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Posts Made By: Herbert Kraus

August 7, 2005 10:02 PM Forum: Eyepieces

1rpd 30mm 80deg

Posted By Herbert Kraus

I have had very good experiences with the BW-Optik 30 mm Ultrawide eyepiece (which, as someone else mentioned, is substantially the same as the 1 rpd ep you mentioned). I use the ep for auxiliary wide-field views in my Orion 80ED refractor (7.5 focal ratio) to supplement the closer higher power views of the same objects in my 8-inch SCT. For example, last Saturday (August 6) at my club's dark sky site, I admired NGC6231, a beautiful jewel box of an open cluster in the southern reaches of Scorpius, in the SCT at 68x with a 15 mm Panoptic ep; and then I trained the 80ED with the BW-Optik ep on that cluster and the region north of it. This gave me a breathtaking view of the full extent of what has been referred to as the "false comet," which is about 2½º in angular length and consists of NGC6231, Trumpler 24 and Collinder 316. If you have access to back issues of Sky & Telescope, you can get a good idea of what I saw from the photo on page 143 of the magazine's July 1999 issue (minus the probably photo-processed coloring of the nebula at the north of the "false comet"); and you can get more information about the "false comet" on page 102 of the same issue and on page 92 of the July 2001 issue. I don't know whether the APOV of the ep is quite 80º or somewhat less, and I suppose the images around its edges are poorer than those in its center, but for its price it is an excellent tool for viewing extended objects.

August 13, 2005 11:52 PM Forum: After Dark

What did I see

Posted By Herbert Kraus

Nathan: Since you asked: I ran my Starry Night Pro 4.5 program for Shreveport, Louisiana, and found that at 4:41:26 a.m. on August 13, 2005 the satellite "Iridium 43" scooted right through M42, but it was moving from Southeast to Northeast (maybe you were observing through a diagonal and got the directions reversed). Another satellite, "Aureole 1 R/B" took the same route through M42 about a half hour earlier, at 4:13:12 a.m.

August 17, 2005 09:36 AM Forum: Pictures of Me and My Telescope and........

The Leisurely Observer

Posted By Herbert Kraus

Following up on my previous post: The Questar sits on a sort of lazy susan that I made for easy alignment of the polar axis. It tracks perfectly.

August 17, 2005 07:55 PM Forum: Pictures of Me and My Telescope and........

The Leisurely Observer

Posted By Herbert Kraus

My responses to those of you who commented on my posts:
Rick: Sorry, no room service. But my "observing site" is close to the kitchen door, and I've been known to help myself to a cold beverage on a warm summer evening.
Mike: The 8-pointer ain't gonna see nothin'. He's made of cast iron and is one of my wife's "pets."
Floyd: I've taken this setup to several "outreach" star-party events at local schools. It's been well-received since it allows several of the kids to look at the image together, while they can comment on it, discuss what they see, ask questions about it and be instructed about it, all while sharing the view; not like having to wait in lines and take turns looking through an eyepiece. Unfortunately, my "electronic eyepiece" is a rather low-tech device that can only be used this way for the moon, but the optical qualities of the Questar allow it to produce excellent moonscapes.

August 21, 2005 09:34 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Equipment wanted!

Posted By Herbert Kraus

I suggest you contact the principal amateur astronomers' club in Denver and find out if they have a scope loaner program. Such programs are usually for club members, but they might be willing to extend it as a courtesy to an amateur astronomer who is a member in good standing at some other club. Borrowing a scope from a club would usually require making a deposit, but you'd get the money back when you return the scope in decent shape. Incidentally, I doubt that a club would have a 16-inch Dob to lend, but 6-inch or 8-inch reflectors may be available.

September 4, 2005 09:37 PM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

help ID

Posted By Herbert Kraus

Caroline: I think the closest open cluster to the coordinates you mentioned is NGC 6716 (epoch 2000 R.A. 18h 54.6m, decl. -19º 53'). Archinal & Hynes says its total visual magnitude is 7.5 and its diameter is about 10 arcminutes, well within the grasp of your 10" scope. It's in Sagittarius, close to so many of the greatest summer deep-sky objects. You're sure lucky at your age to be getting into the beauties of observational astronomy and to have a dad who shares a 10" scope with you. Good luck and clear skies to both of you.

October 26, 2005 09:48 PM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

Photographic representation of visual experience

Posted By Herbert Kraus

You've touched one of my pet peeves, and so I will ventilate it: The magnificent ccd and photographic representations of deep-sky objects that amateurs are now producing are only distantly related to what we see through our telescopes. Sure, they are beautiful works of art. But they ARE artificial. M31 is indeed a blue and gold spiral galaxy with dust lanes, but when we look at it with our eyes, even with the additional light-gathering power of our telescopes, we see a greyish-white fuzzy glow, intense at the core and diminishing toward its extremities. Similarly, we do not see an emission nebula as a billowy crimson and scarlet cloud, but as a luminous ghostly wisp. These images have little more to do with what DSOs look like to the human eye than would a depiction of the mosaics that might be visible through the eyes of a fly.
Of course long-exposure photography has been invaluable in teaching astronomers about the nature of these objects. But I too would prefer photographic images that reproduce the mysterious beauties of what we can see through our telescopes. For starters, when our imaging colleagues publish their highly processed multi-colored ccd images of nebulae, I care to look only at the black & white versions that I believe they refer to as H-Alpha views.

November 14, 2005 09:55 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Lock for Bolt/Nut

Posted By Herbert Kraus

Alex: Maybe there is some non-automotive version of the device included with most luxury cars, the thing that you must place on top of one of the lug nuts on each wheel before you can use the lug nut wrench to remove or tighten that nut. I've never seen such a thing at Home Depot or any hardware store, but perhaps your local luxury car dealer can advise you about who manufactures or sells such devices.

December 22, 2005 10:42 AM Forum: Off Topic Discussions

Reaping What One Sows?

Posted By Herbert Kraus

I don't think you can reap what you sew, although you could rip what you sew. If you want to reap, first you must sow! (I mean no disrespect, but the punster in me couldn't resist making this observation).

December 22, 2005 05:11 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Deep Sky

M74 Galaxy

Posted By Herbert Kraus

Jim: Contratulations on a magnificent image. Regarding his effort to observe M74, O'Meara wrote in his book on Messier objects: "Watch how the core slowly materializes into a compact orb punctuated by a pinpoint of light." But your image shows me TWO pinpoints of light. I am guessing that the upper one is within the galaxy's core and the lower one is a foreground star. Or are they both within the core? Or both stars?