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December 23, 2009 December 28, 2009

Posted by orionrising in Observing.
Tags: ,

Object: Moon (Waxing Crescent)

Site: Front Yard

Seeing: Poor

Transparency: 2  (Clear Dark Sky Index)

Type: Solar System Object

Size: 1.6 degrees

Magnitude: -10.73

Constellation: Pisces

Optical Aid: Binoculars

Magnification: 10x

FOV: 4.8 degrees

Observing Time: 10:00-10:10 pm

Notes: First Light for my new Brunton 10 x 50 binoculars.  First target was the moon, saw stunning detail! Most detail on the terminator, along the boundary of light striking the moon.  Saw major Maria (Mare Fecunditatis, Mare Tranquilitatus, Mare Serenitatis, and Mare Vaporum).  Moon was in Pisces at the time, lambda Psc seen in upper left of binocular field.  Lambda Psc is magnitude 4.45, my new limiting magnitude with optical aid =D. So much more stars are seen with binoculars than with the naked eye! Star colors, such as on Rigel and Betelgeuse are clearly more defined.  One thing is apparent; I need a stable mount.  A quick glance at the Pleiades (spectacular) made this point clear. Everything was jumping around like fireworks!  Observed Orion’s belt and his sword, saw the Orion Nebula (grey) which was pretty cool.  Most of a nebula is made of gas. Yet its density in interstellar space would make one of the best vacuums on Earth, even if we flew straight into the nebula and collected this ‘gas’.  I think I’ll see more detail once I figure out how to stabilize my binoculars.  The moon seems to be an interesting target for the next few nights out.

Update: Typo for star name. Changed “Gamma Psc” to “Lambda Psc”


1. DL - December 29, 2009

Wow nice report, skies hasn’t been clear for a while now but that’s to be expected in astronomy. A few things that might help you out.

One, to steady your binoculars, the best of course is to use a tripod, but you can just pick up an “L” mount from homedepot or canadian tire, it works very well as an adaptor and only costs about a dollar. If you don’t have a tripod or isn’t getting one soon, you can use an old broom. Trim off the hairs on the bottom so you end up with a smooth T shape, grab a nice chair, and with both feet step on the horizontal portion of the T to stabilize it, then steady your scope on the verticle part of the broom handle. It won’t work as well as a tripod, but things will look better than bacteria colonies with parkinson’s.

The other thing, which seems obvious but I’ll say it anyway, is to look away from buildings. This is important given that the Moon tends to be quite low as of now and you observe in your yard. The heat coming off of the roof of the buildings will wreak havoc on seeing, and since it’s December, there’s a LOT of heat coming off of it. So, always make sure what you’re looking at is well above the roof-line.

Have you tried to look at Jupiter yet? It’s always a great target. Look to the south/south west early in the evening. It’ll be pretty low on the horizon though but it’s always nice to look at.

Clear skies

Admin - December 29, 2009

Hi DL,

Thanks for the tips and suggestions. I’ll be sure to try the broomstick monopod. I’ve actually been thinking of inventing some sort of stabilization device. Too early to say anything yet, but keep posted.

The night I was observing, the moon was well placed in between two houses, so I was able to observe unhampered; however, everywhere else my horizon is blocked by a dense string of houses. I’ll keep that in mind. Jupiter is off the list now, since it’s too low on the horizon (unless I go out very very early). The heat escaping from houses won’t favour observation from my site. It reaches opposition later this year, and it should be well placed then. Thanks for the suggestion though.

=D bacteria colonies with neurological diseases seems like a seed for a thesis XD

Clear Skies!

2. Daniel - December 30, 2009

By the way, one more thing, Orion nebula looks grey to you? I always felt that it looked greenish to me. Do you only use averted vision or do you stare at it also?

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