Image of the day

From the
ATWB Customer Gallery

NGC6946 Fireworks Galaxy

My Account

New to Astromart?

Register an account...

Poll

2020 President - NO COMMENTS (take to Politics Forum)


Results
Previous Polls

Need Help?

Posts Made By: Dave Mitsky

October 16, 2002 11:53 PM Forum: Film Astrophotography - Imaging and Processing

September Aurora Photos

Posted By Dave Mitsky

Greetings,

The aurora photographs that I took at the Black Forest Star Party are now posted on my section of the DVAA astrophotography page at http://dvaa.org/Photos/DaveMitsky/

I'd like to thank Tony Donnangelo for scanning the photos for me.

Dave Mitsky

October 18, 2002 07:38 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

A Long Night at Longfellow Road Part I

Posted By Dave Mitsky

On Monday evening, October the 7th, Tony Donnangelo and I traveled to the Tuscarora State Forest near Mifflintown, Pennsylvania, to spend a night communing with the heavens. We spent the night at a newly acquired dark sky site off of Longfellow Road. I had been there just once previously, back in July. That was the Saturday night of the great smoke-out when smoke from forest fires in Quebec filtered south of the border and put us out of business by 5:30 UT. This time around conditions were quite good during the night but it certainly did get cold. When we woke up from a nap at 8:30 a.m. EDT (12:30 UT) there was a layer of frost on some of our gear.

The night's observing began by watching a beautiful 37 hour old moon set through my 101mm Tele Vue Genesis sdf refractor at 13x (35mm Panoptic) and 60x (9mm Nagler type 6). The very thin crescent was quite striking as it slid rapidly through the pellucid sky into the western treeline.

I then began an astronomical twilight tour of deep-sky objects with the refractor including M3, M8, M22, M17 and M24.

As darkness fell and the night progressed I also viewed M31, M32, M110, M33, Collinder 399 (the Coathanger), NGC 6802, V Aquilae, M11, NGC 6960 and NGC 6992 (the western and eastern segments of the Cygnus Loop), Omicron Cygni, NGC 7000 (the North America Nebula), NGC 891, the Golf Putter asterism, NGC 752, Almach, NGC 253 (the Silver Coin Galaxy), NGC 7293 (the Helix), M42, M43, M79, and M78. NGC 6802, the dim open cluster located at the far eastern end of the Coathanger, was a somewhat difficult target with only 101mm of aperture as was the edge-on "needle" galaxy NGC 891.

When the gas giants were well positioned I spent some time on Saturn and Jupiter using Tony's 3.5mm Orion Lanthanum Superwide (154x). At 3:42 a.m. EDT (7:42 UT) I watched Io come out of occultation using this eyepiece.

October 18, 2002 07:40 AM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

A Long Night at Longfellow Road Part I

Posted By Dave Mitsky

On Monday evening, October the 7th, Tony Donnangelo and I traveled to the Tuscarora State Forest near Mifflintown, Pennsylvania, to spend a night communing with the heavens. We spent the night at a newly acquired dark sky site off of Longfellow Road. I had been there just once previously, back in July. That was the Saturday night of the great smoke-out when smoke from forest fires in Quebec filtered south of the border and put us out of business by 5:30 UT. This time around conditions were quite good during the night but it certainly did get cold. When we woke up from a nap at 8:30 a.m. EDT (12:30 UT) there was a layer of frost on some of our gear.

The night's observing began by watching a beautiful 37 hour old moon set through my 101mm Tele Vue Genesis sdf refractor at 13x (35mm Panoptic) and 60x (9mm Nagler type 6). The very thin crescent was quite striking as it slid rapidly through the pellucid sky into the western treeline.

I then began an astronomical twilight tour of deep-sky objects with the refractor including M3, M8, M22, M17 and M24.

As darkness fell and the night progressed I also viewed M31, M32, M110, M33, Collinder 399 (the Coathanger), NGC 6802, V Aquilae, M11, NGC 6960 and NGC 6992 (the western and eastern segments of the Cygnus Loop), Omicron Cygni, NGC 7000 (the North America Nebula), NGC 891, the Golf Putter asterism, NGC 752, Almach, NGC 253 (the Silver Coin Galaxy), NGC 7293 (the Helix), M42, M43, M79, and M78. NGC 6802, the dim open cluster located at the far eastern end of the Coathanger, was a somewhat difficult target with only 101mm of aperture as was the edge-on "needle" galaxy NGC 891.

When the gas giants were well positioned I spent some time on Saturn and Jupiter using Tony's 3.5mm Orion Lanthanum Superwide (154x). At 3:42 a.m. EDT (7:42 UT) I watched Io come out of occultation with this eyepiece.

October 18, 2002 07:41 AM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

A Long Night at Longfellow Road Part II

Posted By Dave Mitsky

Tony's 14.5" f/4.3 Starmaster Skytracker Dob saw a lot of use. One of the many deep-sky objects that we observed was the dwarf spheroidal galaxy Andromeda II (PCG 4601). Through Tony's 14.5" Starmaster at 83 (22mm Tele Vue Nagler type 4) and 107x (17mm Tele Vue Nagler type 4) this dE0 (dE3?) member of the Local Group was small, round, and fairly dim. Andromeda II has a photographic magnitude of 13.5 and is located at the Andromeda/Pisces border at 1h16.4m, +33d27'. For more on this faint galaxy see http://www.seds.org/~spider/spider/LG/and2.html and Jay Reynolds Freeman's article in the October 2002 issue of Sky & Telescope.

We also looked at two other faint galaxies of the Local Group - IC 342 and Maffei I - as well as NGC 185 (another Local Group member) and the nearby galaxy NGC 278.

The seeing was rather good. We were able to manage 351x, 522x, and 702x on Saturn and 522x on Jupiter. Saturn's globe displayed a lovely range of pastel colors and the Crepe ring was easily detected.

A number of dim nebulae met our gaze: the reflection nebulae that neighbor M78 in Orion (NGC 2064, NGC 2067, and NGC 2071), the reflection nebula IC 443 that surrounds 12 Geminorum and the supernova remnant IC 444 near Eta Geminorum, and the extremely faint reflection nebula IC 2118 (the Witchhead Nebula) in Eridanus. (I was not able to discern a single bit of the infamous Witchhead.)

NGC 2281, the Broken Heart Cluster, was the last thing that I saw through the 14.5".

Before retiring for a few hours sleep I took a peak at M41, M35, NGC 2158 (the open cluster neighboring M35) with the Genesis sdf. These were the final celestial objects that I logged during our long night at Longfellow Road.

Dave Mitsky

October 22, 2002 02:29 AM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

The Takahashi FS-102 Versus the Sun

Posted By Dave Mitsky

Late Monday morning (starting around 15:30 UT, 2002/10/21) Tony Donnangelo and I observed the sun with his Takahashi FS-102, Baader AstroSolar filter, and Lumicon (RIP) Solar Prominence Filter. We used one of the original Masuyama design 26mm Meade Super Ploessls (31x), a 12mm Tele Vue Nagler type 4 (68x), a 10mm Tele Vue Radian (82x), an 8mm Orion Lanthanum Superwide (103x), a 5.2mm Pentax SMC XL (158x), and a 3.5mm Orion Lanthanum Superwide (234x).

Two notable prominences were visible in the light of H-alpha (see Paul Hyndman's fine image at http://www.astro-nut.com/sun-ha-21oct02.html). With the white light filter several notable sunspots including AR 10162 and AR 10165 were seen. AR 10162 was large enough to seen without any magnification. Several facular areas were noted.

Dave Mitsky



October 28, 2002 01:42 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Tele Vue Day at Highpoint Scientific

Posted By Dave Mitsky

I attended the latter part of the Tele Vue Optics Day at Highpoint Scientific ( http://www.highpointscientific.com/ ) in Montague, New Jersey on Saturday, October 26th. It was my first visit to the store, which is a rather large and impressive establishment just south of Milford, Pennsylvania, in the Pocono Mountains.

The Nagler clan was there, of course, as were new Tele Vue products such as the TV-102i refractor and the 24mm Panoptic. Door prizes were awarded and a variety of food, snacks, and drinks was available.

After sunset a star party was conducted in the parking lot. The skies were fairly dark and light pollution free except for some unshielded lighting on the other side of the highway. The transparency was not very good, however, and after about an hour and half clouds predominated. Nevertheless, I had some fine views through a number of telescopes including Dave Barrett's 24" Tectron (M27, M57, NGC 6543, and other deep-sky fare), a TV-102i (Albireo and M27), a 114mm Vixen ED refractor (the Double Cluster), an 8" Vixen GP-R200S (the Double Cluster), and a 10" Orion XT (M13). Some of the people there were unfamiliar with Stock 2 so I put it into view with the Vixen ED 114SS.

I also had the opportunity to compare an interesting (and surprising) new Tele Vue prototype to a Thousands Oaks version of the same through Dave's telescope.

Dave Mitsky

November 19, 2002 07:50 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

A Peaked Leonid Meteor Storm

Posted By Dave Mitsky

After Tony Donnangelo and I decided that it was probably not worthwhile driving anywhere else in Pennsylvania or New Jersey I eventually ended up watching the peak of the Leonids from the ASH Naylor Observatory near Lewisberry. During the 04:00 UT peak I watched for short time from a nearby park but could see only two stars in east and the moon due to cloud cover. There was a great lunar halo but I would have been much happier not to see one on this
particular occasion. I fell asleep on my futon watching Letterman and was ready to crawl into bed when I looked out a window and saw that conditions had improved somewhat. I must admit that I debated with myself for some time whether I should just call it quits and go to bed or travel the 18 miles to the observatory.

When I arrived there was one ASH member there who had gone north to a dark site but returned when the weather didn't pan out. We were joined by two more members and a non-member by the time the Leonid peak was predicted. I prepared the French Dome and trained the 17" f/15 classical Cassegrain on Jupiter (162 and 259x) and then Saturn (259x). The seeing was better than I expected with the high cirrus acting as a filter.

At 10:00 UT I laid back in my lounge chair, covered myself with a sleeping bag, and began counting. We were fortunate enough to have a hole surrounding the radiant more or less until dawn but conditions were far from ideal. My tally was 48 Leonids. These included several head-on meteors, three that left fairly good trains (one formed a neat arc momentarily), and one that was perhaps -3 magnitude. So while what we saw was far from a storm it was certainly worth the drive and braving the lower than 30 degree
Fahrenheit temperatures.

Other highlights included an ISS pass that began at 10:10 UT, a moondog, and a very thin crescent Venus at 162x before closing up the dome. After that I used a pinhole lens in an unsuccessful attempt to see Venus as a crescent with my naked eye.

Dave Mitsky
Harrisburg, PA

November 19, 2002 10:16 AM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

A Peaked Leonid Meteor Storm, 2002/11/19

Posted By Dave Mitsky


After Tony Donnangelo and I decided that it was probably not worthwhile driving anywhere else in Pennsylvania or New Jersey I eventually ended up watching the peak of the Leonids from the ASH Naylor Observatory near Lewisberry. During the 04:00 UT peak I watched for short time from a nearby park but could see only two stars in east and the moon due to cloud cover. There was a great lunar halo but I would have been much happier not to see one on this particular occasion. I fell asleep on my futon watching Letterman and was ready to crawl into bed when I looked out a window and saw that conditions had improved somewhat. I must admit that I debated with myself for some time whether I should just call it quits and go to bed or travel the 18 miles to the observatory.

When I arrived there was one ASH member there who had gone north to a dark site but returned when the weather didn't pan out. We were joined by two more members and a non-member by the time the Leonid peak was predicted. In the meantime I prepared the French Dome and trained the 17" f/15 classical Cassegrain on Jupiter (162 and 259x) and then Saturn (259x). The seeing was better than I expected with the high cirrus acting as a filter.

At 10:00 UT I laid back in my lounge chair, covered myself with a sleeping bag, and began counting. We were fortunate enough to have a hole surrounding the radiant more or less until dawn but conditions were far from ideal. My tally was 48 Leonids. These included several head-on meteors, three that left fairly good trains (one formed a neat arc momentarily), and one that was perhaps -3 magnitude. So while what we saw was far from a storm it was certainly worth the drive and braving the lower than 30 degree
Fahrenheit temperatures.

Other highlights included an ISS pass that began at 10:10 UT, a moondog, and a very thin crescent Venus at 162x before closing up the dome. After that I used a pinhole lens in an unsuccessful attempt to see Venus as a crescent with my naked eye.

Dave Mitsky
Harrisburg, PA

December 3, 2002 01:56 AM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

The Sunday Morning Triangle, 2002/12/1

Posted By Dave Mitsky

On Sunday morning the moon, Mars, and Venus formed a delightful triangle in the southeastern sky. At approximately 09:30 UT I began observing the event from my residence using an 80mmm f/5 Orion ShortTube 80 achromat with a 30mm Celestron Ultima (13x), a 26mm Tele Vue Ploessl (15x), an 11mm Tele Vue Ploessl (36x), and a 2x Ultima Barlow lens (72x) and later with a 114mm f/7.9 Celestron C4.5 Newtonian and the 30 (30x) and 11mm (82x) eyepieces. All three celestial bodies fit into the ST80's ample field of view at 15x. I also took some tripod-mounted and prime focus (through the ST80) shots with a Pentax K1000 SLR. The spaceweather.com site has some good photographs of the event.

Venus had waxed considerably since I saw it last on the morning of the Leonids using the ASH 17" f/15 classical Cassegrain. Using eyepiece projection with the 26mm Ploessl I snapped a few photos of the crescent planet through the C4.5.

Also viewed with the ST80 were Jupiter, Saturn, M44, and M35.

Dave Mitsky
Harrisburg, PA

December 4, 2002 02:38 AM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

The Shuttle and the Station, 2002/12/3

Posted By Dave Mitsky

On a bitterly cold Tuesday evening (2002/12/3) I watched the passes of the STS-113 and the ISS from a baseball field near my residence and was richly rewarded for my, ahem, endeavor.

The Space Shuttle appeared first in the northwest sometime after 23:08 UT and raced across the sky towards the bowl of the Little Dipper. The ISS was 41 seconds behind the Endeavor, which entered the earth's shadow in the north and disappeared at 23:12 UT. During the event I followed both spacecraft with my unaided eyes and a Celestron Noble 8x42 binocular.

Two much dimmer objects crossed the sky in opposite directions a few minutes later. I believe they were Cosmos 1908, which traveled from the north to the south southeast, and Cosmos 1703, which tracked from the south southeast to the north northeast. They passed by each other at approximately 23:18 UT.

While I was enjoying the great outdoors, I also turned my binocular gaze towards M45, Melotte 20, M31, M33, M15, M34, M103, Albireo, Omicron Cygni, and finally a zenith hugging M39.

The sky was rather transparent. I was pleasantly suprised to be able to detect M33, however dimly, despite the ever increasing light pollution in the area.

Dave Mitsky
Harrisburg, PA