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A Wealth of Light and Time


Special K

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An excellent session was had over a 3 hour period last night kicking off about 11:30 in earnest.  Having been starved of photons for much too long, I kept going until the brain wouldn't function any longer!  :o  A second good night in a row just couldn't be wasted.   Building upon a quick bino-session near the Bubble Nebula, I returned with all the equipment I could muster:  the 6", the ED80, Nag31mm, Nag7mm plus a little newcomer, an 8.8mm Explore Scientific 82.  It was breezy up there so seeing was a little suspect but the transparency was great despite a summer glow in the sky.  Milky Way once again quite prominent from Cygnus to Cass.  Towards Aquila is South, and for me the light of London's environs washes out that aspect.

Caroline's Cluster NGC7789:  I can now finally say I've appreciated this and the 6" with 8.8mm combo was a nice introduction for this eyepiece.  This is a delicate little number and in the bins the night before, a little halo is apparent.  Up close, it's a complex of dim stars with an endless pattern of chains.

Star hopping up to M52, and taking my time, it was nice to not be in a rush.  M52 has one brighter star and the rest of really quite dim on the eye.  This sometimes looked better with averted vision.  Nearby is the very faint, very sparse Czernik 43, but a joy to pick this out with the big frac.

Half a degree east is where the Bubble Nebula NGC7635 resides in amongst a triangle of stars.  With O-III and UHC I really struggled with the Bubble.  However, nearby NGC7538 was a clear winner with any filter and is a bright knot of nebulosity.  Looking at photos later of this region, there is a distinctive redness similar to other Nebulae which perform well with a Hb filter.  I wonder whether this is the case with the Lobsters Claw Sh2-157 or Californietto Nebula.  I struggled with this too, though I could just make out some extra light in the central finger surrounding the tiny cluster Markarian 50.  Just beyond Mrk50 is a very crisp, compact cluster NGC7510 which is a joy to find.  Like a small shoal of silver swimmers, this is worth hunting down.  Just east again, is the K19 open cluster but this must be so faint and indistinct that if it is where I thought it was, there are only a handful of little stars there.

I spent ages trawling back and forth, scanning with different filters and so on, and thoroughly enjoyed the finer details.    I backed off from time to time to survey the area with Nag31mm which is just about as crisp a view as I can get.  Such an absolute dream to view with that eyepiece!  Everything comes into focus at the same point, whereas I will struggle with the 7mm and 8.8mm on the really dim stuff.  Good news about the 8.8 was it was a right little performer up to the edge of the FOV!  Nearly as free of astigmatism as the Nag7mm and seems to give a view just a little less magnified.  A quick view of M13 in Hercules was quite nice!  With the 6" this EP gives 102x, which I found was just enough to confidently split the double-double in Lyra.  Similarly, the Double Cluster looked lovely, though I cannot frame both in the same FOV.  The Hyperion 17mm was very impressive on this, but once again the Nag31mm just smashes it by bringing out some of the background activity.  It's a magic carpet of gems!!!

Switching gears entirely, the ED80/Nag31/O-III combo came into play for the finale, with a bang on target viewing of the North American Nebula.  I've seen more contrast in the coastal regions but last night seemed to highlight the huge continental mass of this gigantic nebula.

However, an enduring memory was finishing off with the Veil Nebula, and that was a wow factor moment for sure.  The Eastern Veil was a massive arcing Crescent, which with the Western Veil in the FOV reinforces the impression that this is a massive bubble of gas and not a flat object.  A delight to survey this all in one shot.  It was a night of pleasant discoveries mixed with true Showstoppers!

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Some great observations of those nebulae. I must have a shot at the Californietto Nebula next time...    Last night (eventually) was wondrously transparent but agree about the lightness of the sky - it was a bit strange but did not interfere much with some really faint objects particularly to the West and North.

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That's a smashing report. Nice to hear of some targets off the beaten track. I think I'll have to come back to these! Love your description of the Veil too. I've only recently had a chance to start viewing it, but I know I'll now view it in a new light as a bubble rather than a few (admittedly lovely) wispy strands.

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