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Posts Made By: Rod Kaufman

March 14, 2010 06:13 AM Forum: After Dark

Need advice for a 90/125mm scope

Posted By Rod Kaufman

You might want to consider some of the smaller aperture offerings in the intes-micro line from Teton telescopes, an AM sponsor.
Perhaps something like this model:
http://www.tetontelescope.com/product_info.php?cPath=53_6_16&products_id=10

March 17, 2010 04:33 AM Forum: After Dark

Jupiter's Red Spot Glowing

Posted By Rod Kaufman

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100316174210.htm

April 1, 2010 01:51 AM Forum: After Dark

Astronomy in the Gaza

Posted By Rod Kaufman

http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=171986

April 24, 2010 03:09 PM Forum: After Dark

Hubble's Greatest Hits!

Posted By Rod Kaufman

Wow! What a ride:
http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1984100,00.html

May 16, 2010 05:33 PM Forum: After Dark

A Nice Observing Night at Lockwood

Posted By Rod Kaufman

Decent enough dark skies, relatively good seeing and likely low cloudiness for Los Angeles after midnight which attenuated the light dome to the south, helped make the observing session at Lockwood Valley on Saturday evening a great night!
The usual suspects were present: Floyd, Linton and Larry and also a bunch from an astronomy class from College of the Canyons.
I've got to say how great the 10mm Ethos eyepiece in conjunction with a paracorr in my 16" f4.5 scope. The dark lanes in a number of galaxies I observed were just fantastic and I hit most of the galaxies in the Observer's guide for Libra, Ursa Major, Virgo, Leo and the prominent DSOs in the southern constellations.
Linton offered up a special treat: he got the Omega centauri globular cluster centered and tracking in his 14" starmaster at nearly horizontal level! It was great and it nearly filled the field of his 10mm Ethos! I've seen the Omega globular before from Lockwood but never like this. It was spectacular even at a low altitude.
Floyd had some frustrations with his new imaging mount but knowing him, it will be better than new after he works out the bugs in it.
I think Linton and I probably hit our sleeping bags at 3:00am and Floyd was still dealing with his tracking problem in his mount. We awoke to the sound of some gunfire at about 7:30am on Sunday morning and we didn't know where that was coming from, perhaps hunting season has opened?

June 18, 2010 04:06 AM Forum: After Dark

Coldest Object in Universe

Posted By Rod Kaufman

Heard about this one on the history channel: at 1 degree kelvin, it's reportedly the coldest object in the universe:
http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=755
Another view:
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_405.html

July 11, 2010 07:16 PM Forum: After Dark

Zooland at Pinos

Posted By Rod Kaufman

Saturday evening, July 10th at Mt Pinos.
I'd like to say it had been great, if not for:
1. The clouds and the rain. I thought about meeting Floyd and Linton at Lockwood valley but the intermittent sprinkles on the way up made me a bit concerned about driving on a dirt road that might turn into mud. The clock was showing somewhat better conditions at Pinos so I went up there to take my chances.
2. The crowd: Imagine an ape throwing a football to two other guys in the middle of a field of telescopes and you've got the picture. Although the football brushed the covers of a couple of scopes, it's just too bad it didn't knock over one of the scopes owned by these jokers. Perhaps then they might have learned a lesson but I doubt it.
3. The crowd: Cars parked along the road leading up to the parking lot after dark. I was fortunate enough to get a spot and set up relatively early and I was able to observe the Abell galaxy cluster in Hercules, among other DSOs before the clouds and the lightening moved in again so the night wasn't a total loss. Seeing was relatively decent and I was using a 10mm Ethos with a paracorr for most of the evening.
4. The crowd: you generally want to be helpful and show objects to others to stimulate their interest but here's an example of what you might get: an old codger crabs a hold of your scope twice after being told not to touch it twice. He can't comprehend what he sees and is only seemingly interested in the cost of the equipment and where to buy it. (I should have sent him over to Don Pensack! grin ). Anyhow, I am less inclined to share views with those who have no clue unless their behavior and willingness to listen to some level of direction with other amateur's property warrants it.
5. Despite the above, out of the multitude of hundreds who were up there, THERE WERE SOME SANE PEOPLE PRESENT: Don Pensack and Robert Provin, Robert Provin and Don Pensack, Don Pensack and Robert Provin...

August 14, 2010 11:12 PM Forum: After Dark

Observing the Cocoon

Posted By Rod Kaufman

After commenting on a recent thread on observing the cocoon nebula in Cygnus, I'd like to add a bit more from my observing session last night(8-13-10) up at Mt Pinos, aka zooland. After putting up with aimless drivers and/or insomniacs who would circle the parking lot on the mountaintop throughout the evening, I still gleaned a bit of observing including a trial of different eyepieces and filter combination with my 16" f4.5 dob.
First, the more aperture you've got at your disposal, the better. The cocoon is an illusive object and DSCs and a scope above 12" is probably best, together with a dark sky location with Cygnus riding high near the zenith.
In my scope, the cocoon was evident with a 10mm ethos and a paracorr. The relatively bright stars in and about the nebula are fairly easy and the diffuse nature of the nebula can be discerned since the shorter focal length eyepiece darkens the background a bit.
I tried Celestron baader O111 filter with my 28mm meade SWA and 24mm ultrawideangle eyepieces and it did improve the view but not as much as my Orion ultrablock UHC filter. IMO, a UHC filter is the way to go if you want to have an optimum the view of the cocoon.
I also barlowed the above wideangle eyepieces, with and without filters, but I couldn't decide on an optimum combo that would be my personal preference, and other than the aforementioned recommendation of a UHC filter, I'll leave the eyepiece choices to your discretion so do a little experimentation on your own and perhaps share your thoughts and impressions with us.

August 11, 2011 05:36 AM Forum: After Dark

Voice Your Concerns

Posted By Rod Kaufman

For those who observe with the Los Angeles Astronomical Association at their dark sky site in Lockwood Valley or at nearby Mt Pinos, it should be apparent from the link in this post that the imminent approval of "Centennial City" will pose a serious threat of light pollution, traffic congestion and significant demands on public resources required to support a massive development of 23000 new homes in the area.
From the link, the developer, Tejon land management, states they have "tremendous support from the people" of the residents of the Gorman area. For those who are not familiar with Gorman, it has about 15 homes and about 12 registered voters.
It should be obvious to those familiar with the area that such a massive development will wreck havoc on the rural nature of the region. 23000 homes in an area that was never intended to support a "mini-city" will require substantial water supplies and public resources such as schools, police departments, fire stations and emergency services. Jobs will be a very difficult prospect to create if the experiences of many of the current residents of nearby pine mountain club and Frazier Park are of any indication. Many of these people have to commute at least an hour if not more to work in Santa Clarita and there appears to be little indication that the jobs supposedly created with this development will be high paying ones.
Interstate 5, the main freeway serving Gorman, Lebec, and the Frazier Park area is subject to closure during the winter months from heavy snowfall and truck commerce between southern and northern California stops when the freeway is blocked. You can only imagine what the addition of 23000 homes will do during these critical periods.
I ask all who are interested to write to the Los Angeles county planning commission and voice their concerns about this proposed development before it is too late...
http://www.the-signal.com/section/36/article/48985/

September 3, 2011 07:56 PM Forum: After Dark

Seeing This Stuff

Posted By Rod Kaufman

If anybody puts in a significant degree of eyepiece time, they are going to see this:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/nationnow/2011/09/space-junk-expert-on-why-nasa-needs-to-clean-up-space.html
I mean when you consider you're essentially looking up through a soda straw field of view and you see this stuff whizzing through the field, sometimes to or more at a time, then you begin to realize how much junk actually orbits the planet...