High-Quality Big Refractors

Fremont Peak 1997 June 15

On Sunday evening, 15 June, Rich Neuschaefer and I decided to take our 180mm f/9's up to Fremont Peak to look at the moon since we had been fogged out Saturday evening.

The seeing started out very good, then turned fuzzy until about 10 PM, and became excellent after 10. We couldn't believe the results!

Gassendi was just beginning to appear. The domes west of Copernicus were sufficiently close to the terminator to still be interesting.

We started at 230x on mine (and higher on his using his Zeiss binoviewer). The detail was astounding. There was much more visible than is shown in the Rukl Lunar Atlas. We spent at least two hours working up and down the terminator. All 5 small craters in Plato were visible, and we glimpsed the rille in the Alpine Valley.

After the dull hour of fuzzy seeing from approximately 9 to 10pm, we noticed the seeing getting really sharp. I went to 325x with my 5mm Takahashi, and he went over 400x with the Binoviewer on the moon. Rich decided to check Epsilon Lyrae, and it was too wide for fun, so off he went to Nu Scorpii and both pairs were easy with a clean dark gap in the 0.9 sec pair. We could easily have split something to 0.6 sec in that seeing, but we didn't know of any in view at that time.

We decided to start raising the magnification. I went to 650x on the moon and the view was still good. He went to an incredible 867x on Nu Scorpii and the stars got farther apart and still remained clean. We took his 867x to the moon and the image was sharp. I asked about Mars (which was getting lower than the moon) and we thought "why not?". Syrtis Major was in view and both the N. polar cap and Hellas were easily visible. The diameter of Mars is less than 10 sec. now (I forgot to look it up), but the images at 867x reminded us of how Mars looked back in March.

These telescopes are incredible. We were working at ~100x per inch on mine and at 122x per inch on his and the images were still good! I will never forget the seeing we had. I have never had such a spectacular night in all my years of observing. Yes, Gil, we wish you had come with us instead of the Saturday fog-out!

-- Rod Norden

Several of us went to Fremont Peak Saturday (June 14th) but fog and high clouds chased us away. Rod Norden and I gave it another try Sunday. We go to the Peak about 6:30pm Sunday. The sky was clear and the seeing very good. The seeing was even better between 10pm and 11pm.

We had our AP 180mm EDT f/9s. Most of the time was spent looking at the Moon. I had fun looking at the domes a little east of Copernicus. Most have little pits. I guess the pits are/were vents? The Sun was just light the west wall of Gassendi. It was fun watching more and more little bright points show in Gassendi as it got closer to midnight. Too bad we had to leave before the light flooded the floor of Gassendi. It is also too bad we couldn't wait for Jupiter to rise, it was a beautiful night.

Most of the time I was using my Zeiss bino viewer with 7mm Naglers. Near 11pm the seeing was so good I thought I'd try Epsilon Lyrae. The Double Double showed 4 nice little Airy discs. I moved the scope to look at Nu Scorpii and again 4 very nice Airy discs with nice dark gap between close pair.

Rod asked about the bino viewer barlow so I thought I give it a try with the 7mm Naglers. It is a 3x barlow made for the bino viewer. I believe the bino view adds about 25% to the magnification of the eyepieces without the barlow. So the 7mm Naglers in the bino viewer with the barlow are running about 868x or 694x if there is no increase caused by the bino viewer. The lunar features still looked very good. Rod said, "Lets try Mars". I was surprised it looked very good. Syrtis Major was easy to see, so was Hellas, the polar cap and the darker area around the polar cap. Not bad at 100x or 120x per inch of aperture with Mars less than 9 arc seconds in diameter.

Rod's scope was doing an equally beautiful job, I can't see a difference bewtween the two scopes.

We left the peak just before midnight. It was really an enjoyable night.

-- Rich Neuschaefer

Per S&T it looks like Rod and I were viewing Mars when it was only 8.2 arc seconds. I'm still suprised at how many features we could see. It was not only small but relatively low in the sky. I'm really glad Rod suggested trying Mars, I had written it off earlier in th evening thinking it was just too small. -- Rich 1997 jun 17

Rod, Rich, Bill Arnett; last updated: 1997 June 20