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Making the most of it


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With the weather not being that good recently I’d finally given the 8inch mirror of my Newtonian a clean. After 20 odd years of service it looked due! Since the weather outlook is pretty poor here for the rest of the week I had decided to make the most of last night and see if the scope was improved, or at least check it wasn’t worse for my efforts. My plan, if all was well, was to have a quick session on Jupiter and then to probably head in and catch some sleep with the intention of getting up early to get a glimpse of Mars and Saturn which I’ve not viewed this year.

The cloud finally started to shift by about 10.30pm so I got the scope set up to cool down and whilst it did I spotted my first meteor of the evening; fairly bright (mag 1 perhaps) with quite a long trail, heading east/north eastward and appearing to radiate from Leo.

Thankfully, Jupiter looked great, with the equatorial belts strongly coloured and some detail in the temperate regions showing when the conditions allowed at around 200x.

Given the conditions seemed to be improving I thought I’d try a few other objects whilst I was out. Moving up from Jupiter I thought I’d try the three galaxies of M65, M66 and NGC3628 which should be there. I’ve never really tried these but sure enough 65 and 66 appear in the same field of view with a 32mm eyepiece along with a few stars down to mag 11 and a little further off the third fuzzy. Another meteor from Leo, this time heading west is also spotted.

By this point Arcturus was gaining height in the sky which made me think, M13 won’t be too far away, and another good test for the mirror. It’s been a long while since I’ve viewed M13, which is a pity as I can remember being impressed when I was a kid, even with a smaller scope. I found it easily enough with the 32mm and as I moved through a few more eyepieces it’s even more beautiful than I remember; so many stars!

It’s now about 2ish and Mars is rising so there’s clearly no point stopping now! It’s pretty low and the atmosphere is very unsteady but I can make out a disc, very distinctly white at one end, but little else to see. By half three I’ve bagged another meteor, this time heading south and originating in Bootes and finally, Saturn as well, although again too unsteady to see anything but a shimmering disc and rings. At this point the clouds roll up and it’s time to pack up.

All in all, a really good five or so hours, and given that as I write this the sun is now up I’m off for a few hours sleep!

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A very nice report and maybe the first of many, well done. You are a man after my own heart, never clean anything unless it needs it, I guess after 20 years it needed it. I love M13 with my 18 inch I have stood and looked at it for what seemed like ages, with a bit of power on it really is jaw dropping. 

I am having my first clear sky for a few weeks but I have a very strong wind, which for here is very strange.


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Nice report ShrewView. Its such a relief to actually have some decent conditions at last, after the long run of awful weather. Glad your mirror cleaning efforts paid off, or at least did no harm!

I managed somewhere around 4 hours or so last night, pretty much exclusively on Jupiter, just playing around with different kit; great to be out there again.

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On ‎08‎/‎03‎/‎2016 at 06:30, alan potts said:

Just a little bit of an after thought, low down from the UK but M22 is another to try for come summer.


Yes I'll definitely give that one a go first chance I get. My horizons aren't too cluttered so fingers crossed.

I bet they all look pretty good through an 18":icon_biggrin:

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