Obervation Session 16/10/2010
00:00 – 02:30 Birkrigg Common Cumbria.
Arrived at Observation site at roughly 23:45 and started to set up, Hate setting up in the dark, with only the odd torch and my head lamp.
Once the scope was set up, balanced and polar aligned I proceeded to set the Synscan unit up, using the 2 star alignments.
A quick visual scan of the skies, Orion was just coming up nicely in the East, Jupiter was high in the South East and the Moon had already set.
My first test object was of course M31 and the Next was the Double Cluster, both of which it found quickly and I was happy with the alignment tests.
Cassiopeia was nearly directly overhead and it was time to try and locate the comet at 00:48.
Comet found at 00:53 and certainly is a lot brighter tonight, easily located with binoculars for the first time, probably because it was later, and higher in the sky and tonight it was travelling through a sparser area of the sky. I could almost make it out with naked eye, but very difficult to focus and be 100% sure, although easy in binoculars.
The comet looked less diffuse tonight, but that may be because it was so high in the sky at this time.
At 01:15 I decided to check on Orion, it was the first time this year I have had opportunity to view Orion using the 200mm scope, and my 32mm EP.
The Orion Nebular M42 is a truly amazing site and one not to be missed! I decided to do some photography using my Nikon CoolPix Camera and 25mm EP.
Took a series of pictures and ranging from ISO 800 – 2000, this camera is only a point and shoot type, but has proved satisfactory in the past when photographing bright objects or planets.
Tried various EP’s while viewing Orion, ranging from 10mm – 32mm, including the new zoom EP. All provided very good views, although the 25mm EP that came with the scope provided the best view in my opinion.
My next object was M44 the Beehive cluster in Cancer, an open cluster and best viewed in low power eye piece, 32mm. This open cluster is very pretty to look at and contains many double and triple stars including 4 very Orange/Red stars.
I then slewed the scope back to the Orion nebular M42 & M43, to do some more photography.
At 02:30 I decided that I had done enough and again freezing cold conditions at this time of night, I packed the scope up and set off home, arriving back at 03:15.