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KevUU

2nd Feb, Auriga clusters

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Wow, things have hotted up in here again :)

After a lovely clear afternoon but with clouds scudding around the sky, I was hopeful but not too hopeful for tonight. When I saw it was clear at 6ish I figured I'd make the most of it while it lasted.

I had an aborted attempt to hit Auriga on Weds, so tonight I tried again.


1815 - 2015. Clear without noticeable haze for a change. Approx NELM 4.8.

Back for another try at Auriga.

M38 quite dense for an oc, feels like it wishes it were a gc. Hard to see detail but general feeling is 'okay overall'. There's obviously more to see but I'd need more aperture I think.

NGC 1907 is a small mag 8.2 oc near M38. I can only really see 2 stars but there's an obvious fuzzy haze around it with averted vision. Not really a rewarding view though (to be fair this wasn't really planned, I just spotted it in PSA and thought I'd have a nose).

I'm having issues with the ep fogging whenever I go near it, especially the 8mm. But I went back to M38 and in the moments of clarity it is really quite nice. It looks as though there's a cross of brighter stars across it?

(Looking at a picture in Sky Safari afterwards, it looks like there's a gap in the middle then four arms of brighter stars going out to the edges, so I wasn't too far off!)

Wow, M36 is really a good cluster. Much busier than M38. It's hard to catch the detail at x50, especially with the ep fogging issue. Back out at x13 it somehow looks better again - I've had this with M38 tonight and on other sessions, I wonder why?

M37 is much hazier and less well defined than the others at x13, but as good if not better at x50. The others had a few brighter stars I could see easily and many fainter ones I couldn't really even with aversion; this one is a sea of stars in the middle-ground magnitudes. I can see 12 or 15 well and 20+ more with aversion - nice :D

My dinner is waiting for me but I can't waste this clear sky. Let's complete the set: M35 next :)

Wow, another really nice one. A bit sparser, none of the brighter stars or faint haze of undetectable stars but there must be over 50 stars I can see easily (no a/v) at x50 - amazing :cool:


I had some issues with a neighbours window during this session, so I draped a towel over my head and the ep - what a difference! So dark, it was great. I need to find a better way to do this next time though, the towel is a little heavy and holds the muggy air in a bit too.

I really do want a bigger scope, I'm gutted my grand Celestar-mounted-C8 plan collapsed this week. In a way it's nice to see my debut year out with the ST80 before I spoil myself with 8" views, but while today was good I kept feeling like it would be so much more pleasing if I could just make out the structure properly.

It was really nice to be out, looking at a proper sky again for the first time since December 10th :) I wish I could expect another one to come along soon, but if not at least I had a decent spell today.

Thanks for reading, I hope you managed to get out too.

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Nice report. The observing section of this forum has gone ballistic this evening with everyone itching to share their first session for a while.

Auriga and Gemini are quite rich in clusters. I would recomment going back to M35 to see if you can find the nearby smaller and feinter cluster NGC 2158, which appears in the same field of view - a nice sight.

NGC 2281 in Auriga is also nice.

Thanks for sharing.

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Some of my favourite clusters, the Messier objects in Auriga. Mostly because they were some of the first I ever saw, but I think they're pretty good even so.

James

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MESSIER: 90/110, CALDWELL: 33/109, HERSCHEL: 144/400, DSO TOTAL: 256, PLANETS: Mercury - Uranus (inc), MOONS: 9, ASTEROIDS: 6, COMETS: 4

In a fit of extreme geekery, I notice the magic number "DSO TOTAL: 256" - you've made it out of 8-bits :D

... I think maybe I should get some sleep ...

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In a fit of extreme geekery, I notice the magic number "DSO TOTAL: 256" - you've made it out of 8-bits :D

... I think maybe I should get some sleep ...

Maybe I should write it as 28. :grin:

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If you want to look really impressive you could go for 100000000 ;):D

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Great report. I was out with my new 115mm scope, first decent night since it arrived in December. I, too, looked toward Auriga flying high overhead and saw a cluster, which I assume to be M36,M37, or M38. Without any reference maps I've no idea really. All I can say for sure was with the 24mm at 35x(ish) mag there was a faint, small looking, open cluster that when zoomed in to 8mm for 100x mag exploded into a mass of individual stars, quite breath taking. I don't think I've seen an open cluster before that requires such magnification before - I generally stick with the more obvious, large ones such as the pleiades, hyades ,etc.

I'm kicking myself for not preparing before hand, I wish I knew which cluster it was.

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I'm kicking myself for not preparing before hand, I wish I knew which cluster it was.

If you find one, the other two aren't that hard to pick out and you can then work out which is which fairly easily, though they're also quite distinctive in shape (or appear so to me). M38 (from memory) always makes me think of a spider's web, whereas M36 is quite tight and small and M37 is comparatively larger with far more stars. At least, that's the way I see them :)

James

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Nice report. I often visit Auriga & recently spotted NGC 2158 from a dark site

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Kev,

Nice report indeed, I did most of these the other night, I like M35, it is one of my favourites. I can see it naked eye from my place, in fact I can see a lot of the Messiers without a scope, well the larger ones.

Alan.

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Thank you all :)

Yes, I must get back there and have a better nose around.

Feel like a bit of a cheat just lining uo the 4 obvious ones, but then they really were spectacular even in my little 3 incher :D

I'd like to have time, energy and clear skies coinciding for a good immersion around there though.

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Glad you managed to get out, no such luck here :(

Don't knock the obvious ones, they're always great to look at IMO, some I like to go back to time and time again :cool: Sounds like some great additional suggestions here too.

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I enjoyed reading that too. Thanks for putting it up.

Edited by kirkster501

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Thanks for the report, it's lovely to get out, isn't it!

I'm still at the stages of the obvious ones, having only just started out, but I love these clusters (M35-38). M35 is my favourite, but that may just be because I saw it at a darker site, which makes such a difference!

Nice work

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Thanks for posting! That's a rich area to explore for sure and doesn't fail to disappoint. I also went for Auriga while we had the break in the clouds to finish poking around. This was inspired by a Sue French article on Auriga in her Deep Sky Wonders book (recommend btw). 1907 is a little smudge isn't it?! On two different occasions I thought I saw a fuzzy patch in averted vision while having a look at M38 and it made me suspicious that there was a catalogue item there. Looking at the charts after the session confirmed it. The asterism of Melotte 31, which is centred around 16 Auriga, is an interesting thing to view.

I was going for some pretty obscure and faint objects in the vicinity: Stock 8 and NGC1931, but have concluded I need a darker location for the finer detail. Glad you've mentioned M35 as I haven't checked that out yet. That looks to be a busy little area too! Clear skies!

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