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Patbloke

A Gap in the Clouds

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Noticing a break in the cloud late evening on my 'Weather Channel' app; I decided to practice my new polar alignment skills on my wonderful sturdy AVX mount. Armed with my weapon of choice - the sensational Altair Starwave 102 F/11 Achro Frac which never fails to give me crystal clear and colourful views, I made my way onto the lush green grass of my girlfriends reasonable dark, edge of town garden lawn.

It's fair to say that when I started it was very cloudy and it proved quite entertaining trying to catch alignment stars teasing me by peeping out between the white stuff.

Last week I treated myself to an illuminated reticule which has turned out to be a fantastic addition to my armoury. Talk about centering stars in the field of view (perfect). Also following a suggestion from a practical friend I utilised my zoom EP for the first time when honing in on centering stars. Chuffed to bits with my new found polar alignment skills and equipment I proceeded to observe.

I confirmed alignment by pin point precision by capturing some obvious targets. I then selected my 12mm Meade HD-60 and decided to whizz through some doubles and trust the handset tour to provide some interesting objects, using that EP gave me 100 x magnification. I actually think it was a great tactic as I didn't have to change my EP once (unit the end) 

So at 100x on everything. M11 the Wild Duck Cluster literally blew my pants off...! 
I acknowledged a smile when seeing 95 Her and 61 Cyg I noted as kind of yellow orange… Sissy Haas marks those as Amber Yellow so I was bang on :-) lovely!

M57 The ring nebula was a Wow moment... Probably my imagination and my brain filling in what I knew was there but it looked in colour and so ‘ring like’ it was brilliant... M76 little dumbbell wasn't so clear but at least I could make it out ok.

Delta Cep and Alberio were lovely and got me all double excited.

17 Cyg - Great and of course Zeta Lyra - lovely

NGC 869 & ngc 844 The Double Cluster was sweet! I mean - really sweet and filled my field of view.

Andromeda (was there) it's more what it is, that excites me more than what it looks like when you’ve seen it a few times (don't get me wrong I'm not under selling this great target).

 

‘Just to see Gamma Delphini is worth the price of a telescope’  So says Sissy Haas in the rather nice book 'Double Stars for small telescopes'. 

So I checked it out and can confirm that; Gamma Delphinium was amazing! like two tiny gold circles in the 102 so for this I decided to select my 6.5mm Meade for a closer look - and at 184x  Gamma Delphini was stunning...

I then did a few single stars which is good fun in that 102.. I love the sharpness of that frac.

The AVX is such a solid mount and was really nice to set up. The 2" tripod is although heavy, very solid!
Aligning with that illuminated reticle is brilliant and fair play to the sec suggesting the zoom EP for hunting initially.

Last night felt like the damp is on it's way, although the kit stayed nice and dew free... I packed in not long after 11 as I had achieved my objective of super successful polar alignment and got to see some wonderful objects… As I cleared away the milky way gave me a farewell wave before being engulfed in the white stuff again.

Great night, great timing and worth noting it would have been easy for me to pack up as I was starting due to the cloud but I hung in there waiting for that clear session...

I’m back in love with this great but sometimes frustrating hobby :-) Bring on the long nights of winter!
 

 

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Fab report Pat. Now you've got your alignment sussed you will be cracking through all these lovely targets this season. Enjoy!

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Superb , an exciting read. Feel I was almost there beside you !

 Rotanev is a great find and everyone should have an f11 four inch achro, what a lovely bit of kit. 

Just the right time to get back into the groove, waiting for this sparkling long dark nights,

old Nick.

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Lovely report and the wait paid off. I watched the match between Hull and Man Utd and it never stopped raining from what I saw but that was early evening for you. Must make more effort to get out into what is my normal clear sky at this time oif year, could use some of the rain if truth be told.

Alan

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