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May/June 07 monthly target

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OK this section has lapsed of late, in part due to a poor response rate. However, as Gordon has just suggested in a related thread - how about a look at M3. Well up in the sky at the moment. In fact it would be interesting to hear about comparisons between the big globs - M13, M92 and M3 in particular.

So, usual thing - spend some time observing what you are able to discern and send in a report under this thread. The idea is to give people an idea about what they can expect to see when they observe. Try to include details such as the seeing, light pollution, adverse conditions such as high cloud or wind. Give details of scope and eye pieces used.

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Short session last night using an ED120 refractor (f/l 900mm F7.5) and a Nexstar 8" SCT (f/l 2000mm F10).

Transparency moderate/good (a little thin haze dispersing later)

Seeing 7/10

No significant wind

Back garden with some light pollution in the eastern sky from Chesterfield. The west looks over the the Peak District - mag 5 sky.

Started with M13. ED120 - Through a Moonfish 30mm UWA M13 was a bright grey little ball with no distinct stars. With increasing magnification the unresolved ball of stars got bigger but the overall appearance changed little until I moved onto a 10mm plossl - x90. At this point stars were starting to be resolved. With averted vision they were resolved to the core. Again with averted vision some irregularities of shape were showing through with strands appearing to radiate from the edges. At x150 with a 6mm Plossl M13 was running out of light. It was an interesting view since the brighter stars in the cluster shone through clearly whereas the dimmer stuff was being lost. This enhanced the slightly irregular appearance. Stars were seen through to the core with direct vision.

Overall the best view was with a 10mm plossl.

Moving onto the NS8 - with a 25mm plossl x80 stars with starting to clearly resolve although still needed averted vision to get to the core. at x135 with a 15mm plossl the glob opened up beautifully with stars well resolved to the centre with direct vision. Looking closely there were some darker areas within the mass of stars giving the impressing of strands of stars radiating out but try as I might I couldn't convince myself that I saw the propeller. Using a 10mm plossl took things up to x200. At this mag fainter stars were lost but the brighter stars showed through clearly giving a quite irregelar appearance.

The 15mm x135 view delivered the best view, effortlessly resolving the cluster without loosing faint detail.

M3 - slightly smaller, just as bright. It seemed to be more densely packed than M13 and continued to remain closely packed at higher mags. Stars were resolved at the same mags but with the ED120 it was noticeably harder than with the slightly more open M13 at x90. Again the x135 view with the NS8 was the show stopper with the whole circular mass sparkling with pin point stars.

M92 - perhaps slightly smaller and dimmer than M3. Although very similar in appearance to M13 and M3 it gave the impression of some stars radiating beyond the main group in a limb to the NW (?), certainly there was more going on in the area around the glob than with M3. Similar powers were needed with the scopes as previously to get the best views.

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Well it was reasonably clear for the second night running, so I had a go at part of the monthly targets.

Set the OMC140 out at 10.30, then started observing at 11.30pm.

Gentle wind in the garden, usual street lights but I was in the corner so conifers became my screen. Overhead was clear but even at 1.30am it wasn't very dark.

Found M13 and M92 easier than expected for my first attempt with 32mm meade sr4000 plossl-62x.

M13 showed up initially as a blob, but then a few individual stars became visible with a hint of blueness.

More magnification didn't show much more.

M92 was only seen as a fuzzy blob with hardly any detail.

Forgot to look at M3.

Found M57 - nice obvious ring structure with direct vision with 32mm.

Just could not find M51,M94,M81, M82 - the two stars of canes venatici just visible with naked eye- don't know if it was not dark enough/lack of aperture/looking in the wrong place. The small 6x30 finder was not much help and real awkward to use when looking vertically.

Albireo was very pretty. The double double in Lyra was only split to the first pair.

Forgot to look for Comet lovejoy- the main reason for setting up last night!

I think i'm getting hooked on dso - more astronomy purchases iminent I think- more aperture needed.

I've not covered all the monthly targets yet, but saw some other stuff instead.

Hears to more clear and dark skies.


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Nice reports Martin and Mand.

What a pain! I spent a couple of hours looking at these targets two nights ago and didn’t bother to make any detailed notes (that was before I saw that these were the monthly targets). So for what it’s worth, here are my recollections based on observations with a 12” f5.3 reflector (mag 5 skies, moderate seeing):

Using powers of x160 to x320, for all three globulars there were too many stars resolved to count, but there were very significant differences in shape, density and brightness.

M13 – Large, very wide range of star brightness, almost 3D, many strings and loops of stars radiating away from core giving very rough edges to cluster. No sign of the propeller on this occasion.

M92 – Smaller than M13, composed of a fairly tight core of bright stars surrounded by a sparse area that almost defines a box around the cluster (including one very distinct linear edge)

M3 – Larger than M92, near-circular, very densely packed, stars fainter than in M92 and M13 and with comparatively less variation in brightness

Also took a look at M5 and NGC6229 (it was globular night) but can’t recall much about these, except that at mag 9.4, NGC6229 was somewhat less than spectacular :police:

Will have a better stab at this later in the month.

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Well this is my first bash at writing any kind of report, and I've only had 5 hours kip (damm kids!) so this may be a little vague what with little sleep and the rubbish notes I made. Anyways...

Being an early bird makes observing this time of year a fleeting and sometimes frustrating experience, and what with the Moon doing it's level best as well, I wasn't expecting much last night but I set my Celestron C8N up and waited for the dark to descend...Conditions weren't great, heat haze rising everywhere, I could see stars down to about mag. 3ish which considering the Moon was high isn't too bad for my garden really.

M13: Always a glorious sight and this session was no execption! in my 15mm Antares W70 (x67) EP it was a nebula-like smudge, better in my 12.4mm Meade 4000 (x81) managed to resolve a few stars but not many. Big difference came when I got my 8mm Baader Hyperion (x125) out, loads of the outer stars resolved but the core looked a bit like a de-tuned tv, some stars, some parts black. Odd, but still a nice sight.

M92: I've never seen this before so I wasn't sure what I was going to see but I was pleasently surprised to see a brighter, but smaller cluster than M13. Again, no stars resolved with the W70, but looked lovely in the Meade. Tried the Hyperion saw a smaller, but elongated version of M13, again the core had this black/white sight.

M3: Bit surprised by this one as it's a bit higher up in the sky, but didn't manage to get beyond a smudge even with the Hyperion.

I did try Barlowing on all the EP's and objects, but it just darkened everything up to the point where it was pointless. Interestingly I also tried using my Baader Neodynium filter on all objects and again, darkened the sky and objects and lost a fair bit of detail which I didn't expect at all. It's a bit hit and miss using the filter, I'm glad I paid less than £20 for it!

Also managed to get my first look at the ring neblula (M57) which was a lot smaller than I was expecting but nice to get a look anyway.

Midnight is certainly the witching hour for me, so with my bed calling me it was time to pack up. Not a bad session at all really considering the conditions. Two things I've learnt from this session, I could do with a smaller EP (my 8mm is the smallest I've got), somewhere around the 3-5mm should do the trick and the Neodynium filter is more miss than hit. I'm finding I can see more without it than with most of the time.

Apparently the bank holiday weekend is going to complete rubbish weather wise so I'm glad I got this session and I'm not holding my breath for clear skies anytime soon!

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Hi all,

first proper star outing last night (midnight to 1am, swansea, average light/moon pollution, apparently zero cloud). Have only viewed moon, venus and saturn up to now (saw occultation and reappearance last week). Venus was much better in daylight as usually the image is a bit intense even with my fringe killer and 80A filter combined.

Used the first "tour" from Astronomy - The Definitive Guide, a lovely concise but useful book for newbies like me. I used my Nexstar 102 SLT and Celestron plossls. I did use skyalign but only to track, not to find as I wanted to try and use a proper star chart. I found Polaris and resolved the faint mag 9 next to it, I used my 32mm for all finding but splitting Polaris was better through 15 and 9mm EP's, 6mm was hopeless.

Next was Mizar and Alcor, again easy to split Mizar and Mizar B. Cor Caroli was another easy split and I think I saw colour but possibly just abberation!?

I failed to find M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy. I tried using the M catalogue in the scope software but it slewed to a point well off the star chart position. Next time I'll try the NGC catalogue (5194) in the scope.

I tried to find M81 and M82 with Goto but the batteries were failing and so I found them manually. I wasn't sure at first if all I was seeing were two out of focus stars (32mm EP) but the longer I looked and averted I could see enough to tell the smudges were somewhat elliptical and at ninety degrees to each other. These were my favourites of the evening as I was under the impression galaxies would be out of reach for my lowly 4 inches. I think they would be lot better from a dark spot in Gower and I am going to upgrade my diagonal to a 99% transmission type later (any tips?).

Looking forward to trying it again but can't keep up with the late nights. Happy observing, Huw.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Saw M3 at the CSSP in May, for the first time. I found it in my 24mm SWA (31x) and put in my 8mm X-Cel for a better look. Round fuzzball with some stars. Mag7 skies. It was difficult to put my finder on stuff because of the number of stars in the view.

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  • 1 year later...

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