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Star Wars Day's Night's Stars


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It was about 22:00 BST, and I was all set-up. I was pretty sure the Force was with me. After all, it was `Star Wars Day’. The jet stream had dropped to a virtually non-existent 4 kph. So, it was time to dust off the Millennium Falcon and hit light speed, or at least take the 72ED out. The Met Office said it would be clear, so obviously it was excessively humid and not as clear as I’d have liked. Anyway, C3PO (or was it Yoda?) said everything was going to work out just fine. Although I may have been hallucinating them on pain medication. ‘And all I ask is a tall (star) ship and a star to steer her by;’ (with sincere apologies to John Masefield). It turned out C3PO was talking out of his garbage disposal unit as the humidity and light hazy cloud stymied any really decent observing. 




In my continuing quest to find relevant eyepieces for the X-Wing 72 ED DS Pro I decided on just two: the 24mm Panoptic and a Nagler Zoom. The 24mm Panoptic gives me 17.5x with a 3° 53’ 6” TFOV. The 4.1mm exit pupil can allow the possibility of UHC filters. The zoom gives between 70x and 140x. At 70x I get a 1mm exit pupil with almost a 43° TFOV. I really intended to stick to this eyepiece choice decision but realised I had a bit of a gap around the 2mm exit pupil region. Ideally I’d need an 11.6mm eyepiece. I had several 12mm eyepieces of various sorts. I thought about it (Help me Obi Wan!) and decided on my 11mm TV Plossl. It was small, light, high quality (ideal for an apochromatic refractor) and although I’d owned it for nearly a decade it went out less than a Y-Wing Fighter. It gave 38.1x with 1°18’ 32” TFOV, a 1.8mm exit pupil, tolerable eye relief of 8mm and a 9.1mm field stop. Many would say a 50°AFOV isn’t particularly or sufficiently wide these days. It does give me a field of over two Full Moons however (That’s no moon!). Sorry, I went a bit Obi Wan there. 




I used Arcturus to get an initial focus with the 11mm Plossl. It is 36.7 light years distant and a giant K1 orange star twenty six times larger than Sol. You can’t miss it, it follows the bear. Although, not George the Hofmeister bear (whatever happened to Hofmeister lager anyway, did the Jawas drink it all?). At 36.7 LY away would make me see Arcturus sometime during early 1987. The mythologist Joseph Campbell died in this year. Campbell’s works on myths are widely believed to have been a huge inspiration for George Lucas’s Star Wars trilogy. Arcturus looked great anyway.




Unfortunately there were no planets of interest around, but there was no Moon either. So it was nerf herding or double star observing. I wasn’t quite sure where Tatooine was (in a galaxy, long ago, far away, no doubt). There was Jabba the Beehive Hut of course, which looked good both with the 11mm Plossl and the 24mm Panoptic. Notwithstanding Queen Amidala, I mean Berenice's Hair, of course. Not so easy to see in its entirety at 17.5x even with the 24mm Panoptic. Doubles included Alpha Geminorum (Castor, in Chinese astronomy ‘Yin’ to Pollux’s ‘Yang’), Iota Cancri, Gamma Leonis, 24 Comae Berenices, Gamma Virginis (Porrima). Porrima is a favourite of mine. I always see it as Princess Leia’s left lady bump. Or maybe that’s just the dark side of the force speaking (is that a light sabre in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me? lol). At thirty eight light years away these stars in Virgo have only been easy to separate with a small scope since about 2020 in recent times. I saw a large meteor under Princess Leia low in the south at around 23:00, possibly one of those retro sleek shiny Naboo Royal Starships entering the atmosphere?




Delta Corvi was nicely visible at around 70x, although I could just see it at 38x. I’m starting to actually see the Raven’s wing now, and that’s without using the Force. However, due to Cassiopeia being low in the north, Iota Cass was hard work. It took 140x and some time to see all three stars. Eta Cass was hard enough and was almost like trying to observe with my blast shield over my eyes. With the return of the Plossl (see what I did there?) I gave the 11mm a further workout. Han will always have shot first in my opinion, and the Tele Vue Plossls were definitely Al Nagler’s original screenplay. I’m over the moon of Endor with my 11mm and it will probably stay. Until I change my eyepieces again, of course (bloody Force OCD!).




The saga continues …



Edited by Nightspore
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The force is strong in this post 👍🏻

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42 minutes ago, GazAstro said:

The force is strong in this post 👍🏻


Thanks. May the Force be with you too (in a sleek, shiny, retro, Naboo Royal Starship kind of way).



And perhaps not the original Phantom Bo**ocks (which is still that bad).

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