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Jan8 - Binoculars to the rescue as the Big Dob hides from the wind

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Posted (edited)

Date: 8 Jan 2018             Binos: APM 16x70 ED (Monopod)        Filters: 1x Castell UHC

Last night saw another lovely black sky but the "Helm wind" had kicked up from the Pennines :(

After popping out and back in from 7-30 thru 10-30, I decided that the Dob would not be coming out or more accurately the shed roof would not be opened tonight :(

Not wanting to waste the sky and with my new binos ready and waiting inside, I switched plan and got myself (& the binos) ready.

I fitted my new 1.25" Castell UHC filter inside the left eyecup. I added my 2x camping mat dew shields, fitted the monopod & trigger and finally stuck my ipad into into waterproof case.

I got all my warm gear on and took everything outside onto the garden table.

My plan was to use Sky Safari on the ipad (I had added new "equipment" to cover the binos so it was displaying a target circle to the FOV of the binos) and setup on Orion...



M42 - showed as a nice bright cloud, I seemed "bigger" than last time out. I tried switching from one eye to the other to see the UHC difference but I did not find it easy to tell (I was wearing "old" contact lenses as an alternative to my glasses and my eyes have changed in the last 18 months to make close up reading easier without my glasses so this ruined the test). Individual eyepiece focusing definately helps.

Rosette - found easily. I recognized the star cluster in the centre as I had spend a long time on this target with the dob the previous night :) The nebula was faint but visible, it really is a good size!

Cone - onto the christmas tree cluster (easy) but no nebula was seen.

Seagull neb - I found a definite patch in the right area. Can you see the seagull neb in your binos?

M46, 47 - two nice clusters left of sirius.

M48 - another good one

M67 - easy and bright

Beehive - A biggie, stay a while to count the stars...

Scanning Leo, there seems to be either regular fuzzies or the fainter stars are appearing as fuzzies. Should I expect to be able to see faint messier galaxies in Leo with binos?

Pleiades - Lovely and bright. Getting higher for my neck!

Crab M1 - Got it. I failed on this last time out. But bagged it twice tonight. Was it the UHC or just better control of the monopod?

California neb = no. nothing.

M37,38,36 - trio of clusters. nice as they are all different. There was more stuff in this area (I forgot about the flaming star), need to come back but my neck...

M31, 110 & 32 - Onto Andromeda, easy. Big but not as nice as last time out. M110 was much fainter tonight and M32 took some staring to get it.

Into Cassiopia ...

Double cluster - lovely. shame its so high. There was plenty going on in the vacinity too. Something nice to the lower right? Just "too many things to identify" and my neck...

Carolines Rose - Center on CapH and there's Carolines rose in the fov.

Onto the Plough...

M51 - easy

M101 - harder to locate but I found it. Dimmer than M51

Owl neb - Faint but there. Is this the UHC benefit or is it always seen in binos?


Overall an enjoyable session. A few misses on my part but you can't get everything unless you make a list before you go out!

Quite a few questions above. Would be grateful if anyone can comment on some of them :)


Clear skies,


Edited by alanjgreen
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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, alanjgreen said:

 Should I expect to be able to see faint messier galaxies in Leo with binos?

Oh yes. If you had M101, you should easily get some Leo galaxies (and some of the Virgo-Coma cluster): much smaller than M101, but more easily visible. Biggest problem I have with Virgo-Coma galaxies in the 16x70 (which is what I think you meant instead of 16x17! :grin: ) is counting them - they come into view with AV, then disappear when I shift my gaze.

Edited by BinocularSky
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Just got to read this, very nice session Alan. Many fine binocular targets making the most of a windy night close to the Pennines.

That is an interesting observation concerning the Seagull nebula. I believe that it will be seen, faint yet apparent in 70-80mm aperture, with the advantage of the wide field afforded by the binoculars and I understand that it will respond to various filter types such as narrow band, more contrast gained through OIII or H-beta filters. Perhaps aligning your H-beta filter next time, it would be interesting to learn how it responds (assuming I don't get a chance to myself). Considered to be a bit brighter than that seen in the California, I have comfortably observed the California with a 76mm frac at low power, again with H-beta filter. My own quest if I get a chance, though with the frac, is to get to very dark skies, close to the Scottish border, deep inside Northumberland and take on Barnard's Loop (which I have within the previous season detected an aspect of in my 14" dob) again a H-beta filter target. Try for the California with the H-beta filter / binocular configuration, you ought to get it. I have not personally actually used a filter with binoculars so interesting such as the Owl nebula, I ought give it a try and as you demonstrate, great in particular, for a windy night.


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@scarp15 so far, I only have a Castell UHC in 1.25" size. All my Astronomik filters are 2" 

I may buy a Castell O3 1.25" in a few months time. They are pretty wideband, I don't want anything too dark in the binos.

I have no plan to buy a Hb 1.25" at the moment. If I see a second hand Astronomik I may be tempted, but I think the O3 comes next.

I want to get more out of the UHC first... and galaxy season is coming :) 

Edited by alanjgreen

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Good point it will become a bit too specialist if you have to acquire a complete set of 1.25" filters when you already have a functioning set of 2". If I used a filter with my binoculars, I would have to hold a 2" in line with the objective, not too sure that my Lunt's would accommodate an attached filter and I would not consider 1.25".  Heck yes, galaxy season is just around the corner.

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Great report- I’m still convinced M51 doesn’t exist though. It’s top of my mystery items list!

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