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Wrapped up warm, I made the short walk to the baseball pitch. Cloudy with drizzle all day, the sky was just clearing. It seems to look so much blacker and deeper with a few low clouds breezing past. The ground was sodden but the temperature was pleasant and the scope stayed bone-dry all the time I was out. I set up about 7.30 knowing the moon would rise before long.

First up was Aquarius. I'd spotted M2  briefly on stellarium and thought it would be no problem to find in my finder scope. Well, I was wrong on that front but a good first time failure always sets me up for a serious attack next time. That's why my main focus was on M72 and M73. I knew exactly where they were after my failure in late September. I'd been on the balcony and the sky just wasn't dark enough but the experience did me good and I found both of them fairly easily. M72 was faint but very satisfying after having been so elusive. At just 4 stars, M73 is one of the least impressive Messier objects but it would be wilfully contrary not to visit it at all. I'm sure it's one that isn't returned to regularly. Stellarium describes it as a cluster of fewer than 50 stars in the same way as I'm a person with fewer than 50 admirers. Then over to the Saturn nebula and I was surprised to recognise it. I'd already added some magnification to look at M73 so it was easier to spot. It looked a bit like a yellowish out of focus star (like Saturn then) but I'm more about amazed thoughts than amazing sights so I was satisfied.

When I looked away from the eyepiece, the sky was already starting to lighten. I flailed around unsucessfully for Barnard's galaxy and settled on some old friends. M11- the wild duck as usual and M13- the great cluster in Hercules. I love moving directly from one to another. The beauty of an open cluster followed by a glob. Chocolate or cheese? Blonde or brunette? I prefer the one I'm looking at at the moment.

With the sky noticeably blue I went for my favourite doubles Alkalurops and Iota Cass. Then I rounded it off with the double cluster. I try to treat them both equally, but we all have a soft spot for the younger one (I'm taking a lucky guess here- it's to the left in my frac). I melted into it until my delicate back ached and I went home on a Sunday night, thirteen years to the day since I became a father, with a huge grin on my face (metaphorically)

A beautiful, beautiful evening and home well before 10 with no numb digits.

Thanks for reading.


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Very nice, and amusing report Domstar. I had a good giggle over your '50 admirers' comment :)

I don't think I've ever viewed M73, it is not in a very easy part of the sky for me so must make the effort.

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