Matt turned up around seven as I was setting up the frac on the goto. Conditions had faded a little from my first hour out with the dob but but with exception to the clouds that were troubling our northern horizon and some thin stuff coming up towards the zenith the rest of the sky was in pretty decent shape for most of the evening.
By the time we were both set up we had a pleasant little triangle of 3 scopes. This was the first time I had been out to my dark site for a while and a good reminder as to why it is worth the effort, even just to be there with a chair and some bins would bring a smile to the face. The more I read on SGL about some of the lousy light polluted skies many people here have to endure the more I feel lucky to live out in this Shire. I had no particular plan other than to do whatever came to mind as and when and just enjoy the night.
It was good to feel like there was time to have a bit of a play, mostly of late it has felt like a race to get a bit of viewing in. I got the camera out to take acouple of pics. 30secs @ 1600.
This is a single 30 sec 1600 of Orion and Sirius...
I was keen to see what Lara (Lara is my new sexy Lyra Optic frac) would make of M42. It was close to three quarters of the field with the 25mm ep and again, this 4" frac comes up and gives me another surprise. It just shows how much is gained though when you only have to put up with a little LP. On good nights here I can eyeball mag 6 stars.
I did a quick split on Rigel and found it to be a nice double and I'm starting to realise there will be a lot of fun had on splitting doubles.
Matt was bagging new Messiers on the southern horizon and with his telrad and finder maps he pretty much gave me a lesson in how to do it, boy is he efficient with one of those. I really must get myself one for the newt now I'm dobbing, it is the first time I have seen one used by the accomplished and they are an impressive tool.
We managed a few Messiers on the southern horizon, 41, 46, 47, 48, 50 and 93 which was very faint but M79 was not going to reveal itself. I did wonder weather I may have caught a hint but I don't feel it was enough to be confident of a true hit. Such a busy area of sky, how nice it must be to live a few hundred miles further south to get some more of that (looks up at ceiling to dream of lottery win, looks back at keyboard and thinks you'll need to start doing it first).
A very much needed tea break to wipe and blow dry the scopes. Dew was quite a big problem most of the night on ep's and I found my pocket rotation system to be far more effective than Matt's method, whatever it wasn't... :p We had a good night and just as we were packing away the moon broke the cloud low on the horizon like a red neon light. I quickly got the zoom lens out but by the time I'd switched the dovetail plates and messed with sorting exposures I felt I'd missed the best part.... But we had a grand night out..
Here is the difference of a shot of Orion taken from my little back garden with the same settings that I used last night for the earlier pic.. :D