Meteor Shower Bust

As many of you have heard of the meteor shower the past 3 days, I had been up on the second day, thinking that it was the peak of the show.  The weather has been pretty iffy lately and these clouds come in from the east.  Then they stay right where they are because there is no breeze to blow them away.

Anyway,  it wasn’t very good at my house, which is heavily light polluted.  But I did have PVAA’s loaner 8 inch scope handy and used that most of the time.  I was up ’til about 1:30 in the morning, and by that time, M31 (Andromeda galaxy) and M33 (Triangulum Galaxy) had come up pretty high.  M31 was a cinch, and was glimpsed naked eye.  Nearby was M110, which was very bright.  M32, which is right on M31 was not visible, I have never seen the dark lanes or globular clusters in M31.

The next target was Stephan’s Quintet, I hope that’s spelled right.  I was unable to snag the grouping of galaxies.  By that time, Scorpius was below the horizon and the teapot was practically invisible.  All in all it was a great night, except for the main attraction, I counted a lousy 20 meteors.  I have thought it would be interesting to sketch them, so at some point, I will attempt to.  I have seen some with double tails, in all different colors.


I have been looking online for some UHC filters, I don’t care what brand it is, and I have found a site where they sell pretty cheap.  Kson Optics has been around since the 80’s and make telescopes, mounts, rifle scopes, and scope accessories.  I have not found the actual filter on their site, but it does come in a filter wheel along with planetary and other DS filters.  I checked on Amazon for them, and the cheapest model is around $40.  So it seems like that’s the cheapest I can find anywhere online.

I just wanted to say a few words about 10minuteastronomy and his recent post on “What’s on you bucket list?”  Somebody wrote a comment saying some of the stuff that he has seen.  I think its worth some words:

For years I thought an 8″ scope was a “lifetime” scope. Probably around 15000 DSOs are reachable, and pretty much all star clusters. You could spend a lifetime with one and become quite an accomplished observer.
But my interests shifted more to galaxies so I moved up “a magnitude” to a 12.5″. And while I certainly can see more galaxies and details therein, the biggest difference in appearance came with the mundane, easily visible, brighter objects.
I’ve seen (and it wasn’t possible in an 8″):
–individual stars in M31 (NGC206 stars)
–stars across the face of M14
–tons of H-II regions in most of the nearer galaxies
–white swirls inside the GRS on Jupiter
–brightness variations on Ganymede
–differential colors in the Galilean moons
–the Keeler Gap in Saturn’s rings
–the outer spiral arms of M81 and NGC7331
–to-the-core resolution on M15
–red giants in M13
–dark lanes in tons of edge-on galaxies
–M17 and M16 as part of the same nebula
–wonderful striations across the face of NGC6888
–B33 (Horsehead), both with and without a filter
–galaxies in some faint Abell Galaxy clusters
–several Abell planetaries


After reading this list myself I thought hey, I want to see that stuff too it sounded like lot’s of cool things are reachable in telescopes of modest aperture.  I have something to add that’s possible in scopes of a minimum of 8 inches: the moons of Mars.  Everybody’s all excited about Curiosity landing and all, but I found out how to view it.

It involves “occulting” the eyepiece.  The process is to take a piece of foil, painted black and cover half the lens of the eyepiece (on the inside).  This effect when positioned correctly will block out the light of the red planet and allow the Moons Phobos and Deimos to be seen. This must be done on a telescope with perfectly clean optics, perfect collimation, and a reasonably good night.  I found out about this in a booked called Astronomy Hacks available through amazon.  Mars is getting low in the sky, but why not give it a try?