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3rd of January, 2013. Messi-YAY!


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An unexpected gap in the clouds opened up, and after finishing off my dinner Italian dinner consisting of a nice pasta with mackerel, tomato, onion, garlic and wine (and a glass of Ripasso for me, the chef) I grabbed my bins and took my 5 minute walk to the fields outside town.

The seeing was gorgeous. Absolutely stunning. I don't think I've seen conditions like these this season (or any season, being a new stargazer). I checked focus on Jupiter but didn't bother check for any moons. M45 looked good as usual. I actually stopped a while on The Hyades, I've seen them lots of times naked eye, but this was the first time I stopped there with the bins. To call The Double Cluster "well endowed" would be suspicious, but she was looking extra lovely tonight.

My eyes started to adapt to the dark a bit better so I started at M31 and went for M33. I think I star hopped to get the distance right atleast ten times, but she wasn't about make me happy. I'll probably have to get her from a darker site. However I did have a meteor trail cut across my FOV while in the region. I've seen lots before but first time in the bins for me.

I took the trip over to Gemini and down to Cancer to quickly locate the Beehive Cluster M44. What a knockout. Lovely. After failing to do so at Christoffers place earlier this week, I went down and started looking for M67. And after a few moments of trying the averted vision, there she was. Faint but still, new Messier!

Spurred by this, I took bearings on Alnath and Alhena and started looking yet another Messier. I established myslef at the stars Propus, Tejat and 1 Geminorum and pretty soon located M35. Another Messier!

Consulting my Starmap app, I realised I had to finish with some of the Messiers in Auriga. M37 was the easiest, M36 harder and I could just about make out M38. The last one was really on the edge of vision. Five messiers in one night! I'll never be this lucky again without dark skies and my GOTO scope.

While doing these last ones I happened to see another trail cut across the sky, but I realise that it must have been from the Delta Cancrids meteor shower.

After that I made one last crack in Cassiopeia for C13 the Owl Cluster. I was bang on target, but all I could see whas possibly the brightest star. No cluster wanted to appear. Went back for one last try at M33, thinking maybe my eyes had adapted more, but still no luck.

Feeling very fullfilled and satisfied I started walking home. It's nice when everything just comes together.

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Nice report Carl, some of the seasons highlights there :)

Are you using an app on a phone/tablet whilst hunting for M33? This object is faint and any light from a light source may be enough to prevent you from spotting it. The trouble with using a phone/tablet is the light is shining directly onto your eye. This can't be avoided, so night vision will be effected. Try printing some maps out on paper and use a dim red torch. This is better as the light is facing away from you and won't effect your night vision.

keep at it, you'll spot it. Good hunting :)

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Nice report Carl, some of the seasons highlights there :)

Are you using an app on a phone/tablet whilst hunting for M33? This object is faint and any light from a light source may be enough to prevent you from spotting it. The trouble with using a phone/tablet is the light is shining directly onto your eye. This can't be avoided, so night vision will be effected. Try printing some maps out on paper and use a dim red torch. This is better as the light is facing away from you and won't effect your night vision.

keep at it, you'll spot it. Good hunting :)

Thank you for the kind words and the hints.

I have StarMap Pro for iPhone, but its in redlight mode. And I usually pocket it most of the time. And there is enough light leaking from the sides of the eyes (distant traffic and streetlamps from town) so conditions are nowhere close to perfect. I'm still happy with the conditions. They've promised clear skies so tonight I'll have a go with my 6 inch at the clubs observatory site. Who knows, maybe even with the clubs 18 inch if noone has hogged for planetary photo.

Edited by VigdisVZ
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I bagged M33 this evening plus M1, M81 and M82 during extremely good condition at my club's dark site through my 6-inch. It was an incredible evening. I'll write a summary and post some pics tomorrow when I've stacked and processed some images from it. Watch this forum.

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