Last updated: 19 March 1998

What to Look at with the ETX

Besides the obvious astronomical objects like the planets, the Moon, and some nebulae, there are many objects which can both challenge you and provide considerable viewing pleasure. In many cases you will need star charts or astronomical charting software. But for the adventurer in you, read Douglas Cann's (cann@axionet.com) suggestions:

I thought that it might be an idea to share with your followers and bearing in mind that many are new to using a telescope, some of the easier to view objects that are visible. Obviously, this may be a bit of a personal list, but it may help some observers as they look around the sky. Last night was again particularly clear and allowed me to put my ETX to the test. The list is small at this point and I thought that I could do a bit of an update as the season progresses.

So start off with Castor the wide bright double in Gemini. If the sky is clear and stable, you can go up to 395X, anything from about 119X is great. Next go to Eta Orion, which is not too difficult at 1.5 seconds and 3.7 and 5.1 mags. Lambda Orion is also really pretty at 4.4 seconds and 3.7 and 5.6 mags. These need about 119X to 238X. Now a difficult one...Rigel also in Orion, although the gap is 9.2 seconds, Rigel is 0.2 mag and the companion is 7 mag. The brightnees difference increases the difficulty and shows best at 195X. Theta Auriga at 3 seconds and mags 2.7 and 7.5 is a bit easier and great at 195X. Mizar in Ursa Major is easy and spectacular as is Gamma Leo. The cluster, M35 in Gemini is riding high and very pretty at low power as is the 'double- double' cluster in Perseus. These two in Perseus can take quite high powers even up to 179X. Lastly for tonight there is M36, M37 and M38 all very close to each other in Auriga. If it is really steady, the bright star in Canis Major, Procyon is a real treat optically at 390X when a 'text book' stellar image is visible. Just the disk and one diffraction ring, but focus carefully.

Well that's it for tonight. Happy viewing and I hope that I haven't bored anyone.

Clear skies....Cheers.. Doug

Well, we had another brief spell of clear weather so have two new objects to check out. The first is a very clear 'triple' star in Monoceros which is the constellation just to the east of the belt and sword of Orion. The star is Beta Monoceros. The main 'star' is a double that are just over 7 seconds apart and one of these stars is a further pair that are just over 2 seconds apart. A very pretty triple in the ETX at about 119x up to 358x.

Next is the first quarter moon and in particular, the terminator edge and again, in particular, those crators that are right at the edge of the terminator and upon which the sun is just rising. If you look at these crators that are still in the 'dark', you will often find one or two with a central peak that is just catching the sun's rays. i.e a dark walled crater with what looks like a 'star' in the centre. After about 10 minutes observing, you will actually see the sun rise and gradually travel down the peak until it hits the edge of the crator and as the sun rises higher in the lunar sky, continue to flood the bottom of the crater. Powers from about 119x up to about 238x are best. If you compare what is happening, to the sunrise on earth, you really develop an appreciation for three dimentional objects on the moon. These events take about half an hour or more, depending upon how much you want to see. When one crater is finished, you can then move across to another. Some patience is required.

Stay tuned for more....Cheers....Doug

I thought that I would attempt to view the double stars that are high-lighted on page 91 of the April edition of Sky and Telescope. Although most are widely separated, they are quite faint, especially when viewing from a large city. Anyway, not to be daunted and through the haze, I began to 'star hop' through the list of the closer pairs. Only four of the brighter pairs were visible so far. They were:

Z1348, Z1355 and Z1365, all of which were resolved in the ETX. I could not resolve Gamma Sextantis at 0.6 seconds for obvious reasons. Hopefully, tonight it will be a bit clearer and some of the fainter doubles on the list will be found, observed and resolved.


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