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Phil73805

The Orion Nebula and the (almost) Full Moon

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One night after complaining on the forums that observing opportunities are so few and far between in the UK during winter and I look up to see clear skies and a blindingly bright moon. My preferred targets are DSOs but having recently bought a Baader Neutral Density Moon filter (0.9) I thought it might be a great time to try it out. I'd also recently bought that thingy that lets you attach your phone to the eyepiece and so I took the picture below and I'm fairly pleased with the result. I thought that the blue fringe of doom was exclusively a refractor thing which is why I was surprised to see the blue fringe in the picture.

I have owned my Skyliner 200p Dobsonian for around ten years and so it might surprise you to know that I have never managed to see the Orion Nebula through my telescope, or any other telescope for that matter; so last night, with the moon 96% of full I thought I'd give it a try. Less than ideal conditions you might say but I have to tell you, it was still spectacular! I was able to see a surprising amount of detail and I also worked out (at long last) which time of year and what time of night I can see the whole of Orion from my back garden (mid to late January onwards at around 11pm) rather than the utterly light polluted front garden. I cannot wait for a moonless (clear) night so I can sketch the nebula! I did also discover that my collimation efforts were less than stellar (pun intended) and so, back to the drawing board.

Overall it was a fantastic night's observing! I was able to spend a good while not just looking at the nebula but observing it and teasing out as much detail as I could using the usual old tricks. The night was clear but all my back garden observing is done over the neighbours' houses, so heat shimmer and therefore focus was an issue. I actually used my Baader Neodymium filter to reduce the effects of light pollution and increase contrast which it did very well. I'm seriously itching for a clear moonless night!

By the way if anyone can recommend a good observing chair my back would be very grateful :D

IMG_0739.thumb.jpg.888474ab5be78aecf20ad602ec71f415.jpg

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I also took a shot of the Orion Nebula, unguided on a bright moonlit night using my iPhone 7 camera attached IMG_0750.thumb.jpg.0b70bb39c9b60f1203caf25d12a7dce6.jpgto the eyepiece without proper focus but still... :)

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