Archive for the ‘Equipment’ Category

camping report

Well that was fun. I had forgotten just how *dark* skies can get! Thankfully the moon didn’t rise until late in the evening, which left plenty of visual opportunities before bed.

Some of the objects I saw:

  • Saturn and Titan with my 30×100 binos – it was easy to make out the rings (though not separate rings), and Titan was there in all its miniscule glory 😆
  • It was dark enough to see the Coal Stack
  • I reckon I actually saw Eta Carinae without the need of the binos, and of course seeing it through the binos was great fun
  • A satellite. I shall need to check stellarium to try to figure out which one it was
  • some meteors

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going camping. What’s to see?

So I’m going camping up at Poona for this easter long weekend. Should be fun; fishing, relaxing, reading, relaxing, playing board games, swimming… oh and relaxing.
The skies shouldn’t be too bad except for the moon still being between about 83% and 64% luminous over the 3 nights we’re there.

My star gazing goals for the trip are:

  • Obtaining data (and even submitting a report if possible) at the location for the project
  • Trying to pick out Saturn’s rings with my 30×100 binoculars.
  • Maybe having a look at Eta Carinae or some of the other bright DSOs visible at this time of year.

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ISS sighting – saw it!

I saw the ISS for about 3 minutes on Sunday April 10th. huzzah! I know it’s been there for years, and will be there for many more, but hey: this is what amateur astronomy is all about! 😀
I’m surprised it was so bright. I saw it with the naked eye and also trained my 30×100 binos on it. It seemed to just be a bright blob; not sure whether i was out of focus, or whether my eyes were failing me (I had been inside all day staring at a computer, and for a good 5-10 mins before the sighting time everything at a distance was doubled)

Unfortunately the long April 11 sighting opportunity was a no-go due to clouds.

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ISS sighting for my region

So it would appear there is a good 5-minute opporunity to view the ISS from Brisbane / Gold Coast region next week. Hopefully my Arnold Schwarzenegger arms (a pre-requisite for owning 30×100 binoculars without a tripod) will be up to the challenge of tracking it! I don’t think I’d be able to track it with the telescope very easily; that would involve leaning over on a weird angle, trying to find the sat through the finder scope, getting the focus right, using an appropriate eyepiece, and guiding it by hand.

ISS Fri Apr 08/06:45 PM 1 14 10 above S 14 above SSE
ISS Sat Apr 09/07:10 PM 1 27 11 above SW 27 above SW
ISS Sun Apr 10/06:01 PM 4 18 10 above S 11 above E
ISS Mon Apr 11/06:26 PM 5 88 11 above SW 16 above NE
ISS Tue Apr 12/06:53 PM 2 16 16 above WNW 11 above NNW
ISS Thu Apr 14/06:09 PM 1 14 14 above NW 11 above NNW
ISS Tue Apr 19/05:47 AM < 1 13 10 above NNE 13 above NNE

We shall see.

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more star gazing

A great night to be viewing the heavens: the temperature has dropped off, not a cloud in the sky, not too much of a breeze. Visual magnitude is about a 6, and earth hour was on lol.

Tonight I saw with my 1200mm 8″ dob (with 25 and 10mm eyepieces):

  1. Saturn and four of its moons! Titan, Tethys, Dione and Rhea.  :O
  2. Eta Carinae
  3. Tarantula nebula
  4. the Alpha Centauri double star
  5. tracked a satellite for a bit across the sky with my 25mm ep from southwest to south! Thankfully I have Stellarium and there just happened to be a sat passing over the right spot at the right time – Radio-Sputnik 15!


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nasa, observational astronomy

STS-129 Ascent Video Highlights

I love it when NASA does this sort of thing… have a watch, it’s really good.
Here’s a direct download of the 400mb 640×480 mpeg file.

On another note it is probably worth mentioning that I saw Neptune for the first time with my 25×100 binoculars a couple of weeks ago (well, a few months ago)… and yes, it is blue!
I also saw the Galilean moons – Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.  They were just dots, but still it was amazing. The binoculars were strong enough, though, to show Jupiter quite clearly as a small disc rather than a dot too.

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