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Best night so far!

Guest Tuomo

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I have been doing ama astronomy for roughly a year. First scope, 12" dobsonian have served me quite well. Last autumn, winter and spring have taught me LOTS of new things. New proper eyepieces, OTA mods and just getting myself familar with new hobby. Now it is the time for second year and boy last night was a success!

Usually I start observing at around 00:00 midnight. Streetlamps at my street goes off and theres no direct light pollution at my garden. Theres little light pollution in the sky, but I can see Milky Way from my backyard. Belt is faint, but it is there, right above my head. And for what I have learned, thats a good sign!

So, first I started to observe M31, M32 and M110. I was SO happy when I could spot those three galaxies. M32 and M110 were small faint smudges, but clearly visible. Nothing so special about those two. M31 was bigger smudge with bright dots around gray area. I could see larger gray haze around the main smudge and it filled nearly entire 31mm FOV. I have never ever seen this! I think flocking and well collimated scope is the main reason for this. Last year I used cheap lazor to collimate my scope and it was horrible....I might have observed with badly collimated scope for entire last year! 

Then there was M33. I had to use intelliscope system for this. It was there, but VERY faint. Without intelliscope I would have missed this one. Next I found The Blue snowball nebula. It was quite late and I was getting sleepy when I found it. AND it was right above my scope and we all know how hard it is to move dobsonian when observing targets at zenith. Bright fuzzy blue dot. I need to check that again when I have more time. I think I need to use my hyperion zoom for this one. 

Lastly, as skies moved on, Pleiades came behind treeline. As always, they never fail to amaze. I even could spot some blue nebulosity around the main stars! Is that possible or was it just those bright stars playing trick on my eyes?

What do you guys think of my list? Not so long I think. I try to observe DSOs for quite some time before moving to another target. I even return to last target and sometimes I do it many times. For example I observed M31, M32 and M110 many times last night. I try to spot easy targets for now and at the moment I dont have any filters to observe those elusive nebulas. 


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Wonderful and yes always good to return to targets through a session period, particularly as they progressively move higher or if sky transparency improves a little. Sounds as though your local light pollution is only moderate if you can make out aspects of the Milky Way. A darker site will reveal M33 as a more exciting object to explore. It can also respond well to binoculars. I was also out last night 'on tour' with both dob and bino's, becoming reacquainted with a dark sky and yes it was lovely in the early hours to see the return of the Pleiades. Globular's M15 and M2 are nicely positioned currently.

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Lovely stuff Tuomo. When it comes together on a clear night it's all worthwhile.

M33 is often a challenge and needs dark skies to get the best from, nice when you do though, there are some NGCs within it which are nice to identify.

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