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Littleguy80    1,394

The evening started with a exchange of emails to arrange collection of a 10" dob this weekend. Very exciting! So with the impending months of cloud that is expected with every telescope purchase, I rushed outside to take advantage of the lovely clear skies. I'm a bit of a sentimental person, so I felt quite melancholy taking my current scope out for one of it's last sessions with me. It will have to be sold on to balance the books following the purchase of the dob. I have lots of friends and family lining up to buy it so it won't go far. I'll have visitation rights at least ;) It's a 130mm SkyWatcher on an EQ2 mount and has given me a fantastic introduction to Astronomy.

First target of the night was NGC 2362. On my way to finding the open cluster, a bright double star caught my eye. It looked really stunning. My first impression was of a bright orange star with a white companion, possible hint of blue. On closer inspection the orange was more yellow. I spent quite awhile trying to figure out which double it was. It turned out to be HR 2764, one of the doubles that has been given the title of the Winter Albireo. It was great way to start the session, just stumbling upon something eye catching like that. NGC 2362, is a really interesting open cluster. There's a really bright star that catches your attention and then your eyes adjust and all the other stars that make up the rest of the cluster come into view. A target that I would think could be easily overlooked.

Sigma Orionis was another eye catching multiple star system. 3 stars were very easy to see, even at low powers. A fourth fainter star can be seen but escaped me last night. I was moving around the sky as things caught my attention in SkySafari, I now headed off to M93. Lovely open cluster, bright and easy to find.

With my eyes now well adjusted to the dark, I moved across to M78. 2 bright stars nestled nicely within the reflection nebula. I noticed a star below M78 that also seemed to have some nebulosity. SkySafari confirmed another nebula, NGC 2071. It seemed a crime to be in Orion and not visit M42. I went with magnification of 75x to give an nice overview of the region and no filter. I spent a bit of time working out which part is M43. Not something I've done before. It proved a good way to encourage closer study of the famous nebula.

I really enjoyed Hind's Crimson star last week and couldn't resist a revisit. I don't know of another star that presents such a strong red colour. Really quite stunning. Looking around the sky, I spotted that Acturus had risen comfortably about the roof line. M3 became my next target and the first globular cluster of the evening. I observed at 150x and found that with extended viewing, my eye started to pick out the grainy quality coming from all the individual stars within the cluster. 

I took a brief break indoors to warm up a bit. Everyone else was asleep so the house was dark and quiet. Feeling refreshed after a few minutes, I headed back out. I went for another glob, M53, next. Fainter than M3 and I didn't get the same grainy effect this time but enjoyable none the less. Last year, I was still really getting to grips with using my telescope so I never went galaxy hunting in Virgo. It was time to put that right! I started at the star Vindemiatrix and worked my way down until I found M90. The contrast wasn't brilliant with the light pollution in my area but the galaxy was bright with averted vision. Using SkySafari as my map, I moved across to M89 and then Virgo A (M87). I'm not sure why SkySafari gives preference to the Virgo A designation over M87. I found this galaxy to be a good marker with it being bright and close to a nearby star. Next I found M84 and M86, both easy spots. I very pleased to officially be into Markarian's chain! My tour of Virgo ended with the very aptly named Eyes Galaxies. I really can't wait to explore this area at my local dark site. Even from home, I found that I was looking at the brighter galaxies, grey shadows would appear in averted vision. There was so much going on in the eyepiece that it was difficult to process it all!

I decided to finish the night with another carbon star. I put the star Chara in the eyepiece to begin the search. I immediately spotted a grey fuzzy below Chara. SkySafari confirmed this to be the Cocoon galaxy. Another great bonus find and my luck didn't end there. I was also able to make a short detour to the galaxy M94. Fairly small but very bright, this really caught my attention. I finally moved down to my intended target, La Superba. A brilliant bright star with orange shade that is shared by the majority of the carbon stars that I have seen. It was a perfectly named target to finish a brilliant session on. As I packed up, I once again was filled with melancholy pride in my 130mm scope. It had once again delivered a great night under the stars.

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kev100    277

Cracking report Neil, and a real achievement with the 130 - you're gonna be beside yourself when the dob comes! :) 

Kev

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Littleguy80    1,394
15 minutes ago, kev100 said:

Cracking report Neil, and a real achievement with the 130 - you're gonna be beside yourself when the dob comes! :) 

Kev

Cheers Kev. I spent most of the evening wondering how these targets are going to look in the dob!

Edited by Littleguy80
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Stu    16,666

Great session Neil, some really good targets in there. You did pretty well picking up so many galaxies! They can be challenging with LP around, get the 10" to a dark site and you will have great fun :) 

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Littleguy80    1,394
3 minutes ago, Stu said:

Great session Neil, some really good targets in there. You did pretty well picking up so many galaxies! They can be challenging with LP around, get the 10" to a dark site and you will have great fun :) 

Thanks Stu. I definitely have the advantage of knowing what to look for now. You don't have to go back many months and lots of those galaxies would have passed me by. Can't wait to get the dob to a dark site!!!

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Littleguy80    1,394
4 minutes ago, wookie1965 said:

Cracking report and great targets there.

 

Cheers Paul :) 

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scarp15    2,408

Lovely report Neil and for crossing over into the Spring constellations. An accomplished session to conclude your time with the 130mm, it is quite a journey of discovery with your first scope and in gaining awareness of your observational skills developing. The memories will stay put and good that you are passing it on to someone you know. We'll all be looking forward to hearing how you get on with your 10" dob, good luck for the wk-end.   

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laudropb    5,966

Wow that really was a great session and I always enjoy your write ups.

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cloudsweeper    2,455

Another good session Neil.  You've got me feeling sorry for the Explorer 130!

Enjoy the Dob though!

Doug.

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scarp15    2,408

Just to add that is interesting that you were able to identity NGC 2071, which forms part of a group of diffuse reflection nebula of which of course M78 is the brightest component and in turn is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. From your dark site and 10" dob more of this group will become apparent. Good that you highlighted NGC 2362 in Canis Major as you describe it does appear to be an engaging small, compact cluster, consisting of around sixty stars. Close by, I have NGC 2354 marked in my Pocket Sky Atlas, a much looser cluster of fifteen stars more a binocular target perhaps.  

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cotterless45    9,174

Neat report, stick to the Coma and CNv galaxies ! They're easier to find and id than the mass in Virgo. 10" is going to knock you into the ball park !

Nick.

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Littleguy80    1,394
4 hours ago, laudropb said:

Wow that really was a great session and I always enjoy your write ups.

Thank you. I’m so glad you enjoy the reports. I enjoy writing up the results of a good session :) 

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Littleguy80    1,394
3 hours ago, cloudsweeper said:

Another good session Neil.  You've got me feeling sorry for the Explorer 130!

Enjoy the Dob though!

Doug.

Thanks Doug. I know what you mean. Sometimes I look at it and it almost looks sad...B4195F74-6DE3-4F87-B80D-F45E258239E1.thumb.jpeg.160e82b09b3a14b0f0bd2284b10555e5.jpeg

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Littleguy80    1,394
3 hours ago, scarp15 said:

Just to add that is interesting that you were able to identity NGC 2071, which forms part of a group of diffuse reflection nebula of which of course M78 is the brightest component and in turn is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. From your dark site and 10" dob more of this group will become apparent. Good that you highlighted NGC 2362 in Canis Major as you describe it does appear to be an engaging small, compact cluster, consisting of around sixty stars. Close by, I have NGC 2354 marked in my Pocket Sky Atlas, a much looser cluster of fifteen stars more a binocular target perhaps.  

Thanks Iain. It’s been a great journey with the 130mm. NGC 2071 was a really nice observation as I wasn’t looking for it. Sometimes I wonder if my brain is telling me I’m seeing something because I’m expecting to see it! Will certainly be returning to this area with the dob. 

Interesting point on NGC 2354. I did vary the magnification but didn’t notice a great amount of variation in how much I could see. Will give it a go with binoculars next time I’m out. 

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Littleguy80    1,394
3 hours ago, cotterless45 said:

Neat report, stick to the Coma and CNv galaxies ! They're easier to find and id than the mass in Virgo. 10" is going to knock you into the ball park !

Nick.

Thanks Nick. Those galaxies are too much to resist ;) Can’t wait to get my hands on the dob!

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cloudsweeper    2,455
1 hour ago, Littleguy80 said:

Thanks Doug. I know what you mean. Sometimes I look at it and it almost looks sad...B4195F74-6DE3-4F87-B80D-F45E258239E1.thumb.jpeg.160e82b09b3a14b0f0bd2284b10555e5.jpeg

C'mon man, you just can't let that little fella go.  Have you no heart?

Doug,

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Littleguy80    1,394
2 minutes ago, cloudsweeper said:

C'mon man, you just can't let that little fella go.  Have you no heart?

Doug,

It’s not me, it’s the boss lady. She’s says we can’t afford to keep them both :crybaby2:

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Scott    4,832
22 minutes ago, Littleguy80 said:

It’s not me, it’s the boss lady. She’s says we can’t afford to keep them both :crybaby2:

tell her you'll keep one scope if she keeps one pair of shoes :hiding:

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N3ptune    1,095

Very nice report @littleguy80, I too, enjoyed reading it and re living an astronomy moment myself. If this can help you with your wife, I did the same thing, sold my 130mm to get my 200mm thinking I could not afford both.

But I definitely should have kept it has a second guest instrument and has a smaller lightweight instrument.

--> I would still use it today. (If this can help.)

Great suggestions too in your report such has: The Crimson star, La Superba and NGC 2362. I have to see all 3 of them (and the winter Albireo too)

Well done, my motivation is high ((;  and congratulation for the 10" large telescope, I am sure it will love it! that's a major upgrade.

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alan potts    3,982

Very nice report Neil, I did split the main star of sigma Orionis about two years ago with the 18 inch, very difficult and needs a fair bit of coal on the fire with very good seeing.

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tuckstar    71

I started out with the skywatcher 130 explorer and then upgraded to a 10" dob. Was always suprised how much the 130 could show in dark skies and was sad to see it go, but soon forgot about it once the dob was up and running. A few mods here and there and I have a great scope. You will love it.

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Littleguy80    1,394
47 minutes ago, tuckstar said:

I started out with the skywatcher 130 explorer and then upgraded to a 10" dob. Was always suprised how much the 130 could show in dark skies and was sad to see it go, but soon forgot about it once the dob was up and running. A few mods here and there and I have a great scope. You will love it.

It's been a great first scope. There's been quite a few targets I've seen at dark sites that I wouldn't have thought was possible. I expect it'll take a few sessions to get used to the dob. Having said that, the dob mount should actually be easier than the EQ2.

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tuckstar    71

It is easier to use. I fitted a lazy susan bearing and a setting circle to my base. Combined with a wixey digital angle gauge and a good app on your phone, you have a push to dob:headbang:

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Littleguy80    1,394
9 hours ago, N3ptune said:

Very nice report @littleguy80, I too, enjoyed reading it and re living an astronomy moment myself. If this can help you with your wife, I did the same thing, sold my 130mm to get my 200mm thinking I could not afford both.

But I definitely should have kept it has a second guest instrument and has a smaller lightweight instrument.

--> I would still use it today. (If this can help.)

Great suggestions too in your report such has: The Crimson star, La Superba and NGC 2362. I have to see all 3 of them (and the winter Albireo too)

Well done, my motivation is high ((;  and congratulation for the 10" large telescope, I am sure it will love it! that's a major upgrade.

Thanks @N3ptune! The thought of keeping it as a grab and go scope has definitely crossed my mind. I don't think I'll be rushed into selling it so I'll have time to see how much use it gets in practice once the dob arrives. I guess a lot will depend on how easy it is to move the big dob around

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