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Topics - Jose Lukeson

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Hey everyone,

So a couple days ago, I found my first ever DSO: M13. I haven't had my equipment for too long and haven't put much effort in DSOs so far, mainly due to the lack of a good finderscope/telrad (which I'm anxiously awaiting by the end of this week!), but now I'm hooked and will be looking for more!

90% of my viewing is from the backyard in a red zone, so not the best for DSOs, but I'll be extremely motivated to do the 45min drive to the nearest yellow/green zone more often.

Anyways, it was a pretty nice and rewarding feeling finding the faint M13 for the first time, and practicing averted vision, which brought up a bunch of little stars around the faint smudge of the cluster!

So that was using my Vixen 70mm refreactor and a 25mm Plossl.

I immediately thought, wow, if I can see this object with the 70mm, it will be much brighter with the 130mm reflector, so I quickly switched OTAs on the mount and finally spot M13 with the reflector....... hmm, pretty much the same faint smudge as with the 70mm...

So my question is, is it safe to assume that in a sky polluted area, larger apperture doesn't mean brighter objects that are pretty faint in the first place?
I guess the aperture difference will make a big difference in dark skies, but in a bad sky, will not help much if at all?

For what its worth, the refractor is a 70mm f/13 and the reflector a 130mm f/7, same eyepiece used on both.I'm leaving this Saturday morning for a 6 days/nights fishing trip in a "dark grey area" and the weather forecasts so far are looking very good.... I can't wait for doing some DSO observation in a real pitch black sky!!!!

In another thread I was asking about upgrading my C9.25 to a bigger SCT, but after reading and reading I get the sense that a big DOB may be a better choice for me. I want to see larger, clearer and better than the C9.25. My intent would be a 16" DOB like the Orion Skyquest, unless someone here recommends looking at another option, and please please do recommend if you think there are better.

Here are some of my details:
I live in light polluted CT now but will be moving soon to rural SC.
I have a series of Televue EP's that I do not intend on replacing.
I do not care about collimating, about weight, about setup or cool down or maintenance. All of that is part of the hobby that adds to its reward to me.
I will be a 1 scope house.
GOTO is an absolute must
I care about SEEING, SEEING, SEEING. !!!!!!

Please share all you can with me. I'm sorta nervous about getting rid of my C9.25 SCT because its been so fun but I have to believe there is so much more !

Eyepieces Questions & Recommendations / ES82 30mm & TV 35mm Panoptic
« on: December 29, 2017, 09:22:59 AM »
Hello Group...

I'm new to CN, but I've been observing (mostly with my trusty GP-C8) since the late 80's. I recently picked up an Explore Scientific ED102 on the EXOS2GT mount. I would like to add a wide-field eyepiece, and I think I've narrowed it down to the ES82 30mm or the TeleVue 35mm Pan. Maybe the 40mm ES68. It would be used on the f/10 C8 and the 4" f/7 refractor. I have a 2" diagonal on both scopes.

I have used a 35mm Panoptic, but I've never even seen an ES eyepiece in person.

I know just enough to hurt myself, so I defer to those with more knowledge and/or observing experience with these eyepieces. I ran the magnifications and FOVs with David Paul Green's eyepiece calculator, but I don't exactly know how things like field stops affect real world use, and whether or not field stops and other parameters are included in those calculations. Through the ED102 the calculator's computations show a 23X-3.6 degree FOV for the ES82/30; 20X-3.4 degrees for the 35Pan; and 17X-4.0 degrees for the ES68/40. The numbers from Green's calculator for the C8 are 66X-1.2deg, 57X-1.2deg, and 50X-1.4deg, respectively (I'm guessing the ES82 has a field stop that comes into play on the C8 and that's what makes the ES82 and 35Pan the same 1.2 degrees? Again: I know enough to get in trouble, but that's about it.).

I would appreciate any comments regarding these in use. Background darkness. Edge sharpness. Anything your greater minds think will help me make an informed decision.


ps....I would like to apologize to Colorado observers for the week-long run of nighttime clouds I've caused with the ED102 acquisition.

Light Pollution Topics / San Jose to switch to LED streetlights!
« on: December 27, 2017, 03:18:08 PM »
I picked up my college newspaper today and my heart skipped a beat!  On the bottom of the front page of the Spartan Daily there was an article by Dan Lu called: "For safety reasons, city begins replacing yellow street lamps"I'm going to paraphrase the article because I don't have it in front of me at this moment, but I wanted to credit the author.San Jose, CA wants to replace 60,000 of its streetlamps with white LED bulbs.  They also want to make a system through which they can dim, brighten or make them flash on command for emergencies or power saving.The reason they are stating is that the low pressure sodium lights can easily be confused for yellow traffic lights and that they reflect so strongly from the road when it rains that they obscure road markings.  *I agree completely on both accounts*They are also expecting 30% energy savings over the low pressure sodium bulbs already used.The best part of the article was the end where they say that the LED lights will reduce light pollution because they will use "full cutoff" which will direct the light at sidewalks or the raod, so no more light shining up into the sky. (Atleast from streetlamps)This is such good news for me since the majority of my light pollution comes from San Jose, I only live a few miles from the city.  The ability to control the lights will also be very good I think, because they will be able to shut off specific lights where they are not needed.The down side is that since these will emmit white light, your light pollution filter might not work any longer for the light pollution that does remain...P.S.  YAAAY!!!

Mounts Questions & Expirience / Polar Alignment and the troublesome AZ EQ6
« on: December 27, 2017, 10:32:48 AM »
Hi folks, I've been a member for a while but haven't had the need to ask a question, till now.
Actually have couple of questions, first regarding Polar Alignment. I hope I am asking this right, in the Polar Scope reticule I have the large outer circle and the smaller circle that you place Polaris in. If I place Polaris in the small circle at the correct hour angle then rotate the mount in RA, Polaris should stay on the large circle at any degree of rotation, correct? I think (hope) this is correct, if so, in theory I should be able to place Polaris on the large circle and as long as it stays on the large circle through rotation, I should be fairly close to a decent Polar Alignment. My brain tells me this would not, should not, could not work on any other star in the sky since I’m not rotating around the NCP. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
The reason I’m asking is I just got a new Sky-Watcher AZ EQ6 and it is giving me fits trying to get it to guide well. I’ve been using a Celestron CGEMDX for the past 2 years with great results. 30 minute guided subs were no problem at all, using only a rough Polar Scope alignment and a couple of iterations of ASPA. I liked the AZ EQ6 because of the belt drive and super quiet slews.
The first thing I did was make sure the Polar Scope was calibrated to the mount’s RA axis on a distant object in the daytime. They must have calibrated at the factory because it was bang on. That night I set the mount up and carefully set Polaris at the correct hour angle and then rotated the mount in RA to ensure Polaris stayed on the large circle through rotation. To my mind this seemed to indicate a pretty darn good PA (again, if I’m wrong on this please correct me). I put the scope on, a Sky-Watcher Esprit 100mm, 7 position filter wheel, Orion thin OAG with a Lodestar X2 and QHY9M imaging camera then did a 3 star alignment from the weights down Home position. The gotos were fairly close so I set up the guider and started an imaging run in SGPro.
I stayed up to watch the first 30 minute shot come in and it looked pretty good so I went to bed. At 6:30am I went out to shut down and close the roof, the meridian flip had worked well and the object was still centered exactly in the center of the screen, guiding graph was flat so I thought I had a great night of imaging. Boy was I wrong, I had a look at the images, they were terrible. The only decent shot was the first, every other shot had horribly elongated stars. Zoomed in, cropped pic below. The weird thing is the guide graph looked great with no weird jumps in RA or Dec. I thought maybe there was a problem with EQMod talking to the scope through PCDirect so the next night I just used the Synscan Hand Control and driver. Absolutely no difference at all, same horribly elongated stars. So before I send this thing back to Sky-Watcher I’d like to know if anyone has any ideas as to what could be going wrong. I’ve never had this problem with my DX, very rarely had slightly elongated stars due to strong wind gusts but I would only have to toss one or two subs, most nights all were usable. Do I just send it back or am I doing something so obviously wrong and I’m not seeing it?
Sorry for the long post and thank you.

Beginners Forum / Need Eyepiece Advice PLEASE ?
« on: December 24, 2017, 09:05:49 AM »
I know this question has been likely beatin to death but I want help !!!  I'm just starting out and only figured out I made the biggest mistake !  I bought a Celestron SLT 130 utilized for two reasons, it got great reviews, it was inexpensive, and therefore I rushed to get it !  Now I'm finding out Its a extremely fast F5 Newton and everything I'm reading states "the quicker the scope the greater quality ep's are required !  I have been employing a X-Cel 2X Barlow using a Meade 8-24 zoom !  I was planning to purchase Agena SWA 10,15, and 20mm until I can put more cash into ep's !  I'm only getting started any information at all will be greatly valued !!!!  I just bought a lazer collimation instrument and ive been studying about paracorr coma correctors !  I never understood just how much effort and knowledge necessary to view the skies above !

General Astronomy & Observing / Clear Sky Chart inaccurate
« on: December 23, 2017, 11:36:18 PM »
Clear skies chart has been very inaccurate for me lately, stating it is clear when it is mostly cloudy or muddy.  What are a few alternatives that a few of you use? affects almost every hour so I don't consider it very trustworthy.

Thank you

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