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A few small puffs and a larger one to finish!


andrew63
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After a day of sunshine and showers, a clear night - and not just clear but transparent ! Looking at the small area around virgo leo coma border and spent 90 min in about a five deg area. Started via Denebola and a quick hop to M98 area but no joy. In the finder there was a hop of a line of 4 stars which was a good focus for the several objects i was searching for.

Very close a little more than a deg to M99 which was seen as a compact patch quite readily observed at 55x and very close to a star. Went back to M98 still no joy. Headed for M100 at the end of the line of four stars just a circular smudge at 55x then on a few deg above to M85 nicely placed between two brightish guide stars. This was the easiest to spot at 27x and quite a bright stellar like centre and almost overlapping a close- by star. Went back to try M98 and success this time - but it was faint - larger and more diffuse than the other objects and had to get a brightish star out of the field as got lost in glow - seen at 55x. I might have caught a glimpse or a suggestion of this galaxy an hour earlier. Four new messier objects i was pleased to see before the onset of the light nights.

Could not go in with ursa major riding high and with the good conditions without having a look at M101. This was large compared to the virgo group and stood out well at x27 as a roundish patch.

andrew

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Good one, yes, M101 was quite easy to pick up, being straight up and where it is nice and dark. I too came across NGC4697 and noted how bright it was considering its quite low lying position, which from my view point ,was fairly poor due to mist rising off a reservoir.

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Thanks for the report. +1 for showers cleaning the gunge out of the sky. The visibility is always better after rain. This is very noticeable if you go gliding: a high can give very poor visibility, especially if it's been around for a few days and the inversion layer has descended to give a thick hazy layers; whereas a day after a rain-bearing front has passed gives gin-clear conditions and you can see tens of miles.

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Nice report. M98 is a tricky customer. I frequently struggle with my 8", until it suddenly emerges (in averted vision as a rule). When I first spotted it, I was surprised at how hard it was compared to many other Messier's. I now often use it to gauge how good the sky in that area is. If I see it readily, conditions are good.

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