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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:32 am 
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Seeing Pluto With Your Own Eyes From Your Backyard With Unistellar’s eVscope

http://cosmicdiary.org/fmarchis/2017/09 ... s-evscope/

It's $1000, they're doing crowdfunding, and making big claims for something that most amateur astronomers can accomplish themselves.

Caveat emptor.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:35 am 
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Here is another article that takes an an extreme position on the ease/difficulty of finding Pluto, but in the opposite direction. The truth is somewhere in between.

http://youaskandy.com/questions-answers ... pluto.html

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:42 pm 
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Having seen Pluto with my own eyes through my 12.5-inch dob (a Newtonian telescope on a plain alt-azimuth mount, pictured below my signature), I can say with confidence that Pluto is...

1. Easy to find, especially now that it's in a rich Sagittarius star field. Some have suggested that Pluto would be lost in a sea of stars, and perhaps that's true if you're only looking for the one that moves a bit from night-to-night. However, by using an appropriate planetarium program which provides an accurate track of Pluto, the rich star field provides plenty of reference stars to find Pluto's location.

2. Difficult to see, once you've matched up the reference stars. Pluto is currently at a nameplate magnitude of 14.2, but this past summer for those of us at a nominal 40°N latitude, it was low in the south near the teaspoon asterism of Sagittarius and only reached a mean extincted magnitude of 15.0 at transit (e.g., on August 1, 2017, it had a declination of -21.5°, so it was only at 28.5° altitude at transit). For my eyes with the 12.5-inch, magnitude 15 usually requires averted vision. Of course, the Pluto season is now drawing to an end as it is already past the meridian at the end of astronomical twilight.


However, with persistence, I've seen Pluto on multiple occasions in recent years and the position always matched that of a SkyTools chart, and in several cases, Pluto and the adjoining stars matched in images that were taken at nearly the same time. Furthermore, on several occasions, I made follow-up observations on the next night, or a couple of nights later, and the Pluto speck initially seen had moved to the updated position. I can remember one time that I was frustrated when I couldn't find Pluto at the SkyTools position. I subsequently discovered that I had prepared the chart with the wrong date!

Regarding the first post in this thread, which has a leading line of "Seeing Pluto With Your Own Eyes From Your Backyard With Unistellar’s eVscope," I would take strong exception to the part that says "your own eyes." Evidently, this scope has some sort of electronically-enhanced viewing system, so you aren't actually seeing it with your own eyes. The photons just aren't making it directly to your retina. I suppose the trick of this system is the merging of a couple of existing technologies, an electronic eyepiece for enhanced visibility and plate solving for location determination and acquisition. For me, that would remove two of the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of observing, finding an object and truly seeing it with one's own eyes.

Regarding the second post, I wonder if "Andy" has ever tracked down or seen Pluto? I doubt it. In fact, I suspect he's done little or no astronomical observing based on the number of inane statements made in the largely useless article.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:47 am 
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Did you know that the first people to see "with their own eyes" the 19-th magnitude trans-Neptunian dwarf planet Iris (Xena) were a group of amateurs?

https://mcdonaldobservatory.org/news/re ... /0220.html

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