Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

sgl_imaging_challenge_banner_christmas_presents_winners.thumb.jpg.0650e36a94861077374d1ab41812d185.jpg

Size9Hex

Fast achro under dark dark skies

Recommended Posts

I'm genuinely amazed at what the Startravel 102 served up on some familiar targets last night at a dark site. I could easily be swayed by that lovely refractory view... but persistence on these favourites (and a dark sky) is paying off.

The other champion of the night was the 14mm ES82 eyepiece. It really was in a sweet spot full of contrast on these faint regions of the sky. I compared it against the bright 24mm and dark 8.8mm on the main targets, with the 14mm absolutely nailing it and delivering a lorry load of contrast to the brain. Observations below were at 14mm unless noted.

M31

Wow...! The bright core and two companions of course. M32 not quite wrapped in the glow but the tide was definitely coming in to get it! A spidery dust lane visible much of the time on the NW edge near M101. A fat dark patch fleetingly in the NE disk near the core. Putting the bright core out of view helped reveal the astonishing extent of the outer disk. Also, perhaps, a surprise rainbow shaped dark feature bending the wrong way, which seems to be my brain connecting two separate empty/dark/dusty regions in the disk. I'll try to post an image of this in a moment.

M33

A naked eye sighting. It flicked into vision for an instant once every ten seconds or so. Tricky! I put the red dot finder on target and M33 was absolutely dead centre in the eyepiece. I repeated this at two different points in the evening to be sure.

With the 14mm, I saw a large faint ellipse elongated NNE-SSW. The core was distinctly brighter, also elongated, but at a right angle to the fainter outer regions. With quite a bit of difficulty I followed a faint spiral arm out from the western end of the core, around through the foreground star fields to the north and into the NGC 604 region that was visible as a blurry star. There was a notable large void between this arm and the core that helped the sighting. In comparison, the other side of the galaxy appeared a lot more filled in and I couldn't pick out the spiral arm from the general glow.

Pleiades

The best view imaginable. Just pure beauty. Alcyon and its three companions looked spectacular. The Merope Nebula was an extensive bright plume of light. I looked elsewhere for nebulosity but nothing conclusive.

North American Nebula

Naked eye this was an incredibly bright region of the Milky Way. With the 24mm I compared the view with the UHC and Oiii. This one was huge and bright in the UHC and easy to see. The Oiii melted it away at the edges and revealed bare patches in the middle like a thawing bank of snow. Less easy to see overall but a different set of details revealed.

Southern Messier globs and galaxies

Also picked up a few new ones in the southern sky. M75, M30, M73, M72 (grab these soon before they disappear in the sunset), M15 and M2. Later, with the sky having moved on I found M74 and M77 which I realised was my final Messier tick. Hadn't expected that when I went out! It really has been a delight to follow the list.

Failures

Flaming Star. Tried 24 and 14mm, UHC and Oiii. IC 410 on the other side of the Flying Minnow was glowing like a hot coal though!

Trumpler 37. Looked for the surrounding nebula, but decidedly inconclusive.

Thanks for reading if you got this far. Give those familiar targets another good look! :icon_biggrin:

  • Like 17

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a quick pic of the features picked up in case it prompts/helps anyone to spot the bits that seemed to stand out. The extent of the glow is marked with the straight lines, with the dust lane, fat dark spot, and the combined rainbow shaped feature marked. I find it interesting comparing the view in the eyepiece to an image like this; The bits you can see aren't always the bits you'd expect from the image.

M31.png

 

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Paul, thanks for a lovely report.

You've done the whole Messier list in your first year?! Really?? Eek. I have 17 galaxies, 11 globulars, 4 open clusters, a nebula, a planetary and a double to go. (Looking at that list I might need to engineer some power cuts in London, particularly in springtime...)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cracking report, Paul, and well done on completing your messiers.  Your session really does show the power of a dark site!!

BTW assume you mean M110 rather than M101?

Paul

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lovely report, M33 is a gem from dark sites, very rarely pick up an M33 fuzz from home. Clear skies !

Nick.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great stuff.

NGC 206 is a bright star cloud in M31 and a good feature to spot.

I really enjoy using my 92mm refractor from dark skies.

Cheers

Paul

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I`m going to SGL12 and getting a 4" Refractor so hope to see these and many more objects.  Great report.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent report congratulations on completing the Messiers.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well done Paul completing the Messier list - its a good feeling. I always had difficulty seeing M69 and M70 being so low. I had to go to Spain to really have a good look at M6 and M7.

So what next? I really enjoyed the Herschel 400 and used a 10" Dob to see most of them.

I agree with your comments about the ES14mm I always start with the Myraid 20mm then switch to the 14mm or ES11mm

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the kind words everyone and I'm glad my ramblings were of interest! :icon_biggrin:

20 hours ago, neural said:

Hi Paul, thanks for a lovely report.

You've done the whole Messier list in your first year?! Really?? Eek. I have 17 galaxies, 11 globulars, 4 open clusters, a nebula, a planetary and a double to go. (Looking at that list I might need to engineer some power cuts in London, particularly in springtime...)

Thanks. Probably a year to work through them properly, but I was using binoculars for a few months before I got the scope, so I'd already learned my way round the sky, how to use a map, star hop, averted vision etc, and it wasn't a "cold start" so to speak. I've seen the sky from London and the advantage of a dark sky can't be overstated. It's not too bad from my home (from where I've seen maybe two half of the list), but from a dark site nearby, quite a few Messiers are naked eye, and most of the rest pop out easily in the finder scope so there's not much time in actually finding them. Best of luck with your own hunt.

 

13 hours ago, FenlandPaul said:

Cracking report, Paul, and well done on completing your messiers.  Your session really does show the power of a dark site!!

BTW assume you mean M110 rather than M101?

Paul

Thanks Paul. The dark site almost feels like cheating compared to home. Yep, sorry you're right about M110/101. 

 

12 hours ago, clarkpm4242 said:

Great stuff.

NGC 206 is a bright star cloud in M31 and a good feature to spot.

I really enjoy using my 92mm refractor from dark skies.

Cheers

Paul

Thanks Paul, now that you've mentioned it I've just checked NGC 206 on the map. I recall looking for it on the night but it didn't register (although the darkish region alongside did). It's funny how how you have to slowly learn your way around these faint targets before you can start to see the detail. I'm guessing it's a cracking view from Swaledale!

 

10 hours ago, wookie1965 said:

Well I`m going to SGL12 and getting a 4" Refractor so hope to see these and many more objects.  Great report.

 

Good stuff. Hope you have clear skies and many a good time with the 4"!

 

9 hours ago, Mark at Beaufort said:

Well done Paul completing the Messier list - its a good feeling. I always had difficulty seeing M69 and M70 being so low. I had to go to Spain to really have a good look at M6 and M7.

So what next? I really enjoyed the Herschel 400 and used a 10" Dob to see most of them.

I agree with your comments about the ES14mm I always start with the Myraid 20mm then switch to the 14mm or ES11mm

Thanks!

I think you're right with those far southern targets. I wonder in the UK if almost every extra mile south you travel can make a difference. Even from here, M69 and M70 were tough; Barely above the horizon, and not exactly completely dark at that time of year either. Ptolemy's cluster looked really impressive even through the murk. I can only imagine it from Spain. Must have been superb!

Next... this may sound odd, but among other things I'm really looking forward to revisiting some of them. I've viewed at least half of them with I think/hope the care and patience they deserve, but I'll admit I ticked some quite quickly - especially those in far south. I've bought a copy of Hidden Treasures (and liked it so much that I added the Secret Deep soon after) and I'm going through these incredibly slowly - almost using them like tutorials on how to observe. On the Messier list for example I never really "got" globulars except for the obvious bright M13 and a couple of others, whereas over the same period of time, galaxies transformed from all looking similar to being fantastically varied and exciting. I'm going to continue on the Hershel list too, but one thing I learned with the Messier list is that a ticklist can encourage me into rushed sessions with a rigid objective (I suppose like a Messier marathon in miniature) whereas a lot of the time I enjoy just bimbling around without only half a plan and just seeing what's up there!

Well done on your own Herschel 400 by the way. From the couple dozen I've seen (and plenty I've failed to see), it appears to be a real step up. Sterling effort catching them all!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well done ....great report......those are fantastic books, love 'em.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a great report and ensuing thread. It really brings home how the beauty of our skies can be enhanced by a dark site - and completing the M&Ms is a bonus! There is no doubt that the single best piece of 'equipment'  for improving observing is (almost ) free: a dark sky site. Many members of the forum repeatedly advocate this  -  Steve (Swampthing) especially, and i believe them.

I've not been able to do any observing lately but have been avidly reading the forum and am making plans for the winter season. My back garden is not bad but  my wife's cousin lives on a farm not far away, but far enough to get away from any suburban LP. The plan is to take the Dob over there and store it in a barn ready to go when clouds permit. Here's hoping....

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another lovely report that I must have missed yesterday. I was looking at a few of those southern globulars last night, M22 is still my favourite, for me it igives M13 a run for its money.

Alan

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Size9Hex said:

I'm guessing it's a cracking view from Swaledale!

Really clear last night and the NGC206 was visible through my 15x50 IS binocuars.  Those SJM books are great (I am referenced in one of them..!).

I recommend the http://messier.seds.org/xtra/similar/rasc-ngc.html as a next step from the Messiers.

Cheers

Paul

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Size9Hex said:

Thanks. Probably a year to work through them properly, but I was using binoculars for a few months before I got the scope, so I'd already learned my way round the sky, how to use a map, star hop, averted vision etc, and it wasn't a "cold start" so to speak. I've seen the sky from London and the advantage of a dark sky can't be overstated. It's not too bad from my home (from where I've seen maybe two half of the list), but from a dark site nearby, quite a few Messiers are naked eye, and most of the rest pop out easily in the finder scope so there's not much time in actually finding them. Best of luck with your own hunt.

sigh. Ah well, I like a challenge - I shall put the remaining Messiers on my to-do list and see how far I've got this time next year. :)

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You've got an excellent eye for faint detail, Paul!!  Great report, and very informative on Andromeda findings. Dark skies really are the ticket!  Everything looks better.

The 14mm is a good pairing with that scope giving something like a 2.8mm exit pupil whereas the 8.8 might have been too restrictive on the faint stuff. At f/4.9 that is a very fast refractor!  Clear skies

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/2/2016 at 09:46, Special K said:

You've got an excellent eye for faint detail, Paul!!  Great report, and very informative on Andromeda findings. Dark skies really are the ticket!  Everything looks better.

The 14mm is a good pairing with that scope giving something like a 2.8mm exit pupil whereas the 8.8 might have been too restrictive on the faint stuff. At f/4.9 that is a very fast refractor!  Clear skies

Very kind of you, but it's 90% the dark sky and 10% stubbornness to not let the target go without a fight...! :icon_biggrin: I look for these same features at home (which isn't that far away) and they simply don't exist despite the NELM being only a little worse. A few tenths of a magnitude makes a massive difference.

It is a fast refractor for sure. I was worried it might be a bit of a one trick pony (and it sort of is), but under dark skies with the right eyepiece, it really is one heck of a trick...! It's a gem with the 24mm when combined with a UHC filter too. The 8.8mm starts pulling in the small faint galaxies but seems too aggressive for some of the big faint extended stuff.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.