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Posts Made By: Herbert Kraus

February 27, 2011 10:13 AM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

query on Orion

Posted By Herbert Kraus

Joseph Babendreier said:I was particularly interested in looking at M42. At least I think that is what I was looking at...It was must first time looking at a nebula...I was surprised to see how ghostly it looked. I could not make out any edges. Is this normal?
Joe: Your predicament is common for first-time viewers. At public star parties I display two photos of M42, one taken by the Hubble Space Telescope that everyone has seen and expects to see through my telescope's eyepiece, and the other representing what is actually visible. I will attach the second one of these two photos to this posting to illustrate; it obviously is nothing like any of the M42 images taken by skillful astro-imagers and laboriously processed to bring out details and red-green-yellow coloration that no-one has ever seen either with the naked eye or through a telescope.

April 18, 2011 09:42 AM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

Mount pinos CA dark sky observing end April 2011

Posted By Herbert Kraus

Darren Wong said:I just moved from the land down under to LA for work and was curious to check Mount Pinos out. When do people usually go there and is it a safe spot to observe from?
The observing site on Mount Pinos is a large parking lot at the 8,200 foot level used by cross-country skiers during the winter. From Spring to Fall, there is no snow there and for years it has been the preferred dark sky site for Southern California amateur astronomers. As the communities to the north as well as the south of the mountain have grown, the dark skies are not as pristine as they once were, but they are still among the best readily accessible from the L.A. metropolitan area.
For obvious reasons, summer weekends near the new moon are the most crowded times on Mount Pinos, and it may be difficult for late arrivals to find an observing site. Make sure that you arrange to arrive before darkness falls, not only to find an observing site but to avoid the ire of other observers disturbed by your headlights. Daylight Savings Time hours will help.
Safety? The road climbs the large mountain gradually and a reasonably competent driver should not find it difficult or dangerous. As concerns the fact that you will be among strangers, I have never heard of any untoward incidents there, but the site is accessible to anyone. However, it tends to be too remote a location for anyone who isn't going there for astronomical observing, and once your neighbor has set up his 20-inch dobsonian or other large and/or expensive equipment it is unlikely that he/she is up to no good.

June 22, 2011 11:53 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

solar transit?

Posted By Herbert Kraus

What you're describing as moving so fast that it only took "a few seconds" to cross from one side of the sun to the other suggests that it was one of earth's artificial satellites whose path coincidentally passed between you and the sun just as you were observing the sun with your solar telescope. If so, NASA could probably identify it.

September 7, 2011 09:36 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

Jovian moons naked eye this morning!

Posted By Herbert Kraus

Jim McSheehy said:I saw what appeared to be a bright spike coming out of the west limb of Jupiter. Could it be? Back inside I checked on SB's iPad app, Gas Giants, and yes -- Io and Ganymede are extended off the western limb with Ganymede out the farthest. This is the first time I've ever "seen" the Jovian moons naked eye.grin
Congratulations! We should all try that again on September 11, when all 4 Galilean moons will be close to the east limb of Jupiter between 10:00 am and noon UT (between 3:00 and 5:00 am PDT, or 5:00 and 7:00 am CDT).

December 23, 2011 03:25 PM Forum: LUNATICS

Herschel Wedge for Luna

Posted By Herbert Kraus

What's a "Herschel Wedge" and where would you get one?

August 7, 2012 08:32 AM Forum: Celestron

Celestron's "Sky Align" system

Posted By Herbert Kraus

Darrell and Fred: Thanks for your responses. I'll experiment to see what can be done. But I suspect I won't be able to move from having aligned on a single "solar system" object to a 3-object "Sky Align" procedure without turning the power off and then on again (my location would then still be saved, but not the date and time).

August 10, 2012 09:31 AM Forum: Celestron

Celestron's "Sky Align" system

Posted By Herbert Kraus

Thanks to all of you who have responded to the question I posed to initiate this thread. Although my telescope can apparently not "hibernate" or "park," I can switch from polar alignment to a more precise method without having to turn it off and start from scratch, as follows:
(1) At the outset I always level the top of the tripod with a spirit level device I made; and I enter the geographical location of my observing site to an accuracy that is within less than 100 yards and the date & time to an accuracy within 2 or 3 seconds.
(2) If the sky is still too bright to see alignment objects for "Sky Align" but there is a moon in the sky, I use the moon for "solar system" alignment.
(3) Later, when it has gotten dark, I do a re-alignment by centering a familiar bright star or planet. press the "undo" button until the "NexStar" reference appears, and then press "align." The telescope's computer then asks me whether I want to re-align "unassigned," and with the familiar bright object centered in the eyepiece I do so.
(4) I am now aligned on the basis of 2 objects, the original solar system (i.e., moon) object and the new one.
(5) If I go through this re-alignment process again, I can replace the moon with another star or bright planet. That may be desirable, since the original alignment with a moon that is either gibbous or crescent involves a bit of a rough approximation as to where the center of the moon's disk is in my eyepiece, and more precision is possible with a pin-point object.
I successfully tested this process last night (using Saturn for the original "solar system" alignment in a moonless sky).

September 22, 2012 10:33 AM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

Moon eclipses bright star tonight

Posted By Herbert Kraus

Antonino: Do you really mean 9:25 EST, or is it 9:25 EDT? Assuming you are talking about p.m time, for us on the West Coast 9:25 pm EST would be 7:25 pm PDT, by which time the sky will be dark; but 9:25 pm EDT would be 6:25 PDT, about 20 minutes before sunset. (This matters to me, because tonight is NASA's "International Observing the Moon" night, and I am scheduled to participate in a moon-observing outreach session at a local space museum).

December 26, 2012 09:07 AM Forum: LUNATICS

Moon and Jupiter, Dec. 25, 2012

Posted By Herbert Kraus

Congratulations on a brilliant picture of the moon with Jupiter and its Galilean moons. Based on the positions of Europa, Io, Ganymede and Callisto, I concluded you took their picture between 8:45 and 9:00 pm EST on December 25. Let me know if I'm close.