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Binocular firsts for me


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Staying in mid Wales and the night sky is beautiful, clear last night and even with a very bright moon, it was still better than my light polluted skies in East Yorkshire. I walked down the farm track away from the barn we are staying in with the aim of getting some nice widefield shots to produce star trails over the buildings and hillside (I will post when back home and processed).

I found a spot and set the camera going, one problem was I accidentally moved it ever so slightly while reviewing so not sure how complete the trails will be. I'll have about 40 x 15 seconds in one position and 70 x 15 seconds just off a bit. We'll see. 

Anyway, what to do for an hour!  Good job I had my Celestron 15 x 70's. Slightly heavy hand held but I had a good look around while patiently waiting for my tripod to be released from its camera duties. Once on the tripod it was stunning. The Pleiades always rewards filling the FOV with hundreds of stars. On to other familiar targets, M42, Betelgeuse, Sirius, The Double Cluster, and Mizar/Alcor. All looked so clear and more crisp than at home. 

Then I set out to bag some binocular firsts for me and I got a few. Starting with easy to find globular Cluster M13 in Hercules to show me what I could expect, and it was lovely. Seemed more than just a smudge. Up to M92 and after a bit of consulting my Sky Guide app, there it was, smaller than M13 but again, more than a smudge, I was sure I could make stars out but that could have just been my imagination. Moving higher to find The Whirlpool Galaxy M51, this time it was just a smudge, but it was there all the same and so was The Pinwheel Galaxy M101, but it needed a bit of averted vision. 

The next ones were a bit more tricky, but with averted vision I could make them out, The Leo Triplet. Again, fine tuning my search with Skyguide, and a bit of star hopping there they were. 

I put the camera back on the tripod for some widefield shots of the areas I'd been looking at set off back to the barn, some warmth, and bed. 

Altogether, a great couple of hours. 

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