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Blog Entries posted by gareththegeek

  1. gareththegeek
    Scope: C100 EDR 100mm/900mm
    Lenses: Celestron Plossl 20, TeleVue Plossl 8, Meade 2x TeleXtender
    Location: Dark Site
    Visibility: Excellent
    Light Pollution: Low
    My wife and I took our scope and some friends up to the dark site to check out the meteor shower and have a look at some of the more 'touristy' celestial objects which we had been dying to see, but which haven't risen past the trees in our own garden yet. And so we set out armed with coffee, cheesy baked potatoes, crisps and beer!
    As we approached the dark site I was relieved to see that someone had filled in the trenches in the road that plagued us on our last visit - phew.
    When we arrived the sky was filled with clouds but we set up anyway and by the time we were ready the sky cleared up beautifully and remained clear for the entire session - what luck!
    We had a great time watching the shower and saw too many meteors to count, some of them, really bright with good trails. I have only seen a couple of 'shooting stars' before so this was a real treat.
    The first object we viewed in the scope was Andromeda, which I had been dying to see. Saw the bright core of it and thought wow, then realised that the dimmer surounding area extended off both sides of the view - huge! Everyone took a look and made suitable 'impressed sounds'; we also located its neighbour M110 while we were at it.
    Next I swung over to M13 to show everyone a globular, for me M13 was even more impressive under these wonderful dark skies.
    Some clouds seemed to be menacing us so I decided we should take a look at Jupiter quickly and moved on; in fact the clouds never reached us but hung out in the same spot, low on the horizon, all night. Wow, our first look at Jupiter and it was absolutely fantastic. There it was with its four largest moons; it was actually too bright and I added the lunar filter so we could make out more detail. We could clearly see the Northern Equatorial Belt and make out some subtle colouring over the surface. The view was good up to 112.5x using the 8mm lens but became a little blurry when I pushed it up to 250x.
    Next was the double cluster, another I had been waiting to see. There is something very pleasing about seeing a nice open cluster and they are a favourite of my wife's so the double cluster was a real treat. I especially liked viewing the centres of the clusters where a huge number of very tiny stars could be seen. We took a look at another open cluster after this, M103, which was a pleasing tight little open cluster.
    One of my friends and I decided to have a look for Triangulum, we calibrated the setting circles on Capella and went searching for it. I found a very faint, extended object but it didn't seem to be a galaxy so we checked the setting circles on Capella and returned to find the same object. We spent a little while looking at it but in our fairly modest aperture scope and with a minimum magnification of 45x there was not much we could see. Since returning home I have looked up M33 and found that it is the object we saw. Not particularly impressive galaxy to see in a small scope it seems.
    I took a look at Mizar and then at Alberio to show my friends a couple of doubles. At this point time was wearing on and a couple of my friends had work the next day so we took a farewell look at Jupiter and called it a day.
    A memorable night indeed. My wife has not stopped talking about Andromeda since, I think we finally found a galaxy which impressed her!
  2. gareththegeek
    Scope: C100 EDR 100mm/900mm
    Lenses: Celestron Plossl 20, TeleVue Plossl 8, 2xBarlow
    Location: Back Garden
    Visibility: Good
    Light Pollution: Heavy
    First observed IC4665 since my wife missed it last time and we especially enjoy seeing open clusters, visibility was very good.
    At this point waves of clouds came skimming across the sky but fortunately this only lasted ten minutes or so and we were back in business.
    Next we took a look at Alberio, another sight that my wife missed when feeling ill a few weeks ago. A beautiful combination of blue and orange but a few straggling clouds meant that the view seemed to be clearer at 45x than 112.5x. 45x magnification also allows the contrast of the two stars colour with the surrounding stars to be appreciated.
    After this we tracked down to M56, a globular cluster. This cluster was fairly unimpressive in our 4" scope so we didn't spend too long on it and we decided to move further along to M27.
    We decided to give star hopping a go rather than our usual method of using coordinates and after some confusion we managed to track the Dumbbell down. We took this little fella in for a while and I noticed that the longer I observed, the more I could make out but still a delicate sight which didn't take magnification well.
    Moved on to M71 next, the alleged globular cluster but didn't spend too long here as it was fainter than M56.
    We then tracked down the Coathanger (C399) and spend a while enjoying its sights. There is something very pleasing about an open star cluster (even an optical one such as this). I enjoy the way each star in the cluster appears almost identical and how they stand out from the surrounding stars.
    Lastly we attempted to find 61 Cygni but were unable to work out where it was before more clouds rolled in - time for bed.
  3. gareththegeek
    Scope: C100 EDR 100mm/900mm
    Lenses: Celestron Plossl 20, TeleVue Plossl 8, 2xBarlow
    Location: Back Garden
    Visibility: Good
    Light Pollution: Dusk
    Another evening session viewing the Moon; the phase was now approaching half moon. Several craters viewed last night now looked quite different and we spent some time enjoying the moon at 45x magnification reviewing what we had seen the day before.
    We could now see the Sea of Tranquillity, the Sea of Nectar and the edge of the Sea of Serenity. Viewed Catherina, Cyrillus and Theophilus noting that Theophilus overlaps Cyrillus and is newer. We also viewed Rupes Altai which was nicely illuminated at this phase.
    Took a look at the location of the Apollo 11 landing and scanned the Sea of Tranquillity. We could see as far as Sabine crater which was split in two by the terminator.
    We then moved up to look at the ridges separating the Sea of Tranquillity from the Sea of Serenity as well as the ridge running North to South in the Sea of Serenity itself. Viewed Posidonous crater and scanned up through Daniell and the Lake of Sleep, past Grove to Williams Crater (our namesake). Its nice to see your name up there somewhere :)
    After this we took a look at Saturn and could make out Titan once again, but it was too light out to see much else.
    We found our name on the moon!
  4. gareththegeek
    Scope: C100 EDR 100mm/900mm
    Lenses: Celestron Plossl 20, TeleVue Plossl 8, 2xBarlow
    Location: Back Garden
    Visibility: Excellent
    Light Pollution: Dusk
    A nice clear evening and an excellent opportunity to take a look at the crescent moon. First identified the two seas Mare Crisium and Mare Fecunditatis at 45x then took a look at the Atlas and Hercules craters, noting Atlas' central peak.
    We then viewed Mare Crisium at 112.5x and spotted Peirce, Yerkes, Picard and Lick. At this phase we noticed four very well defined craters to the West and identified them as Glaisher, Proclus, Hill and Carmichael.
    Next we turned our attention to Mare Fecunditatis and craters Messier, Pickering (or Messier-A) and the rays extending to the West. I could imagine the meteroid bouncing to create Messier and then Messier-A and sending material shooting across the surface of the sea as described in the book. Using the Barlow to achieve 225x worked to some extent but worsened seeing. Whilst in the neighbourhood we took a look at Langrenus.
    We then scooted back up and identified the chain of craters Cleomedes, Burkhardt, Geminus and Messala. We could see as described in the book that Massala indeed looked older than the other craters as the sides were very worn down.
    We then took some time scanning across the Southern Highlands and out to the southern pole. A single high peak was visible separate from the rest of the light area of the moon.
    At this point the moon began to hide behind nextdoor's house. So we decided to have another go at viewing Venus. In the past our views of Venus have been disappointing but we gave it a go. This time was different, we could make out the phase fairly well at just 45x. Moving up to 112.5x and 225x we could clearly make out its gibbous phase. I decided to give my new moon filter a go on it and found it reduced the glare a lot and made the phase far easier to make out. Our scope is generally very good at eliminating glare but Venus is usually too much for it.
    I noticed a yellowish star appear over the roof of our house and decided to take a look in the hopes that it was Saturn. It was! We excitedly watched Saturn which we had been missing recently. We found the filter did not improve our view and without the filter we could make out what I assume was Titan.
    Great little lunar and planetary session and we got to bed at a reasonable hour to boot!
  5. gareththegeek
    Scope: C100 EDR 100mm/900mm
    Lenses: Celestron Plossl 20, TeleVue Plossl 8, 2xBarlow
    Location: Back Garden
    Visibility: Good
    Light Pollution: High
    My wife was feeling ill but it was such a clear night I decided to venture out to the garden, alone, cluctching a list of Messier object coordinates mianly located around Lyra, Hercules and Ophiuchus.
    First up was M13 so I pointed the scope at Eta Hercules and checked the declination and right ascention setting circles. They were fine so I moved over to The Great Cluster. What an mindblowing sight; I had been impressed with M3 on a previous night but this was better! I have found globular clusters more impressive than the galaxies I have seen so far. Perhaps galaxies suffer under the light pollution and the aperture of my scope but I think the reason is you can make out so many individual stars, just at the edge of perception. It makes you feel very small!
    Managed to track down M92 next, much fainter than M13 but it seemed to have a brighter centre to it and I enjoyed a cup of coffee whilst I watched it slide across the sky.
    Took a look at the 'Double Double' (Epsilon Lyra) next (while I was in the neighbourhood). At 45x mag I could only make out the faintest hint that the two stars were in fact doubles but it convinced me I was in the right place. Under 112.5x and 225x I achieved a clean split; seeing seemed to be pretty good the focus wasn't jumping too much.
    I next looked at M57. I had forgotten I had put down a nebula in the list, I thought I was on a globular cluster hunt and having never seen any kind of nebula before I was a little confused at what I was seeng. It appeared to be the disk you get around an out of focus star. Then suddenly realisation struck, wow! This was shaping up to be a productive night! M57 was a very faint oval of light and seemed to take magnification to 112.5x fairly well (but not 225x).
    After this I run into a little trouble, I had written down the wrong coordinates for the next two items (M5 and IC4665). A cigarette break and inspection of a star chart showed me where IC4665 should be so I found my way over to it manually. A pleasant sight which just spilled out of the field of view of my 20mm plossl. Out of interest I inserted the old 20mm Huygens lens that came with the Bresser for comparison - the field of view was tiny, glad I don't have to use that any more!
    After this I failed to locate M14 but managed to track down M10 - just in time, it was right above the roof of my house. The roof line was running across the top of the view finder! Another pleasant globular, suffering a little from light pollution and poor seeing.
    Next I moved over to look for a couple of galaxies around the plough. Failed to spot M101 but managed to track down M51. Darker skies and possibly a larger scope are definitely required for this one I think. I could just make out two faint glows at 45x. 112.5x made things a lot worse so I tried 90x using the cheapo barlow lens. This was worse than using the 8mm TeleVue at 112.5x. A new Barlow will definitely improve my viewing pleasure I think!
    Finally took a look at Alberio, a beautiful combination of yellow and blue and certainly the most appealing colour double I have tracked down.
    A personal best - 5 Messier objects in one night!
  6. gareththegeek
    Scope: C100 EDR 100mm/900mm
    Lenses: Celestron Plossl 20, TeleVue Plossl 8, 2xBarlow
    Location: Back Garden
    Visibility: Good
    Light Pollution: High
    After a beautiful sunny day we were in for a beautiful clear night and set out once more into the garden with a list of Messier objects and their coordinates printed out.
    We first tried to look at the open clusters (M36, M37 & M38) in Auriga since these would be near the horizon and setting soon. We aligned the scopes setting circles on Pollux and rolled over to await the appearance of these clusters as the sun set. We were frustrated in our attempts however as by the time it got dark enough to possibly see the clusters they had crept behind a tree.
    We then tried to check our setting circles accuracy by viewing Mizar overhead but were frustrated once again because Mizar was almost exactly at the Zenith so the tripod legs got in the way of the scope prevent us reaching it.
    Next we took a look at Cor Caroli in Canes Venatici since it was on our list of colour doubles and far enough away from the Zenith to see. Cor Caroli was easilly split in our scope but we couldn't really discern much difference in colour between the two stars.
    Calibrating the setting circles on Cor Caroli we then went looking for M3 and found it almost at once. This was our first view of a globular cluster and so we spent a good deal of time appreciating it, first at 45x and then at 112.5x. After watching it for a while we began to make out details in it using averted vision. It seemed as though every so often we would catch a fleeting glimpse of its structure. We could make out a granularity to it, quite an amazing sight. M3 seems to be at its best at 112.5x rather than 45x or 225x.
    Next on the list was M94 which we found almost at once but I mistook it for a star at first. After scanning back and forth in right ascension I noticed that this 'star' was always out of focus so we watched it for a while and could make out its bright centre and a darker cloud around it. M94 also seemed to benefit from increasing the magnification to 112.5x and we enjoyed watching it slide across the sky.
    We also took a look at Izar, being another colour double on the list. Izar proved to be a challenge to split appearing as a single star at 45x magnification but difficult to focus. At 112.5x we could just make out the smaller partner emerging from the main star. Inserting the cheap Barlow allowed us to see the two stars quite separately but they still seemed to be difficult to bring to sharp focus so we couldn't fully appreciate the difference in colour between the two.
    By this point the moon had moved into a narrow window of opportunity afforded us by the gap between our house and our neighbours' so we moved the mount over a bit and tried to take a look. Ouch! At this phase the moon is incredibly bright in the scope and I could only bear to look at it for a second at a time. We shall definitely have to invest in a lunar filter before attempting lunar observation again I think!
    By now it was 01:00 so we decided to retire.
    Our first globular cluster.
  7. gareththegeek
    Scope: C100 EDR 100mm/900mm
    Lenses: Celestron Plossl 20, TeleVue Plossl 8, 2xBarlow
    Location: Back Garden
    Visibility: Average->Poor
    Light Pollution: High
    Thought we'd have a go at viewing some planets as the sky seemed to be clear but by the time it got dark bands of cloud were roaming the heavens.
    We had a quick look at Mars since although it is past its best its the last chance we'll get for a while.
    Mars resolved to a disk under 112.5x and 225x magnification but no surface detail could be decerned, which was pretty much what we expected. Cloud cover passing in front of Mars also seemed to be creating a certain amount of chromatic aberration which wasn't present on Saturday night. I am not sure if this is an effect of cloud cover of just the scope's optics. Various stars we looked at seemed to show chromatic aberration which wasn't present on Saturday.
    We then turned our attention back to Saturn and achieved good views of it. Intermittent clouds meant that it was difficult to maintain focus but we managed to get some good views of it at 225x magnification. This time we noticed what appeared to be two of its moons to the left of it (so to the right in reality). Looking this up later on Stellarium we were unable to work out which of Saturn's moons we saw. Titan is the largest so one would assume we could see it but Titan appeared to be slightly below the angle of Saturn's rings where as the two moons we saw didn't.
    After this the cloud cover became too heavy and we decided to call it a night.
    Our first view of extra-terrestrial moons.
  8. gareththegeek
    Scope: C100 EDR 100mm/900mm
    Lenses: Celestron Plossl 20, TeleVue Plossl 8, 2xBarlow
    Location: Back Garden
    Visibility: Good
    Light Pollution: High
    First Light with our new scope! While aligning the polar scope we realised that from the only level part of our garden Polaris is behind a tree. However I managed to see Polaris between a couple of leaves and we were ready to go.
    Looking West we spotted the new crescent moon below Venus and decided a nice big target like the moon would be a good thing to practice on since we have not used an EQ mount before. We rotated the scope in the DEC axis and luckily that brought the moon into the view finder.
    A bit of confusion followed as we attempted to align the finder scope. We couldn't seem to get the moon in the main scope and thought the view finder was pointing into the scope too much. Eventually we realised that the view finder should point towards the scope slightly so that their views converge and random sweeping of the sky got the moon in the main view. The view finder was aligned and the panic was over.
    Immediately we could tell that this scope was far superior to the Bresser. Viewing the moon in the Celestron 20mm Plossl (our minimum magnification) we could see a clarity that we had never achieved with the Bresser even though by the time we got the scope aligned the moon was just above the horizon. The moon was past its best as poor seeing near the horizon made it appear to be swimming in water so we decided to move on to a new target, there would be plenty of time to see the moon later as it waxes.
    We rolled the scope up in Right Ascension and found Venus in the finder scope, it was a real pleasure to use such a stable mount and good quality finder scope after suffering with the Bresser; Venus was centred within a minute of deciding to see it. Venus appeared starlike at 45x so we decided to try out our new 8mm TeleVue Plossl, Venus began to look slightly more like a disc and less like a star but there wasn't much in it. We tried using the inferior Barlow that came with the Bresser to get up to 225x. At this magnification we could tell that Venus was a planet not a star but couldn't see much of the phase so we decided to move on to a more rewarding target.
    After a bit head scratching and pointing we worked out how to roll the scope to the south to point over the roof of our house and take a look at Saturn. At just 45x we could see the rings and the view was superior to anything we achieved with the Bresser even at 140x. Saturn was behind some thin clouds and yet this didn't seem to affect the view at all. Taking it up first to 112.5 and then onto 225 times magnification the view was absolutely stunning. I don't think I will ever be able to get tired of looking at Saturn which was always my favourite planet as a child, I never thought I would be able to actually see it! Saturn appeared as a milky yellow disc and at highest magnification we could make out a shadow cast by the rings on the planet's surface and as I studied it I thought I could just make out a subtle band of colour. We tracked Saturn for a little while, appreciating how easily we could follow it using an EQ mount by simply turning the RA knob.
    We thought we'd have a look at M44 next being a favourite of our previous sessions but a patch of cloud seemed to be censoring Cancer so we decided to try out the optics splitting a binary star - Mizar. After crawling around on the floor and nearly breaking my neck I managed to get Mizar in sight virtually at the Zenith. At minimum magnification we could clearly see Mizar as two separate stars, I was amazed. Previously using the Bresser at maximum magnification and squinting at the star for a while I could just about tell that it was two stars. The C100 just split them effortlessly - this scope is a real bargain! At this point I moved over to Alcor and defocussed to test collimation. Alcor turned into a perfect bullside pattern, it would appear that the scope has come from the factory very well collimated indeed, no problems there.
    To end the evening with a bang we thought we'd try and finally track down M81 and M82, a target which had elluded us previously due to the poor quality of the Bresser's finder scope. So I took a quick trot upstairs to the computer and fired up Stellarium. I looked up the coordinates of Dubhe, Phad and Bode's Galaxy (M81), I used the first value (the constant coordinate) reasoning that it would be wrong for the current time of day, but it would be wrong by the same amount for all targets.
    Back in the garden we aligned the scope to Dubhe and positioned the setting circles to match the recorded coordinates then moved the scope to read the coordinates for M81. Sweeping back and forth in right ascension we found nothing. We took the scope back to Dubhe using the setting circles and it was still correctly aligned so we tried to use the circles to find Phad.
    Looking in the scope I found that we were not quite aligned properly and manually aligned Phad in the main view. Looking back at the setting circles it appeared that we were out by one degree in declination. We then brought the scope over to the coordinates for M81 and added one degree to the declination scale and offsetting for the 20 minutes of right ascension that had elapsed since we began the hunt. I swept along right ascension and suddenly there they were. M81 at the bottom of the view and M82 at the top.
    It was difficult to see any detail in M81 and it did not suffer magnification too well. We achieved a nice view of it at 112.5x magnification but it became very dim at 225x. The story was the same for M82 so we settled for 112.5x magnification and scrolled back and forth between the two galaxies with a twist of the declination knob enjoying a view which had been travelling to us for a mind boggling 12 million years.
    An unforgettable evening and our first galaxies!
  9. gareththegeek
    Haven't been able to get out with the scope recently due to clouds which only seem to come out at night so I have been thinking about what telescope to upgrade to replace the wobbly Bresser.
    I started off thinking of getting an Explorer 150PL, good value for money and a decent focal length to look at planets and forgive the use of cheaper lenses.
    Then I decided it would be better to stretch to the Explorer 200P and get a 'fast' scope, later on getting a slow refractor to compliment it.
    Then after a discussion on the forums I began to think the Skyliner 200P dob would be the better option. Cheaper, slightly slower and easier to use.
    Thinking about this it occurred to me that my garden slopes quite a bit and a tripod would be better. Also the fast set up time of the dob is counteracted by the fact that an 8" reflector would need to cool for 20/30 minutes anyway.
    Started looking at semi-apo refractors after this and fell in love with the idea of getting an Evostar Pro 100ED. Thinking it might be better to pay a bit more to get crisp clear images, no need to collimate and no deterioration over time.
    I have now returned to the idea of getting an Explorer 200P. I think overall it will be a better all rounder than the refractor and still very reasonably priced.
    It will probably be a couple of months before I make a purchase so I expect I'll probably change my mind again, but I keep coming back to the Explorer 200P.
    If only I could see something to point my scope at!
  10. gareththegeek
    Scope: Bresser Sirius 70mm/900mm
    Lenses: H20, H12.5, 2xBarlow
    Location: Back Garden
    Visibility: Good
    Light Pollution: Low - Sunset
    A look out my window today showed me the stunning sight of the thin crescent moon over Venus. This is the moment we have been waiting for, so my wife and I rushed to the garden for our first look at the moon.
    An awe-inspiring sight, seeing the moon under magnification makes it seem more real somehow; it really is a giant sphere of rock marked with craters not a little glowing disc which slides about the sky...
    We had fun viewing the Moon at various magnifications, at minimum magnification (45x) the moon just fit in the view. At 140x we could make out mountain peaks illuminated beyond the terminator. Being so near to sunset the features of the moon were thrown into stunning, sharp relief making it easier to see depth in craters and on mountains. It was difficult for us to work out what part of the moon we were viewing, being unfamiliar view lunar viewing and with so little of the moon illuminated but at a guess we may have been viewing Langrenus crater and Mare Spurmans. Hopefully we can work this out when viewing the Moon later this month as it waxes.
    The Moon at last.
  11. gareththegeek
    Scope: Bresser Sirius 70mm/900mm
    Lenses: H20, H12.5, 2xBarlow
    Location: Back Garden
    Visibility: Good
    Light Pollution: Heavy
    Decided to have another go at viewing Messier objects in Ursa Major as it is currently overhead but didn't hold out much hope since my neighbours are turning lights on and off so frequently I suspect they are signalling to someone in morse code!
    View finder on the scope is not allowing me to see enough faint stars to make star hoping viable and I decide to leave the search until I find time to go to a darker sight. It seems my wife was right to give it a miss tonight!
    I consoled myself with a look at Mars directly over the Beehive Cluster - no star hoping required for that! Mars appearing almost circular (rather than starlike) under 90x magnification.
    I remembered reading that either Castor or Pollox is a double so I decided to see if I could tell which it was with my scope and found that I could just make out two separate points of light in Castor - very difficult to make out at 90x and 140x, later research confirmed this to be correct. I also examined Capella and found it to not be a double.
    Noticed another rapidly but steadily moving star and since all aeroplanes are grounded due to volcanic ash cloud, I am able to conclude that it is a satellite as I had suspected.
    Not a great success but at least I know what a satellite looks like now.
  12. gareththegeek
    Scope: Bresser Sirius 70mm/900mm
    Lenses: H20, H12.5, 2xBarlow
    Location: Semi-dark Site
    Visibility: Intermittent Cloud
    Light Pollution: Medium
    Last night was a little cloudy but we could see clear patches and since it looks like it'll be cloudy all week my wife and I decided to try and take a look at Saturn. The wind was knocking our scope around something fierce and at 45x and 72x all we could see of Saturn was a star and I thought that we were going to have the same failed experience we got when trying to view Mars. Then I tried out the Barlow taking us to 90x view and...WOW! You could actually see the rings! Mind blowing stuff!
    My wife and I were literally jumping for joy in a darkened field in a virtual hurricane over seeing a tiny dancing blob - but unmistakably Saturn! Our view of Saturn only lasted a minute before the clouds rolled over but it was worth it.
    Saturn's rings appeared very thin as a line running from approximately 35degrees clockwise from horizontal. Looking this up in magazine when we returned home I saw that this matched with the published image taking into account horizontal mirroring.
    In hindsight perhaps I should have tried to use the 20mm lens with the Barlow for the other planets we have tried to view. At 90x zoom this falls around the 2/3 of maximum possible zoom for our scope and could be a mainstay for this kind of work.
  13. gareththegeek
    Scope: Bresser Sirius 70mm/900mm
    Lenses: H20, H12.5, 2xBarlow
    Location: Dark Site
    Visibility: Excellent!
    Light Pollution: Low
    Took the scope out to a prospective dark site with good views to the West in the hopes of spotting Venus and Mercury. A great location with excellent views apart from the suicidally bumpy road leading up to it. My wife was kind enough to drive us there and at first took the road at a bone jarring 10mph!
    Clouds over Western sky at sundown, but a break in them allowed us a view of Venus and Mercury! Lined up the scope and awaited their return from the clouds. Viewed both at 45x, 72x and 144x zoom but only seemed to resemble stars.
    Next we spotted Mars and took at look with the same lenses, and whilst Mars appeared less bright and in some sense rounder than a star, still overall it appeared star-like - disappointing.
    Took a look at Pleiades cluster (M45) nearby to Venus which was an impressive sight at 45x zoom. The entire cluster was too large to fit within the scope at once and a wealth of extra stars were visible.
    I notice the scope appears to mirror images horizontally but not vertically. I believe the lens inverts the image in both axes and then the star diagonal inverts the image vertically a second time.
    As my night vision improved I noticed a glow in my peripheral vision whilst looking at Mars with the naked eye. Homing in on this revealed the find of the night, the Beehive cluster (M44). This cluster almost fits within the scope at 45x and we admired the hexagonal nature of the cluster.
    Two Messier objects off the list then.
  14. gareththegeek
    Scope: Bresser Sirius 70mm/900mm
    Lenses: H20, H12.5, 2xBarlow
    Location: Back Garden
    Visibility: Good!
    Light Pollution: Heavy
    Learning to use telescope and interpret star charts.
    Examined a bright red star which subsequently turned out to be Mars. Not able to see any real difference (apart from colour) from any other star using all lenses.
    Looked at Cappella in Auriga constellation, cheap lenses supplied with telescope are showing false red and blue colour around star.
    Had a closer look at Mizar and Alcor as I have often looked at Mizar (before I knew its name) and noticed a faint star near it. Under 45x zoom the two stars occupy half the scope and a third star is visible between them. Under 72x zoom we are able to see that Mizar is binary, noticing two distinct white glows.
    A good start.
  15. gareththegeek
    I have just started out in amateur astronomy and intent to use this blog to keep logs of the things I see as well as to keep track of things I intend to do. Mainly for my own use...
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