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Posts Made By: Jim Nelson

July 19, 2003 03:51 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Vignetting with nebula filter

Posted By Jim Nelson

When I use my Orion Ultrablock with any "max field of view" eyepiece (i.e., 27mm field stop in 1 1/4" format), I get a dark, fuzzy edge of field. Is this going to be inherent with any screw-on filter and a max-fov eyepiece, or are other filters designed to give you that last teensy bit of clear field?

July 19, 2003 04:09 PM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

Ron's Cloudy Nights article...

Posted By Jim Nelson

Nice job Ron, on your Deep Sky tour for beginners over at cloudy nights! It's filled with infectious enthusiasm, neat anecdotes ("rival of Mars", indeed!), and an nice blend of easy to less-easy star hops. Enjoyable read, even for one who's found all these objects already.

July 25, 2003 12:29 AM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

Never know what you can do!

Posted By Jim Nelson

Gosh, you just can't write off anything. What a night!

With my lovely little Orion 6" f8 dob and good skies (mag 5.8 or so, quite steady too), I finally tracked down, after several failed attempts, NGC5907, a faint but exceedingly delicate and slim edge-on galaxy that everyone should try to track down; nearby 5866 is much easier and a nice galaxy in its own right, but 5907 is something special (if a bit difficult).

Emboldened by this success, I tried a few new tricks: holding a nebula filter in front of my eye, I could see the eastern portion of the veil nebula in my 50mm finder scope. Neat!

Next, inserting the filter into a 24mm Panoptic (let's not discuss how much money I've spent recently...) I panned out from Deneb. I had written off ever seeing the North America Nebula with my scope, as its widest field (1.36 degrees with the 24 Pan) is far too small to frame the huge, low-contrast nebula. Silly me. With the filter, it was easy to see that I was passing over nebulosity... hmmmm... look at the little curve... let's follow that around... hey, that's the "Gulf" and the eastern shoreline! Check the atlas, and sure enough the orientation was right! Went back and spent quite a long time scanning through this region.

Later...Alas, Barnard's Galaxy eluded me...but there's always next time!

July 30, 2003 08:13 AM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

Barnard's galaxy bagged...

Posted By Jim Nelson

I must be getting lots of vitamins these days. I also drove out to Michigan's "Dark Sky Preserve", Lake Hudson State Recreational Area, the best skies I have within a reasonable drive. I knew I wasn't going to get a better southern sky anytime soon, so I thought I'd give Barnard's galaxy another chance.

Knowing that Barnard's was near the "little gem" planetary, I pointed the scope (6" f8 dob) there and panned around at 50x (1.36 degrees). At one point I felt I saw just a hint of brightening of the background, very diffuse, very subtle. When I panned the scope, it moved, too. So diffuse, so subtle. I purposefully put it out of the field and slowly panned back, and saw it appear from the edge. SO diffuse, SO subtle. I sketched some distinctive asterisms in the field of view both above and below the "glow" (too strong of a word!), including a distinctive little "kite" or cross of faint-ish (about mag 11) stars just above (above = south). Later, Skytools confirmed it... Barnard's is exactly where I placed it in my sketch!

Needed to share... the wife just doesn't understand, and I won't be seeing any of my Astro buddies for a little while.

The seeing was also really good that night, and I was treated to a jaw-dropping view of Mars before I packed up. I ran out of magnification! I'm not equipped for really good seeing, since it's so rare in these parts.

August 12, 2003 02:59 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

$429 80mm Apo??????

Posted By Jim Nelson

Looks like Orion is moving back in to the high end market after dropping the Vixen line...

But how in the world do you sell an 80mm APO refractor for $429???????

This is going to cause some waves...

August 23, 2003 09:46 AM Forum: Off Topic Discussions

Usefulness of ratings...

Posted By Jim Nelson

Ever notice that anything less than a 5-star rating is seen as an insult, and a low rating can even bring on threats of legal action (seen recently 'round these parts)!!!

Wouldn't it be nice if 5 star ratings actually indicated good service and interactions, rather than just completing the transaction?

August 26, 2003 09:38 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

cleaning question...

Posted By Jim Nelson

A story, then a question...

A couple of nights ago I was at a friend's house, trying to show him Mars. The weather wasn't cooperating very well, so we hung out in his backyard, waiting for holes, and eventually decided tonight was not the night.

I had left the endcap from my scope within arm's reach just off the path we were set up on. I "clunked" the cap on, and felt something cold and wet on the top of the lid...it was a giant, fat slug. Ugh. I took the cap off, flung the beastie into the lawn, and a thought occurred to me...was there, by any chance, a slug on the *other* side of the cap, too...nahhhh, what are the chances of that?

I peered into the tube with my red light...oh, great! There was a slug on my mirror! There was a SLUG on my MIRROR!!!

Tonight I get supplies - alcohol, distilled water, and cotton balls (I've never cleaned the mirror before). I've soaked the mirror in a water/alchohol mixture with a drop or two of dish detergent. I've wiped, ever so gently, with cotton balls while the mirror is submerged...and the main "splat" mark is still there...

I'm not too concerned yet, mostly I just wanted to share the story...I'm going to let it soak some more and repeat the cotton ball treatment. If the mark stays...any ideas?

September 6, 2003 07:58 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Re: My grab & go scope

Posted By Jim Nelson

Consider putting some wheelbarrow handles on it, so you can just roll it around assembled. Even more convenient!

September 6, 2003 08:35 AM Forum: Off Topic Discussions

A Modest Proposal:

Posted By Jim Nelson

A Modest proposal on how to make Astro-Mart equipment-related discussions better, and defuse flame-wars:

1. Ban all discussions of "Is X better than Y?"

2. Replace with discussions of "Is X more fun than Y?"


September 30, 2003 02:10 PM Forum: Off Topic Discussions

Why are news services so astro-stupid????

Posted By Jim Nelson

Here's a photo being distributed as showing a "meteor shower". Sigh...

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/030928/241/5etz5.html