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29th April 2013, Leo and Gobsmacking Saturn


KevUU
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I spent the whole day on Monday waiting for it to get dark, and thankfully it stayed clear as forecast.

I wanted to get a look around Leo mostly, and see what I could see.


2200 - 0045. Really good clear night. Approx NELM 5.2.

First for the triplet. M65 and M66 are very fuzzy - I can just make out a greater brightness at the core. Nice to see both in the same fov though. Absolutely no sign of the third of the triple, NGC 3628.

Now let's try the 'other triplet'. M105 and NGC 3384 are a nice close pair of galaxies, only 8' apart. Seem to have better surface brightness than M65/66, although still no detail to be seen. No sign of NGC 3389 which would complete a small triangle, but that is rather fainter at mag 11.9.

M96 is a similar fuzz to the others. M95, wow that's really a faint fuzz!

Moving on to some other nearby suspects: NGC 3412 is fairly faint; ditto NGC 3377, and I couldn't see its neighbour NGC 3367. NGC 3338 was a no-show too.

Moving up to the lion's head, I wanted to look at NGC 2903 and see what the glob NGC 2905 looked like given its description of "in 2903". NGC 2903 was there, faint and diffuse, but I couldn't distinguish NGC 2905.

I'd had enough of these similar looking galaxies from my not-really-dark-enough garden, so moved down to Saturn for a look with my new 8mm BST:

I'm sure I remember someone saying a UHC filter helps with Saturn ... it makes it a very weird turquoise colour and is of no help whatsoever that I could see!

A moon filter (ND) is more helpful.

Wow! Very sharp, very clear, really well defined view. My first good viewing of Saturn with this scope, and it's really blown me away. This is with the 8mm for x150.

The whole view is surprisingly sharp and clear. The shadow of the rings on the planet is obvious, and the Cassini division is really clear and well defined in the 'ears' in the good moments of seeing (about 1 in 3 seconds, I guess), wowwity wow. Really nice :D


This session makes it clear that my garden skies aren't good enough for decent galactical observing. I 'bagged' 9 new galaxies but it wasn't very rewarding just to tick them off without actually observing them meaningfully. I'd love to get to a dark sky and really look at these properly...

Saturn was a real revelation though. I've never had a planetary view anything like that before, it was so clear and seeing the Cassini division so clearly defined was just amazing. The shadow of the rings on the surface was really breathtaking too. :)

It looks like we have a few more decent evenings coming soon, good luck all let's hope for more nights like this one.

Happy Hunting :)

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Nice session. I had my 4th evening in a row tonight as i played about with a new mount but Monday was very good and I looked at the same sets you did. I found the Whale Galaxy worth a closer look as it was high enough to get a sense of contrast through my own 8" and the shape is pleasing. However like you I found I was too much of a tourist to really observe many of these 'fuzzies'. It was the Globulars that really stood out for me last night, especially M5 which i find more interesting than M13.

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Leo's great isn't it. A nice report of a very satisfying session.

Similar view to me. I found M95 the weakest of the major Leo galaxies.

There's a few more that should be within reach. Perhaps NGC 3521 (I think, from memory) is the best of the rest but is to the far South of the constellation.

Wait until you get into Virgo and Coma. The galaxies are packed in there!

Clear skies.

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Thanks guys :)

I found the Whale Galaxy worth a closer look as it was high enough to get a sense of contrast through my own 8" and the shape is pleasing.

Oooh okay, haven't looked around Canes Venatici yet but the Whale does look good in OITH, along with a heap of Messier galaxies (well four) brighter than mag 9. Cheers :)

There's a few more that should be within reach. Perhaps NGC 3521 (I think, from memory) is the best of the rest but is to the far South of the constellation.

That's a good memory for arbitrary 4-digit numbers you have!

I didn't even notice 3521 hiding all the way down there on the chart, but it is a good size and at mag 8.8 it's the second brightest in Leo behind M66 (I realise the contradiction there wrt its size and the resulting lower surface brightness, but you know what I mean ;))

Oh what a shame, that's more things on the hit-list so I guess I'll have to go have another look :D

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Great stuff and you're right about going to a dark site for the galaxies. I would love to take those Leo objects on from somewhere that is pitch black!

The blue 80a filter gives me my best filtered view of Saturn.

Good to see everyone getting out there with this break in the weather!

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