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First Light Explore Scientific 305mm (12") Ultra Light Dobsonian

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Well the seeing was pretty good for me in my light polluted part of the world a few days back, so it was time to take out my brand new Explore Scientific 305mm (12") Ultra Light Dobsonian and give it a whirl. 

I started near the zenith with the ring nebula M57, then worked my way semi-randomly around the sky.  I am still ticking off my messier list and managed to get a few new ones (for me) off the list. 

No planets tonight, Saturn is behind the treeline for me now :sad: 

The ES 82° 24mm I bought alongside the scope makes it much easier to get on target first time from the Telrad.  I'm really pleased with it -  but am already wondering what a 100° might be like!

M57 - Excellent view almost directly overhead.  Clearly defined smoke ring complete with 'hole' in the middle.  Good start.

M56 - Tried to find this and missed.  Carried on to Albireo,  nice split and colours, looking pretty.

M13 - Great Cluster.  Whizzed off on a tangent to see what this was like in a 12".  Beautiful.  Popped the 8mm BST in, wow.  Lovely to make out individual stars near the edge before they all disappear into each other in this Glob.

M92 - Back to the 24mm, then up a bit to find this cluster,  tried it before in the old scope - no luck.  After a few mins though, bingo.  Smaller and less impressive, but nice none the less and crucially, another one ticked off!

M27 - This thing has evaded me for ages!  Tried hopping up from Sagitta loads of times, but even that is pretty faint due to the LP where I am.  Still struggling, I finally realised I was going up from gamma instead of eta - that'll be why I couldn't find it.  Yay! Ticked.  Not as impressive as I was hoping if I'm honest, I prefer the ring.  Maybe some filtration would be good for me...

Back up to Vega (I did say it was random!) I saw my first diffraction spikes, interesting.  Then off to the double-double.  Yep, they are all there.  Time for something new.  I moved around to Ursa Major in search of a classic.

M51 - Whirlpool galaxy.  It took a few minutes, particularly as it was in the lighter part of the sky, but I could just make it out with some averted vision.  Another one off the list.

M101 Pinwheel - Tried my luck for while I was in the area, no chance.

Swung around for Andromeda M31, blimmin' trees.  Moved the scope back a bit.  Thar she blows.  Unexpected surprise of M32 while I was there too. (Ticked).  Looked for M110 but couldn't make it out.  The whole area is directly over London from where I view, so I will wait until its a little better positioned and try again later.

Moved up to the Garnet star, nice to see some more colour.

M39 - Across a bit to this open cluster.  Lovely jubbly, ticked.

M56 - Back to this - Now I am on a mission to find this thing.  It should be dead simple, just follow the line from the ring M57 to Albireo.  Took several attempts, but it finally came into view! (Ticked)!

All in all a very successful inauguration.  Not only is the aperture lovely, but having Alt-Az of the Dob feels much more natural and less restrictive for moving about the night sky than the Eq.  Its just so easy.

I'm off camping soon so looking forward to some darker skies.  Also have some time in Snowdonia booked so really hoping for a rain-free time there too!

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Excellent first light report George. Lots of great objects viewed there. If you can get hold of an O-III filter the Veil Nebula in Cygnus looks really splendid with 12" of aperture. You will need your lowest power eyepiece to fit just parts of this marvellous object in though.

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Nice report of a very fruitful session. Just wait until you see the veil with the OIII filter. You will be amazed at the difference. Thanks for posting.

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