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  1. Glad to be back out after some slim pickings in recent weeks, I had a couple of hours before the Moon came into play and spent most of my time pointing my scope in the vicinty of Southern Cygnus and Vulpecula. I began with a couple of open clusters in Vulpecula. NGC 6885 (Caldwell 37) was an attractive arrangement with 15 or so individual members around 20 Vulpeculae. NGC 6940 was a more pleasing site with 40 or more identifiable members, many of which appeared in a narrow-ish band across a kite-shaped asterism of brighter stars to the Southwest. From there I moved a little to the North over the Cygnus border and managed to find Campbell's Hydrogen star (PK 64 +5.1). This is a planetary nebula about five or six arc seconds across. At magnitude 9.5, it was an easy find but very hard to conclusively resolve. I would only go so far to say that it looked less like a star than the surrounding objects, even at 126x magnification. Sadly my scope loses its pin-sharp star view beyond 100x magnification, making small planetary nebulae a real problem for me. I then spent a little time trying to find the Andromeda galaxy NGC 812 but although I was sure I was in the right area, I could not conclusively see anything, possibly because my scope was misting up by this time. I consequently packed up the scope and got the binoculars out for some extended viewing. I concentrated on looking for open clusters in the Casseopeia / Perseus / Andromeda area. The Double cluster (NGC 869 and NGC 884) looked stunning as usual and from there I moved on to Stock 2, a very rich star field on the Perseus - Casseopeia border. To be honest, the whole area is packed with stars, whatever your weapon of choice happens to be. A lovely area of the sky. I moved on to see if I could find any new clusters in Casseopeia. From M103 and NGC 663, I managed to see NGC 654 just to the North of the latter but was unable to spot NGC 659 to the Southwest. Least impressive through the binoculars was NGC 7686 in Andromeda and so I will return to this with the scope at the next opportunity. Slightly better was NGC 6871 in Cygnus at the end of a chain of stars through the middle of the constellation. I am not sure whether any of the stars in the chain are true members of the cluster. Another one to review with the scope, I guess. Seven new objects found this session and particularly pleasing to get a non-NGC planetary nebula among them (even if it wasn't much to look at). __________________________________________________ ______ Observing Session: Tuesday 6th October 2012, 20:15 hrs to 22:15 hrs BST VLM at Zenith: 5.2 New - Revisited - Failed
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