Tumbleweed Observatory's

Astronomy Hints



Astronomical Observations With Small Telescopes

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This Page Shows A Growing List Of Observations

Made With 50mm to 150mm Telescopes

Often it's fun to read about other's observations of celestial targets with instruments similar to yours, or to what you are thinking about purchasing. It's also fun to share your observations with others.

So if you enjoy reading about others observations, here are some you can view. If you have an observation you'd like to share, just click here for the observation form, and fill in your observation. For name, just use your first name or favorite handle.

If you wish to write your observation details with more than one paragraph, just end each paragraph with an & (ampersand) symbol. Your submissions should show up on the web page in a few days.

Remember, for multiple paragraph entries, end detail paragraphs with the & (ampersand) symbol.

Observation: Jupiter's GRS
Observer: Larry
Date: 11/05/2010
Seeing: 8
60mm f/17 Carton on altazimuth mount. Used Orion zoom eyepiece, giving about 142x.
On previous outings, I've been unable to see the Great Spot on Jupiter with my 60mm telescopes. But since the disappearance of the SEB in 2010, I was finally able to just detect the GRS with my 60mm Carton. It appeared as a small smudge just north of the south pole darkening. If you want to the the GRS with a 60mm, now's the time to try.

Observation: Jupiter and Hartley 2
Seeing: 8
Transparency: 9
60mm f/17 Carton refractor and 6 inch f/5 Newtonian. For Jupiter I used an Orion Explorer II zoom. For Hartley 2 and the double cluster I used a 28mm Plossl.
The clouds were forgiving tonight and I got to get another peek at Jupiter and the GRS.

The GSR was in good position at about 9:00 PM MDT, and I went after it with my 60mm. Once the GRS got nearer the center line of the planet, I could pick it out with the Carton. The image was very crisp with the Carton, but the contrast of the GRS was low, making it a challenge.

Between Jupiter views I also looked for comet Hartley 2. It was positioned very near the double cluster. First I tried my 6 inch Newtonian, and was able to see it easily enough, but it was very faint and undefined.

Then I took a look with the Carton. I was able to just detect the comet, but only by already having identified its position with the other instrument. The comet is not ready for prime time just yet.

After awhile I went after the double cluster with both telescopes. While the 6 inch certainly brought out more stars, the Carton gave perhaps the most enjoyable view. The great thing about the long focus 60mm refractors is that stars look like perfect points of light throughout the FOV. Even though the Carton is long, its FOV is just big enough to just get most of the two clusters in the FOV at the same time.

While I didn't use my 60mm x 700mm Monolux this evening, I have looked at the double cluster with it before, and it probably gives the best view of the double cluster of all my telescopes. It has easily enough FOV to encompass both clusters, providing a spectacular view.

Observation:M13, M31, and M57
Observer: Larry
Date: 09/30/2010
60mm f/12 Monolux refractor. 60mm f/17 Carton refractor 90mm ETX 90
I used 3 telescopes on a few targets to get a comparison. I used my 60mm f/17 Carton, my 60mm f/12 Monolux, and my ETX90. Targets were M31, M13, M57, the double double in Lyra, and Jupiter.

I started with the ETX90, and had to start with star targets because Jupiter was too low to give good results. I was able to easily split the double double, and see the smoke-ring looking M57. No central star, and I needed averted vision to see the smoke ring.

M13 in the ETX90 was less that I was expecting. It looked little different from my Carton 60mm view a night earlier. I was unable to see any real granularity. The extent of M31 seemed more discernible, however, using averted vision.

There was a lot of turbulence when looking at Jupiter for about an hour, then the elevation was good enough for the views to settle down. With some patience, I was able to see the GRS as a low contrast "bump'' on the south pole darkened region. Just extending toward the missing SEB.

Next, the Carton 60mm f/17. It was able to split the double double easily enough, but not quite as obvious as the ETX90. No surprise. Though the ETX90 did splatter a little light into a broken ring around the brighter stars of the formation. Not so with the Carton.

M57 looked nearly the same as the ETX90 view. A smoke ring with averted vision, no central star. M13 was a bit dimmer, but not significantly inferior to the ETX90 view. The cluster was easy enough to see, but I didn't detect any hint of granulation. M31 in the f/17 Carton showed mostly the core. I could see with averted vision that there it was bigger than that, but it wasn't as good as in the ETX90.

Jupiter looked nice in the Carton, but I was having difficulty detecting the GRS. I switched from my handy Orion zoom eyepiece to a 17mm Plossl and my Barlow. That gave a noticeably sharper image, and with that I was able to just detect the ''bump'' that I believe was the GRS. I was impressed. Not much less that I was able to see with the ETX. I was up to about 170x for those views.

Finally, I went through the targets with the Monolux 60mm f/12. I figured it would do as well on star targets, but I wasn't sure about the double double. To my surprise, on this occasion I was able to split all components. One pair wasn't quite as clean as with the Carton, but still detectable as a pair.

M13 and M57 about the same as the Carton. M31 was nicer in the Monolux. The larger FOV helped in defining the extend of the galaxy.

Jupiter, to my surprise, was nearly as good through the Monolux as with the Carton. On a previous night that didn't seem so, but tonight all telescope had ample time to cool off. And yes, I was able to just glimpse the GRS with the Monolux. Without the SEB being gone, I'm sure I'd have not seen it, perhaps not with any of the three telescopes.

Observation: Jupiter, M13,M31,M57
Observer: Larry
Date: 09/29/2010
60mm f/17 Carton refractor. 6 inch f/5 Newtonian Eyepieces: 28 mm Plossl, 10 mm Plossl
I used my Carton 60mm x 1000mm and my 6 inch f/5 Newtonian. Targets for both were Jupiter, M31, and M13. With the Carton I also took in M57.

It was an interesting comparison, but the atmosphere I'm sure played a part.

On Jupiter, the Carton was actually the winner. The image through it was pretty steady, and crisp. Through the 6 inch the image, though bigger, looked smeared with only moments of clarity. The increased light gathering power did reveal the faint NTB north of the NEB, which I did not see in the Carton. Still, the Carton image was much more pleasant, being steady most of the time.

M31 was interesting. The core was certainly brighter in the 6 inch, though so was the background. In the Carton, everything was dimmer, but the background appeared darker as well. While the core wasn't as bright, the expanse of the galaxy could be discerned in the Carton with averted vision. Certainly still a pleasant view.

The Ring nebula was only viewed with the Carton. It was a bit difficult to find, mostly because I was using an altazimuth mount and Lyra happened to be nearly straight up. None-the-less I was able to find it, and easily see the smoke-ring appearance with averted vision. I was not able to tell if there was a central star, however.

M13 was the only target where the 6 inch clearly shined. The granularity of the globular was apparent and obvious at first glance, extending some distance away from the core. Bright spots could be seen nearly up to the center of the core.

With the Carton, M13 was easy to find, and at about 100x some granularity could be detected with averted vision. A good target, and a nice view. But this one was a much better view in the 6 inch.

Observation: Moon
Observer: Larry
Date: 10/27/2017
Seeing: 8
Transparency: 8
70mm Vixen refractor

I haven't had the Vixen 70mm very long yet, but decided to try it out on some moon craters. It seems that refractors tend to excel at this, and the Vixen lived up to that expectation. I particularly cruised the craters in the Ptolemaeus region. Shadows were very stark and features were sharp. Cruising the moon with the Vixen seems a very enjoyable experience. I'm still looking forward to nights when some of my favorite craters are available, and some planet viewing.

Observation: Messier Objects
Observer: Larry
Date: 11/8/2017
Seeing: 7
Transparency: 9
70mm x 900mm Vixen refractor

I went out with the 70mm Vixen mounted on my pipe-fitting mount. The mount has setting circles, so I was able to use the Star Pointer web utility to get pointing coordinates. In this way I was able to see several items in about 60 minutes time.

I as able to see M2, M73, M72, M15, M71, M27, M13, M92, M56, M57, M39, M31, and M34. I also viewed the double cluster in Perseus (Caldwell 14), and about 4 double stars, including Eta Cassiopeiae and the Epsilon Lyrae. I was most impressed with how well the double double Epsilon Lyrae was resolved, how striking the double double cluster in Perseus was displayed, and the fact that I could pick out a few individual stars surrounding M13.

I was also Pleased at how well the Star Pointer utility worked in conjunction with my setting circles to help me quickly find each target. I can see that the Vixon will get a lot of use. The optics seem to be very sharp. My only concern is that the focuser is plastic.