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During February I have made three attempts to observe C/2010 U3 Boattini. The first attempt was a fail. The second attempt left me with two possible outcomes but I had a feeling for the "small fuzzy blob" that I had found but could not re-find! Finally, I confirmed my sighting last night and I was very satisfied when I did I use Sky Safari to control my push-to dobsonian and I am not convinced that the location in the app is spot-on. This comet has been a challenge to get into the field of view which is not usally the case with comets & Sky Safari? Either way, if you are looking for this comet then I can confirm "IT IS THERE"! My observation notes from 13 Feb 2018 C/2010 U3 (Boattini) – I set about searching for the mag 15 comet. I centered up the push-to with the ethos13 (x150) inserted and then moved to ethos10 (x200). I could not find the comet for definite. There were two possible glimpses (1) I did spot a small fuzzy blob near a patch of stars but failed to re-find it (it did not tally with the Sky Safari location but it was close) (2) I thought I saw a tail cutting through the fov (this was the same experience that I had on Sunday when searching for the same object) but the scale of the tail seemed too long and wide to be true. I will keep trying but could probably do with some better conditions. My observation notes 20 Feb 2018 C/2010 U3 Boattini – I can finally say that I have seen this comet! I managed to confirm the sighting from last week, it had only moved a slight amount and I confirmed this morning that it is very slow moving comet. In the E10 it was a faint small fuzzy patch below a small group of stars (which I recognized from last week). In the E8 (x250) it was an improved fuzzy patch (but still hard work) and finally in the E6 (x348) I got glimpses of a “dot” core but it was very hard to focus as this was too much magnification for the conditions. Still, I am pleased to have finally tied it down! Here is the expected path for C/2010 U3 Boattini...
Date: Tuesday 20th February 2200-0200am Scope: 20” f3.6 Lukehurst Dob with Paracorr (fl = 2089mm) Not the best conditions Conditions were not the best, a reduced number of visible stars was on offer and an overall greyish look to a normally black sky but it’s been a week since I last got outside so out I went! Comet Boattini Success C/2010 U3 Boattini – I can finally say that I have seen this comet! I managed to confirm the sighting from last week, it had only moved a slight amount and I confirmed this morning that it is very slow moving comet. In the E10 it was a faint small fuzzy patch below a small group of stars (which I recognized from last week). In the E8 (x250) it was an improved fuzzy patch (but still hard work) and finally in the E6 (x348) I got glimpses of a “dot” core but it was very hard to focus as this was too much magnification for the conditions. Still, I am pleased to have finally tied it down! ARP "Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies" Yesterday I created an “observing list” in Sky Safari of all the ARP galaxies. (If you search for ARP to get a list returned then there is an option at the bottom of the list to move them all into an observing list). My mission tonight was to get started on some of them… ARP300 – Chosen purely because it was near to my current sky location. Using the E10, I saw two fuzzy galaxies. One was brighter and more circular. ARP9 – A single galaxy. Bright core with a surrounding dust halo. ARP80 – I saw two round galaxies (2633,2634) and with averted vision a third appeared (2634A). It seems that only 2633 is referred to as ARP80. ARP141 – E10. I saw a “dot” core within an edge-on galaxy. It was faint but obvious. NGC3735 – A nice long edge-on galaxy with a bright core. ARP329 – A chain of 5 galaxies! Very difficult, with the E8 I could see one galaxy and with averted maybe two more. Need to come back on a better night. ARP299 – E8. I could see what looked like a bright galaxy with two cores (two merging). There was also a fainter side-on galaxy off to the side. ARP104 (Keenans system) – E8 (x250). Two obvious bright circular patches. Did I see hints of a bridge or wishful thinking? ARP285 – E8. I saw a pair of circular galaxies. Pretty easy. ARP1 – A big faint side-on galaxy which seemed misshapen off one end? ARP6 (Bear Paw) – A cloudy circular patch. No claw seen. Other galaxies of note NGC2683 - After performing my initial 2-star alignment, I had tested the results on nearby NGC2683 “the ufo galaxy”. In the Ethos10 (x200) it appeared as a bright edge on galaxy with a large fuzzy core. There was a fainter outer halo. Definitely one for a revisit… M82 – In the E8 (x250) it showed as a very bright edge on galaxy filling the fov. The black dart piercing into the galaxy was very clear along with other mottled marks within the brightness. The brightness was greatest along the upper edge. M81 – A bit of a challenge. In the E8 I saw a bright core surrounded by a dust halo. With averted vision I was able to extend the halo out further but it really wasn’t responding well to the conditions. M51 – The time had come to visit M51 for the night. In the E8, the arms were magnificent and pretty obvious. I needed some averted to really trace them out to the sides and around the back. I felt that I could trace the “bridge” using averted too (unlike last time out). The bridge seemed to “kink” into the galaxy in the middle. I tried E10 (x200) and E13 (x150) but they couldn’t match the view in the E8. M101 – In the E8 there was plenty of surface on offer and I had a feeling of hovering over the surface. I could see a nice bright circular central region with arms coming off at 12 and 3 o’clock. (The galaxy was so big that the E8 could not fit it all in). I could see bright NGCs off to both sides contained within “incomplete” vertical arms). M101 was almost as good in the E10 and not as good in the E13. Still have not managed to catch it on the “best” night !! Time to revisit the supernovas! UGC5049/SN2018pc – Unlike last time out, I could not even locate UGC5049! FAIL. NGC3941 & SN2018pv – In the E8 I located the galaxy and I could see the core and SN together of equal brightness. The split was hard to maintain in my vision but coming and going. SUCCESS NGC2746+SN2018iq – I found and centred the faint circular galaxy. An intermittent “dot” was coming and going inside the halo. The core looks brighter on the image but this was a definite “dot of light” so I am marking it as SUCCESS It’s a wrap! With clouds coming and going, I called it a night at 2am. It was still reasonably warm compared to recent nights out and the scope UTA was dry! Clear Skies, Alan