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Not often I post in this section, but last night I finally had some working equipment and clear skies (with some moon...)
So had a go at M27- The Dumbbell.
I'm still learning how to process, and trying to figure out flats still. But I'll get there.
14 Lights - 800iso x 300 Seconds
No Darks (Wanted to go to bed... it was getting late...)
Astronomical twilight ends 6:18pm
Transparency: 4/5 to 3/5 (above average to average)
Seeing: 3/5 (average)
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Elevation: 4997 ft. (1523 m.)
Bortle 6 to 7 skies depending upon which direction you're looking.
The Double Cluster is pretty clear tonight. I can see it in my binoculars as well.
M31 is very clear, and in the Binoculars as well.
I then try and catch M8 which is just barely above the building down the hill from me. The time is 5:40pm MST. M8 gives up it’s nebulosity only using the LP filter I use. Orion UltraBlock Narrowband LP filter.
I find M20, M21, M23, M10, M24 with my telescope (8SE) and then:
At 6:15 pm, I go for M22, this is a new object for me. M22 is nice and clear, with good granularity, and some individual stars using the 17mm which gives me 119x. This is usually the best globular cluster eyepiece so i leave it in there for the next object. But before I do that, I decide I’m going to find M22 with the 10x50’s using my red dot star pointer. Note: The nice 9x50 RACI finder scope I’m thinking about will not be usable in this way like the crappy little star pointer does. A telrad would be nice I suppose and certainly it's clear why people like them. I'm just looking into making my 8SE non-GOTO (because I'm clearly a star hopper at heart and really want a 16 inch minimum travel dob from Hubble Optics). We shall see if i really even need to do that since I'm actually successfully using the 8SE to teach me the sky. Since I'm taking notes and all.
I actually am able to find M22 with my cheap 10x50 bino’s. Fuzzy little ball but definitely there and visible to my binoculars.
Next up: M55. It’s roughly 6:27pm MST and I continued through my list. M55 is a nice bright glob tonight. I get down and peer through the star pointer and gauge which section of sky I’m looking for and stand up, put the bino’s to my eyes and with very little searching I found M55!
Next was M25, not sure I found that with my binos really.
Then I was at M18, M17, M16 all three were lovely. It was roughly 6:48pm by then. Because I was mainly looking for nebulosity I didn’t try these three with the 10x50’s. I’m sure i should have.
I catch a glimpse of M76 when I thought I was slewing to M16 in the prior group. I thought, what a waste of battery power. I looked at it briefly, and slewed back to the object on the list, M16.
Next was M11 which I then found with my 10x50’s. A nice little dusting of stars in the binoculars!
Following that was M13 which gave a particularly clear view this evening. I have been looking at star charts for quite a while now, and I have something of a photographic memory (comes in handy during band practice!). So I used the star pointer to give me the section of sky. This section of sky is really hard to look at and not loose your dark adaptation. I use an eyepatch and a black t-shirt pulled over my head backwards as a hood to keep stray ground light out. But trying to find something in the sky and star hop to M13 seems really not doable to me. However, the star pointer does show me where M13 is and I find it easily between Eta and Zeta Herculis. Just southwest? Of Eta Herculis.
Now, this is the cool part. Because I’ve looked so often at the Hercules constellation, I had a good idea that you just went back to Eta and then you could find M92 between Eta and Iota Herculis. Slightly more than halfway.
And there it is, a short star hop after finding M13, I find M92 without the telescope helping me. From a star chart in my memory. Awesome.
Emboldened by this additional object added to my list of things I’ve seen with my 10x50 binos, I went back to Cassiopeia and hunted around there using the 10x50's to look for NGC 663 and NGC 7789. I definitely see NGC 663. I find M45, Hyades, Aldebaran, I use Delta and Gamma Cas to point me towards NGC 884 and NGC 869 aka the Double Cluster. As always, it is beautiful to see. I really like the 10x50’s. Really looking forward to the 20x80’s I’m getting next.
Next I aimed my 8SE towards M57. I tried to see that with my 10x50’s but couldn’t. I thought I did but couldn’t confirm it.
About 7:30pm MST I slewed over to M56. This is a nice Globular. Bright, granularity, some individual stars. Very nice. I go for this one in the bino’s and there it is!
At 7:39 or so, M27 was up in the 8SE and i tried for that with the 10x50’s and I do believe I found that as well!
M71 right after that, and yes, I did in fact use the 10x50’s on this object and found it as well. From M71 I found the Coathanger Cluster. So there are a couple new, easy to find (i think) objects M27 and M71 between Deneb and Altair just south of the coathanger cluster. I’m sure I can do better at star hopping but this is a lot of fun making my 8SE actually teach me something.
M29, the cooling tower, very nice in the scope, very not found in the bino’s. I’ve been looking for this object in the binos for a while. It’s pretty easy to know where it is, there all close to Deneb and all. It being just south and above of Gamma Cygni. But seeing the cooling tower in the 10x50’s might be impossible. Maybe the 20x80’s.
I went on to M15 around 7:43 pm MST. Very bright! Wow, this is amazingly bright! I handily found this in my binos as well!.
M2, M73, M72 all found first by the 8SE and then by star pointer to my binos.
Right at 8:00 pm MST I saw M30 on the list. I know this is a new object. So my crazy memory tells me. So i slew to M30 and gaze upon its beauty for many minutes in the 8SE. I find it easily in my binos with the help of my telescope.
Last couple objects on the list:
M77 - 8:09 pm MST this is only visible by slewing the telescope and introducing motion. I did not find it with the 10x50’s.
M76, which was given a glimpse earlier was not findable by my lazy, about to call it a night, eye.
The temperature was 36 degrees and my hands were beginning to hurt from the cold a bit. The thought of going inside and playing guitar instead of freezing in the somewhat stout wind (6 or 7 miles per hour) is probably why I couldn’t find the little dumbbell nebula.
I see one object on my list from that night I skipped. M34. It keeps getting on the list then falling off at the last minute… it’s still early in the season for that object though. Although I didn’t even stay out long enough to see Orion coming up (over the tree).
I thought to myself, as I packed things up around 8:20pm MST, that was a pretty short session. But it was action packed with lots of new bino objects found!
Tonight (11-14-17) the transparency is “transparent” it is supposed to be cloud free but the seeing is bad (1/5) to poor (2/5) and 20 mile an hour winds. So no star gazing with anything but Binoculars in a parka on a zero gravity chair for me tonight.
I'll let you know how many of those new targets I can see tonight. Pretty sure I’ll be able to find M13 and M92. M27 and M71 will be trickier But I think I can find M30 again.
I'm going outside to try in a few minutes here after I post this.
By Victor Boesen
Tonight was the best night out in a long time. The last couple of days the sky has been crystal clear, and today is friday, which meant nothing was on the schedule for tomorrow.
Scope, filters and eyepieces:
Today, I was using my one and only Skywatcher 10" dob, with my collection of explorer scientific 82 degree eyepieces. For the first time in a long time, I also used my CLS filter.
Before I headed out, I decided to have a look at skysafari 5 to see what I should have a look at this clear evening.
Tonights list ended up including:
M13 looked fabulous as always, but I can't quite bag the propeller. I was resolving stars nicely, even a couple in the center, when using averted vision. I think M13 looks the best at 136x and sometimes at 255x, however most of the times I think the image is too dark when observing at 255x.
M92 was a surprise. Locating it was surprisingly easy, as I through the finderscope could just see it as a little faint dot. Looking at it through the scope was amazing. It was not as big as M13, but at 136x it looked very nice, and sometimes, it almost looked like the stars formed a smiley:-) Surprisingly I was also able to resolve a good amount of stars in this cluster, but not as many as in M13.
Now I know this wasn't on the list but I thought I had to give it a go when I saw it on skysafari. NGC6229! Also located in Hercules, and via starhopping also easy to find. This was the smallest one of them all, but the most rewarding since this was my first object from the New General Catalogue (NGC). I was also using 136x at this target, because this is the most comfortable magnification in my opinion. I was only resolving one or two stars in this target, but it was easily visable, just as a bright smudge.
M57 is by far my favorite object (out of the few objects I have seen). The contrast and shape of it gives me the WOW feeling everytime I observe it. Now this target I was observing comfortably at 255x and it looked amazing! Now this was where it popped in the CLS filter which almost made it look like the red outer-part of the nebula was visable, but this faded soon after. While observing this target for about 20min I was thinking if a UHC or a OIII would give me better or the same views?
M27 was kind of disappointing, but I just think I have overestimated how it would look like, but it was still a very nice view it gave me at 136x and 85x. The dumbbell shape became more visable over time, but I think the thing I like more about M57 compared to M27 is the contrast between sky and nebula.
In the end it was one of my best nights I have had with my new (5 months old) scope. I have yet to try it at my grandma and grandpas' where the milky way is visable, and I am very excited to do just that.