Subject: Field Report - ETX-90 Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2001 11:25:34 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ed Mosser) Ok, it has been nearly a year since I have done any serious observing with the ETX and last night I felt the urge to go out and take it for a quick spin. Nothing serious, just a good cruise. Northwest Indiana weather is warm and humid, but the conditions were not too bad last night. I took the scope out and placed it on the patio table and just enjoyed the warm evening. By 9pm I could see Vega and pointed the ETX skyward. I am always amazed to look at a bright star and look at it's color. Vega was dazzling. About 50 arc minutes west and slightly south is a wide double, probably 70-100 arc seconds apart. Zeta Lyra - while Epsilon Lyra is the well know double, zeta does just fine. I estimated the mags at 4.5 and 5.5 with a wide separation of about 45 arc seconds. I estimated the position @ 135 degrees. Actual data from Burnhams 1950 data is 4.5, 5.5; 43.7 arc seconds, and 150 degrees. Does anyone know where to find up to date (2000) data for doubles??? Epsilon Lyra - I powered up to 178 and couldn't resolve the double double. I thought I saw a double on the southern most star, but who knows. Still...the double is pretty spectacular. (5,5; 208 arc seconds, 173 degrees). Steph 1 - is a pretty good open cluster about two degrees east and south of Zeta Lyra. I counted about 15 stars within a 20 -25 arc minute area. The brightest star is about 4mag and near the center. Beta Lyra (Sheliak) - is a great place to begin a big star hop. Sheliak is a double, easily resolved at 48x. I estimated 3.5 & 6m, 30 arc seconds and 145 degrees (3.5 & 7, 47 arc seconds, 149 degrees) M57 - is about 1 FOV east of Beta. It was easily spotted, but without much definition. Too many city lights and twilight. M56 - I continued down the path from M57 to gamma Lyra, then to 15 Lyra, 19 Lyra, and then to a little triangle with a 4th star off the point of the triangle. The two "base stars" point you to M56. This globular was not much more than a smudge in the 3.5 inch ETX in suburban skies, but was easy to spot. Albireo - Beta Cygnus is just a great double. Could we take a vote on our favorite double stars? This would get my vote. Just behold the beauty. I think the colors are orange and blue. Eye candy! Stock 1 - is a big (1 degree) open cluster south and east of Albireo. Overall I estimated about 35 stars within the 60 arc minute area and it had about 7 - 7th magnitude stars. Brocchi's Cluster - I finished the evening here. It is another big (1 degree) cluster, south and west of Stock 1. It is easily spotted in the spotter scope. There are about 8 stars in the 5-6mag range. I counted about 20 stars. I was out observing for 75 minutes and it felt good. As in the past, I used the ETX90Ra, no tripod, just the legs, on a patio table. Eyepieces - 26mm, Paul Rini 14mm, and Meade 2x barlow. My "Go To" consists of Sky Atlas 2000 and a finderscope. I find the Sky Atlas is just a great tool. A 8.5mm circle is a great template for 1 degree and can be used to star hop. I purchased a circle template from an art supply store with a series of circles. Once you find what works for your configuration, you can then use half that size for a 2x barlow FOV. It felt good to be back outside after a year. Now, if it just clears off tonight....
Subject: Field report Sent: Sunday, November 11, 2001 11:54:54 From: email@example.com (Ed Mosser) Saturday November 10th was a clear and crisp day with north winds. Clouds moved in by 7:15pm so I was lucky to have been out early. I turned my attention south to Pegasus and Aquarius and the fine globular clusters M 15 and M 2. I used the 2nd magnitude star Epsilon Pegasus as the starting point. Epsilon is a double star but well beyond my ETX90RA's ability to split. I was able to star hop to M15 by going norht 1 degree and then about 3 degrees west and then finally 1.5 degrees north. M15 is very easy to find and to see with the ETX90. Unfortunately, there really isnt much detail to observe with this scope. It is a pretty big fuzzy spot, but I am unable to resolve any stars. There is a companion star about 15' SE of the central cluster. My 16mm Meade 3000 series eyepiece gave a really nice view. I starhopped over to Gamma Equuleus. I cannot really say that I ever knew Equuleus existed before last night. Gamma is a double according to my Peterson chart., but I couldnt resolve it. There is another companion star about 6' to the SE. I bumped up to 156x (16mm plus 2x barlow) and thought I might have seen a bump on Gamma. Dont know. M2 forms a right triangle with Alpha and Beta Aquarius and is very easily found. I thought it looked identical to M15 in size and brightness. Of course, globular clusters are just fuzzy balls. That leads me to my theory that the ETX90 is perfect for planets and open clusters, plus the moon of course. I guess nebulae are ok too, but galaxies and globulars are difficult to resolve. Say, has anyone seen the comet in Perseus yet? I tried to locate it, but no luck. Zeta Aquarius was next. This is a tight double star for my system. I was able to get a snowman at 156x (16mm plus 2x). The Peterson Guide says that the magnitudes are 4.3/4.5 with a 1.9" separation at 207 degrees PA. 156 X is about all I can do with the three legs on the patio table. Clouds started moving in about this time. I set up for eastward observing and took a look at M31. Gamma Andromeda is a really nice double. I saw yellow and green stars. The magnitudes are 2.2/5.1 and the separation is 9" at 63 degrees PA. The colors are spectacular on this double. I strongly recommend this to fellow ETXers as I do the following. Gamma Aries is perhaps my favorite double in the sky. I have nicknamed it "cat eyes". The two stars are almost identical (4.6/4.7 mag) and have a separation of 7.8" with position angle of 0 degrees. This is just a great double. The identical images give the appearance of cat eyes (or some other critter) at night. Both Gamma's (Andromeda and Aries) are a great study in double stars. While Andromeda's have different colors and magnitudes, Aries have similar colors (blue white) and magnitudes. The two gamma's are easily located and are nearby in the sky. Take a look. The clouds were just rolling in and it was time to head in.
Subject: Field Report Thanksgiving night Sent: Friday, November 23, 2001 8:18:44 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ed Mosser) One of the best things about Thanksgiving is spending time outdoors, usually taking a walk after the big meal. In addition to the walk, I spent quite a few hours outside with my ETX90Ra. I battled considerable cloud cover, but there were enough holes in the clouds to yield some very satisfying observations. Went outside at 7pm. There were a few scattered clouds and a 50% moon. With neighborhood lights on, it was going to be a challenge. I started at Beta Casseopia. I then hopped to Struve 3057 and 3062, two doubles about 1 degree to the "south". I really get confused on circumpolar objects about the directions. I do not polar align, just aim and look. Therefore, directions are a challenge. I could resolve 3057 at 96x. The system stars are 6.6 and 8.7 mag with a separation of 3.7 " at PA 299. The double 3062 was too tight for me (1.2"). Back to Beta Cas and was really impressed with the field of view (FOV). At 48x I could get Beta, 3057 and a couple of unnamed multiple systems in the FOV. There was a double that had an estimated 8mag and 8.5 mag system. Another system appeared to be a triple with three stars about 8-9 mag. There was also a 9.5/10mag pair between Beta and 3057. At 48x I could not resolve the 3057 or I would have had 4 multiples in the same FOV. Next I star hopped down 3 degrees to sigma Cas. In came the clouds and we played hide and go seek. It took me 156x to resolve this double, and then it was just a bump. The data on Sigma is 5.0/7.1 mag, 3.0" and 326 PA. I then followed a line of stars to NGC7789. I noted that it is more of a feeling than an visual observation. The ETX90Ra does not do really well with open clusters that give off a "glow" rather than having individual stars visual in the cluster. However, there are four 9-10 mag stars that resemble a cross. Inside that cross there is quite a bit of glowing. With really good moments I could barely make out rather dim stars inside the cross. Inside at 8pm as the clouds really moved in. I took advantage of the break to sample some cold turkey and pecan and cherry pie. At 935pm I returned as there was a "hole" in the clouds in the east. Jupiter was low, but really nice. One of its moons was either ready to pass in front/behind, or had just exited. I also checked in with Saturn but the clouds came rolling in. Then, I did something unusual for me. I simply sat back and watched the sky, including the clouds. Didnt go inside and pout, just sat back and enjoyed the cool evening, the clouds and the stars. When there was a break in the clouds, I tried to identify the star. Soon the clouds passed and I was left with a sparkling view of Taurus. I started up with NGC1746. This has 4 8th mag stars to the east side of the cluster. Are they part of the cluster or coincidental objects? I counted about 40 stars in a 40' x 40' area. A very soft glow to the center suggests that many more dim stars are there. Where the hell was M1 last night? I have seen it from my suburban backyard site in the past, but last night was not the night. I had the location pinned down, based on Taurus 123 and 114. It just simply wasnt there. Too much light (moon, clouds and neighborhood). I dropped down to a "v" form of stars which resemble the Hyades. I started at Tau 120 and thenn moved to Tau 119, where I was rewarded with a deep red/orange star. Just to the west was a double which I later identified thru Burnham as OEE64 (is this Otto Struve designation?). The stars are 7.5/8.0 with a wide separation of 54" and 21 PA. Continued the star hop down to 115, 117, 111, and then followed 8th mag stars to a minature version of the double cluster, NGC1807 and 1817. Now these clusters are not nearly as spectacular as the double cluster in Perseus, but that comparison was in my mind when they entered my FOV. The two clusters very comfortably are visable at 48x in the same FOV with both having a N/S trail of stars. This was a significant viewing for me as it was the last object I observed on 12/31/99 at just a few minutes before midnight and the rollover to the year 2000. Little did I know at that time the changes that would occur in my life. At that time, my wife was safely in the house watching a movie with the boys. Within 8 months cancer would take her away from us, but on that night life was good. On this Thanksgiving night nearly two years later, life is also good. The boys and I have made the necessary adjustments and life goes on. Suddenly there was loud noises in the house. It seems that my 7 year old and 16 year old were having a little disagreement. Back to reality as the lights came on and outside they barged, both arguing their points. I guess there will be other clear nights. Now where is that pie?
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