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clear skies from Minnesota with an FS78

Started by kentkramer, 02/08/2004 02:10PM
Posted 02/08/2004 02:10PM Opening Post
I finally got a bit of a viewing fix last night. I thought that I would share it with you. I was out from 6:30 until 9:30 with some of the clearest skies I have seen here in 6 months. The temperature was around 15 degrees and the air was very steady. There was no apparent moisture in the atmosphere making the transparency excellent. Our Moon was not up until about 9:30 so even with our fresh snow cover there was minimal light scatter from my suburban skies. The Milky Way was not visible to my naked eye. After about 15 minutes the tube and a few select eyepieces were ready for viewing. This is my second FS78 having sold my first one to a local friend. I bought this one from the same friend (long story) having just purchased it new from Herb 4 months or so ago. Being the first time I owned two of the same model I was anxious for a test to see if it measured up to my memory of the first one. I concentrated on three objects Saturn, the Orion Nebulae and Capella. Using a 9mm Plossl to center in on things and begin viewing it became obvious how good the sky was. As such, I immediately went to a 5mm UO Ortho. The views were still so exceptionally steady that I went in for my 4mm UO Ortho and 2.8 Klee. With the 5mm providing 125X Saturn revealed quite a bit of the layered color on the planet we expect to see along with a hint on the rings with the division looking so crisp as if someone had blackened it with a marker. Shadows on both the planet and the rings were easily viewed. The Orion Nebulae was fantastic. It appeared as cotton candy with just a hint of structure to the “cloud.” The 4mm had cooled by now providing 160X, there was just a tiny bit more detail revealed on both objects with no image breakdown. It was time to get crazy, I slipped the Klee into the diagonal ahead of the 5mm providing 350X, the images were good but seemed to break down a bit, no longer as crisp with contrast suffering. It appeared more as a loss of illumination than loss of detail similar to the images produced by a digital camera in low light. The 4mm in the Klee making 440X made this even more obvious and I would admit was beyond the limit. However, the shadows were more evident on the planet and the rings but the detail on the planet was gone and the digital camera low light noise like image was even more apparent. The inner Nebulae and the Trapezium continued to be stunning though all powers. It was cooling down quite a bit so I abandoned Saturn and Orion for a quick star test before calling it a night. With Capella so high in the sky it seemed a worthy target. Using the 4mm in and on both sides of focus I noticed no color with textbook diffraction rings. I would have to say I was very pleased. My memory allows me to say that this example of the FS78 is at least the equal to my prior one.

I broke my equipment down for the night and enjoyed a couple of cold ones. Funny they actually seemed to warm me up.

Clear Skies,

Posted 02/08/2004 04:01PM #1

Thanks for the MN report! It was very nice last night,
and of course, with my luck, I had committed to visit family
in Duluth and didn't take a scope over the weekend. Still,
I enjoyed the view from my sister/brother-in law's deck
overlooking the harbor quite a bit.

Just curious, are your interests primarily planetary?
Also, are you a MAS member? I'm not (yet)- but plan on

best regards,