Home Star Party & M27 (Finally!!!)

Star Party

Tonight my mom got out her (massive) telescope, a Jason 80/1200mm (vintage… don’t tell her I said that). Fun fact, she got this when she was 16 while “all the other kids got cars.” Since I’ve thoroughly procrastinated in getting my driver’s license, and now due to Covid testting isn’t yet possible again, I also technically got a telescope before my first car. Anyway, we both went out together, forming an unofficial star party, and checked out Jupiter and Saturn. It took some finagling before we could get the Jason to docus on Jupiter and Saturn with a 20mm eyepiece. Feeling confident, we tried out a 12.5mm. Unfortunately not much luck there. Below is a picture of the Jason. Maybe I’ll snag an action shot tomorrow.

Jason telescope

Barlow at Full Extension

If you haven’t yet, I recommend checking out my post on focal length and focus. Anyway, tonight I executed on what I learned and brought the focal point of my Barlow setup inward by attaching the barlow directly to the margnifying glass at the end of my 8-24mm Celestron variable eyepiece. Turns out this was just what I needed and was able to focus! This is exciting because the past few days I hacked the telescope into focus by shortening the barrell extension length (again, checkout my technical post if this doesn’t make sense).

To test out the extra magnification, I zoomed in on Jupiter. The difference was noticible! If my calculations are correct, my no barlow setup with 8mm is (650mm / 8mm = 81x) versus with my 2x barlow I get (((650mm x 2) / 8mm) = 162x). With this, Jupiter got a bit bigger and the bands across it a bit easier to see. Out of curioisity I also checked out Saturn to see how this would change. Again, slight but noticble change - a bit easier to see the rings.

M27 - Dumbbell Nebula

Chance the Rapper with dumbbells

So after striking out basically everyday since the first night I went out, I finally saw a new nebula. To some extent, felt like the 94 NY Rangers… “the waiting is over!” I must have been very close to spotting this nebula the past few days. It is spotted by first finding Aquila, then looking slightly up, diaganol left from it where you will see an orangish star. From there travel left and slightly up and you’ll see a dimmish orange star, the left most in the Sagitta constellation. From there shoot up, left diaganol.

Now the part that likely tripped me up in previous observation attempts was its faintness. It honestly just looked like a blur with the slightest (slightest!) green tint. To make sure it wasn’t a blur on my eyepiece I zoomed in and out and panned around… the blur moved so it had to be a space object! Since the location of this observation was basically dead on and the area of observation incrediblly light polluted, I am fairly confident this was a positive spot - like I said the faintness did seem to have just enough hint of green and even some minute semblance of the dumbbell shape. This gives me quite a lot of hope for future spots in my area because, as noted a couple days ago, I disregarded two potential spots due to lack of coloring!