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Bodkin

A few hours of dark skies with the ten inch

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I managed an unexpected few hours of observing last night between twilight and the clouds arriving.  I got out my 'goldilocks' scope which is a ten inch, longer f-ratio (6.5) dobsonian and set to it.

First to Coma Berenices which was nicely placed due south. A couple of globulars to start; M53 which was bright and easy with a few stars and nearby NGC5053, which is much fainter but still clearly seen.  I know that if I can see 5053 at all the skies are very good so I pressed on.  It is some time since I was out with a scope so I the aim was to drift wherever I fancied.  A few degrees to the northis M64. The black eye was nicely visible and it made a very pretty sight.  Further in the same direction to NGC4565 another favorite of mine for this time of year; a beautiful thin shard with the hint of a central dust lane.  Next it was down into the centre of the Virgo galaxies (M60,M59, M58, M59, M89, M87, M86, M84, M88, M100, M98, NGCs.....).   On a good night it doesn't matter where you are pointing in this area, there always seems to be a galaxy in view.

After this it was down to the deep south. A quick glance at Jupiter and on to M104, the Sombrero galaxy.  Quite a special object with its pronounced dark band easily visible. Panning across to the west I took in the bright galaxies in Leo (the Leo triplet, M96 and M105).  Lots of structure visible in these with the ten inch. I often forget how effective a moderate aperture can be at making brighter deep sky objects more than featureless smudges. Up to Ursa Major to take in the sights.  M108 and the Owl nebula were lovely.  Signs of the eyes of the Owl were visible with an OIII filter. A few more galaxies en route to M51. Very clear spiral structure here, which indicates how good the sky was last night.  Even M101 showed traces of spiral structure, though only just with averted vision.  The clouds were starting to show up now so I went into overdrive so that I could catch as many favorite objects; you never know when it will be clear again in mid Wales. So M81, M82 and NGC 3077 in Ursa Major, then M63, M94, NGC4490,M106 and NGC4449 in Canes, finally M3, M13, M5, M92 and M56 to close out on a few globulars.  A failure on M4 through the trees on the hill to the south was the biggest miss of the night, but overall a night to remind me why I love spending time under the stars.

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A very good night Jonathan and a super report ! :smiley:

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A great read and what sounds like an excellent night's observing under lovely skies.

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Really nice report and great observing conditions.

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