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Hoovering up the vacuum cleaner 21.3.18


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Galaxy hunting with a four inch frac might not be everyone's cup of tea but after more than a month (and the previous evening) of open clusters, I was ready for the faint stuff. I started on M81 and 82 before it got even higher and I'm slowly getting better at finding them. They are always a treat. But I had a few new targets in mind especially around the bowl of the big dipper. First to Merak where I found M97 the Owl nebula and the sky was so clear that for the first time, after about four or five attempts I saw M108- the Surfboard galaxy. I'd forgotten just how much fainter galaxies are compared with Messier open clusters that usually show up in my finder. Then I went down to Phecda and had great difficulty but managed to just see M109-known since ancient times as the Vacuum Cleaner galaxy. Then over to Megrez and picked up the double called M40. Interesting only for being out of place in the Messier catalogue, I bet we've all gone for a sneaky look just to cross it off our lists, and that's just what I did.

As a bit of an intermission, I did some open clusters and new magnification gave different views and I looked at a couple of doubles- a low Sigma Orionis gave up the fourth star without a fight. Once Leo had passed south, that area of sky was free enough of light pollution to go for more galaxies. As my fingers lost their feeling I caught glimpses of M95 M96 and M105.

It was a wonderful crisp clear night with four new objects for my scrapbook. On the down side, wrestling with a padlock and chain at minus 2 is unpleasant and the exertion of carrying heavy kit home made my fingers thaw out at a speed which made them burn in agony. Still- no pain, no gain.

Thanks for reading.

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What an absolutely fantastic report, and a great triumph for the 4" frac brigade and for the SkyWatcher ED.  You deserve a medal!  Unfortunately i don't have a medal in my emoticons list, so you can have a trophy instead! ???

Of course there's the amazing skill of the observer to consider as well! :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

 

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Great report Dom, proves that you don’t always need a light bucket to enjoy the fainter stuff. There’s a lot you’ve described that I haven’t seen yet.

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Portable, clear views of planets, nebulae and double stars; what's not to like! You can take a frac by foot to a remote, dark hillside...and as an observer for many years, have found my observational skills have improved to the point where I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw with the 8"...so smaller telescopes should not be written off! :)

Enjoyed reading your post; thank you.

1 + for the Frac Pack although I am an honourary member of the Dob Mob (honourary as I have big dobsonian telescopes haven't been to a dobfest yet).  :D

 

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Thank you Domstar for the nice report and obviously you are persistent to observe with such cold weather!

Bigger is not necessarily better as you demonstrated--Thank you

Keep warm!

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Great stuff. Another awesome report. Brilliant that you picked up so many galaxies in the frac :) M97 is a wonderful target too. Did you try a filter on it?

Edited by Littleguy80
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5 hours ago, domstar said:

@mikeDnight Wow, thanks. You were the one who reassured me that observing dsos in a 4 inch was doable and rewarding before I committed to getting one. I'm still grateful.

I'm so pleased you decided to go for the 4" ED Dom. You are certainly in good company as there seems to be a rapidly growing  4" refractor fan club on SGL, and as your observations show, there's a very good reason for it. Your list of observed objects proves you are both a determined and keen eyed observer with a very good telescope. I'm sure there'll be many more adventures along with painful fingers ahead. :thumbsup:

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An excellent report domstar.  I think one reason a four inch is so under-rated for deep sky is the fact that most of us observe under less than ideal conditions.  My home views are not too bad, but every Autumn I go to Kelling Heath star party where the conditions are so much better that any telescope will perform as good as one with twice the aperture compared with the skies at home.  Whilst the Moon and planets have always been top of my list, I have to admit most of my deep sky observing is done over four nights at Kelling every year!  Even the best nights I have at home are a poor imitation I'm afraid.

Having said that, skies aren't everything: skill, persistence and tenacity are  great assets, and you have them in spades.

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Congrats on a superb night. M108 is a struggle to see in my 3" frac from the UK, so much clearer from France, as where many of the galaxies. Soon be time to look into Virgo; you'll have great fun with all the objects there. Good hunting!

Chris

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I agree UK skies are only a shadow of what they were 30 years ago, when every Messier object was easily visible on any clear night in a pair of 60mm binoculars. The biggest contributor to poor seeing in the UK is the rediculous number af aircraft polluting our skies and creating continuous turbulence. GROUND THE PLANES! If you fly you're guilty!! ?:bino2:

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I sometimes use a smaller aperture at home to search for faint stuff. It is indeed very rewarding and gives a different perspective. Sometimes, I sketch what I see in the 4" and then check it with a larger aperture.

 

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@Littleguy80 I have Paul73's old UHC filter currently (I hope) winging it's way from my mum's to the Czech Republic. I did think about it when I saw the Owl and I paid it less attention thinking I would soon have better views. As long as it gets here before Sagittarius is in the evening sky, I'll be happy. Actually, forget that- I want it NOW. What is it with stargazing and patience? 

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47 minutes ago, domstar said:

@Littleguy80 I have Paul73's old UHC filter currently (I hope) winging it's way from my mum's to the Czech Republic. I did think about it when I saw the Owl and I paid it less attention thinking I would soon have better views. As long as it gets here before Sagittarius is in the evening sky, I'll be happy. Actually, forget that- I want it NOW. What is it with stargazing and patience? 

Awesome. A UHC filter on M8, The Lagoon Nebula, was one of absolute favourite views last summer. Works really well on M27 too. I have lots of planned purchases which I also want now, now, NOW! If only my bank balance was more supportive of my wants ;) 

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The Lagoon, Triffid, Swan and Eagle (plus the other smaller NGC's) from the far end @Littleguy80, in my frac are superb; in your new dob, they will be breathtaking!

May 31st last year Tom L came to tell me he was last man and locking up at about 1am...We started at M11 and packed up at about 3am when it became too light!

Fingers crossed we get a clear night or two

Chris

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13 minutes ago, Cjg said:

The Lagoon, Triffid, Swan and Eagle (plus the other smaller NGC's) from the far end @Littleguy80, in my frac are superb; in your new dob, they will be breathtaking!

May 31st last year Tom L came to tell me he was last man and locking up at about 1am...We started at M11 and packed up at about 3am when it became too light!

Fingers crossed we get a clear night or two

Chris

Awesome. Sagittarius sits right in the LP from Norwich at home. Thee Swan was another absolute favourite last summer. Really can’t wait to see it all from Seething this year! The dob needs it maiden trip to Seething too. Hopefully the weather sorts itself out soon! 

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On ‎22‎-‎3‎-‎2018 at 17:09, domstar said:

I bet we've all gone for a sneaky look just to cross it off our lists, and that's just what I did.

Makes you wonder...how on Earth did it make the List.

Some nice objects you visit, I Always like to see the Owl and the surfboard together in the eyepiece.

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11 hours ago, Eastman said:

Makes you wonder...how on Earth did it make the List.

Apparently, somebody else (Hevelius) wrote about an object at those coordinates and Messier couldn't find it but put the double on his list anyway. It's considered likely that Messier's telescope wasn't big enough to see a nearby galaxy that might've been the original object. Messiers's notes even say there's nothing there and he thought Hevelius had made a mistake.

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