Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Moon Is Evil

I was trying to find the Whirlpool Galaxy last night,  and M13, the Hercules globular cluster,  but the Moon washed everything out.   I know the Sky Commander was working because it put me just about exactly on M57, the Ring Nebula,  which is bright enough that the Devil Moon cannot wash it out.

These various digital setting circle devices are just so amazing.  You turn it on,  make sure the date is right, sight in two known stars (last night Polaris and alpha Cassopeia).  Then you pick the object you want,  and it tells you how much to move the scope in azimuth and altitude.  You can see the amount left as you move it.  So far,  this has always taken me within a degree of the right spot.   Adding more sighting stars to the alignment would likely improve accuracy.  I have a similar gadget on the Celestron CI-700 mount on which my 8" f/7 reflector is mounted.   It works the same way with the simplification that the slow moron controls make it easy to drop the position exactly where needed.   If I can get a Moonless night, I will make more use of this.

The downside is you better know where these sighting stars are in the sky.   I saw alpha Cassopeia as a sighting star choice and found myself asking which star in the flying W is.   No, I do not have all the brioche stars memorized.

1 comment:

Dry Creek Historical Society Dchs said...

I had the same thought last night. The waxing moon, combined with the diffuse layer of smoke and haze, made it almost impossible to see any but the brightest stars when I was out with the dogs around 1 AM.