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New Scope, New Eyepeices, New Messiers and an Eager Neighbour


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Over the past four sessions (in the last two weeks), I've had some new toys to play with.

First up is the ExSci 82° 24mm:  first job for this, can I fit the whole of the pleiades in the eyepiece? Nearly; it was showing a little bit of CA towards the edge, and it didn't quite give me the WOW I was anticipating, but this was a pretty impressive view and I am really enjoying hopping around the sky with this eyepiece.

Next up the Morpheus 14mm: I borrowed one of these a few weeks and decided then that I had to have one. It seems to give a nice blackness to the sky (even in my light polluted back garden) and a lovely sharpness to the stars (once I'd collimated the scope and got rid of the comets that I could see). I decided to hunt down Hind's crimson star, as I'd read a few reports recently with this one (and as the moon was pretty full 2 weeks ago, stars, doubles and clusters seemed the order of the session) and had never seen it. After a bit of searching and a couple of restarts from Sirius, I found it, and unmistakable it was with it's deep red colour, I'd never seen anything like, what a gorgeous star - I'm now on the hunt for more carbon stars.

Iota Orionis was next (another new one for me), this is now my favourite multiple star system, especially as it is really easy to find, has another nice double in the same field of view and showing 3 of its stars very clearly split - Nebula and Galaxies are great (at a dark site), but in light polluted skies (by local towns and that damn moon - sorry luna aficionados) I find them just a bit faint and featureless.

M3 was the next target, try as I might for a star hop for this I couldn't find it, but after a bit of a break I tried the most unlikely star hop, just on the off chance that it would work: Start at Cor Caroli, lock on the RA clutch and tilt the declination until about half way to Arcturus; would you believe it, there it was - first globular cluster of the year, no individual stars jumping out, but it was a nice view and can't wait for the return of M13.

Despite my previous angst at the moon, I did have a look around it (it would be rude not too) and I always find it fascinating, but haven't really got into any serious luna viewing. This fit really nicely into the Morpheus, but being my current most powerful eyepiece (x86, I think) couldn't get too deep into any craters

Then the Dob arrived (I'd previously been using an EQ mount), so best give this a run out, fortunately it only took a day before the skies showed a few stars. First thing to say is if I'd still been using the EQ, I probably wouldn't have bothered with the numerous journeys to the garage for all the bits and the lengthy set up time, but plonk the base down, pop the scope on and away you go :-) The lower seating position also meant that the neighbours annoying security light was now below the fence. And now the moon was out of the way (still too much LP for town though)

I retried the M3 hop, but everything was a bit higher and twisted round, so the straight down hop was no longer nicely aligned, I did re-find it however and also M53, both looking a bit nicer without the moon, but still no stars (maybe a bit more magnification will help, when someone sticks a 6.5 Morpheus on the classifieds :-) )

The leo triplet was the next target, got a faint view of M65 & 66 but couldn't see the other one, no real detail but I still finding it amazing that I can see these distant galaxies from my back garden with a relatively inexpensive telescope that I own. Also tried for M105,95&96, think I spotted one of these (not sure which one), but can't really claim the other two.

Then came the eager neighbour, having had a session with me, he was keen to come out again. Sunday night (when he came round) turned out to be overcast, but Monday was a lovely evening, so around he came. First question: What's that really bright star there? I'll show you. Wow, why is it so big? Because it's a planet!

In all four sessions I've had some great views of Jupiter, I love noting where the moons are on each occasion and it really shows the dynamic system in action. Always get to see 2 weather bands and on one session, just for a moment, I could just make out 4 bands - still on got x86 as max power, but even at this magnification it is such a magnificent view.

Also found the beehive cluster (another new one for me) - I'm starting to see why people prefer open clusters in binoculars, as these look fab, and really show their shape in the finder scope, but I feel loose a bit of definition (in favour of more stars) when viewed through the eyepiece.

The obligatory Orion Nebula - though this is getting a bit low at 10:30 now (for me anyway, as I have houses in the way), and a quick search for M81/82. Had a look for the clusters in Auriga too, but I'm still getting to grips with the dobsonian and he got recalled by his wife to take care of a sick child.

All in all, four fab sessions, really happy with all my new purchases and a happy neighbour who I'm sure will be back again.

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Another way to get to M3, is to imagine an equilateral triangle, with its base on a line between Muphrid (little star near Arcturus) and Ro Bootis.

On the top of the triangle, there you will find the nice globular !


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Lovely post! Enjoy the new toys!

Dark skies were the key to the third in the Leo Triplet for me, while the other two were just bright enough to get from suburbia.

I saw Hind's for the first time last weekend too. Terrific star, as you say. There is a nice list of carbon stars on the Astro League site in case you've not seen it.

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Sounds like your switch to a dob has worked well !   Some great objects in your report -  the view will be much improved with darker skies.  Good to hear your neighbour enjoying the views.




Edited by andrew63
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cheers guys, had some good sessions, but the good weather always seems to be on a Sunday, when my wife is out and I need to stay home with the kids.

I think I've got the carbon list somewhere. And yes, I think I'm going to enjoy the change to dob.

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Lee, you will have to meet next time we go to trough of bowland, will take you about an hour but trust me its worth it

On 3/10/2016 at 18:23, rockystar said:

cheers guys, had some good sessions, but the good weather always seems to be on a Sunday, when my wife is out and I need to stay home with the kids.

I think I've got the carbon list somewhere. And yes, I think I'm going to enjoy the change to dob.


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Just now, rockystar said:

Defo Steve, give me a shout next time you head up. Had a good session a few weeks ago in the peak district with some of the guys from WADAS.

can't beat a good dark site night, no worries with the leo triplet for sure or a lot of markarians chain


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