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All observing logs mentioning Tycho

2007-03-27


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-03-27 12:35 UT
To: 2007-03-27 12:40 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 13.8°C ...
Dew Point: 9.6°C ...
Humidity: 76% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 1014.2hPa ...
Notes:

The day started out very foggy but cleared somewhat into the afternoon. When it was clear enough I took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.

Sun

From: 2007-03-27 12:35 UT
To: 2007-03-27 12:40 UT

No spots or other marks visible on the Sun.

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-03-27 18:50 UT
To: 2007-03-27 19:45 UT
Equipment: Antares 905
Temperature: 9.8°C ...
Dew Point: 5.5°C ...
Humidity: 75% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 1013.7hPa ...
Notes:

A reasonably clear but slightly damp and misty evening. Although I had to be elsewhere a little later on in the evening I decided to have a quick session observing Venus and, if there was time, a quick look at the Moon (especially given that Rupes Recta would be favourably lit).

Venus

From: 2007-03-27 18:50 UT
To: 2007-03-27 19:10 UT

I first lined Venus up in the 905 using the 25mm eyepiece and then swapped it for the 6mm eyepiece. The image was very indistinct and had lots of blue fringing. I then added the contrast booster and this gave an instant improvement (I can see this becoming a more or less permanent fixture on the 905) with Venus now obviously showing a gibbous phase. There was, however, still some red fringe.

As with my previous session observing Venus I added the #80A medium blue and this eliminated pretty much all of the fringing. Those two filters appear to be a winning combination, at least for something as low down and as high-contrast as Venus.

I then added the 2x barlow and even that wasn't a terrible view. While the image was a little soft there was pretty much no colour fringe to distract from the view. Once again it was very obvious that I was looking at a planet that was displaying a very distinct phase.

I kept observing Venus until around 19:10 UT and then, given that I obviously wasn't going to get anything extra out of the planet, I decided to move on to the Moon.

The Moon

From: 2007-03-27 19:15 UT
To: 2007-03-27 19:45 UT

While I had some time left I decided to have a quick look at the Moon and, in particular, Rupes Recta (something I used to observe a fair bit as a child, back when I was a member of the Lunar Section of the Junior Astronomical Society).

With the 6mm eyepiece (and keeping the contrast booster in place) Rupes Recta was immediately and obviously visible. Just as I remembered it gave the impression of being a large sharp cliff (something it really isn't). Close by I could see Brit and, in the wall of Brit, I could easily see Brit A.

I then added the 2x barlow and the view was still quite good.

Looking at the general area around Rupes Recta I noted that "wrinkles" to the West of Brit, along with other features in the area, give a very strong impression of the whole region being surrounded by the remains of a very circular ghost crater.

About ½ way between Brit and the terminator I could see Nicollet. Further on in that general direction, more or less on the terminator, I could see Wolf.

Pretty much touching the south wall of Thebit I could see a very small crater which I could make out on my map but which didn't have a name marked.

At this point I removed the 2x barlow and carried on using just the 6mm eyepiece.

Further south Tycho looked fantastic with its floor ½ in shadow and its central peak standing out in the sunlight. The shadow of the central peak was also very obvious.

Even further south I could see Clavius cutting into the terminator. Two very distinct craters were visible on its floor, one of which (the eastern most one) was throwing quite a long shadow. I could also make out Rutherfurd, just visible in the wall of Clavius.

Buried right in the terminator, down close to the south pole, I could just make out Newton.

At this point (19:45 UT) my time was up and I needed to call an early end to the session and pack up.


2005-12-11


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2005-12-11 19:50 UT
To: 2005-12-11 20:48 UT
Equipment: Meade 10x50 Binoculars
Temperature: 4.6°C
Humidity: 82%
Notes:

First reasonably clear night for quite a while. But, as seems to be happening lately, a bright Moon (in this case a day or so past 1st ¼) meant that deep-sky work was pretty much out of the window.

Because of this I decided to carry on with my long-term project to get to know the Moon again using just a binocular and a lunar map.

There did appear to be some thin, high-level cloud kicking about but at the start of the session none was obscuring the Moon.

Moon

From: 2005-12-11 19:50 UT
To: 2005-12-11 20:48 UT

The most striking feature when I started observing was the terminator running just west of Montes Jura, on the edge of Sinus Iridum.

Next to stand out really well was what appeared to be two peaks, on the night-side of the terminator, but catching the Sun. Checking my chart it would appear that what I was seeing was Mons Gruithuisen Gamma and Mons Gruithvisen Delta. Given how small these features seem to be (I read a figure of about 12 miles by 12 miles) I'm left wondering if I identified them correctly, but given the stark contrast of the peaks when compared to the darkness of the night-side of the Moon I suppose it's possible that I've got it right. I could see no other named peaks on my chart in the correct location.

Just to the north of the above, and into the day-side, I could clearly see a crater which, while shown on my chart, didn't have a name given (which seemed odd for such a visible feature). I'll need to check this further.

Another feature that stood out rather well was Mons Vinogradov. Nearby I could clearly see the crater Euler.

Around 20:24 UT I could see more thin cloud forming and heading my way. It wasn't obscuring the Moon yet but it looked like it could become a problem soon. By 20:26 UT it started to move in front of the Moon. At that time it wasn't thick enough to be too much of a problem.

The next thing I noticed, in the terminator, was the crater Kepler. Encke also seemed to be visible. Further down the terminator I could see Gassendi on the north "shore" of Mare Humorum. On the south "shore" I could clearly see Doppelmayer.

By 20:35 UT the cloud was starting to get thicker, making it harder to observe the Moon.

Noticed the crater König. It was quite a striking sight, apparently sat within a ray coming from Tycho. I followed the same ray and noticed it running by the side of Bullialdus and Lubiniezky. Agatharchides could be seen on the other (western) side of the ray.

I next noticed, in the mess of craters south of Mare Humorum, Hainzel and Mee.

At 20:48 UT, while making the above observation, the cloud got too thick to be able to see anything very well any more so I decided to call an end to the session.


2005-11-15


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2005-11-15 14:18 UT
To: 2005-11-15 14:36 UT
Equipment: Naked Eye
Solarscope
Temperature: 10.0°C
Humidity: 68%
Notes:

Reasonably clear sky, some cloud about. Decided to have a quick look at the Sun with the naked eye and with the Solarscope because a new sunspot had come into view.

Sunspot 822 with naked eye

Time: 2005-11-15 14:18 UT

Before setting up the Solarscope I used a pair of eclipse shades to have a look at the Sun to see if sunspot 822 was visible with the naked eye. It wasn't obvious at first but with a little bit of effort I could clearly see a small, dark dot in the correct position on the face of the Sun.

I think this is the first naked eye sunspot we've had since sunspot 798.

Sunspot 822 with Solarscope

From: 2005-11-15 14:28 UT
To: 2005-11-15 14:36 UT

Set up the Solarscope for a better look at 822. I could see one very large spot which appeared to have a reasonably large companion, both of them were surrounded by a sizable penumbra. Next to that I could see three small spots. Next to them I could see two more spots, again, both surrounded by a penumbra.

Did the following sketch:

Sketch of Sunspot 822

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2005-11-15 22:17 UT
To: 2005-11-15 23:32 UT
Equipment: Sky-Watcher Explorer 130M
Temperature: 4.8°C
Humidity: 79%
Notes:

Cold and mostly clear night with some patches of thin cloud. Sky more or less washed out by a near-full Moon which was quite close to Mars.

Given that the Moon was washing out any chance of any DSO observing I decided to make the Moon and Mars the targets for this session.

The Moon

From: 2005-11-15 22:23 UT
To: 2005-11-15 22:51 UT

I initially lined the Moon up in the 25mm eyepiece and found that it was far too bright to look at. I could just see a hint of a terminator.

To combat the brightness I added an ND13 filter to the eyepiece. While the image was still quite bright it was far easier to look at for any period of time.

The surface of the Moon looked very two dimensional, the only features that stood out right away were the ray systems, the ray system of Tycho being the most striking.

After a short while I noticed what I'd describe as "dark patches" in and near Sinus Aestuum. They looked like large, more or less circular, darker patches when compared to the surrounding terrain. Initially I thought it might have been a problem with the filter, eyepiece or the 'scope itself but a simple tap on the 'scope (to make the image move) confirmed that what I was seeing was a lunar feature and not some effect brought on by a problem with my equipment.

Roving around a little more I noticed a reasonably prominent darker area towards the south eastern limb. Checking on a Lunar chart I'm pretty sure that what I was looking at was Mare Australe. I switched to the 15mm lens, with the ND13 filter attached, and carried on looking. The impression I got was that I was seeing part of a dark ring that surrounded a dark circular area (heavily foreshortened, obviously). It reminded me a little of images I've seen of Mare Orientale — it wasn't, I double checked.

At 22:51 UT an area of cloud moved in front of the Moon. One nice thing about this is that it was thin enough that you could still easily see the Moon and, better yet, it gave the Moon a double halo effect that had a hint of "rainbow" effect about it. The cloud cleared again at 23:04 UT

Mars

From: 2005-11-15 23:21 UT
To: 2005-11-15 23:32 UT
Temperature: 4.2°C
Humidity: 80%

Decided to move on to Mars. Lined it up in the 130M with the 25mm eyepiece then quickly went to the 15mm and then 6mm eyepiece, centering as I went. There was no obvious detail visible and the image was very unsteady. What I could see right away is that the planet appeared much smaller than it had when I looked at it near the closest approach.

At 23:24 UT a load of cloud moved in. Decided to give it a short while to see if it would move away again.

End of session

Time: 2005-11-15 23:32 UT
Temperature: 4.4°C
Humidity: 80%

Cloud was now more or less horizon to horizon so decided to call an end to the session.


2005-06-18


Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2005-06-18 21:25 UT
To: 2005-06-18 23:00 UT
Equipment: Sky-Watcher Explorer 130M
Notes:

Very light sky plus Moon just past first quarter. The reason for venturing out so early was that this was the first clear night I'd had for a while and I'd just acquired 6mm and 15mm eyepieces from Scopes'n'Skies and I wanted to give them a try out as soon as possible.

Jupiter & 6mm eyepiece

Time: 2005-06-18 21:25 UT

Tried the 6mm first. Jupiter showed up quite nicely. Based on first impressions and a quick at-the-'scope comparison I found that the 6mm gave a more pleasing image than the SkyWatcher-supplied 10mm with the supplied 2x barlow. Made a sketch of what I saw with the 6mm -- noted that I could see a faint star quite close to Jupiter (it obviously wasn't a Jovian moon as they were obvious and the star itself was in the wrong location for that).

Tried the 6mm with the 2x barlow. It was hard to get good focus with this combination. While the image was obviously bigger I couldn't see any obvious increase in detail on the planet -- but I was fighting a warm 'scope, a light sky and a lack of collimation (I must get round to this).

Jupiter & 15mm eyepiece

Time: 2005-06-18 22:16 UT

Jupiter looked excellent in the 15mm eyepiece. Although I could only see the two main bands (no hint of the mottling that I've seen on previous nights but see above regarding what I was working against) the image was bright, crisp and clear.

The Moon

Time: 2005-06-18 22:31 UT onwards

Finally got round to having a good look around the Moon for the first time since getting the telescope.

The first thing that really stood out was the top of the rim of the crater Reiner being highlighted even though the bulk of the crater itself was behind the terminator. Quite an amazing sight. I spent some time trying to have a go at sketching this but after a couple of false starts gave up. I need to do some more practice and, more to the point, I should probably plan my observing of the Moon ahead of time and make up a template or two of what I want to look at.

Spent some time taking in the ray systems of Copernicus, Kepler and Tycho.

With the 15mm eyepiece I got an excellent view of Aristarchus, Herodotus and Vallis Schröteri. With the 6mm the view was even better. Vallis Schröteri looked very detailed. I could also clearly see what appeared to be two small craters in what looked like higher ground to the North of Aristarchus. I noted that these craters appeared to be shown on my Moon map but they were not named.

Iridium Flare

Time: 2005-06-18 23:00 UT (approximate)

After packing up, while heading back into the house, noticed a rather bright Iridium flare high up and around due South.


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Dave Pearson <davep@davep.org>
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