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mapstar

The Lions share, a gathering of galaxies

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It was the last night of the Galloway spring gathering (Sunday 14th march) and after seeing everyone off myself and Mike (DemonBarber) were the only one's left at the campsite.

The skies were looking spectacular at 6pm and if the forecast was right a full night of observing was on the cards. I'd left on the Sunday the last time and regretted it so this time was in the right place at the right time.The moon was approaching first quarter and was really bright in such a dark site. The scope had been set up all week so a quick collimation check and all was good to go. Temperature hovered around 0°C.

M42 looked 3D and the colour in the nebulosity was a lovely purple, blue and a hint of green, I didn't use any filters. The trapezium E and F stars I could pull out and plenty more with the H star a surprise.I had looked at the Neb earlier in the week with others at the event so I didn't dwell too long as it had been so long since I'd done any proper star hopping, my thoughts were just about burying myself in the star chart and teasing out those fine galaxies.

Dropping down I took in Hind's star which in these skies was a lovely red gem in LEPUS

The Eskimo planetary nebula (NGC2392) up in Gemini was an easy find revealing blue colour and in the 13E (which I used the majority of the night) I could pick up the inner structure with the more delicate outer a stunning view against the Inky backdrop.

Swapping constellations and with my scope being sited behind a caravan facing south for shelter from the northerly wind I managed to catch M31 before it slid out of sight. It's companions  M32 and 110 were there but I was surprised at just how far I had to travel with the scope to find them. Disappointingly I'd missed my chance to hunt for G1 globular cluster as the caravan was obstructing my views towards the north west. Maybe next time.

Lining up on Mirach I found the ghost (NGC404) really easily but a lot larger than I'd ever seen it before with the new scope showing it's worth.  

A quick hop down and M33 was in view. This was one of only three time's I actually swapped the eyepiece with first the 21E slotting in and then Mike brought out his 31Nag for comparison. Both eyepieces were filled with galaxy and the outer NGC's (think 595 and 604) jumping out then with more concentration others which I just didn't note down as they aren't shown on my chart. Both myself and Mike had a good comparison test with the 31Nag just nudging it being the widest on field of view.

The temperature dropped away to -3 C during the night which eventually took my feet with it but there was plenty more viewing to be had. On night's like this you've just got to take advantage of for the memories.

 Carrying on in Canes Venatici with the silver needle NGC4244 being first on the hit list, Nice long and bright in such a black sky was thrilling to see. The Cocoon NGC4490 also had nice shape next to it with it's companion NGC 4485. Both a nice sight but I was nearing tiptoe status with the scope up that angle I checked out a few more NGC 4625, 4618, 4449.

To the main event and LEO was the target.

I started off around the neck of the lion between Algieba and Adhafera picking up the cluster of galaxies NGC3193, 3190, 3185, 3187 which looked great in just one field of view a short hop east and west provided views of NGC3177 and 3221.Working down to Algieba  NGC3226 and 3227 are a pair of closely interacting galaxies which I looked at for quite some time, NGC3222 in the same field.

Mike had been doing some wide field and headed for the sack about midnight as the week had taken in toll on him. I continued on with the skies just getting better.

So many more targets to go at during the night and the report would be a long one so I continued. I drifted right around the base of LEO hoovering up galaxies along the way.Here's my full list

 NGC 3248, 3270, 3287, 3301, 3370, 3230, 3299, 3279, 3300, 3338, 3357, 3367, 3377, 3384, 3389, M105, 3371, 3412, M96, M95, 3489, 3485, M65, M66, 3628 (brightest I've ever seen it), 3593, 3666, 3373, 3810, 3872, 3853, 3767, 3801, 3802, UGC6670.

 

I finished off just drifting about the sky looking at some old favourite's and bumping into a few new targets.

 Hercules was well up so a look at M13 was obligatory. Stars everywhere and just an eyepiece full. I swapped the 8mmE just for a better look marvelling at the core for quite some time. It seemed to revolve as I was looking at it.Another two galaxies close by NGC6207 and 6196 which was a little more difficult.M92 also stunning and well worth the little hop over.

Whilst in that part of the sky I found the Planetary NGC6210.Blue green and quite a fuzzy outer. A very pleasing view. I was going to star hop to the white eyed pea something else that's eluded me in the past and star hopped down fro Kornephorus (Beta Herc) and found NGC 6073 just drifting across it. Nice little find near the bright star Marfik (Kappa Herc)

I dropped down to just have a peek at M57 in LYRA. Easily found and just as good as always but much more contrast.

The Intergalactic tramp (NGC2419) I'd never seen so drifting up from Castor (lovely separation) I spotted another galaxy NGC2415 just inside the constellation LYNX.

Gradually I made my way up to what has proved elusive in the past and there it was clear as me bumping into the eyepiece several time's during the night. Lovely small glob I could resolve the stars from the Inky blackness.

Whilst there I bagged NGC 2424, 2444, 2445 galaxies quite easily.

 I closed the nights session with the Cats Eye PN in Draco. Lovely to look at and bright blue I could make out the petal like structure every now and again around it.

My feet by now didn't belong to me and I started to pack the scope away ready for my 4 hour trip home around lunch time. I'd put most of the scope bit's away but in the dark tripped over my eyepiece case (luckily closed!) and that brought Mike rushing out from his slumbers to help with the final bits.

It was by now 5am and Mike made me a cuppa and as always offer of some breakfast before I hit the pit with one of the best viewing night's still buzzing away in my head. Excellent and a shame everyone else missed out like I did the year before.

Looking forward to the Autumn/winter event and hope everyone else can join us.

Damian

Edited by mapstar
Mistake
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Ah i remember it well!

Well worth waiting for, your tales of heaven`s above,i remember it colder than the thermometer said, that cuppa was good and the bacon butties hit the spot,got to give it to you Damian your like a man possessed given dark skies of such quality ,i think i dreamed you looked at the moon,nah could`nt be------------

Looking forward to this years event.

Regards

Mike

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1 minute ago, Demon Barber said:

Ah i remember it well!

Well worth waiting for, your tales of heaven`s above,i remember it colder than the thermometer said, that cuppa was good and the bacon butties hit the spot,got to give it to you Damian your like a man possessed given dark skies of such quality ,i think i dreamed you looked at the moon,nah could`nt be------------

Looking forward to this years event.

Regards

Mike

I did just not directly through the scope. 

And as I remember I think I slept in the fridge to warm up :grin:

Took some writing up, but it was well worth the typing and I hope there's several of those to wade through this autumn/winter 

Edited by mapstar

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I knew i should've stayed Sunday night,you sure gave the new scope a run out that night pal gutted i missed it you sure deserved it considerdering the effort you put in to building that beast.

Excelllent write up under Galloway's fine skies.

Looks forward to this years gig.

 

Kenny

 

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What a super report! With a telescope like that, it must have been a dream-night! 

Thanks for posting mate!

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Yes...Mike's always good for a bacon butty and a brew at daft o' clock,he's a legend.

 

Kenny

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17 minutes ago, Piero said:

What a super report! With a telescope like that, it must have been a dream-night! 

Thanks for posting mate!

No worries was a pleasure and totally immersive with only frost bite putting an end to the ten hour session. It was the longest rum out the scopes had and brilliant 

8 minutes ago, kenny k said:

Yes...Mike's always good for a bacon butty and a brew at daft o' clock,he's a legend.

 

Kenny

Couldn't agree more 

Top guy :headbang:

Edited by mapstar

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Nice report Damian. I am not happy to have missed it all. Hope to see everyone in the Autumn and get a look see.

Derek

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6 minutes ago, Physopto said:

Nice report Damian. I am not happy to have missed it all. Hope to see everyone in the Autumn and get a look see.

Derek

Cheers Derek

I hope it gives us the same chance in Autumn. 

Been up your neck of the woods today visiting John and I'll be up at Sutton bank tomorrow or Monday night depending on which is best 

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Nice write up Damian sounds a bit too cold for me

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1 minute ago, gtis said:

Nice write up Damian sounds a bit too cold for me

Thanks Neil

Unfortunately the best nights are in the deep winter so it comes with the territory.

I am looking forward to the back end of August and the joys the sky brings at that warm time of year. 

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25 minutes ago, mapstar said:

Cheers Derek

I hope it gives us the same chance in Autumn. 

Been up your neck of the woods today visiting John and I'll be up at Sutton bank tomorrow or Monday night depending on which is best 

Regarding your report and cold tootsies. I bought a pair of Buggaboots  about 2 years ago. I wore them at Kielder and had nice warm feet. They were so comfortable but after I took them off I thought heck they are leaking, so looked for the leak. There wasn't a leak, well not from the boots, it was me. I was sweating so much my feet got wet inside the boots. Weird to say the least. It is the only time it has ever happened. Boy was I warm. Mike bought some as well, you can ask him for his thoughts. So if you want warm tootsies have a think about it. Not all important astro gear is made of glass and metal.

Derek

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Very nice report. Sounds like you had a wonderful night. I travel down to Galloway quite often and the skies can be quite spectacular. Never been to a star party, but perhaps it's time to change that.

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Just now, laudropb said:

Very nice report. Sounds like you had a wonderful night. I travel down to Galloway quite often and the skies can be quite spectacular. Never been to a star party, but perhaps it's time to change that.

Get yourself to the Galloway Autumn Party, you will enjoy the atmosphere and the skies. Just book early to ensure an electric hook up. 

Derek

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 I am seriously considering coming down to the party. Put some faces to the names seen on here.

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Cracking report from that meeting and a joy to read. So many targets there were on my to do list, the H star was one but due to being off colour for over two months and poor weather I never had enough time on it, now it's too late. I also had a similar time with M13 and a like eyepiece, I imagine the extra few inches on your mirror make it even better. I feel if I were still living in England I would try to get to some of these mets but from this far it is just not practicle. Well done!

Alan

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Fantastic report Damian ! A really thrilling read and many favourite targets there. Almost tempted to shift up in aperture, especially on Skye in October just tickled that you had such good skies,

Nick.

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Wonderful when it comes together isn't it?....a cracker of a night was had there mate. Stretching the scopes legs under ink black skies is so rewarding and addictive!...Me and Steve have spent a few hours hoovering around Leo there's just so many galaxies to tick and your list proves it...and seeing colour in targets a real treat!, excellent stuff Damian clear skies to you Sir....

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After the work that went into that splendid scope of yours: you are due a few cracking nights.

Note to self : Must get bigger scope ........ and dark sky.... 

I'll be visiting the nape of Leo's neck tonight.

Thanks for posting.

Paul

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Thanks for reading guys.

I'm not exactly up there with Nick with the detail but one hell of a night. 

As Calvin says wonderful when it all comes together. Those nights in Britain are few and far between though so I'm sure that your skies down there Alan provide more opportunities.  

Galloway has some great skies 

Out again tonight and hopefully the weather will be kind for another decent session. Not sure which spot but I'll try.

Edited by mapstar
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Big Dob under dark remote skies.........Observing doesn't get any better than this. 

Great report matey :) 

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I really am going to have to come and have a look through this scope of yours Damian, sounds amazing.

Monday night maybe, if you are out and forecast is as accurate as it always is - 60% of the time, it's right every time!

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9 minutes ago, swamp thing said:

Big Dob under dark remote skies.........Observing doesn't get any better than this. 

Great report matey :) 

Just sink yourself in the star chart and away you go.

Cheers Steve 

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3 minutes ago, rockystar said:

I really am going to have to come and have a look through this scope of yours Damian, sounds amazing.

Monday night maybe, if you are out and forecast is as accurate as it always is - 60% of the time, it's right every time!

No worries Lee I'm not sure if Monday is going to be much good but tonight is looking good.

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