From my recent diary
Friday, February 23
it has been nasty weather of winter time, finally, I conducted a comet
hunting session for the first time this month. It took 45 minutes to
start the session after arriving at the observing site. The time needed
for the preparation is 25 to 30 minutes in summer, but it is time
consuming to wear clothes against cold protection in winter.
I aimed my comet-seeker at alpha Ophiuchi, Rasalhague, and began the
session at 3:48am local time. The sky suddenly got bright at around 4am
because ski resorts started field preparation for opening. The sky
condition is poor even if it is cloudless in winter due to the light
pollution from the ski fields. I my self is a skier, but I must say
there are too many ski resorts around my observing site. I can remember
more than a dozen of ski fields easily.
Jyoetsu Kokusai Ski Resort. The mountain in the background is Mt. Hakkaisan.
Matsudai Family ski field at night.
Returning to the comet hunting. The first deep sky object that came
into the FOV was NGC6633, a splendid open cluster. The next was
NGC6760, a ninth magnitude globular cluster. There was C/2016 M1
PanSTARRS 1.1 degrees north of the cluster, but I could not notice.
NGC6760 looked an 11th magnitude globular cluster that I observe when
the sky condition is good. Then, I was relaxed to observe a wonderful
double star, theta Serpentis. The primary star looked yellowish and the
companion light blue that moved like a creature by scintillation. After
identifying some open clusters, I identified NGC6781, a planetary
nebula in the constellation of Aquila. I completed the todayfs session
just after NGC9634, a globular cluster in Delphinus, came into the FOV
at 5:21am, 23 minutes after the start of the twilight.
It was breezing with air temperature of -5 degree Celsius and I was a
little cold. I used a heater installed pants for the first time. It was
an excellent product like the heater installed vest (see Comet hunting Wear).
Monday, January 28
conducted the first comet hunting session this year on Monday, January
1. Air temperature was -10 degrees Celsius, the lowest record of all my
hunting session. I aimed at M12, a globular cluster in Ophiuchus, and
identified M10 and M14. No additional DSO was observed. Thin moon rose
on the southeast at the time when I completed the session.
After that we had some warm days, but it had been chilly and windy for
several days. I think there would be any clear sky this month from now
Ten years ago, the Italian binocular fan, Paolo Morini, asked me to write a report on my Russian Army Binocular 15x110. I wrote the original article in English, and it was translated into Italian by Morini and into Japanese by me, respectively.
The other day, he contacted me again and said he purchased the same
binocular, but there was a difference; mine was the type PNB-1 while
his was PNB-2.
He wanted to remodel his referring to mine, because the highest
altitude his binocular can be trained is 60 degrees. Actually, I
modified my binocular in 2016. I sent him the photos of my 15x110
binocular before and after remodeling. The reason why I needed to
modify was that the weight of the main unit, i.e. the housing with the
mount, was VERY heavy: 21 kg in total. I was afraid to get strained
back when I place it on the tripod at the breast height.
Remodeled 15x110 binocular. The photo on the right Rigel Systems QuikFinder and the white dew cap (dangling) are atached.
Scales for an azimuth and an altitude are installed that make it
possible to identify a deep sky object or a comet by combining with a
digital map like SkySafari. I bought the grip rod at a DIY shop that
makes it easy to move the binocular.
To solve the problem I remodeled the system so that the binocular
housing and the mount can be set up separately. The housing is attached
to GIRO ERCOLE Altazimuth Mount that is made in Germany via LBracket,
and the original tripod was replaced with GITZO GT5532LS. The mount is
attached on the tripod using the Losmandy Dovetail Plate. Using this
system it is no need to worry about having strained back.
GIRO ERCOLE Altazimuth Mount
I will report on the detail of this binocular system at another time.
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