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Beulah

14th April - 12" Dob + Dark Skies = Magic

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Beulah    3,017

The weather has been a bit pants in these parts (Mid Wales) so I was well chuffed when the clouds parted as predicted. There was a three hour clear sky window available so I took it!

Setting up the 12" took minutes and I was off...

First up was M81 and M82.
M81 was bright with a clearly seen core and M82 at 60x revealed the central rift. 250revealed lumpy texture to the galaxy which I suppose was the brighter core obscured by dust clouds from the galaxy itself.

M3 in Coma Berenices: at 150 x, bright pinpricks of stars were visible right to the core. I always think this globular cluster is very neatly arranged and it was fantastic studying it for a while, using averted vision to see if any more stars would come into sight. I wasn't disappointed!

Looking for M53, I was a bit peeved when I discovered quite a dim, diffuse and uneven DSO. I don't recall M53 looking this bad, even under rural/urban skies. I was expecting a lot better with truly dark skies. In the morning I checked the charts and discovered I had found NGC 5053 instead. Quite chuffed to find a dim globular cluster!

Over to Gemini which was heading West...I have only seen NGC 2392 (Eskimo Nebula) a few times this year but wanted to give it a last study before it disappeared for the season. Quite a small object but distinct from stars as it has a luminous blue/green tinge to it. Normally I can ascertain a bright core with a fuzzy outer shell but this time, 150x - 250x magnification, averted and direct vision resolved new detail: a bright, sharp central star, an uneven inner layer and a distinct outer layer. Very pleased about this and proves the point that repeated observations can bring out new features!

M97 (Owl Nebula): Always surprising to see how large this object is. On very still nights, an eye can be normally seen and this time I could almost make out a central, darkened region. Whilst I was seaching for this object I was pleased to have accidentally discovered NGC 3738 and NGC 3756! Both galaxies fitted into the field of view with my 25mm plossl.

I spent the next hour looking at galaxies and was able to find the following:

M51: Spiral arms were visible at 60x and took higher magnifications well. I could ascertain the link between the two galaxies.

M108:  Pleasing sharp shape to galaxy with uniform brightness.

M64:  Looked like a regular galaxy; bright central core. This was a distraction from finding the Needle Galaxy and I didn't get round to finding that!

As it was the end of the session I decided to scan the Virgo and Leo region for galaxies and was able to identify the following: Leo Triplet,  NGC 4438 and NGC 4435 (The Eyes) and NGC 2903. Every time I moved the scope more galaxies came into view and I gave up trying to ID them! I had not realised how many could be seen with a moderately large scope under dark skies!

That's it for now - and due to the weather we have been having I will be surprised if the next clear, dark sky won't occur until astro-dark comes back in later on in the year...  :D

 

 

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David Levi    293

Great report. It sounds like a really enjoyable observing session. It's surprising how late astro-dark is now. Well after 10pm.

On the subject of weather - get your sleep in now as it's going to be clear from Wednesday onwards. Getting excited already.

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estwing    4,820

We had great night on Saturday too Sam...triplet was good wasn't it!...clear skies 

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Beulah    3,017
1 hour ago, estwing said:

We had great night on Saturday too Sam...triplet was good wasn't it!...clear skies 

Out my way, were you? Or up N Wales? :)

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Beulah    3,017
2 hours ago, David Levi said:

Great report. It sounds like a really enjoyable observing session. It's surprising how late astro-dark is now. Well after 10pm.

On the subject of weather - get your sleep in now as it's going to be clear from Wednesday onwards. Getting excited already.

Thanks David.

Wednesday and Thursday's a bit dicey as I have to be up early for work...  :(

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estwing    4,820
3 hours ago, Beulah said:

Out my way, were you? Or up N Wales? :)

You know where..😉 Past Garth turn right 🌲🌲🌲🌲🔭🌲🌲🌲

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I recently bought another member's 12" Newtonian, your report has upped my excitement levels for when I can get it to my own dark site, which likely won't be until August, perhaps June...

In anticipation, Magnus

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Beulah    3,017
2 hours ago, Captain Magenta said:

I recently bought another member's 12" Newtonian, your report has upped my excitement levels for when I can get it to my own dark site, which likely won't be until August, perhaps June...

In anticipation, Magnus

Yeah, it's a perfect scope, we forget how well the 'smaller' scopes perform under skies with little or no light pollution.

M42 through the 8" dob in a very dark sky just looks like a mini version I see in my 16"!!

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