Aug 3, 2011

New Toys: Oxygen III Filter and Naglers

I confess, this is a nerdy astronomy post. The past two weekends up at Pine Mountain Observatory have been pretty much ideal -- clear nights, warm, and late rising or no moon.

Two weeks ago, another volunteer lent me his 11mm nagler, which is a very nice eyepiece, an eyepiece that made it seem like I had a whole new telescope. Amazing. Simply amazing. The magnification was outstanding. So much so, I told my fellow star guide I was willing to trade him my car for it. He was kind enough to let me borrow it the rest of the summer. :D Very, very nice toy.

The next day, the oxygen III filter I had ordered arrived in the mail. Yay! Another new toy. I'd been waiting on it and had gotten a great deal on it through Amazon of all places. An oxygen III filter makes certain nebulae pop and easier to see. Got my first ever view of the veil nebula on my own. It's very difficult to detect without a filter. Now I can see it in all its glory. Nice.

Because the weather improved so much, the observatory has gotten much busier, what I call crazy-assed busy. As long as the crowds have an interest, it's fun. But they get crazy with their flashlights and there's something about more people which makes people behave less ideally. I still want a bullhorn. The other volunteers thought I was kidding, but I wasn't. "TURN OFF THE FLASHLIGHTS. NO WHITE LIGHT! QUIT KiCKING ROCKS. QUIT THROWING ROCKS. GET YOUR DOG'S HEAD OUT OF MY TELESCOPE. SHUT OFF YOUR CELLPHONE OR GO DOWN TO THE GIFT SHOP! PUT OUT THE DOOBIE!" I'm not joking on the last one either.

Here's some photos:

Because Saturn is getting lower in the sky, the views of it aren't as clear. Heat and other atmospheric conditions interfere with clear viewing and a hot telescope. I took this through the 24" telescope.