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Four new Messiers in the moonlight


rockystar

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I had a good night in the garden on Monday night. Started with Mars before it dropped behind the houses - still mushy and not much detail, a bit of white on the north pole. Then I had some really good moments with Saturn, still in the twilight, Cassini division really clear, 3-4 moons (one was really on the edge of visibility and only occasionally visible with AV and there was another which turned out to be a star), and a weather band, so happy with that. Then had a moment with the moon, some lovely craters on the southern tip by the terminator, really well defined shadows casting into the crater with some central tips just catching the sunlight, I think it was Crater Moretus that I was concentrating around.

A break when the wife came home, and then I moved to the bottom of the garden so the moon was hidden behind the houses, darkness (as much as it can be from my location and with the bright moon) started to set in I tracked down:

  • M29 & M39, a couple of nice open clusters with some bright stars.
  • the obligatory view of M31 - just the core and no sign of m32 or m110, I probably moved away from this too soon, like I normally do, waiting for a dark sit view of this. 
  • M56 - a tiny Globular Cluster which took a bit of finding, not much detail but nice to see this in a rich star field.
  • M11 - the wild duck cluster, it was a bit washed out - especially I thought a neighbour's security light had turned on in that direction, only to look up and see that it was the moon appearing from behind a house - but with a bit of patience I could start to make out a few stars and possibly identify the shape. Lovely cluster and something to come back to.

It was gone midnight by now and I had work the following day and it was getting cold - being that I only had a t-shirt on.

I was happy with 4 new Messiers and some clear skies :)

 

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Nice report there, good to get some reasonable skies. I didn't get anything decent out of Mars either, unlike previous attempts but it's getting low now.

Good to grab some new objects. M11 under a dark sky is lovely.

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Nice report!

Well done in observing 4 new Messiers.. Definitely go back to M11 when the Moon is sufficiently out of the way again.  8" really shows this cluster extremely well.

I am surprised you can't see M32.  It is as bright as the core of M31 really just a lot smaller and can appear quite stellar like at low magnification.  M110 can be quite difficult depending in the transparency and for me needs closer to mag 5  NELM which is generally easy to see than 4.5 (from my apartment) which I've never managed to spot it.  Definitely one for a moonless night though...

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34 minutes ago, Davesellars said:

Nice report!

Well done in observing 4 new Messiers.. Definitely go back to M11 when the Moon is sufficiently out of the way again.  8" really shows this cluster extremely well.

I am surprised you can't see M32.  It is as bright as the core of M31 really just a lot smaller and can appear quite stellar like at low magnification.  M110 can be quite difficult depending in the transparency and for me needs closer to mag 5  NELM which is generally easy to see than 4.5 (from my apartment) which I've never managed to spot it.  Definitely one for a moonless night though...

I think M32 is going to turn out to be one of those that, once I've seen and identified it, i'll spot it every time even under less than ideal conditions; I think I just don't know what to expect of it from my scope.

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Just now, rockystar said:

I think M32 is going to turn out to be one of those that, once I've seen and identified it, i'll spot it every time even under less than ideal conditions; I think I just don't know what to expect of it from my scope.

Pretty sure that will turn out to be correct. As Dave says, it's almost stellar, looks like a slightly fuzzy star at low mag, but it has much higher surface brightness than 110 which is tricky unless your skies are good. Great when you see and identity ft all three though.

Make sure you have a good picture of scale vs fov too, it's quite easy just to be looking at the core of M31 with the others out of the view if using too high mag.

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Plus you'll be surprised how far M32 is from the visible core of M31.  The 24mm would be good to get its position but don't expect anything appearing like a galaxy at such low power.

Check the star chart against what you are seeing but there is a mag 7 star with two mag 9(ish) stars making up a triangle with M32 kind of in the centre of these.  The mag 7 star sticks out like a sore thumb as the brightest star in that field.  Get that and you'll have the approx position of M32.   For sure you have been looking too close in to the core of M31 for the position of M32.

Once you've got the position of M32 use your 14mm which will make it look a bit softer but it should take easily your 6.5mm eyepiece to see more than just the core.

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cheers guys, I'll have another look next time I'm out, and try and spend a bit of time identifying it.

The yellow oval is about what I can see of M31 from my garden - @Stu i presume your picture is right-way-up, so I've flipped it on both axis to give me the newt verison, so I'm basically looking for a biggish star blow and to the left of the main galaxy?

image.thumb.png.fef310c4b9938f6fb2668a678661e9a6.png

 

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Nice report and good that moon hasn't got in the way too much!!!  I was observing the Wild Duck in a 6" last night and though the lunar glare was about 90% I could make out the brighter half dozen stars with at least another 20 to 30 dim ones in a type of triangle.  A quacking view :):)  I'm going after this for sure next chance I'm under dark skies. 

I like the oval you have superimposed over Stu's snapshot because this is very near what I see too from the back yard here.  I've not made the effort to pin down M110 yet, but lately have been noticing M32 at lower powers.  

What a great hobby!!!

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2 hours ago, alan potts said:

Nice report! I do like M11 it is fabulous from here but comes into it's own when the Moon goes away. Try to get down to M22 that is a real stunner.

Alan

Next time i'm out, if it's still around, I'll try and check it out - way too low from my garden location though.

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On 16 August 2016 at 16:19, rockystar said:

cheers guys, I'll have another look next time I'm out, and try and spend a bit of time identifying it.

The yellow oval is about what I can see of M31 from my garden - @Stu i presume your picture is right-way-up, so I've flipped it on both axis to give me the newt verison, so I'm basically looking for a biggish star blow and to the left of the main galaxy?

image.thumb.png.fef310c4b9938f6fb2668a678661e9a6.png

 

Actually the one I posted was inverted, which, thinking about it is not the same as upside down, is it? Doh! Please forgive me, I'm basically a refractor man :)

This one is upside down (flipped vertically and side to side), hopefully that's right!?

image.png

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Thought I'd give anyone that is interested and update:

I spent about 20 minutes on Andromeda last night, just from my garden again, and it did seem a bit light, but I got all 3!

I had it in my 14mm Morpheus (x86 Mag, 0.88º FOV),  M31 was still a big bright core, but a bit of persistence and Averted Imagination started to suggest some of the elongated arms out to the edge of the FOV, still couldn't make out any dust lanes.

M32 - I'm now of the contradictory view of, "How could I miss that, it is so bright" and "I'm not surprised I missed it, it's like a fuzzy star". I think the thing that has thrown me in the past is how far away it was; all of the pictures (like the one above) show it as appearing to be inside the galaxy, but as I can't see all if from my garden, it appeared to the top left (through the EP) while M31 was in the centre.

M110 - this was found bottom centre of the EP while M31 was top centre. I only found it while moving the scope, it was a very faint smudge which movement and AV helped me to see.

I am now going to offically tick 32 and 110 off the list :D

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 08/24/2016 at 14:37, rockystar said:

M32 - I'm now of the contradictory view of, "How could I miss that, it is so bright" and "I'm not surprised I missed it, it's like a fuzzy star". I think the thing that has thrown me in the past is how far away it was; all of the pictures (like the one above) show it as appearing to be inside the galaxy, but as I can't see all if from my garden, it appeared to the top left (through the EP) while M31 was in the centre.

M110 - this was found bottom centre of the EP while M31 was top centre. I only found it while moving the scope, it was a very faint smudge which movement and AV helped me to see.

I am now going to offically tick 32 and 110 off the list :D

 

Thanks for this observation, I realized not long ago that I also had mistaken M32 for M110, and had to switch ticks!

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