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September


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I managed fifteen sessions in September, five more than in September 2020. Interestingly all of September’s sessions were with one scope; my 72ED Evostar. September the 5th was its third year ‘first light’ anniversary. Coincidentally I also got first light with the ‘unusual’ 4.8mm orthoscopic on the 5th. 

 

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I had some pretty good views of Saturn and Jupiter as well as splitting a fair few doubles. The 4.8mm went out with the 72ED the rest of September. I like the fact that it’s a small, very lightweight eyepiece, which is an important consideration for a grab and go rig. However, it does have some occasional chromatic and ghosting issues. Overall though I’d say it was a fair attempt at an orthoscopic eyepiece. I don’t know exactly who manufacture these, no doubt somewhere on the Chinese mainland, but I have seen them for sale at quite inflated prices. I reckon anything much over forty quid and it would be preferable to obtain a reputable Japanese orthoscopic.

 

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The main high power eyepieces I used were a 4mm TS Optics Planetary HR and a 3.2mm TMB clone. Although I did have a couple of sessions with an Orion zoom and a Baader Barlow. 

 

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I got to give my 15mm Altair ULTRAFLAT a bit of a workout on the 29th.

 

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I originally bought it a couple of years ago specifically for my 80ED DS Pro as it was light and gives a 2mm exit pupil (40x). Apparently they were designed by Mark Ackermann in the US and APM had exclusive marketing rights for two years. They are actually manufactured by Kunming United Optics. I wasn't a great fan of the eyeguard although it can be rolled down and I've finally discovered a spare Baader dust cap that now fits it with the eyeguard permanently rolled down. For what they cost these are quite exceptional eyepieces, with a very well contrasted, sharp, and flat field. It definitely needs to get out more.

 

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On the 6th I got a nice view of the Alpha Persei Moving Group at 17.5x with a 24mm ES 68° eyepiece. Which was great as I hadn’t seen it for a while. As I swept the bottom of Cassiopeia with the 24mm ES I had a nice view of NGC 281 (aka the Pacman Nebula) and the Andromeda Galaxy.

 

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I made a mental note to take the broadband ES OIII filter the next time, especially for the Pacman. Conditions were very good and I believed the OIII would make the nebula a lot easier to define. Reverting to higher powered eyepieces I got to see a Europa/Ganymede conjunction. 

 

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On Tuesday the 7th I went out for an hour at about 22:00 and split a setting Izar before searching for more doubles in Boötes. I went out on Wednesday at about 21:00 but I didn’t even set-up as the sky was basically a blanket of cloud. I’m seriously going to have to find a better weather app. I did go out early on the 8th though. When I say early, I mean at 04:30, to view Cr 70 (Serpent Cluster) M1 and especially M42 in what was essentially a winter sky but with summer type weather.

 

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I was seriously over the moon seeing the Crab Nebula and I’m pretty sure this is the earliest time of the year I’ve seen it.

 

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On the 20th I got my one hundredth session this year. This time I remembered the OIII and got good views of M27 as well as NGC 281. On the Equinox (22nd) I got to see the Petavius rille after initially packing up at the end of a session due to cloud, and then setting up again to see the Moon. The rille itself is only really observable two to three days after the Full Moon. The 23rd was my 103rd outing this year equalling the total number of sessions in 2020. On the 27th the conditions were very humid but the sky was cloud-free for hours. Naturally I had a pretty decent session, although splitting Mu Boötis was very difficult. The weirdest thing was witnessing an Atlas V rocket de-orbit burn from my back garden. Of course, I had no idea what it was at the time. The last session of the month, on the 29th, was barely an hour. I did get a very nice view of the Draconis 17 triple system and a bit later I glimpsed an Io transit shadow before everything clouded over. September is often very damp and humid with excessive dew problems. I’ve noticed the finder dewing a bit but as a whole it hasn’t been too bad for this time of the year.

Edited by Nightspore
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A great little write up. Very interesting to hear about, not only which targets you have viewed, but also the EPs that you chose to view them with. From your previous threads, I know that you own and have experience with, a great many EPs. For this reason I find it interesting that you refer to having chosen to use a TMB clone during one of your sessions: from a previous review that you conducted on these particular EPs it’s clear that they can be purchased for a very reasonable price and therefore it’s reassuring to see that an experienced Astronomer like yourself, does not just automatically reach for the most expensive EPs in their collection. 

A great write up Nightspore.

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, Marmot said:

A great little write up. Very interesting to hear about, not only which targets you have viewed, but also the EPs that you chose to view them with. From your previous threads, I know that you own and have experience with, a great many EPs. For this reason I find it interesting that you refer to having chosen to use a TMB clone during one of your sessions: from a previous review that you conducted on these particular EPs it’s clear that they can be purchased for a very reasonable price and therefore it’s reassuring to see that an experienced Astronomer like yourself, does not just automatically reach for the most expensive EPs in their collection. 

A great write up Nightspore.

 

 

Thanks. I saw a lot more to be honest, including some nice views of the Double Cluster. It's getting higher and so better defined. There's a load of open clusters in and around Perseus and Andromeda.

 

The TMB clones can vary hugely in price. I'm pretty sure they're all made in the same factory. They were originally intended to be reasonably priced planetary EP's.

 

The TS Optics version, most probably made by BST, has a slightly better build quality but I can't tell any optical difference between the two.

 

They all probably cost about a tenner to actually produce, everything else is mark-up. My TMB clones get out regularly.

Edited by Nightspore
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