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Going for the Astronomy League's Binocular Messier Project


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#1 MistrBadgr

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Posted 11 June 2017 - 12:46 PM

Well, I got in a pair of the Meade 15 X 70 Binoculars to do those kinds of things for Astronomical League Projects, built a bit of a crutch for it with a extendable paint roller extension, and started on the Messier list tonight.

 

    The crutch closes down to a little over two feet and opens up to four. I put the end of it in my chair seat and hold it there with my legs. The wiggles I experienced using the binos free hand has been reduced, but not eliminated. I can definitely see the effects of my heart beat. I may have to break down and get a real binocular mount, but I am going to try this for a while.

 

    I had a little time this evening before the Moon came up. It was a bit windier than I like...seeing was at best a two and transparency was at best a three. The whole situation, to me, seems a lot like the "wild west" compared to civilization with a scope on a regular mount. It is certainly a different situation.

 

    I finally managed to find M3, which was an obvious fuzzy spot, after a traced a path in the stars from Arcturus through Murphid, and on around in a counter clock-wise arc. I then went to M5, found Yed Prior and Posterior in Ophiuchus, and worked my way up the west snake and then turned right. I found a star pattern that looked familiar and then there was M5. Wow! a really big ball of fuzz that was sort of slapping me in the eyeballs! Even if the binoculars were capable of resolving some stars, which I doubt, the wobble kept that from happening...as well as the bad seeing and relatively bad transparency. It did look different than with monocular vision of a regular scope.

 

    After that, the Moon came up. I viewed it for a while and was impressed with the increased subtleties in the grey tones, compared to mono vision.

 

    I have to get fifty of the objects for the binocular project. Hopefully, there will be enough star clusters and other bright things available to me to allow it to happen. This is definitely going to be a different experience.

 

Bill Steen


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Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

#2 RickScofield

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 04:37 PM

Bill,
I have a tripod for my binos I just can't hold them still enough even when I tried to control my breathing and attempted to use the strap as a brace. The tripod works great and was cheap. Good luck with you HUNT.

RickScofield

#3 MistrBadgr

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 01:11 PM

Thanks, Rick!  I picked up another nine globular clusters a couple nights ago.  I have not written anything about them on the computer yet.

 

Bill


Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

#4 E Sully

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 01:28 PM

Good Luck Bill. 

I admit, I don't have the steadiness or patience to try it with binoculars.



#5 MistrBadgr

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 02:52 PM

A couple nights ago now, June 11th, I took the binoculars out and thought I might get a globular cluster or two before the Moon came up.  I graded the seeing as 2.5 of 5 over all, but it was worse to the southeast, I think.  Transparency was 3 of 5, but was worse low toward the southeast, at least at first.  I think this because of what I experienced with M4.

 

I went for M4, because of its size and obvious position near Antares.  With Antares flashing green and red, it was hard to miss.  I centered the scope half way between Sigma Scorpio and a bit down to the right....then waited.  I always have trouble seeing this one, compared to some others, but this night, it was worse.  Maybe it was too early.  I was pushing things to get as much done before the Moon came up.  Anyway, I finally saw it as a general, circular lightening from the background in exactly the right spot.  That was at 9:51 PM CDT.

 

From there, I moved to M80, the globular cluster between Sigma and Delta Scorpio and above/right of their line, with Scorpius in the low southeast sky.  This one was simply obvious, though smaller, compared to M4.  Where M4 was a general grey area, M80 had a brighter center that diminished as I looked farther out from its center.  The time was 9:59 PM CDT.

 

M107 was next.  It is located near Zeta Ophiuchus, the center bright star in the base of the figure.  Below Zeta (actually to the right and below it) M107 is situated sort of between two pairs of roughly seventh magnitude stars that are shown in the Sky and Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas.  M107 looks to me like someone is squeezing the star pairs and M107 is trying to squirt out downward and to their left.  After studying the area for a while, I began to see M107.  Later, looking at the Astronomy League document, M107 is listed as a challenge object for 80 mm binoculars, but I did not find it any harder, really, than M4 with my 70mm instrument and the sky conditions.  The time I wrote down was 10:13 PM CDT.

 

From there, I went to M9, which is near Eta Ophiuchus, the left end star of the figure's base.  For a little bit, I had trouble getting my bearings from Eta, but finally started finding the stars shown in my Pocket Sky Atlas and worked my way to M9's location.  I expected it to be pretty dim, and it was.  Not quite as dim as M107, but pretty close.  With this one, it really hit me that any time I looked away from the binoculars to study my atlas, I had to start all over at Eta!  The time I had for this one was 10:24.  Fortunately for me, I have a rather tall house between me and the spot where the Moon was coming up.

 

From there, I went back to Zeta Ophiuchus and then traveled up the middle of the figure and found stars 23 and 30, following dimmer stars.  M10 was quite easy to see, compared to what I had just experienced.  It was a nice globular cluster, showing some gradation from the center to the edge.  It's time was 10:28 PM CDT.

 

From M10, the next step was M12, which required moving from M10, looking for the stars in the atlas.  There are more stars, dimmer, along the way that are easy to get mixed up, but I finally made it.  M12 was both bigger and brighter than M10 and quite pretty!

 

The Moon still had not showed yet, so I continued on.  I actually waited a few minutes for M19 and the stars near it to clear a roof SSE of my location.  I started at Eta Ophiuchus and worked my way down to Theta and over to 36 Ophiuchus.  M19 is due west of 36 about a third more than the distance between Theta and 36.  I made the jump to M19 and found it to be fairly obvious.  It was brighter than the difficult ones, but dimmer than the bright globulars.  I cannot say much about it, except that it was there and I felt I was running out of time.  I logged 10:38 PM CDT.

 

Where to next, if I have time!  Well, I have not logged M13 in this endeavor.  The  trapezoid  of Hercules's body was nearly straight over head.  I checked the atlas to make sure which side M13 was on, pointed the binoculars at what I thought should be the right spot and looked.  Pow!!  I recognized M13 before anything else.  It was right there!  Even though I am using the binoculars on the small pole, which helps, there is still a bit of wiggle.  If it was not for that, I believe I could have resolved a few stars....well, it makes me feel good thinking that I could have!  There was a bit of blotchiness in the view, making me start to tell it was not all creamy smoothness!  This was a great view, considering what I had been seeing and what I expected, even for M13!  Its time was 10:46 PM CDT.

 

The Moon was just about to peak over the top of my neighbor's house, but I wanted to try for M92.  I located Pi Hercules, the NW corner star of the trapezoid.  Making a quick check of my atlas to see the pattern of stars between there and M92, I put the binoculars on Pi, easily for me and a rarity!  I worked my way northward, extended a little farther than I thought I should, and there it was.  M92 was brighter than anything I have seen so far with the binoculars, except M13 and maybe M5.  It is quite nice and goes underrated, I think, due to its nearness to M13.  The Moon was peaking over my neighbor's house now.  I looked at my watch and it showed 10:54.

 

What an exhilarating ride!  Well, by this time, I am exhausted!  Time to go in and go to bed very well pleased.


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Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

#6 MistrBadgr

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 07:11 PM

Good Luck Bill. 

I admit, I don't have the steadiness or patience to try it with binoculars.

 

Thanks, Ed!

I am pretty wobbly myself, thus, the monopod. :)  I am getting set up to do the Astronomical League's Binocular Double Star Program.  Most likely, I will have to go to a tripod rig instead of the monopod.


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Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma




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