[Nighttime] Amateur Astronomy/Stargazing [Comfy] (15)

6 Name: Anonymous Enthusiast : 2016-07-04 03:55 ID:1EgG1P3i

There was a field trip on the Friday before last to a local observatory. We briefly observed Saturn through a refractor, but it was awfully hurried due to the crowd so I didn't get an especially good look or get to ask any questions about the equipment. Saturn's rings will be approaching maximum tilt for the next year, so they were declined by what I would estimate is 40 degrees. The seeing was total garbage: Saturn wavered and shimmered in the atmosphere, blurring the image substantially. The magnification was somewhere north of 200x

Last week featured several clear nights, but sessions were short and limited to confirming the observations of the week prior. Megrez has still not been spotted, and is likely too dim to compete with nearby light pollution.

10:30 PM

No cloud cover, 70 Fahrenheit, 51% humidity

cleardarksky.com forecast:
Transparency 4/5, seeing 3/5

10x50 binoculars

Objects observed:
Saturn, Jupiter, Rho Ophiuchi Cloud Complex

Saturn was chosen as tonight's target to determine the local limiting magnitude for binocular viewing. Through binoculars, Saturn was part of a bolt shaped asterism with stars ranging from 4th magnitude through 8th. The faintest visible star was around 6th magnitude. Cursory checks of Antares, Mars, Spica, and Jupiter suggest that the binoculars were limited to brighter than 5th magnitude.

Jupiter's moon Ganymede is a fair distance away, so an attempt was made to split the two. Despite delicate focus adjustments, the object resulted in a blurry, rainbowed blob. Jupiter appeared bright and pale in the binoculars, with Ganymede creating a slightly oblong shape.

After testing the stars for limiting magnitude near Antares, the Rho Ophiuchi nebula was observed. Conditions and equipment showed a slightly blurred "fuzzy" star.

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