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ImmortalBee    50

Seeing clear dark skies at 6PM,  I grabbed my 10x50 binocular and  tripod for a mini-session/demonstration to family and enjoyed showing them some of the "classic" objects: the Pleiades and Hyades, the Sword of Orion and also Uranus and splitting Albireo.

Not willing to waste the rest of the evening, later on I grabbed the 8" Newt and headed out to see some new objects. First I started off with M35, not a new target but I had never studied this for a while before. It seemed like the cluster was much less dense at the centre.

Next I moved to Leo to find Ceres. Tonight Ceres formed a distinctive "chevron" pattern with similarly bright 6-8th magnitude stars. This made it easy to identify in the finder and then I sketched the brightest stars in the area for comparison to Stellarium when I got back in. Thankfully this sketch was consistent and I am confident that I bagged my first minor planet this evening.

Returning to the deep sky before the Moon made its appearance, I looked at M44 and the blue and yellow stars were very pretty. I also had a look at the Crab nebula. I have always found this object to be a disappointing ill-defined milky patch, the height of "faint fuzzy", but with averted vision in my new 18mm BST Starguider EP it appeared as a well-defined elongated patch of light haze. This 18mm EP also made some of the stars in M67 look slightly gold. This cluster looked quite loose, though averted vision increased the apparent density.

The Moon was now making its appearance above the houses opposite and so I decided to have a quick look. In the 18mm it looked remarkably good given its low elevation, though the view from the 7mm EP (142x) was not very sharp and I did not study the Moon much further, planning to return once it was higher in the sky.

Instead I had a quick look at M42 before trying my luck on the Eskimo nebula. I didn't expect to be successful, and I confused 56 and 63 Gemini through my dewed up finder scope, but I did succeed surprisingly quickly. It looked non-stellar with the 32mm but it wasn't until I used the 18mm EP that I was really sure that it was a nebulous object. I now moved straight to my 7mm EP. In this eyepiece the nebula was relatively large and averted vision showed that there was a darker core surrounded by lighter nebulosity. There seemed to me to be a slightly yellow tinge to this outer nebulosity, though I couldn't swear to it.

With my OTA (and feet!) now showing the effects of the cold I decided to pack up now, content that I had been productive and not even news of the Ashes test could change that.

 

 

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Charic    2,197
Posted (edited)

Sounds like you had a good time.
It's been overcast here in my part of Scotland, fell asleep in front of laptop?

I've just had a quick look out the front door (South) and its clear, Orion just disappearing below the tree line, and Merak ( Ursa Major ) directly over my front door step? but it feels oh so cold, and past my bed time!

Edited by Charic
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MarsG76    1,903

Good report and description of your night, looks like you had a great time observing.

 

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Astro Imp    2,950

Great report, I was enjoying the read until you mentioned the test :sad:

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Stu    15,888

A successful evenings viewing Imortalbee. Well done getting Ceres, looks like it made  very nice pattern with those two stars, great when that happens.

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Hungrymark    27

I had a similar evening on Sunday, and found the Eskimo and Crab, as you did. Crab looked pretty well defined through a 2x Barlowed 32mm EP (mag x75). Eskimo was trickier but there was definition between the nebulous outer region and the core. I didn't go any higher as I got over - excited at just finding them and forgot.

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