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DavidR100

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About DavidR100

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    South Manchester, UK
  1. That post is a real eye opener into the "premier league" of deep sky observations! Well, I've been counting the counters' counts... 3 folk make it into the real stellar league having seen over 10,000 objects - Steve Gottleib, Don Pensack and the almost mythical "Il Galassiere" (The Galaxyman of Northern Italy) who has a staggering total of over 17,000! Another 7 observers have counted over 5,000, with Mark coming in a very creditable 18th. Well, you did suggest a league table, Mark! The post was concerned with all types of DSOs; if it were narrowed down to just galaxies I think Mark's position could rise a couple of places. While I wish in no way to devalue any of these fantastic achievements, several observers have benefited not only from very favourable viewing conditions (even mentioned by the OP), but also many decades of viewing opportunities. I even read the word "goto" once... Having said that, keeping the enthusiasm going for so long demands a lot of respect and admiration. I am also primarily a galaxy hunter and in the 4 years that I have been observing I have seen all 40 Messier galaxies (plus all the other Messiers) and I have logged observations of another 298 galaxies, making 338 galaxies in all. Adding in other types of DSOs the total will be a very rough 450. Thanks again to Mark for providing this remarkable insight into "premier league" DSO observing and for making a very respectable UK representation on the thread.
  2. Thanks for the info. I have read a popular post on SkySafari so was going to look into it, though I have so far been very happily paper-based. Not forgetting my plastic planisphere which, although low tech, generally does the job.
  3. What software is this output from, Stu? Also, what is your latitude, as I can't make it out from the image?
  4. Many thanks! Unfortunately I think you might have missed the boat for this summer as I think Sagittarius is now setting too early. I certainly don't mind being proved wrong, though. Good luck!
  5. I just managed to see M7 in late July from North Wales which is the same latitude as Co. Wicklow. My experience is described in my report in the Deep Sky section and it's called "In Search of the Southern Messiers".
  6. I'll second that. It's been my "bible" for the last 3 years. I fact it's so good I've got 2 copies. One ready to go with my gear, the other for perusing at home. I started off with the excellent big red "The Year-Round" Messier Marathon Field Guide" by Harvard Pennigton, pub. Willmann-Bell. Once I 'd completed the Messiers I was at a bit of a loss. I dabbled with Steve O'Meara's "Herschel 400 Observing Guide" pub. Cambridge, but that didn't satisfy me. I looked around, found good reports on the Sky & Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas, bought it, and never looked back . More recently I treated myself to Uranometria 2000.0 All Sky Edition and the companion Deep Sky Field Guide. That should be it... As you can see I like my hardcopies.
  7. Very enjoyable report of a magnificent sky seen from a great location. I particularly liked your description of a clearly stunning Milky Way. In all my observing sessions I have only ever seen one fireball and it was a most remarkable sight. Quite coincidentally that was also from a dark site in Shropshire! Armagh Observatory maintains a database of fireball sightings worldwide. I filled in a report form on their website, you might be interested in doing the same. My report was dated 21st Feb 2015. Keep up the good work!
  8. I took this photo of northern Sagittarius with my Canon on 24th July, which was when I saw M7 for the first time in the UK. It shows 11 Messiers - can you spot them all? The "answers" are in the image below it. That's 10% of the whole Messier catalogue in one relatively narrow field of view. I guess that's what comes from looking pretty much through the centre of the galaxy. Photo taken with a Canon 500D, 50mm, f/1.7, ISO 3200, 8 secs.
  9. OK John, you've given me the confidence. 595 and 588 look like a different kettle of fish though. Have you seen them? Ah - I see Harry beat me to it!
  10. Just looked up NGC 604 and Wikipedia says it’s the largest HII region in the Local Group of galaxies. Being able to see an HII in a different galaxy sounds amazing! I’ll certainly look out for it next time out. Uranometria shows NGC 604 has a couple of fellows: NGC 595 and NGC 588 which are smaller and fainter. Back to Wikipedia, these were only observed 80 years after William Herschel saw 604 so I guess we’ve got no chance without a really big ‘scope.
  11. M101 is certainly one of the more challenging Messier galaxies. One night in March this year at my “local” dark site on the Cheshire plain I could only just discern the galaxy with my 10” Dob, though nearby M51 wasn’t particularly impressive indicating below par conditions. I’ve been treating myself to more sessions at more remote dark sites of late and as a result have seen M101 three times subsequently as a “large warm glow”, to quote my notes. I found a distinct similarity with a good view of M33. On a couple of those occasions I also saw close-by NGC galaxies 5473 and 5474 as small, faint fuzzies, much to my satisfaction. These were a little outside the field of view of 57' with M101 centred. I used the same equipment throughout. It sounds like a truism that faint objects will stand out more against a darker background. That fact certainly gets driven home, and very satisfyingly too, when put to the test!
  12. Enjoyable, lucid commentary and a grand haul of DSOs - Messiers and NGCs - plus a comet! I 've often wondered what effect moisture would have on visibility when viewing over a large expanse of water. Think I know the answer now! A quality scope that doubles up as a finder - like the sound of that. I know just what you mean when you pick up the bins for one last time view having packed all the gear up... A night like this (almost) makes up for all those interminable cloudy nights.
  13. I can't resist sharing a little more of my experiences of the treasures of the dark skies I was honoured to witness in the summer of 2014 in Spain, over 80 miles down the coast from Barcelona (mentioned in the main report above). Take it as read that the sky was dark and clear. The big surprise was how that clarity and darkness extended down to the horizon in all directions. As already mentioned, M7 was a naked eye object. So was M31. M33 (Triangulum Galaxy) glowed in the 10x50 bins despite being barely 20 degrees above the horizon. I even recorded sightings of M63 and M94 in Canes Venatici despite their lowly declination and low magnitudes. I viewed all the Messiers in Sagittarius, Scorpius, Scutum and Ophiuchus, with the exception of the faint Sagittarius globulars M70 or M69 which needed a little more light grasp than my 10x50s could provide. In total I logged sightings of 42 Messiers. The outstanding sights were Scorpius, complete with its glittering tail, looking down from well above the horizon, and the majestic Milky Way that stretched from horizon to horizon and positively glowed overhead, appearing as thick as clouds in Sagittarius (in fact I thought they were clouds initially!). This trip was in the immediate aftermath of my completing finding and seeing all the Messiers. I was sufficiently moved to recount my experiences in an illustrated report complete with a table of viewed objects. Perhaps I’ll share that one day…
  14. Thanks, Stu. M6 and M7 in the same field of view sounds cool! A 5 degree field is very impressive for a scope – not far off that for my “wide angle” bins. My calculations tell me that the magnification was probably similar to my bins, but the light grasp was 4x. Wonder if I'm right? You can’t get much lower a horizon than the sea! Looking back, I’m tempted to think that using a 10” Dob for M7 was overkill. However, it did reveal detailed structure at x69. Also, I knew that light would be at a premium so near the horizon – and so it was. So no regrets.
  15. Thanks, Neil. My 10x50 bins were my first astro equipment purchase and are still definitely one of my favourite pieces. I can’t recommend them too highly. They pack a big punch for such a small, handy size. For a good price look no further than the top of this page – don’t know if I’m allowed to say that!
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