Saturday, May 29, 2021

What a Glorious Night!

Lyra was just becoming visible in the eastern sky as the stars came out.  With only a little hunting using the 1x finder and the 35mm eyepiece in between Sheialat and Sulafat, M57, the Ring Nebula was visible.  It always at low power makes you think you are not in focus on a star but everything else is crisp except the smoke ring.

Next, I went to the 18mm 2" diameter eyepiece.  At 111x, it shows both more detail and color.  If you have enough aperture (17 5") you can see the green of ionized oxygen.  (In smaller scopes, it is monochrome because there are not enough photons to excite the cones of your retina.)  I think that I saw the star near the middle which blew off its outer atmosphere to form this ring.  It is 2.6 light-years in diameter and 2283 light-years away.

The rubber threshold ramp works as expected.  Movement in and out are easy.  I have used a rope through two holes in the base to move it in the past.  Bringing it back into it the shed caused me to add a rope at the far end: a pushme/pullyou from Dr. Doolittle.

The solar accent lighting my wife put around the pad do that I do not tumble off in the dark is too much light for some of my lower power eyepieces.  I may have to put some black velvet around the top open tube to reduce this problem.


  1. "It is 2.6 light-years in diameter and 2283 light-years away."

    It is neat how you are just now seeing something that happened 2283 years ago.

  2. A thought on the lighting: take some empty cans and use them as temporary covers when you bring out the scopes. If completely covering them is too dark you can punch a few holes near the bottom to let more light out - or at least act as edge markers.

    The cans just seem like easier things to put on/off the lights.