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7359Re: Quasi-observing report

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  • jimhp29401us <thefamily90@hotmail.com>
    Feb 2, 2003
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      Hi Tony,
      What a great evening observing. Congratulations! I drove up to my
      farm yesterday to observe. I learned of the Columbia disaster on the
      way and thought twice about obsaerving last night. I went ahead,
      thinking about the seven astronauts as I observed. The TMB 8" F/9 is
      a superb telescope as is your 152. My eyes are not as keene as yours,
      Cleve's and Erics but the views were Very nice. Saturn was
      magnificent and Jupiter later in the evening as well. The GRS
      transited about 10:50 and I enjoyed watching it and the knotted ropes
      of white cloud (ala Clevis) following behind. The color of the GRS is
      a Salmon-orange, and fairly prominent to me. Sad evening but good to
      be out, under the stars.

      Jim


      <twhite@d...> wrote:
      > Took the 152 out to our club star party tonight, and wanted to
      share
      > a few things with the group.
      >
      > We were fortunate enough tonight to enjoy some of the best seeing
      > we've had in the Tulsa area for some time - though it sure didn't
      > look as though it was going to be that good starting out. I
      arrived
      > at our club's observatory site about 30 minutes before sunset, but
      > the entire western sky was obscured by clouds that were being blown
      > to the north. We didn't hold out a lot of hope, but we set up
      > anyway and waited. The southern sky wasn't too bad, so I went
      ahead
      > and pointed the scope at M42 with my Nikon binoviewer and 19
      > Panoptics for the visitors and kids who would leave early. I also
      > wanted to see if the Feathertouch retrofit to the 152 was as
      > successful as I'd hoped it would be (more on that later). It
      turned
      > out that the view was enjoyed more by the club members than the
      > visitors - and every one of them said that it was the best view of
      > M42 they'd ever had out of any telescope. Using both eyes with the
      > binoviewer and allowing the image to develop while observing let
      > everyone see more detail in the nebula and the dust lanes. I
      > thought I caught a glimpse of the E component in the Trapezium with
      > averted vision, but maybe not.
      >
      > Of course, the kids wanted to see planets, so I obliged them.
      > Saturn was spectacular. With the 5mm Pentax Ortho at 240x, we were
      > easily able to discern both Cassini's and Encke's divisions as well
      > as several planetary bands. The kids (and their parents) oohed and
      > aahed over that for quite a while. Later Jupiter came up enough to
      > get out of the turbulence (though the skies actually got more
      steady
      > as the night wore on) and we observed that as well. Both Io and
      > Europa transited the planetary disk, and it was well observed with
      > my 5.2mm Pentax XL (which actually provided more contrast and
      > surface detail than the 5mm Ortho). The point at which Io was
      > ending its transit and Europa was entering it was quite
      spectacular -
      > both moons were discernible against the disk of Jupiter, and one
      > could still see shadows projected on the disk. It was quite
      > stunning, and enjoyed by everyone who was still there.
      >
      > Another club member who was working on his Double Stars asked if we
      > could find a couple of doubles for him to log that he wasn't able
      to
      > split in his scope. One was 38 Lyncis, a pair with only 2.7" of
      > separation with components of 3.8 and 6.5 (iirc). Easy split with
      > the 7mm Pentax XL. I've never observed that one before, so it was
      > gratifying to observe.
      >
      > All of this was, to me, enhanced by the Feathertouch focuser that I
      > fitted with the adapter Detlef made for the TMB. The amount of
      fine
      > control it added to focusing made both binoviewing and cyclops-
      > viewing a *joy*. I had *no* problems whatsoever focusing the
      > binoviewer - even with the OTA pointed near the zenith while
      > initially observing Saturn. The brake held the focuser in place
      > with the load of the bino and the 19 Pans easily. Of course,
      > cyclops mode was simply stunning. There were several folks who
      were
      > at the star party last month when I gave the 152 first "public"
      > light and had seen the image of M42 in the bino, but they all said
      > that having the Feathertouch made a real difference in achieving
      > critical focus (seeing was better tonight, but not so much so that
      > it was a major factor). Even the seasoned observers in the club
      > were stunned - there were several "oh wows" and other stronger
      > exclamations from those more experienced viewers. :) Several of
      > the kids (ages were probably 6-10) were fascinated with it and
      > observed for several minutes (most gratifying to me - it makes it
      > all worthwhile to have the kids look for more than 10-15 seconds).
      > Bottom line - I would *highly* recommend anyone with a TMB consider
      > adding a Feathertouch to their scope. It really made it easy to
      > snap to focus on planets. I saw more detail viewable in Saturn at
      > 240x tonight than I've ever seen - even with better seeing
      > conditions - and I attribute that to being able to achieve better
      > focus. I tried both (stock focuser and Feathertouch) and there is
      > no question in my mind that the Feathertouch is much easier and
      more
      > satisfying to use and worth every penny spent.
      >
      > The wind picked up about 11PM and made it a bit unpleasant, so we
      > had to pack up earlier than we would have liked. Hopefully
      tomorrow
      > night will be as good as tonight (but warmer, as forecasted) and
      > we'll go back out for another evening.
      >
      > regards,
      >
      > twhite
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