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With the SQM-L cracking 21.6 and the dob cooled and collimated it was time to try a few objects. Pointing the scope at the guide stars M81 popped into view- and so did a couple of faint thin spiral arms! So much different than M33's heavy arms or the compact arms of M51, this view surprised me to say the least. The 21E did a great job on this target, as did the 15".

Another great view was seeing more detail in the core of M42, not just a marbled green this time but a spiderweb looking structure coming in and out of view. It gave the illusion of 3D at times as the marbled texture mixed with the intertwined wisps. Some very faint color was seen along with and under the green wings, again a really strange reddish pink, this color is hard to describe.

Before packing up due to the -23c frost a few galaxies were cherry picked out the Big Dipper, which I believe to be NGC 3990,3998,3972,3977 and 3982- a 5 banger in the narrow .5 deg TFOV of the 10E and they barely squeezed in there... I'm glad they did :grin:

All in all a great session.

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Gerry you must try NGC 4449 :) one of my faves. id like to hear from you when you see it. 

with regards to M42 steves blind as a bat but through his scope ive seen the colour your describing. :)


@swamp thing remember at brecon :D

Edited by Daniel-K
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Wonderful stuff Gerry. -23c, you are crazy ???

I've never seen M81 as anything other than an oval with a bright core, so seeing the spiral arms sounds fabulous. You are certainly getting some great observing in this season.

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The sky was exceptional last night, with the stars, MW lighting up the snow- it was actually easy to see out there. In these conditions, once the snow is gone, the sky will get about .2 magnitudes darker. The advantage to living out here is the ability to pick the best times to observe- what a difference from the driving to dark site days!

I wheel the scope out and then wheel 'er back into the garage, another huge asset, resulting in very few missed opportunities. This 15" is working beyond my expectations, I can only imagine another 9" of aperture :icon_biggrin: I just can't wait for M51 to get high up under conditions such as these, even when low last night the 2 galaxies showed a faint "connection" in averted vision.

Try as I might I don't see M81,M82 naked eye- this one will be beyond me I think, but I must keep working on true dark adaptation- it is coming along however.

Thanks for the replies and clear skies to everyone!

PS - Dan, I just marked that NGC 4449 down for next time, thanks for the heads up on it.

Edited by jetstream
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