Astronomy

Observing Log for

Session Details


Northallerton

54.3299, -1.44529

10m

Notes

A cold, clear night amazingly given that this was the first night with my brand new Sky-Watcher 200EQ scope.

Observations

First Light

I got everything unpacked (about 15 boxes worth!) and started setting up. Realised I needed to move to somewhere bigger than my bedroom! Moved to the kitchen and got all the mount (very nicely engineered EQ5, although I am comparing this with the shockingly bad EQ mount that Celestron supply with their 114 shorty) set up on a pretty sturdy tripod (glad that Sky-Watcher are now providing stainless steel legs - it must have been terrifying to put this scope on aluminium legs). Then it was time to move everything outside so that I could attach the counterweights and finally (*fanfare*) the OTA.

I, of course, then spent the next 2 hours figuring out what the heck was going on!

After balancing the scope I did a rough polar alignment (still not sure what exactly needs to be locked and what doesn't but I will sort that out). The slow motion controls are really smooth and easy to use, even with chunky gloved hands.

M45 - The Pleiades

First off I tried to find Saturn but the finder scope was way out of alignment. Instead I found the Pleiades and then aligned the finder scope. The Pleiades looked amazing - so many stars and a definite blue colour around them - pin point sharp all the way across the FOV as well even with the supposedly cheap Sky-Watcher eyepiece.

Saturn

Now that I had the finderscope aligned I went back to Saturn - absolutely amazing - the seeing wasn't great with lots of atmospheric disturbance but with the 10mm EP I got a nice view of the rings plus Titan and Rhea. With the Barlow (upto x200) it occasionaly looked great but the atmospheric disturbance was terrible and the image was shifting around a lot (clouds were rolling in by this point).

With the sky rapidly clouding over I took a look at M31. Very distinct fuzziness in all eyepieces - even stood up to 200x which shows how much light this thing gulps! Seeing was bad enough to mask details (or it could have been the damn street light opposite).

M31 - Andromeda Galaxy

With the sky rapidly c****ing over I took a look at M31. Very distinct fuzziness in all eyepieces - even stood up to 200x which shows how much light this thing gulps! Seeing was bad enough to mask details (or it could have been the damn street light opposite).

Still, for first light it was absolutely brilliant. Once I have everything sussed and can do a more accurate polar align it should be great (only needed to use the RA control to keep the object in for about 5 minutes but after that I had to adjust the DEC slightly). I also managed to get a clock drive in the kit (andyt got it as well in his missent EQ5 so I guess this is a new feature that the manufacturer hasn't told anyone about yet - certainly makes the price laughably good!) so I should be able to do some tracking photography eventually.