Lloyd Merrill's Blog
Observation Logs

August 2008
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A clear night
Filed under: Astronomy
Posted by: Lloyd @ 8:50 pm

Began 8:40

I was driving back from South County at around 7:30 and the sky couldn’t have been clearer. I started by syncing on Deneb. I then decided that I wanted to see the Cat’s Eye Nebula. I did a meridian flip and synced on Aldhibah (SAO 17365) and then again on M92. I then slewed to the Cat’s Eye Nebula (NGC 6543) a small planetary nebula in the constellation of Draco. I was very pleased that I could pick up the object immediately. It appeared as an out of focus star. Next came some of the usual M11 the Wild Duck, NGC 457 a small open cluster in Cassiopeia, NGC 884/869 the double cluster in Perseus. I then finished up by looking at M31, M32 and M110 in Andromeda. M110 caused me some problems because I put in M101 instead and the mount slewed hitting the small ladder I had knocking off my alignment. M110 was rather faint and required averted vision.

Ended 9:40

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Filed under: Astronomy
Posted by: Lloyd @ 8:20 pm

Session started at 8:07.

Was able to use NetScope after changing port to 5400 from 5401. Synced on Altair.   Starrted tour with M26 Dumbbell, M11 Wild Duck which is always a great site+++, M17 Swan, M24 not sure what I saw, M16 Eagle Nebular lots of stars no nebulosity, finished with NGC 884/69 which were too low. During this session I experimented between the hand controller and AutostarSuite.  I was able to sync once with no problem using the laptop however the time it seemed to lock up the program to the point where I had to end the task.

Locked up at 8:57.

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Members Night
Filed under: Astronomy
Posted by: Lloyd @ 1:29 pm

Last night my son Bruce and I went to a Skyscrapers (www.theskyscrapers.org) members night.  This was the first time that I had an opportunity to get to use some on the telescopes at the organization.  Dave Huestis gave us instructions on how to get the 8 1/4″ Alvan Clark ready for viewing.  I was amazed on how easy it was to rotate the roof.  We then went over to the 12″ Meade and were given a quick lesson on how to use that scope.  Jimmy had his TMB 130 on a G-11 and Dan had his 15″ Obsession with his Ethos 13mm. This was about the 5th night in a row that skies were good for observing.

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Other side of Meridian
Filed under: Astronomy
Posted by: Lloyd @ 7:55 pm

For tonight I moved to the east of the meridian. Observation started at about 8:43. Bruce and I slewed and synced on Altair.  We had good skies and the moon wasn’t up yet. We started with M11 and then moved to M26 which was not impressive. We then went to the Swan (M17) which which was quite bright. So far all objects we in the FOV of the Nagler 17mm. Next we tried M16 which we could not make out. Before leaving this area of the sky we observed M18 an open cluster. We then slewed and syned on Vega. My favorite in this area is M57 which stood out quite nicely. I then targeted M56 a small globular cluster which was a pleasent surprise. M56 was small compact and relatively bright. Next on to M27 the Dumbbell and finally M29 a small open cluster. I tried the Veil Nebular (east) but it wasn’t visible.

Observing session ended around 9:28.

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Choosing my targets
Filed under: Astronomy
Posted by: Lloyd @ 6:37 pm

Observation for August 17, 2008. I’ve now learned that to get more enjoyment out of my LXD75 it’s better if I plan my observing sessions. I planned to repeat the previous night’s observing and add a few more globular clusters. I chose the Ophiuchus area. The night’s session started around 9:07 which meant that Arcturus was just out of sight so I had to choose a different star to sync up to. I chose the 2nd magnitude star Rasalhague which was in the general vicinity. My son Bruce was at the controls of the Autostar. The scope slewed pretty close to the target which was then centered in the 5mm reticle.

For tonight’s targets I chose M5, M12, M10 and M14. M5 was clearly visible. M12 at 6.6 magnitude was more difficult to see and was best view using averted vision. M10 which was also a 6.6 magnitude cluster was easier to see then M12. I then revisited M14 and once again found it was a difficult target and required averted vision.

I ended up the night looking atM13 and M92 in Hercules. These are 2 clusters I never get sick of looking at.

Session ended around 9:45

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A Few Minutes
Filed under: Astronomy
Posted by: Lloyd @ 7:56 pm

Before the full moon got too high I wanted to get a little observing in.  It had been a very rainy week.  I started up the scope at 8:37 and synced up on Arcturus using the 5mm reticle.  I then switched to the Nagler 17mm and slewed to M13.  While not centered it was in the field of view.  Using adverted vision I saw many pinpoint stars.  Because I wanted to stay on the same side of the meridian I then targeted M92.  It’s smaller then M13 but gives a nice view.  The moon was getting higher so I thought I would get in one more Messier.  I chose M14 which I had never tried before.  Luckily it was in the FOV but was very faint.

I was very pleased to get 3 targets in 3 attempts.  Using the LXD75 mount you never know what you end of with.


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