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Mr_Simnock

45 minutes with the 16x70s

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After coming home from a pub quiz I noticed the clouds had gone elsewhere briefly so decided to pop out and have a gander at the heavens. After reading this months binocular sky news letter the previous night for some inspiration on possible targets I decided to first have a look around Scutum and Serpens_cauda, an area of the sky I am quite unfamiliar with. This is due to light pollution mainly from Preston and Blackburn, the area almost always has a grey washed out look. Nonetheless I set up the bino's in hope and had a look and after a bit of searching around (and skipping back to my PC just to confirm via Hallo northern sky I was looking at the right area) I came across M16. Both it and M17 were the most pathetic week smudges just visible against the background haze and light pollution, high clouds hanging around didn't help either. I did spend a while observing M24, such a nice open cluster. I then tried to look for M10 and M12 in Ophiuchus but to no avail although I did take a peek at IC4655. I then decided to try and spot M101 in Ursa Major next but found it to be to faint to bother with tonight, save that for when I next go to Ribble Head again possibly this weekend to observe the Perseid's. So after that it was on to Cassiopeia for a sweep of the stars. I managed to fit the double cluster and the strong man cluster in one view (which was nice) and a very quick look at NGC457. However my main interest was could could I spot the comet (21p/Giacobini-Zinner)? And the answer was yes. With direct vision it phased in and out of view as light and small smudge but with averted vision an obvious fuzzy ball with a slightly brighter core was visible, not sure if any tail was there but I got hints at times there was something there, looking forward to viewing  in September. To wrap up I had another glance at M16, M17 and M24 again, by now some of the light cloud had passed and M18 was now visible, Saturn had now just slowly drifted below a roof out of site too. All in all I had a good if not to long observing session, quite chuffed.

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Nice session, sometimes you can't beat binoculars for a quick session

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11 hours ago, Mr_Simnock said:

not sure if any tail was there but I got hints at times there was something there,

Yes, I had the same experience a few nights ago - not sure whether it was merely averted imagination 😀.

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7 hours ago, BinocularSky said:

Yes, I had the same experience a few nights ago - not sure whether it was merely averted imagination 😀.

Even under very good skies, with 30% more light with the 16x80 bins compared to the 16x70s the tail only showed faintly in averted vision. It is there, but very faint indeed.

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Well I've been out again for another 45 mins but this time (on Friday night just gone) I was at Ribble Head (that of railway viaduct fame). Well what a difference a 45 minute drive can give you, another magnitude of stars to look at is one of them. Had to pitch up near the road which did get a bit bothersome during the night as even close to midnight many cars drove past (going where is anyone's guess) temporarily spoiling my dark adapted eyes. Only saw one Perseid though but at least it was a whopper. The comet now was much more obvious with its brighter core visible with direct vision surrounded by a gossamer glow but the tail was still an elusive ghost with diverted vision at best. M81 and M82 were now easy targets with M81 showing a slightly brighter center to it and M101 also showing itself that bit better (still just a large glow) than back home. M31 and M110 were easy peasy and also I had good look at M33 which I haven't seen in at least 10 years, a wonderful large white glow. Best of all was the area M24 now a bright host of stars against a much darker sky although the specter of light pollution was still present. M11 was amazing, a big bright clump of stars I don't think I've seen for a very long time and M16 and M17 were now obvious bright patches with M17 showing a bright triangular structure. M23 was a dense mottle of stars and for the first time I spotted M8, just a patch of faint glow around the central 2 stars, M20 though I couldn't see at all. When I returned back to M11 I did also notice, and had a good look at, some of the milky way to the right of it as light patches of the milky way were visible between it's dust clouds, not seen that before in binoculars. All in all a great short observing session and also making me look forward to this autumn and winter when I shall be returning back to Ribble Head with my 16x70's.

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