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By Anthony RS
Any idea where I can find an M54 female to M60 male ring adapter? I need to order it online since there arent any astroshops where I live so I'd really appreciate if someone can link me to such an adapter.
Basically I have a TS Optics 2" Adapter with compression Ring for Skywatcher Newtonians, TSM54-2 and I need to use it for my celestron newtonian which has a 60mm drawtube so I'll need some sort of adapter.
By Double Kick Drum
I have just got back from a week away in Cornwall, close to Crackington Haven on the Northeast coast. I only had a couple of clear nights, the first of which was affected by a Moon just past full.
The second clear night (Thursday) was Moon free until about 01:30 hrs on Friday morning and so I crammed as much as I could into two hours under a very dark sky with quite low Southern horizons. Admittedly the sky doesn’t quite reach astronomical darkness at this time of year but despite that, it was at least 0.7 of a magnitude better than the very best night at my home observing site: the Milky Way was visible all the way down to Sagittarius.
I started with M9 in Ophiuchus, which was easily found and appeared quite bright and condensed. M107 was larger and more diffuse in comparison but none the less much more prominent than I have ever observed before.
Slightly further West, close to the bright red Antares was M4, a very large diffuse fuzz which seemed to be quite irregular in shape and consistency for a globular cluster: it seemed to have a line through the centre. M80 took a little more patience to find but came through as a small and condensed ball.
I then spent a little time looking at some more obvious targets in favourable conditions. M13 could be resolved a little further than usual but both this and M11 (the Wild Duck cluster) were only marginally better.
What was noticeably better was M27 (the Dumbbell nebula). The characteristic shape was very prominent and the nebula was very bright.
M51 and companion NGC 5195 were probably the biggest improvement on previous sightings. Both cores were very bright and the surrounding nebulosity was easy to see directly and appeared larger. Additionally, I could pick up the subtle hint structure in the Messier, not obvious spirals but definitely a hint. Stunning!
After a quick peek at M10 and M12 in Ophiuchus, I moved further South and found M62, which was brighter than I anticipated. Just to the North was M19, another new globular find, only slightly inferior.
Finally, with Sagittarius more prominent, I viewed two more globular clusters. The very impressive M22 was easier to partially resolve than from home. The cluster is normally slightly washed out from light pollution. M28 was another new one for me.
By this time, the 55% Moon had risen and so I called it a night. Six new objects ticked off the Messier list (now at 97) and some improved observations of old friends made me one happy bunny. Pity I didn’t get one more clear night to bag some of the really low Messiers, like M54 and M70.
Observing Session: Thursday / Friday 30th / 31st May 2013, 23:30 hrs to 01:30 hrs BST
VLM at Zenith: 6.1 (at least)
New - Revisited - Failed
By Double Kick Drum
Having barely enough time to let the ink dry on my last report, here's another from last night.
Having missed my opportunity last night, I found an angle to view Corvus through a small gap in the foliage, target:- the Antennae galaxies. This pair were reasonably easy to locate and have a high surface brightness (well, for galaxies). Unfortunately their low elevation was a big hinderence. My semi-rural skies did allow me to see the subtlest wisp with a little persistence but it is impossible to be sure what part of the Antennae that was. This presents me with a small ethical dilemma, namely what do I record in my notes. I most probably saw the brighter interacting area but could only see one 'fuzz' and was nowhere near separating the pair into identifiable elements. The brighter of the pair is NGC 4039 (Caldwell 61) and at the moment, I am going for that option with a caveat in my notes. If I had have been able to discern a heart shape or something similar, I would have entered both. Any ideas?
My next target was far less controversial. NGC 5248 (Caldwell 45) was identified by starting at Epsilon Virginis and heading just over the Bootes border. Another subtle and soft galactic radiance but easier to see than the previous object.
With a low Southeastern horizon (down to five degrees or so) I next revisited M107 which I have only ever had a fleeting glimpse at. As part of an unmistakable asterism to the South of Zeta Ophiuchi, it is easy to find but once again its poor elevation meant that I was just about able to see it using all the usual tricks.
My final challenging object was NGC 5363, a galaxy to the North of Tau Virginis. This was the easiest of the new finds in the session.
Fed up with looking at inconsequential blobs, I thought I would turn my attention to more rewarding objects. Given both were now favourable, I did a comparison of M5 in Serpens with M13 in Hercules with the 8mm X-Cel. In my opinion, M13 is the slightly more rewarding to view. I was able to resolve more stars and the Herculean glob seemed to be slightly less uniform and show hints of star chains, as opposed to a large fuzzy ball with some resolution. My only additional comment on M5 was that I though it looked very very slightly elliptical.
I finished up with Saturn in the 5mm X-Cel, which is presenting itself in a very aesthetically pleasing way at the moment. Titan and Iapetus were very obvious, Rhea (betwen Titan and the planet) could occasionally be seen directly and Tethys just about peeked through the glow with some technique (moving the planet out of the field of view worked a couple of times). Viewing the moons really highlights just how much poor conditions alter what is possible. Iapetus at magnitude 11.2 was almost a clear as Titan in the outer glow of Saturn. Rhea (at magnitude 9.8) was quite tough in denser planet glow and Tethys (at magnitude 10.3) was only just possible in similar glow, the other side of Saturn.
Keep those clear nights rolling!
Observing Session: Friday / Saturday 2nd / 3rdMay 2013, 22:35 hrs to 00:25 hrs BST
VLM at Zenith: 5.2
New - Revisited - Failed
By Double Kick Drum
Having missed out on a couple of clear nights with other commitments this month, I was glad to get out last night for only the second time this April. At 10:20pm, it still wasn't quite astronomically dark but the sky was already looking very clear.
I had planned to skip across Mankarian's chain and search for NGC 4216, NGC 4365, NGC 4486, NGC 4261, NGC 4568, NGC 4654, NGC 4371 in Virgo and NGC 4725 in Coma Berenices but never got that far for getting side tracked with five new galaxies to me on the galaxy hopping route.
I started (as I usually do) from Epsilon Virginis toward HD112278 and then moved on to NGC 4754 and NGC 4762, which both showed up quite readily in the 8mm X-Cel eyepiece. I then headed West by Northwest through the bright trio of M60, M59 and M58 before dropping South to see NGC 4564 and the Siamese Twins. I cannot be certain I saw both but NGC 4568 was just about possible. I was unclear how close the core of the slightly feinter NGC 4567 was to the other galaxy and was also repeatedly throw by two nearby stars of magnitudes 11.3 and 12.3.
A quick naked eye check on the sky identified a number of stars in Melotte 111.
I popped the 15mm eyepiece back in to navigate up to M87 (perhaps the brightest of the night). I switched back to the 8mm once found for a closer look and noticed a feinter galaxy NGC 4478 to the West. At magnitude 11.4, it is close to my limit but after five or ten minutes of viewing, I was seeing it like a football (to coin a cricketing phrase). NGC 4476 was sadly beyond me.
Westward again took me to NGC 4440, a much harder target but still just about visible using all the tricks at my disposal. At magnitude 11.7, it is the feintest fuzzy I have seen to date. The two feinter companions NGC 4431 and NGC 4436 were not possible to view.
From there, I headed North toward Mankarian's chain. First up were the Eyes (NGC 4435 and NGC 4438) which were instantly detectable. M86 and M84 were bright but I spent some time trying to tease out some of the feinter companions. NGC 4388 made an equiliateral triangle with the two Messiers but NGC 4387 and NGC 4402 were not possible.
I then moved back up the chain towards Coma Berenices and managed to find NGC 4461 just before the border and finished with spotting NGC 4473 and NGC 4477: my only Coma galaxies of the night.
18 galaxies in an hour and a half and five new ones included in that made a great return to the night sky.
Observing Session: Monday 30th April 2013, 22:20 hrs to 23:50 hrs BST
VLM at Zenith: 5.3 - 5.4
New - Revisited - Failed