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Sky was nice and transparent around 2am, so it would have been rude not to take the binoculars out. As it was going to be a short session, I used the Lunt 16x70 on the monopd and #222 joystick (trigger-grip) head.

First stop Jupiter; only two moons. Up to see how easy M65 & 66 were - answer: very and, while I was looking at them, NGC 3628 was also obvious with averted vision. Suitably emboldened I headed over to Melotte 111 (far too big for this binocular's field, but vibrant) to see what I could make of one of my favourite telescopic galaxies, NGC 4565. Put gamma Com at 3 o'clock and, sure enough NGC 4559 was in the middle, obvious with AV and possible with DV. Put 4559 at the top and bingo! Berenice's Hairclip was slap bang in the middle - nice not-so-little streak of light. Spent a long time just enjoying it, then the idea struck me: how many galaxies in the Coma-Virgo cluster could I see and identify?

That cued what was both a highly enjoyable and highly frustrating 20 minutes. Starting at Vindemiatrix (boy, I love the colour rendition in the Lunt!) and headed over to M60 just over a field away. Nice and obvious. Then I went over to M87 and the shenanigans began! I reckoned that, with M87 just below centre, I should be able to see 7 or 8 galaxies in the same field. I could see at least a dozen, most of which were in Markarian's Chain but, before going there, I thought I'd have a shufti at M58, which can be an elusive target in 70mm binos from my suburban back garden, "enhanced" as it is by the ghastly "improved" streetlights that Hampshire County Council has, in what it tries to pass off as its wisdom, decreed that I must endure. Popped 58 in the middle, and it disappeared. Used AV on it and there it was again. OK, fine, to be expected, so how many could I see in Markarian's Chain? Again, lots, until I tried to count them, when half of them disappeared. Concentrate on M86 or M84, the others come back again. Look at them, and most of them disappear. Frustrating when trying to count them, but fun just making them come and go at will.

So, how many galaxies did I see? I haven't a clue; I gave up trying to count them, but before chilly fingers and common sense sent me crawling back into my pit, I had a thoroughly enjoyable time.

Edited by BinocularSky
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Sounds like a brilliant session, even with the street lights. I was tempted to go out last night, but tiredness, laziness and a 6 o'clock start this morning put pay to that! :)

Edited by kev100
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There are a few spots in the garden where sheds (mine & neighbours') amd my fence shield me if I'm seated. They do nothing for sky darkness, though! I'd have thought they'd be better off spending the money on essential services like social care for the ailing elderly or something...

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2 hours ago, BinocularSky said:

There are a few spots in the garden where sheds (mine & neighbours') amd my fence shield me if I'm seated. They do nothing for sky darkness, though! I'd have thought they'd be better off spending the money on essential services like social care for the ailing elderly or something...

How about them spending some money on ailing amateur Astronomers?

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