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DSO recommendations with a small Mak?


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I've been enjoying some good views of Jupiter this week, clear banding and 4 shiny moons - nice view as early as now even. Lunar views have been spectacular too and I could even make out the polar cap on Mars late on - although it was little fuzzy and quite low on the horizon.

Now I know my scope is not an ideal tool for DSO's but if anyone can give me some pointers of something I can spot tonight I'd be grateful. Just want a bit of variety tonight as the skies are crystal clear, I've only nipped out to capture planets so far really.

I have pretty dark skies, I'm 300ft+ above sea level in the middle of nowhere (peak district) with no street lighting and big hills in front and behind to screen out light from Manchester or Sheffield - although being in a valley means anything near the horizon might not be viewable. I only have a 102mm Mak on a goto at the moment. 10mm and 25mm Ep's that came with the scope and a 32mm GSO plossl. I'm teetering towards an upgrade but decided I need to get out there an exhaust the possibilities of what I have first so I can see the benefit!

Cheers.

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With that scope and your dark skies in the peaks , I'd say the messier list are all within reach.

Definitely look at the Orion Nebula though , it's a must. M3 globular cluster is also very easy and a lovely object. The beehive cluster is a nice low power cluster as is m67.

Happy hunting.

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The first DSO I saw with my 90mm mak was the ring nebula and it does look really cool but you have to wait for summer for that. M45 will also look good. Have you had a look at double stars yet? Maks are really good at them I love albeiro lovely yellow star with a blue star hmmmm nice!!!!!

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Brilliant. Thanks for the tips.

Hopefully I will get a good enough alignment with the goto to find these, but I'm not counting on it so I'll have my maps out!

I seem to recall seeing a double star when I first bought the kit but not seen any lately. I will look out for that tonight too.

Better pop it out side and let it get nice and cool for later...

Cheers.

Gaz

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M44 the Beehive is a nice easy cluster, use your 32mm Plossl as you need the wide field of view to fit it all in. 

If you want a nice double Iota Cancri is about 10 degree north of M44, an easy split of yellow and blue.

Good luck.

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Others that are around are:

M1 in Taurus,

M81, 82 and 101 in Ursa Major.

M33 in Triangulum,

M42 in Orion is the obvious.

M65, 66, 105, 96 95, are the galaxies in Leo but they are a bit faint.

There are globular clusters around that should fit easily in the view of a Mak, leave you to find them.

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Bit of a frustrating night in the end. Problems with goto alignment, moon was pretty bright, murky skies low to the east, my own stupidity with positioning, then one of the cats decided it wasn't quite aligned and just needed a good rub on one of the legs!!

Not to worry. Will try again next weekend.

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Give Andromeda a try,

  

Others that are around are:

101 in Ursa Major

M33 in Triangulum,

Regarding andromeda and M33

Neither of these are well placed at the moment, both these objects are best seen in autumn not spring they are low down in the sky at the moment amd much harder to observe because of it.

You'd be far better off with the other suggestions and leave these two alone.

M101 in Ursa Major has the lowest surface brightness of all the Messier objects and is notoriously tough to spot. It's certainly doable in your scope but I'm not sure I would recommend it as a beginning object to try. M3 & M5 would be easier IMO

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Andromeda will be fairly poor in a Mak, it is just too big and all you will get is the central core.

It will be little more then a slightly brighter patch of no detail at all.

To get it in view on a small Mak you would need something like a 50mm eyepiece.

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Yes I tried Andromeda but I'm too low in the valley to see that this time of year. I think I caught m65/m66 but couldn't make much out  and this was the point the cat decided to realign the tripod!. By the time I got round to looking at the great nebula in orion it had gone behind the house as I was messing with the goto for so long.

A few lessons learned anyway. I've ordered a zoom eyepiece to help with setting up the goto accurately - I got the skywatcher one for £60, it might not be the best optically but it doesn't need to be really, happy to swap to dedicated eyepieces once its aligned. I'll set the tripod up in less obstructed place and get some weight on it too - these things don't half wobble.

Here's hoping for clear skies next time I get a chance.

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If you're going to get all aligned and look at the Orion Nebula, I'd recommend a gander at Sigma Orionis - it's a lovely multiple star, showing 3 or 4 stars (depending on resolution - I get 4 in my 10"), and there's a nearby triple too, Struve 761

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Sky will always be there.

M42 is a great DSO

The sky will always be there, but will the cat ? :smiley: Sounds like you have the sort of location many of us can only dream about, so I don't think you will struggle to find good targets other than planets, even with the Mak. Good luck and remember to keep the cat indoors!

Phil

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Now I feel real mug. I've come up to South West Scotland (New Galloway area) working till Friday - It is absolutely pitch black up here. Why didn't I put the mak in the boot?!?!?

I'm giving "amateur" astronomy a whole new meaning.

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Now I feel real mug. I've come up to South West Scotland (New Galloway area) working till Friday - It is absolutely pitch black up here. Why didn't I put the mak in the boot?!?!?

I'm giving "amateur" astronomy a whole new meaning.

I did that last week, near Loch Lomond. Superb dark site and I only took 10x50 binos. Did manage to get some good views with those though.

Phil

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  • 3 weeks later...

I always carry my 90mm Mak with me (plus a light weight photographic tripod) in the boot if I am driving anywhere out of town. You never know when there might be a break in the clouds or that you might be far enough away from light pollution. I've had cause to drive to Isle of Skye, east coast and south east coasts of England and to mid Wales. I have then sneaked the scope out whenever conditions allow. Once you are familiar with a few DSOs (I've had the luxury of seeing them through my 8" Meade at various dark sky locations) so I know what to expect when seen through the smaller 90mm Mak.  Small,  faint and fuzzy of course! 

None the less I get enormous satisfaction of viewing them. Once you know where to look and what to expect then it doesn't really matter that it is small and fuzzy. Some of the best views I've had have been from the south coast of England near to Hastings and also between Swindon & Oxford. Everywhere else, especially Isle of Sky was too wet or low cloud. Jupiter is always good to look at though. Make sure there is no moon, otherwise it's a complete waste of time to search for DSOs!!!

Happy stargazing. 

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