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About Warthog

  • Rank
    Jupiter Crew


  • Biography
    Aging amateur visual astronomer
  • Location
    Niagara, Canada
  • Interests
    Astronomy, woodworking, theology
  • Occupation
    Nostril designer
  • Astronomy Equipment
    105mm refractor
    6" EQ Newt
    11.5" Dob under construction

Contact Methods

  • Skype
  1. OH, that's handy. So when I'm polar aligning I should look for the green crosshairs instead of centering Polaris? Actually, what is handy is that I can use the little asterism made up of Polaris and the three stars to the right left and lower in the picture (which I call "the steering wheel;" these are the only stars in the region that I can see in my godawful skies) offset it about the right amount and be better aligned than usual. As I do visual astronomy only, precise alignment has never been a big deal for me.
  2. I've been off for a while, but Radar was kind enough to write asking how things are going. Since my second heart attack, which was severe, about a year and a half ago, I haven't had a lot of energy or ability to stay up late. Add to that the fact that my skies are just awful and only suitable for observing planets, the moon and some bright open clusters, and there's not a lot of incentive to put the scope out. I am hopinng to do some good lunar observing throughout the current lunation, and I have just completed a chart table for use in observing, so I haven't given up on astronomy. I"ll post pics when I have them. Clear skies!
  3. Free eyepiece cases

    If you have lost, or never had, a case for an eyepiece, you can get a free replacement from your local pharmacist. If you have a good relationship with him/her, you can just ask if they have a pill container that would fit your ep, or could they put your latest prescription in a pill container that would suit you. I go through a lot of pill containers, so I have used a number of them as ep cases to replace missing ones. I also have a good enough relationship with my pharmacist that I could just ask for a pill container if he wasn't busy. Some of your relatives or friends may be able to supply you with a container, too. Just don't lick the used containers clean!
  4. The Lost Martian moon.

    If Phobos were in an areostationary orbit, it would be 17,000 km above the surface of the planet, far enough that the entire mass of the planet would behave on Phobos as if it were at the centre of the sphere, and much too far away for any local mass concentrations to have any effect. You also have the problem that if a much larger Moon X were in the system it would shepherd both Phobos and Deimos into resonant orbits, or eject them from the system or crash them into itself or Mars. The idea that the tidal effects of Mars could do more than coax a satellite's rotation into synchronicity just doesn't work. The whole system still works without positing a third, large moon.
  5. ...and I feel privileged to have read this. I have often seen the Milky Way spread above me like a billowing cloud, but the volcano must have added a whole extra dimension, along with the things you mention that I just can't see from here. Nice post!
  6. Well then, get out there and observe!
  7. As it turns out, the moons I was seeing close to the planet were Titan and Rhea, and the two objects further away were stars.
  8. Just at sunset last night, with the sky still quite blue, I could see that the view of the Moon was unusually clear, and once I got the scope on it, it did appear to be very sharp, and the seeing was fabulous, even if the transparency wasn't much to write home about. I started out with an 8mm Celestron X-Cel (125x in my 105mm refractor) and soon switched to my 4.3mm Antares W70 (233.3333 x, OK that's pushing it a little, but in skies like this it pushes well.) I didn't bother to bring my moon map out with me, so I just gawked at the wonder of it all. I was able to catch Mons Teneriffe, by Plato. My private name for this is "the bird's foot;" get a look at it and I'm sure you'll agree. One thing I did check on was how small a crater I can reasonable see, and it seems to be 9km. Moved on to Saturn. It was wonderfully clear, and appeared about the size of a petit pois on my plate, with a small stick through it. I could see hints of shadow on the disk below the ring, and occasional hints of shading on the disk. This Antares/Vixen achro, with a MV filter in place, was giving me no false colour at all. I could see moons on either side of the planet, not too far away, the one to the west brighter than the one to the east. I have seen a moon in that eastern position a few times lately, so I am wondering if I am actually seeing some artifact from my optical system. Apparent moons also appeared to the northwest and northeast of the planet about 1/6th of a degree away, at the edge of my FOV. If someone can confirm those for me, I would appreciate it. A good night, and I'm hoping to repeat tonight, as there's no baseball on telly this evening.
  9. That would have been grat to see, but that particular evening was clouded out for me. I also missed the straight wall this time around because of the timing of the clouds. It's good to go out and see something like that, especially when you aren't expecting it.
  10. A couple of years ago, I motorized both axes of my EQ3-2. This does a wonderful job of following objects (I should mention that I am a visual observer,) but I often found myself undoing the clutch on the dec axis to position objects in the FOV without waiting for the interminable 5 second lag before the motor caught the gear and started moving at a glacial 2º/min. I used the dec motor for a long time to move up and down the Moon, but nowadays I just leave the clutch loosened and do all my dec adjustments by hand. If I have to replace the dec motor, I won't bother, and if I want to get a motor for another mount, I would get just the RA motor and save some time and bother. At least as long as the RA motor can slew back and forth when needed, it will do all the moving I need. In any case, my next mount will be goto, and I hear they have decent slew rates.
  11. Obama commits to Mars

    Obama's got that covered, too!
  12. Obama commits to Mars

    I agree. We know how to put a spacecraft in orbit around Mars. The thing we need to practice is putting a lander on the surface and bringing it back. And we can't do that from Mars orbit the first time. And is there such a demand for party balloons that we need to go to the Moon for helium?
  13. Do you know how to make a dead horse float? A dead horse and 6oz of Coca Cola. :bump:
  14. Obama commits to Mars

    Well, that's the increase in the budget. I'm sorry I won't get to see humans on Mars, but I can't wait forever.