Jump to content


Peaky Views


Recommended Posts

Like many I recently attended the peak star party held at Rivendale Holiday park in the peak district 7 miles north of Ashbourne. The journey for me was only an hour and a half and quite a pleasant one threading my way down from the north over the picturesque Strines and past the Ladybower reservoir, Bamford, Bakewell and Newhaven before finally arriving.I actually drove straight past the reception and did a quick tour of the one way system of the campsite. My initial thoughts were a bit downbeat after seeing so many static caravans, holiday homes and the general public milling about.

On my return a grinning face told me I'd found fellow mobster Estwing who had arrived a few minutes earlier. After a brief exchange of welcomes we hit the campsite and began to pitch first my tent and then Calvins. JemC came over to help and in no time at all the tents were up (after a slight bit of repairing) and we were settling in with a banner up proclaiming truss corner was ready as a bit of light hearted fun.I set the scope up with space left for Steve's when he arrived after his epic drive from the southern reaches.  We watched as the rest of the party arrived in dribs and drabs and waited for darkness to drop.



The sky friday night was a milky washed out one with the transparency very low as the milkyway in all it's glory couldn't be seen. Rather disappointing but the major guide stars were there albeit under a chilling breeze and the glare of constant public lights at our side of the camping area.

I had a steady stream of visitors at the eyepiece most of the evening with many loving what had become to myself very mediocre views in such skies when compared to the pristine dark sites I'd visited over the last few months. Many had not seen M51 showing spiral arms before so even the blurred views were something else. M13 was beautiful as ever with the three dimensional image there.

I was shown some interesting Hickson groups by MDstuart and also quite a few galaxies some of which I had observed but a nod to Mark here you certainly know the skies and I only know of one other out there that is as well versed. I could hear Mark later on with Calvin discussing Hickson 44 in Leo which is something I will have to visit from a purer sky.I also tried for 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak but through a combination of wrong directions from others and software like many I struggled and wasn't convinced. I only managed it after most had bedded down for the night. Calvin and Steve had long since thrown the towel in with the security lights and cars, deciding that a beer or two was the way to go before turning in for the night.

Up and breakfasted we spent the day in glorious sunshine and I even caught a bit, but it may have been wind burn as it persisted until evening when it finally petered off.Saturday night and the transparency of the skies was a little better but the milkway still couldn't really be made out. It did improve slightly through the night but nowhere near what I'd hoped for. For many it was a dark sky but not for me or the rest of the mob sad to say but we had a good go at it. Nick brought over the 10" light bridge to join truss corner.


So onto the serious stuff

I started my observing with the NGC2290 group as Gemini looked to have a nice patch of sky to itself. It seems to have become a favourite of mine of late. The main four galaxies NGC 2290, 2291, 2289, 2294 were there although averted vision, and the fifth NGC2288 took well over 20mins to make out as I steadily got my eye in and teased it out from it's larger neighbour NGC 2289. Steve and Calvin both took a look and were concentrating their efforts in Leo then later on in Bootes on one of the Abell clusters.

I moved on to Cancer and having never really been on a galaxy hunt through the constellation I was pleasantly surprised to find it has many.

NGC-2595 was my first and I found it easy to locate being next to a nice double.NGC-2562 and 2563 in the same FOV but was picking up more all the time I looked at these. The latter being larger of the two. Both looked pretty much the same except for size.

NGC-2560 was to the southwest and an edge on spiral quite easily made out.I also picked up another galaxy in the bottom of the eyepiece and after research can only think this was UGC-4332

NGC-2558 was a face on spiral further south from the small group above.

Moving east I bagged NGC-2545 which had an elongation north to south.

Heading north in the constellation I quickly picked my way up through NGC-2557, 2565 spiral and 2577.

Under these skies it was a decent haul but not finished there was plenty more.

NGC-2554 northwest of the last

Drifting back east NGC-2599 wasn't very bright under such poor conditions being face on. Further nearly across the line of the constellation is NGC-2628 again another face on but brighter than the last.

NGC-2620, 2623, 2592 with the only note of 2623 having a strange shape to it. I later reserched this had large whispy arms

Onto NGC-2535 where I noted a nice swirly s shape and another galaxy nearby which was NGC-2536. Almost like a miniature M51 but not quite

North and NGC-2540 was small and quite underwhelming.

NGC 2608 and just outside of the field of view of the 13E was NGC-2619 both small spirals.

Heading further north NGC 2604A had a strange shape to it sort of face on but barred through the middle with averted vision. Nice and the last I bagged in Cancer as by this time it was dropping further into the murky horizon so I gave in.

I then had a quick hop up from castor to the Galactic wanderer/ Intergalactic tramp NGC-2419 as I'd heard old Nick mention it across the way and thought I'd look at it again. Faint and galaxy like I didn't put it under high power but couldn't resolve any stars in it.

With that Cotterless came to visit along with I think Davey-T. We tried a few old favourites as Nick wanted to try a bit of aperture. M51, M13, M92 to name but a few and I could tell he loved the views.After their departure I tried for a last target for the night.

Hickson 55 is a small chain of galaxies ranging from Mag 14.9 to Mag 17.4. After pick ing up NGC-3735 close by it was several minutes before I was definitely there as I'd at first gone the wrong way. Swapping to the 8E I starred at a close by star until the thin smudge of a line was just discernable.

Calvin and Steve had a look and could just make it out so I was happy we'd bagged it.  That was it the covers on the scopes and we retired to the church for a dram and then headed for our respective accommodation.

Up early to see off a few of the others and we then headed home leaving a few hardy souls to pick out what they could of Sunday night.


Edited by mapstar
  • Like 15
Link to comment
Share on other sites

great trawl really when you think about conditions and the search light!....I did try to land a few NGC's that dwell inside the beehive cluster but it wasn't the right sky to spend too much time here, its very busy in there!....yes the Hickson 55, as I saw a faint trace drifting in and out of the eyepiece almost instantly at times so a great tick of the box and for me more fuel for the fire of fuzzy finding..try saying that again!...I really love observing with you,steve and mike as I push my observing skills to keep up...thanks for sharing and clear skies...

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a scope even in those skies gave me a view of M51 and the Leo trio I won't see again for a while thanks Damian.  I thought I'd done well mag 17 like know what you can get down to in pristine skies think I'd be lucky get mag 13. Great report I had read about hickson 55 in either S&N or  Astronomy now but knew I wouldn't be able go for them at that mag they sound great though (must not go aperture Crazy). 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.