Sunday, January 02, 2011

Visual Astronomy? What's that?!

It was a cold, clear but windy night last night. I decided to take the 12" Lightbridge out for a few hours of observing. I met Jared out there who was rigged for some serious imaging. The wind was annoying, because it was bitter cold and was knocking my scope around a fair bit. Even using my car as a windshield, the views were ruined by the wind. Still, I persisted and towards the end of my outing (between 8PM and 9PM) the wind did settle down enough to get some good views. I toured the various open clusters around Auriga, M42, M31, the Double Cluster and Jupiter. All were very nice to look at, and reminded me how much I had missed actually looking through a telescope. I hadn't used my Lightbridge once last year due to my astrophotography adventures, and need to get back into visual astronomy again just for the sheer delight of viewing objects with my own eyes and not through a camera's display screen. It was also nice to be at the helm of my LB again. There's something quite cool about moving a scope around manually, finding things without a computer and simply just enjoying them directly.

Happy New Year to all - hope 2011 brings heaps of clear skies!


Anonymous said...

So this is the 'unplugged' version of star gazing? It was really cold last night, hope you didn't stay out there _too_ long!

Phil said...

Unplugged indeed! It's good to do that every once in a while - keeps you familiar with the night sky without the aid of a computer. I stayed out until 9PM - four hours of being knocked around by chilly breezes and gusts was enough! Happy New Year to you!

Noel Muller said...

Hi Phil, I liked your blog & hope you do not mind but have placed a link upon my own. . I am in Australia (Adelaide) and am well versed in the very cold night breezes (even in summer) but that is what ASTRONOMY is all about, just to get the views. I have a Dobsonian and a Skywatcher (both Reflectors) and 3 sets of Astro - Bino's and make the best of what ever time of year it is. Cheers Phil and Clear Skies, Noel.

Phil said...

Hi Noel! Good to "meet" you and thanks for stopping by the blog! I am actually ex-Melbourne, been in the US for several years. I never made it out to Adelaide but hear it is beautiful. My dad owns a 10" Bintel Dob back home in Melbourne that he potters about with. It sounds like you have some good gear, too. I'll check out your blog and will add it to my list of links.

All the best!

Hugo said...

Hi Phil,

I'm following and enjoying your blog for some time now, but this is my first time posting. I bought a LightBridge 12" exactly like yours a couple of weeks ago and I really love it. 12" is a nice size and a great window to dimmer celestial object! I'm looking to buy a 2" filter, (possibly the Lumicon UHC) and I was wondering if you have some experience with that kind of filter?

Happy new year!


Phil said...

Hi Hugo!

Thanks for visiting (and following) the blog! I love my Lightbridge - great value and you're right - the 12" is a great aperture.

Admittedly, I have not looked through many filters like this. A while back, I looked through someone's scope with (from memory) an OIII filter and thought it was just too dark for my liking. This filter looks very promising for those hard-to-find nebulas, though!

Please post back and let me know if you like/dislike it!

Clear skies,

Phil said...

Hugo - I just went to your blog and see you bought the AT8IN scope from Astro-Tech. Have you used it yet? Like it?

Hugo said...

Hey Phil, thanks for the response. I am still looking to find more info on the Lumicon UHC but so far I read that it is a very good filter, less dark than the OIII.

Yes, I bought the AT8IN! I am very happy about it, I read so much good reviews about the scope. I was planning to take some pictures yesterday night. I was setting up everything, and we know it takes time! As soon as I was ready to start shooting, the clouds covered the sky!! I waited for an hour and it was still very cloudy... Better luck next time :-)

Phil said...

Hi Again, Hugo,

I have been salivating over that 8" reflector for a while now! I will keep checking your blog to see what you can do with it. It really looks like a great imaging scope!

All the best,