly confirm today that I had caught Umbriel, mag 14.81, Aerial, mag 14.16 and most excitingly Miranda at mag 16.3. Even with the very sensitive Watec camera and large mirror this distant moon of 480km diameter was very faint. I’m thinking now that I have on separate occasions caught all the 5 Uranian moons visible with my equipment. In Fred W. Price’s The Planet Observers Handbook 2nd ed the author states “Miranda can only be seen with large observatory telescopes if at all” J

I pulled vol 1 of the Night Sky Observers Guide (NSOG) from the shelf and looked for observing inspiration. I settled on galaxy trio in Pisces, when I made the choice I didn’t realise that I had already observed these with the 14” and older Watec a few years ago. As it turned out I could only fit 2 of the galaxies NGC470 & 474 into the fov at any one time, however the contrasted nicely with 470 showing unusual distorted shape. The 6” and older Watec were running onto another monitor displaying a much wider field with numerous galaxies in the region displayed as tiny faint smudges. It was the pair displayed ion the monitor feeding from the 20” that I sketched,  no sooner had I completed this task than the sky clouded over putting paid to any further exploration.

Searching the web today provided interesting deep sky  images showing more detail of these 2 galaxies, showing arms emanating from NGC 470’s distorted shape and a far larger and structure halo surrounding NGC474 than my equipment had revealed. http://www.chippingdaleobservatory.com/gallery/index.php?level=picture&id=298

Perhaps not my most prolific observing session but most interesting and personally groundbreaking with the impressive Miranda capture.

Dale

A clear sky causes a buzz!

 Wednesday brought something of an excited air of anticipation amongst some of my astronomer friends! Forecasts for a clear night, in fact potentially a run of clear nights, and so close to new moon too!

Andrew Robertson and Jason Caird up in Norfolk were planning to take their big Dobs over to the NAS Seething Observatory, Rod Greening was going to the Fieldview astronomers B&B again in Norfolk with his 22” and Es Reid my friend and optical guru was emailing suggesting that we do some up-grade work on the 20” cell in the observatory and then get stuck into some deep sky observing.

Es duly arrived at 5.30pm under a clear and cooling sky. We put the 20” into a vertical position jacked up the mirror and used some large penny washers to add some compression to the cell collimating springs, to cut a long story short although this may have improved matters a little the cell still didn’t hold perfect collimation throughout the evenings observing session and will require further modification.

Using Vega in Lyra high overhead as the sky darkened to collimate the scope and reach camera focus M57 was an obvious starting point for observation. The view on the monitor was just stunning! Using full exposure setting on the camera let the image over exposed and bloated so was best backed off a little. Es is masterful at getting the best from telescopes and cameras of all descriptions he soon had the Watec & 20” combo singing and delivering images beyond belief. The faint mag 14.4 barred spiral galaxy companion to the dazzling ring IC 1296 stood out well and proudly displayed its spiral structure.

I looked up other worthy targets in Lyra and we settled on a nice looking galaxy, well nice from the sketch in NSOG, NGC 6745. It looked to be rather Banana shaped, we soon had it on the monitor and with Es’s demon tweaks detail galore was revealed, no longer resembling a Caribbean fruit but a twirly musical Treble Clef! A sketch resulted and we pushed onto Pegasus, where I showed Es NGC 7741 which had so delighted me on Monday night. Then after trophy’s new we took a look at NGC 7479, Caldwell 44 an amazing barred spiral with a slender bowling arm to the right and a fatter fainter arm on the left and a lovely diagonally sloping nucleus, a real winner.

A call came in on the mobile from Andrew up at Seething he was excited at how his new Swan Comet filter was performing on Comet 103P Hartley! I in return waxed lyrical about the Treble Cleft Galaxy, it’s good to share J

Now tonight regrettably was to be a short night as I had work early the next day and Es was under pressure on optical projects too, we had agreed that 10pm was the cut off and that was fast approaching. With a sketch of 7749 in the bag I just had to take a look at Pal 13 which was a very short hop away. This globular turned out to be as demur as the aforementioned galaxies had been dramatic, despite Es’s deft skills with scope and camera only a handful of stars grouped as in a very loose and sparse cluster overlying a faint glow could be detected. Somewhat disappointing, however subsequently Darren Bushnall has informed me that this is a tricky customer! Very nearly magnitude 14 and only 42″ across you have recorded it well. It’s a distant one at 110,000 light years; you have even recorded some resolution!” Thanks Darren that has made it far more special. Sketching this one was pretty quick.

Es took leave and I took to my bed, regrettably leaving a very nice sky to other skycombers  

Dale

Deepskying at last

Evening of October 4th 2010

Yippee at last, a night clear enough to promise a little deep sky observing J

It must have been around 21.00 local time when I opened up the observatory. I could see the Milky Way overhead but it wasn’t gin clear for sure and the dampness in the air made itself felt. I was intent on tracking down those galaxies in Pegasus that Andrew Robertson had put me onto.

I loaded the Watec camera into the 20” focuser and connected the cables, I left the flip mirror on the 6” refractor and fitted a wide field 23mm eyepiece.

I used the goto to find Jupiter for focussing purposes and for syncing with the planetarium program. Which Jupiter centred and sharp I went onto Uranus, it showed a nice disc on the monitor and I turned the power up a little and watched some Uranian moons pop into view, fascinating! I made a little sketch which I scanned in this morning and emailed to my friend Andrew Robertson for identification, Andrew matched up Titania, mag 13.7, Umbriel, mag 14.8 and Ariel , mag 14.2, not bad at all considering that the camera wasn’t even running at 50% sensitivity.

A few minutes in the observatory allowed me to spot Fomalhaut low in the murk of the SW, to me this means go for the Helix time! I sent the scopes to this amazing planetary nebula; nothing was showing on the monitor which was very bright with pollution glow. I went into the observatory added a UHC filter to the eyepiece in the 6”, nothing at first but when I moved the mount a little a grey mass became apparent, certainly not beautiful but it was there in what looked like an impossible section of sky looking towards London.

Right enough of this messing around, after those galaxies boy! As is my usual style I hoped via bright stars using the goto, stopping, centering and syncing the mount on each until I was within pouncing distance of my quarry.  And that quarry was a delightful trio of reasonably bright galaxies within the square of Pegasus NGC 7769, 7770 & 7771. All of the galaxies appeared on the monitor and fitted readily into the 11.9’ x 11.9’ fov. I tweaked the camera and monitor controls until I got the best view possible and then made a sketch, as I worked away I noted a deterioration of the image on the screen, sure enough haze was building and things were sopping wet with dew in the obsy.

In the galaxy NGC 7770 which is, or appears to be edge on I noted a star which wasn’t shown on the admittedly dated photograph in NSOG. Sky Map pro 10 didn’t show it either, interesting! To cut a long story short I had it checked out and it is a known star, not a supernova as I had hoped, ah well another day ;¬)

Next it was onto NGC 7741 still within the Square of Peg. This galaxy turned out to be very interesting, a very unusual barred spiral. The sky by now was very poor and I had to clear my secondary mirror on a number of occasions with the trusty hairdryer. I have a heater on the secondary but it is from the old 14” and clearly not man enough for these autumnal nights.

In the end I had to use the longer ‘exposure’ facility of the newer + Watec to pull out more detail, 30 seconds worth was the most I could get and with the gain right up I could see the full shape of the galaxy with arms coming off the central bar and wrapping right around, quite something.

At this point I would like to set the scene inside the observatory office, sitting in front of my bank of monitors, OK only 1 was in use on this occasion, listening to very spacey electronic rather hypnotic music by Klaus Schultz, to which I was introduced recently by Colin Hards of the NNAS a society  to whom I gave a talk on ‘Watecery’ and mentioned I enjoy listening to music as I travel distant reaches of the universe in my special room, “you must try this” I was told by Colin, so I did J

On my lap top I noted another NGC galaxy off to the left  of 7741 so I sent the scope there to NGC 7745 it turned out to be very small, just a mag 14.2 smudge, I moved on, regretting instantly that I had taken the time to sketch it! OK it isn’t a show stopper but I need to record all that I observe!

Off to the other side of 7741 was another NGC this time I did stop and sketch, NGC 7735, again it wasn’t a show stopper, being small and fuzzy but slightly larger, brighter and shapelier than 7745.

Again the mirrors were dripping with dew and only mag 3+ stars were showing by now so I decided to finish off with a look at Jupiter.

I dried off the refractor with the hairdryer put in the binoviewers and tool a long look at Jupiter, no transits or GRS but it was fairly steady. I swapped the eyepieces for a pair of 15mm Pans taking the power to 235x, it still held well but I wasn’t compelled to make a drawing, nothing really jumped out at me, it was nice, very nice, perhaps I was just tired?

Anyhow I was pretty content with the evening it was now past midnight so I closed up and headed in to bed.

Solar observation

A few rays of sunshine early on Saturday afternoon was just enough for me to get the observatory open and make a white light solar observation. Seeing was poor limiting magnification to just 112x with the 6″ refractor to render a sharp image of the large sunspot AR1109. I could make out 3 distinct sections of umbra within the one penumbra.

Cloud kept moving across the image so it took a little patience to make a basic sketch as soon as I had finished black cloud rolled in very quickly from the SW forcing me to shut up the observatory quickly, it was soon raining again.

I made a final sketch in the observatory office working with HB, 3H pencils and a Conte pastel stick brought together with the help of blending stumps.

I hope this link takes you to the sketch?

http://www.chippingdaleobservatory.com/gallery/index.php?level=picture&id=288

Dale

A quick look at Jupiter

30th September

A very sunny autumnal day gave way to a rather promising looking evening, at last! I had plans to follow up on some observations that my friend Andrew Robertson had made on his last evening at the Kelling Heath Equinox Star party. Andrew had observed some galaxies in Pegasus that were unknown to me namely NGC 7741 & a GX trio ( I love such groups 🙂 NGC7769, 7770 &7771. I would go after these with the 20″ and Watec video camera and sketch.

I got outside and opened up the obsy at around 9pm local time. The sky was reasonable with the Milky Way clearly spanning the zenith so Deep Sky observation was doable.

I would start off on Jupiter, test seeing and see if the were any transits taking place, that way I could notify friends who might be interested if things were good.

I put the 8″ off axis mask on the 20″ and fitted up the Denk binoviewer. I sent the scope to Jupiter, centred it in the 80mm finder and found it quickly at the 153x the BV was delivering. The Jovian satellites were all on view and well away from the disc so no transits, a period of observation indicated that seeing was mediocre Ant 1v and no GRS on show. I pulled up the observing chair adjusted for comfort. I was intent on a longer and comfortable period of Jupiter observation in the hope that seeing might improve, I thought this may happen as the resonable clear sky was now very murky and deep sky observation was looking unlikely. I stayed with Jupiter for 30-40 minutes before deciding that it was a lost cause. I closed up, powered down and sent out a text message informing friends of a bland Jupiter in turbulent seeing.

22.30 local time and so to bed, Dale Holt

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