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The astronomy gods kindly allowed me to try my new telescope before hitting me with the "new telescope curse". The curse came in the form of the "Beast from the East". I had great time in the snow but I hadn't seen stars in the sky for what felt like a very long time. When I arrived home work yesterday, the sun was setting and the western horizon was looking mostly clear. I grabbed the binoculars and looking out an upstairs bedroom window, managed to steal a view of Venus and Mercury through the trees. I had both planets in the same field of view. A fine start to the evening.

A couple of hours later, I headed outside for some more serious observing. The scope had been cooling since I got home and I was a little concerned to find it feeling damp already. Lots of moisture in the air. I'd planned to start by getting my finder properly aligned on Sirius. Impatience got the better of me though and after a brief go at alignment, I sat down with the 5mm BGO to try and see the pup star. The view wasn't very steady, poor seeing, and so I drew a blank on the pup. I moved onto one of my favourites, M46. It's a really lovely open cluster in it's own right. Adding my UHC filter brought the planetary nebula NGC 2438 into view from within the cluster. Such a fun combination. I took a look at the brighter open cluster M47 which sits next to M46. 

My challenge target for the night was the supernova within NGC 3941. I was struggling with the finder and poor transparency and after spending some time in search of the galaxy, I admitted defeat...for now! M51 was found with ease, with both galaxies standing out well. The Owl nebula, M97, also stood out really even without filters. I'm really enjoying being able to push up to high magnifications with the dob. Adding the OIII filter really made the owl pop. I didn't manage to pick out the eyes but this was still my best view of this target to date.

Globular clusters are very special objects when observed through a good sized dob or so I'd read! It was now my chance to find out for myself! I was feeling more relaxed at this point, so allowed myself a few minutes to get the finder alignment sorted on Arcturis. It was way out! No wonder I'd struggled with it earlier. Between the Telrad and the finder, I soon had M3 in the eyepiece. I used my BGO's for some high power views. The number of stars that resolved was incredible. No longer was the glob just a patch of bright light as seen in my old scope. There must have been hundreds of individual points of light. I kept thinking of it like a creeping fog as it drifted across the eyepiece. Globs in the dob got a big smile and thumbs up! I popped across to Izar and split that at 240x with the 5mm BGO. I was worried about the TFOV with my orthos in the dob but so far they're becoming some of my most used eyepieces with the dob. 

The sky seemed to be improving and was looking more transparent. I went on a mini galaxy tour. First stop was the Whale galaxy, NGC 4631. I found the Whale shape relatively easy to distinguish. Onto M63, the Sunflower galaxy, lovely and bright. The Cocoon galaxy, NGC 4490, caught me off guard. In my old scope it was a bright grey smudge. In the dob, I found myself looking at two galaxies! The smaller NGC 4485 sitting next to the Cocoon galaxy. A really nice pairing. With my galaxy groove on, I quickly found NGC 3941 which had eluded me earlier in the evening. I don't think I ever properly identified the supernova. I've read reports of high power being needed to split it from the core of the galaxy. More research needed before another attempt on this required!

My domestic duties were now weighing on my mind so I headed inside. I used my eyepatch over my observing eye to maintain my dark adaption whilst inside. Jupiter was rising as I returned outside. At 150x, it was clear that the seeing was still poor, not helped with Jupiter still being very low. I searched for the GRS but the atmosphere just wasn't stable enough for picking out any detail beyond the equatorial belts. My next target was not so coy in revealing details though. The Great Globular cluster in Hercules, M13, was impressive even in my old scope. With the dob, it was simply stunning. Like M3, it resolved to countless points of light. I spent a long time just letting it drift across the eyepiece. I didn't spot the propellor. There was just so much to be seen that it was difficult to concentrate on any one area. Spotting Vega, I went in for a quick look at M57. The Ring was really bright and I never felt the need to use a filter. Even at 240x it remained bright in the eyepiece. To end the session, I returned to Jupiter, finishing the night with planetary views just as it had began. With the curse now lifted, I hope to be enjoying many more nights like this with the dob!

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The astronomy gods kindly allowed me to try my new telescope before hitting me with the "new telescope curse". The curse came in the form of the "Beast from the East". I had great time in the snow but

Lovely report , just as well have two eyepatches on here with wall to wall cloud ! Can't beat a bit of aperture ! Under clear skies ! Nick.

An excellent report slightly marred by my involuntary pangs of jealousy. Seriously though, an exciting read. As a newcomer to a dob mount, how easy and convenient is it to track at such magnification?

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Great stuff, a fine session and lovely targets found. Should definitely be able to get the propeller with your scope, perhaps just need better conditions.

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How high was M3 in the sky and, if you don't mind, what time /location? I had a peek last night (8" dob) but it was quite low (it was about 8.30pm in Cumbria) and I could only really resolve individual stars in the cluster with averted vision. I was wondering if it was the position of the cluster or some collimation issue, although I did check the scope and it seemed OK. Defocused stars were the 'correct' shape and I found E in the trapezium at 200x along with a split of iota cassiopeia, but you know when you have doubts...

Basically, I'm fairly new to this sort of thing and am not really sure what to expect to see with globs. 

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1 hour ago, Stu said:

Great stuff, a fine session and lovely targets found. Should definitely be able to get the propeller with your scope, perhaps just need better conditions.

Thanks Stu. It was getting on at that point so I dare say tired eyes were to blame. I’m sure I’ll get it soon

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55 minutes ago, steppenwolf said:

Another great report and I cannot tell you how pleased I am that the Dob is working out so well for you - keep 'em coming! :icon_biggrin:

Thanks Steve. It’s a brilliant scope. I feel lucky to have it :) 

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1 hour ago, Hungrymark said:

How high was M3 in the sky and, if you don't mind, what time /location? I had a peek last night (8" dob) but it was quite low (it was about 8.30pm in Cumbria) and I could only really resolve individual stars in the cluster with averted vision. I was wondering if it was the position of the cluster or some collimation issue, although I did check the scope and it seemed OK. Defocused stars were the 'correct' shape and I found E in the trapezium at 200x along with a split of iota cassiopeia, but you know when you have doubts...

Basically, I'm fairly new to this sort of thing and am not really sure what to expect to see with globs. 

It was probably around 11pm that I looked at M3 so it was reasonably high at that point. I’m in Norfolk. What magnification were you using? I went up to 240x on both M3 and M13. It’s probably easiest to pick out individual stars towards the outer edges and move in from there. 

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Nice late nite read  :happy11:.

There are some Nice clusters coming up these spring: Messier 5 (so far my fave globular using 8"), and the summer beehive.

It will be interesting to hear Your view on them With Your New Scope  :happy11:.

 

Rune

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Just now, Pondus said:

Nice late nite read  :happy11:.

There are some Nice clusters coming up these spring: Messier 5 (so far my fave globular using 8"), and the summer beehive.

It will be interesting to hear Your view on them With Your New Scope  :happy11:.

 

Rune

Thanks Rune. I only saw M5 once in my old scope and from memory conditions weren’t the best that night. I’m sure the new scope will do it justice :) 

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6 hours ago, Littleguy80 said:

The Great Globular cluster in Hercules, M13, was impressive even in my old scope. With the dob, it was simply stunning.

Did M13 remind you of anything shape wise? Also the Prop is difficult until you see it- then you will see it everytime under good conditions. Your 8mm BST will be a good choice if its wide enough. Great report btw!

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Great report some cracking objects there, first and only time I have seen "The Whale" was in Buxton a couple of years back must try it again. M51 eludes me only ever seen that in Damian`s (Mapstar) scope, It was a lovely sight though in his 22".

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8 hours ago, jetstream said:

Did M13 remind you of anything shape wise? Also the Prop is difficult until you see it- then you will see it everytime under good conditions. Your 8mm BST will be a good choice if its wide enough. Great report btw!

Thank you,  Gerry. I didn't recall the shape of M13 reminding me of anything. I was quite caught up in all the resolved stars so didn't really take it in as a whole. I'll get to it earlier next time and spend more time properly observing it :)

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6 hours ago, wookie1965 said:

Great report some cracking objects there, first and only time I have seen "The Whale" was in Buxton a couple of years back must try it again. M51 eludes me only ever seen that in Damian`s (Mapstar) scope, It was a lovely sight though in his 22".

Thanks Paul. The Whale is a fun one and it's quite bright too. I didn't have any trouble picking it up even with a bit of LP at home. I've read quite a few reports of people struggling with M51 so you're not alone. I think it's definitely one of those targets that gets easier once you've found it once or twice. Even in the 130 mm scope it was achievable from my garden. I bet it was stunning in the 22" dob!

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1 hour ago, Littleguy80 said:

Thank you,  Gerry. I didn't recall the shape of M13 reminding me of anything. I was quite caught up in all the resolved stars so didn't really take it in as a whole. I'll get to it earlier next time and spend more time properly observing it :)

I was curious as it looks like a "spider plant" to a few of us. Using a widefield helps see this too. M13 is an amazing object and I hope you spend much time here.

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21 minutes ago, jetstream said:

I was curious as it looks like a "spider plant" to a few of us. Using a widefield helps see this too. M13 is an amazing object and I hope you spend much time here.

Interesting. I’ll see what I think/see next time. When it’s up a bit earlier, I’ll get the kids to have a look. They’re great at picking out shapes. They love the owl/ET cluster. M13 will be getting a lot of attention! Once I saved up some more pennies I’ll be looking at a nice widefield EP. The Lunt HDC 20mm is definitely on my mind as is the ES82 30mm. 

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Yes the 'Beast from the East' was a gift of a new scope curse, not one that will be forgotten in a hurry. Great session Neil, good that you seized the initiative and got out. Clear here to last night, but with work and so on, lacking incentive.

As indicated in your report, lots to look forward to with prominent messier and NGC Globular Clusters. Perhaps when you do get to a dark site, look out to for NGC 6207, spiral galaxy just a touch north of M13.

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37 minutes ago, scarp15 said:

Yes the 'Beast from the East' was a gift of a new scope curse, not one that will be forgotten in a hurry. Great session Neil, good that you seized the initiative and got out. Clear here to last night, but with work and so on, lacking incentive.

As indicated in your report, lots to look forward to with prominent messier and NGC Globular Clusters. Perhaps when you do get to a dark site, look out to for NGC 6207, spiral galaxy just a touch north of M13.

Thanks Iain. I was pleased I made the most of the clear skies. At that point, it was looking like the next night was going to be even better and I might be able to go to a dark site. The forecast changed for the worse coming the next morning so no dark site trip this time. I’m really excited to get the dob under some properly dark skies and put it through it’s paces :) I’ll definitely check NGC 6207 out. Thank you for the suggestion!

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On 08/03/2018 at 23:46, Littleguy80 said:

It was probably around 11pm that I looked at M3 so it was reasonably high at that point. I’m in Norfolk. What magnification were you using? I went up to 240x on both M3 and M13. It’s probably easiest to pick out individual stars towards the outer edges and move in from there. 

I found it with 37x, went up to 60x then 120x. None were satisfactory compared to sketches I've seen but, as I say, it was pretty low down this far north and that early in the evening, so I'm not disheartened, just wondering. Thanks for the reply.

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image.thumb.png.ae81271864b9ae150f1884ae23d82ddb.png

12 hours ago, Littleguy80 said:

Interesting. I’ll see what I think/see next time. When it’s up a bit earlier, I’ll get the kids to have a look. They’re great at picking out shapes. They love the owl/ET cluster. M13 will be getting a lot of attention! Once I saved up some more pennies I’ll be looking at a nice widefield EP. The Lunt HDC 20mm is definitely on my mind as is the ES82 30mm. 

Qualias sketch is very much like I see M13, but with the propeller feature distinct.

 

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4 hours ago, jetstream said:

image.thumb.png.ae81271864b9ae150f1884ae23d82ddb.png

Qualias sketch is very much like I see M13, but with the propeller feature distinct.

 

That’s an excellent sketch and I see the propeller. Thank you! Will definitely be an aid when I go looking for the propeller :) I was looking at the sketch and the shape reminds me more of a crab than a spider plant. That might just be a sign that I’m hungry though ;) 

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An excellent report slightly marred by my involuntary pangs of jealousy:cry:. Seriously though, an exciting read. As a newcomer to a dob mount, how easy and convenient is it to track at such magnification? My az4 would never agree even if my scope could take it.

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3 hours ago, domstar said:

An excellent report slightly marred by my involuntary pangs of jealousy:cry:. Seriously though, an exciting read. As a newcomer to a dob mount, how easy and convenient is it to track at such magnification? My az4 would never agree even if my scope could take it.

Thank you :) Compared to the EQ2 mount, the dob mount is really easy to use. I do miss the slow motion controls on the EQ for making the very small movements. Having said that, I’m getting better with the finer movements with the dob mount. I can track things at 240x pretty well so can’t be that difficult! The really positives of the dob mount are that it’s so easy to move between targets. Nothing to loosen off and tighten just swing around to whatever you want to see next. It’s also great for getting onto objects at the zenith. The EQ mount was terrible around the zenith. 

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