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Eighth September Session

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As some range, dexterity and utility has returned to my right hand, arm and leg since the recent seizure (and subsequent hospitalisation) a couple of months ago, I decided to experiment with some of my ‘larger’ scopes (i.e. anything above 80mm). This fundamentally entailed setting them up inside for ‘dry runs’ so to speak. This was to ascertain any technical and/or assembly or disassembly problems. A two hour window possibility came up on the Met Office site between 20:00 and 22:00 BST Tuesday 27/9/23. It predicted cloud free skies for the duration. After some consideration (particularly about all-up weight) I decided on my modified 4” achromat. After all, I had my trolley, although sometimes I wondered if I was actually off my trolley!




I believed the Moon would be a bit low for my Synta 127mm Gregory Spot Maksutov (the ‘Big Mak’) so it was either the 80ED (which atypically has a 100mm tube) or my ST102. As the modified StarTravel is heavier than stock I also decided to seriously cut down on weight by using an exiguity of eyepieces. Three in fact: 28mm, 8.8mm, & 6.7mm Explore Scientific. OK I’ll admit to taking a tiny 4mm Ohi orthoscopic as well. I also took the SvBony Barlow element. These gave me 17.8x, 56.8x & 74.6x (6.7mm gives 119.4x with Barlow element). The Ohi gave 125x, which is just about the most I can extract from an achro’ before chromatic aberration seriously cuts in. I also had a 2” Baader stack (Fringe Killer/Neodymium) for CA, a 2" Orion UltraBlock and an ES OIII filter.




Between 20:00 & 22:00 conditions were not good, and the steadily rising 33.2 arc minute, 90.2% illuminated Moon (Aquarius) didn’t help. Albireo was discernibly split at 17.8x and I got a nice view of the Summer Triangle’s star fields. As clouds came and went I spent some time in Cassiopeia at the same magnification. Iota Cassiopeiae split nicely into its tripartite system. I managed the Hercules Clusters at 17.8x and 56.8x. Switching back to the 'Triangle' I found the Ring Nebula relatively easily at 56.8x, especially utilising averted vision, and even split the Double Double into four stars at 119.4x (I had to concentrate though, I’m not sure if the initial difficulty in splitting the Double Double was because of the achromatic doublet’s optics or the overall weather conditions). Inevitably the clouds started to roll in with a vengeance.





Oddly leaving Saturn and the Moon alone for a short while. So I got a good view of Schroter’s Valley (if slightly hazy) at 125x with the Ohi ortho’ combined with the Baader stack (in the diagonal's nose). Saturnian detail wasn’t bad and I could clearly see Titan. Not the session I was hoping for, and it was prematurely curtailed due to cloud, but it proved that I can get larger scopes out (with the trolley). Eighth session this September, and this year!




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47 minutes ago, sojourneyer said:

You are certainly on a roll Nightspore. Good for you mate!

Even with a few sparse minutes to observe  you got in some decent viewing.  Glad to hear that.

Are you considering motorization for the trolley?


Keep up the good work


Dunno about a roll, although eight sessions in September isn't too bad. I had fifteen sessions with the 72ED in September 2021, ten the year before that, including a couple with the Altair Starwave.




Not sure about a motor for the trolley, maybe some mag wheels and an aerofoil. Although aerofoils are so 90's lol.

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