Ooooh! I just saw Comet NEAT and Bernse's night out with his new scope!

I knew comet NEAT was around, but until today I haven’t looked for it (well, thats a lie. I did yesterday but it was cloudy).

Found it about 1-1/2 hours after sunset, just as the comet itself was about to set. IT WAS SO COOL! I am very suprised it isn’t getting more publicity. It was quite a sight in my lame-o 10x50 binocs. I didn’t bother grabbing Bernse’s 10Inch-Scope-O-Doom[sup]TM[/sup] though, as it looked fine through binoculars. It’s about a magnitude 2.5, and a beautiful sight to behold. It’s sporting a nice tail from what I could make out, and I’m sure it would be quite a magnificent sight on a super dark evening, away from city lights. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m going to be able to get a better view of it before it goes away for good but I was quite happy with what I saw. I highly recomend anyone that can, go see it! You won’t regret it!

That primed me for the night - gorgeous, crisp cloud free evening, stars all coming out, bright moon overhead. Then I saw a very bright star underneath the Moon. It was Saturn! Well, say no more! Time for me to break out Bernse’s 10Inch-Scope-O-Doom[sup]TM[/sup] and take a peek. I broke out my 25MM eyepiece and first sighted the Moon. Damn! I was almost blinded by the damn thing! GO AWAY MOON! I lined up my finderscope and quickly found Saturn. With the 25MM eyepiece (only a 50x mag) I could make out that it had rings and a moon (Titan?). I put in my 9MM eyepiece which gave me a magnification of 140x. I could easily make out the rings and the Cassini division and kind of an “orangy” color!. Wow, that was pretty cool!

Then I spotted Jupiter just coming over my house to the East. So, I slewed Bernse’s 10Inch-Scope-O-Doom[sup]TM[/sup] to it, and put the 25MM lens back in (50x). I could make out a quartet of Moons and a couple of cloud bands. I then put the 9MM (140x) and could easily make out some cloud bands and see a hint of color. I marveled at the sight for a bit. Then I was getting greedy. I pulled out my crappy 2X Barlow that came with an old Meade 4.5" scope I bought a few years back, and combined it with the 9MM piece.

As it was, I got a nice big disk in the eyepiece, but the detail was lacking (barlow’s fault = CHEAP CRAP). However, I think I am going to be pretty damn happy when my 6MM good Barlow arrives. That’ll give me about 420x, and I can’t wait to see Jupiter with it!

I was going to try and find the Andromeda Galaxy, but I had to eat yet and it was getting kind of cold (about -10C) out. I’ll have to save that until next time!

the comet’s name is neat?

i’m very jealous of all the nifty stuff you are seeing. in the city we miss a lot of celestrial stuff due to pretty city lights.

NEAT is the name of a comet finding agency, IIRC. A lot of comets are named LINEAR for another such agency.

Don’t knock what you can see from the city. I used a dob from my deck facing CC Philly. Dark adaptration is your friend.

And bernse: Three words :Variable Polarizing Filter, or any filter for the matter.

Also, keep in mind the breakdown point for almost any scoe, no matter how big, is 300x. Any power above that isn’t going to give you more detail, and is certainly going to be more dim. I reccommed getting an Ortho eyepiece when you get a chance. Then get some really fancy jobs. Remember the eyepiece is half the scope.

I wanna go outside with my telescope. Unfortunately, I’m not quite that brave. Besides, it’s cloudy.

:: pouts :: I can’t wait til spring.

A guy here in BFE™ recently donated his $8,000 telescope to our local public high school. I thought that was so cool, as this is something that has always fascinated me, but I don’t know anything about astronomy/the cosmos/raelians at all.

I was under the impression that the “rule-of-thumb” for magnification is that useful mag is about 50x per inch of apature.

Is that wrong?

Its correct, but only to about 300x, after that you get almost no improvement in the image and it becomes much more dim. The benefit of larger aperture is to get more detail at similar magnifications. I.e. your 10" dob will give a much better view at 200x than your old 4.5" did at the same power.