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clarkpm4242

Sumerian 16 1st Light

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A selfish report, written to help remind me of an excellent observing session during the last dark moon.

Date:     Sunday 23rd Nov.

Locn:     Elan Valley

Vis:         NELM ~6.5  Gegenschein visible

Kit:         Sumerian Optics 16” f4.5 Alkaid and Astro-Physics 130mm f6.3 ‘Gran Turismo’

EPs:        Televue Nagler 31mm, Ethos 13mm, Paracorr Type II, Astronomik OIII & UHC 2” filters

In summary, a very rewarding first light, the ‘scope performed as well as any 16” that I’ve looked through.  The conditions were excellent!!

Scope set up and initial collimation as the skies cleared around midday.  The mirrors were well cooled by the time observing started at 18:30.  Nascent dew on the secondary and a fogging 31 Nag that some idiot had left in the focuser ;)  Put secondary heater on and the EP indoors for warming.

Seeing was a bit soft over the nearby building where M13 lurked so kept the power off and admired an excellent view.  M92, slightly higher sparkled with pinpoints into its relatively tight core.

A try with the 2” UHC filter gave one of the best views of the Crescent Nebula.  Fully formed with tendrils and detail clearly visible all the way round and ‘inside’.  Easily found with a rough pointing with the RDF and sweep.

The OIII was the filter of choice for the Veil.  Excellent detail was visible along the brighter eastern arc.  Pickering’s Triangle stood out as a major element of the SNR with the Witch’s Broom (western arc) overpowered 52 Cygni.

Centre star visible in the Ring Nebula.

Dropping right down to Aquarius and a sweep from M30 brought the Helix Nebula into view.  An overlapping incomplete double ring structure was seen with the 31 Nag and UHC filter.  Not seen this one better from the UK.

Well resolved M2 and M15 were followed by a detailed look at NGC7331 and half a dozen ‘Fleas’ along with Stephan’s Quintet.  Using the 13mm Ethos it darkened the background nicely and seemed to be the sweet spot for the fainter galaxies under the sky conditions.  Nice mottled oblique spiral detail (helps when you’ve seen images…) in 7331.  Stephan’s was as good a view I’ve had except for the sight through a 25” Obsession.  The tight central pair easily separated and hinted spiral structure.

A quick brew and warm up was in order whilst the ice started to form on the scopes.

I then used my new TeleVue Type II Paracorr for the first time.  I don’t think I’ll be using any reflector faster than f5 without one of these in the future!!!  Stars were tighter and brighter, contrast improved and the pin cushioning that you can get, (it really bothers me as I get tired) disappeared.  Wonderful J

OC, NGC 7789 (Caroline’s) was stunning.  Huge, pinpoint stars that you could fall into forever…

…NGC 6946 (Firework Gx) and NGC 6939 OC in Cepheus provided contrasting views in a great star field, faintly swirling face-on galaxy and a finely grained cluster.

A dig down into Cetus and a bit of perseverance found NGC 246 PN (Skull) with some great detail using an OIII filter.

There was extensive gawping at the detail in M31, dust lanes and star associations.  M33 (nice to see naked eye) was lovely.  The great swirl of arms with lots of brighter knots visible.  M74 Gx, gave up some delicate face-on spiral detail.

Now, NGC 891, a quick look at the position on a mates darkened tablet, point and view.  The assembled were astounded at the detail visible.  The knotted central dust lane was so obvious.  Sky transparency and darkness were excellent.

It was about this time I noticed the gegenchein, an oval glow south and west of M45.

The Astro-physics refractor had a stunning view of the ‘Subaru’ stars embedded in a fine cotton wool.  The Merope (Thumbprint) nebula stood out in the 16”.

Damn, forgot to look at the Perseus A cluster…

Orion became high enough for a good browsing.  The first view of this season and the usual superlatives were uttered.  The Running Man was nice J

B33, The Horsehead was not difficult using the UHC filter and was visible without.  The Rosette blossomed with the UHC and was also visible ‘naked-eye’ when blinked with the handheld filter.

Numerous other Messiers and brighter galaxies were viewed before the eyes and brain hazed over after an 8 hour session.  Just like now…

…if you've read this far, thank you, cheers, Paul.

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Nice report made doubly so by your report of the Gegenschein. What a wonderful word! :)

I've never seen it (ditto zodiacal light) and it's a very long time since I saw it mentioned.

Maybe it's been lost in L.P. for so long now most people have forgotten about it!

I know it's supposed to be a telescope report but you do great justice to the pleasure of just being under a spectacular sky.

I was at my own dark sky site over the weekend and had a great sky on Friday night. I did look for M33 naked eye but no luck. My eyes aren't what they used to be and I'm not sure they ever were ! :D 

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Hi Paul M

I first saw the Gegenschein from the Canaries.  Makes seeing it from the UK 'easier'.

Have seen it from mid Wales, Northumberland and Dumfries & Galloway.  All within the last 4 years, we may yet survive light pollution!  :)

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Hi Paul M

I first saw the Gegenschein from the Canaries.  Makes seeing it from the UK 'easier'.

Have seen it from mid Wales, Northumberland and Dumfries & Galloway.  All within the last 4 years, we may yet survive light pollution!   :)

Maybe you have big Owl eyes ? :)

I'm a regular visitor the Tenerife but rarely (read "never") get out of town after dark.

Next there in April so really should make the effort this time!

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Superb report , some favourite targets there. NGC 891 and NGC 7789 just look so much better with dark skies, hurrah !

Nick.

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Great report and some great finds. We love elan valley. Were abouts did you go if you don't mind me asking. You can pm me the location. Thank you

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What a great read! Congrats on a fabulous scope - glad to hear such a positive review.

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