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CentralMidlandsStargazers Observing report 6th July 2013


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It was quite light when I arrived, closely followed by Tich at about

10pm. I do like being in the open air at dusk and then watching the

stars pop out as the night draws in.

It's free and can be done without any observing equipment at all apart

from your eyes.

I started on Venus which was visible to the naked eye and was about 3/4

full in my 32mm Panaview. When I tried to swap lenses to get a higher

magnification, it had disappeared from view behind some trees. Saturn,

followed and, considering how light it was, the seeing was clear,

banding could be made out on Saturn's surface and the Cassini division

was visible although it did pop in and out of focus. Next on to the Ring

Nebula, very faint but still distinctive. It stood out much more when I

came back to it later in the evening when the skies were darker.

The Blinking Planetary Nebula was one that had previously eluded me save

for one occasion when I was out with Andy and his 12" Dob. I slewed the

scope to it last night and it stuck out like a saw thumb and I wondered

why I had so much difficulty previously. It just shows it pays to

observe the same object at different times of the year and to persevere.

The reason it is called the "Blinking" planetary is that if you look at

it directly all you can see is the central star, if you then move your

eye away as in averted vision the planetary disc pops out as if from

nowhere. I spent about 10 mins on it last night.

It is very easier to go for the Messiers and they are good to view but

there are some other good sights out there such as the Double Double in

Lyra which is a good test of your scopes collimation if you can resolve

each of the stars into binaries. Also there is the Coathanger asterism

also known as Brocchi's Cluster. There are six stars in a line with

three stars as the hook of the Coathanger towards the centre. At this

time of year the Coathanger is the right way up in my scope. Albireo in

Cygnus is also another beauty. A coloured double with the larger star a

warm orange colour and its companion sapphire blue. At about 12 O'clock

the Summer Triangle of Deneb, Vega and Altair was at the zenith and a

lovely sight.

I also managed to observe the Dumbell Nebula, the Double Cluster in

Perseus, M92 and M13 (very impressive in the later part of the night).

I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and now the nights are drawing in

hopefully I can get out there a bit more often.


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