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Messier 56 - A globular cluster in the constellation Lyra. Discovered by Charles Messier on January 19, 1779. It is at a distance of around 32,900 light-years from Earth and measures roughly 84 light-years in diameter, with a combined mass of approximately 230,000 times that of the Sun. The cluster has an estimated age of around 13.70 billion years. It is thought that this cluster may have been acquired during the merger of a dwarf galaxy, of which Omega Centauri forms the surviving nucleus. If you want more detail the astrobin link is: http://www.astrobin.com/266680/B
Does anyone else find binoculars are far better in the initial hunt for DSOs ? I found 3 new DSOs tonight with binoculars , M56 , M27 and NGC7000 and will have a longer look at them next time in a telescope . Well pleased with that result tonight especially given that the Moon is 92% full .
After the amazing first ever DSO observing session I had the other night I was itching to get out again. Based on the recomendations given in my last post I put together a list of objects to view prior to going out this time. First up was M11, Wild Duck cluster, not sure what to make of this. Just looked like a group of spread out stars in my 12mm EP. I didn't spend long on M11 so went for the much anticipated M27, Dumbbell Nebula...wow! I could clearly see the dumbbell shape and really liked the way it stuck out against the surrounding stars. Not quite as bright as M57 but a bit bigger. I then went back to M13 and again I was really blown away by this object. I switched over to my 8mm BST and was pleasantly surprised by the view. The stars stayed crisp and I could see more structure. This EP is a really amazing performer for the price. I would like to try it against something else so am looking at a 7mm Pentax or 9mm Nagler. I have heard the 9mm Nagler is very good and think it will suit the globs. I decided to take a look at some other globular clusters: M56, M71 & M92. All of these globs were amazing but not quite spectacular as M13. I realised there are many more globs to observe but decided to try something different. After being informed that a glob is not a galaxy (still learning!) I thought I would try and bag my first galaxy. M31, which I believe is the brightest, was behind the house so I tried M51. I am sure it was in the FOV as the GoTo was spot on for the globs however I could not see (detect) a thing. I guess I will have to get in a better position for M31 next time out. After trying Alberio and Mizar the other night I wanted to go after a more challenging double. After reading some posts on SGL I had decided it had to be the Double Double Epsilon Lyrae. I am completely reliant on my GoTo at the moment so other than knowing it was somewhere near Vega I started looking through the SynScan named star catalogue. Much to my dissappointment it wasn't there. I was just about to give up when I spoted a Double Stars menu on the SynScan and sure enough Epsilon Lyrae was in there. Sticking with the 12mm I went to the double double and saw two widely split stars. I then loaded my 3.5mm Nagler EP and much to my amazement the two stars both split again. The 4 stars all fitted perfectly in the FOV and the stars looked amazing. I am really impressed with this object...it is a really interesting one to view. I now need to find a more challenging double star. I went back and finished on M27, M57and M13 again. I definately need to look at tightening my focussers as it kept slipping which slightly detracted from the observing. If I can't get it right I am just going to take the plunge and upgrade it to something decent.