Recently Browsing 0 members
No registered users viewing this page.
Last night the skies were mostly clear, but the devils orb was high and bright . I checked the weather forecast and it was showing a mixed bag all night.
I had a decision to make?
(a) Take 2 hours now (with the moon) maybe some doubles or (b) go to bed and come out when the moon had gone home for the night?
- -Whilst watching an old episode of Prime Suspect, I pondered my quandary…
Then, decision made = go to bed and GAMBLE!
Set the alarm for 3-30am and off to bed I went...
I awoke at 2-50, scanned the room for moon light, not too bad so up I get & head downstairs to check outside…
- -Oh, it’s gloomy. Only the main constellation stars are visible and there is a misty low cloud.
- -Well I’m up now, I can give it 30mins (ever the optimist!)…
Twenty minutes later, another check…
- -There are more stars than before
- -Seems less low cloud
- -I’ll give it another 10 minutes…
Repeat the check, things are definitely improving, so I decide to get all my warm gear on and waste no more time sitting around.
Ten minutes later, I’m ready to head outside. I open the door and… its clearer still so “here we go”…
Into the shed, setup the CPC1100. Choose the Ethos21 and plug in the eyepiece heater along with the double heater tapes on the CPC.
Brrr, it’s cold. Give up with the fingerless gloves and straight to the full gloves – that’s better!
Slid open the roof to absolute silence – you can’t beat the middle of the night, it’s so quiet and very few lights I’m pleased to say!
- - Had a nervous peep as the roof slid open, it wouldn’t be the first time that it clouds over while I am setting up. But No, it’s still good out there…
Fired up the starsense, and had a look around while it did its magic!
- - Leo looks well placed. I’ve got the Plough overhead.
Alignment complete. Scope’s ready!
With the plough above, there can be only one first target…
11. M51 Whirlpool
Scope slews around, I move my chair into position and wait…
Well, there it is (dead centre of course), two spiral arms on show (with some staring and imagination of course – my eye’s not “in” yet). No bridge visible, maybe I’ll return later
One of my favourites since I moved to Cumbria. A hopeless target from my old house, but now…
There she is, big and round (No, not the wife!). Two nice clumpy bits (that I’ve seen before). No definable arms but plenty to look at as I take my time and slew around nice & slow, taking in some of the details I can tease out. If the sky stays with me then I’ll be back for another look later (he hopes)
Another galaxy that “used to be” crap! Now, its another story, it seems bigger than I remember and bright too. Happy with that, I am!
A favourite of mine (since the supernova a few years back). The core was very bright and the length was impressive too (or so I thought…)
55. M81 obvious next target
This used to be M82’s poor neighbour, but from my new house it can give M82 a run for it’s money! Not always though!. This morning however, its good – big and round – bigger than the last time (29Jan)
The E21 didn’t split the smaller pair in the double double (unlike last time), close but not quite.
66. 4631 Whale glx
I have not managed to get to the whale so far this year, so I had it in my mind, get in there early before I forget.
It’s a great galaxy. Fills the FOV (bigger the M82 for example) and takes some time to have a good look around. Great!
77. 4565 needle glx
I was here in January but the view was not the best. Bam! Tonight it IS a needle across the E21 wide FOV. Definite highlight of the morning. Don’t think I’ve seen it this good before!
88. More galaxies close by M64 (no black eye) & 4559
I double take, is that a supernova in M85? Quick, grab the ipad… [removed word], there it is, “a field star”. Never mind, M85 sure looks good sitting there with it’s buddy NGC4394 sitting nearby
110. Sky is getting darker now, I go lower into Markarian’s chain, type M84 into the handset…
Right, I look into the eyepiece and the thought “where have all these galaxies come from” enters my mind. 1,2,3,4,5 wasn’t expecting that. Of course, this is my first trip into the chain with a 100 degree eyepiece… Well, it was then as I pan right and up through the chain, galaxy after galaxy. My notes say “M84-> 4-> 3-> 2->1->2”, that’s 13 galaxies. I even got lost at one point as I spotted a big galaxy in the top corner of the eyepiece, went up to have a look and found some more. Had to slew back to M84 and start again
*** Now, I see why we need 100 degree eyepieces ***
111. Onto M88, M89, M90, M99 & a nice pair 4550&4551
I’m starting to feel cold now. My toes are “on the brink” but push on… Trying not to think about the skies but thanking the man upstairs for sticking with my plan to get out early!
I glance over the side of the shed wall and it’s “Hello Cygnus”, “Hello Milky Way” – conditions have really improved
112. Revisit M51 & M101
Now my eye is “in”, got to go back for another look…
M51 had improved. The dark areas in between the dust lanes were much blacker, helping the lanes to stand out. The bridge was in and out but a glimpse is a glimpse is a glimpse!
M101 was about the same, couldn’t tease anything extra out of her.
113. On we go! I can sense the oncoming of the light so stay up high with 4244 silver needle glx
Very nice indeed. Very long side on galaxy. Not as bright as the needle but I’m not complaining
114. 4490&4485 Cocoon glx’s
Two galaxies in the process of merging. One big, one small. They are interesting to view as you ponder the fact that they are distorting each other out of shape as they come around to pass through each other for the second time (according to sky safari!)
115. M63, Bright core and surrounding disk too.
116. M13 globular cluster
I’m in the vicinity, & not tried either of the Ethos on it yet so lets give it a go...
E21, its lovely and bright. Stars to the core but she will take more power…
E13, that’s better. A lovely sight, now “I can see stars”!
-- M51 & Ethos13
I wonder? The E13 is in, what would M51 look like at over x200? Only one way to find out. Slew over...
M51 fills pretty much the full FOV. I can see spirals but not clearly.
It’s hard to draw a clear conclusion. It was a big view but I am not sure it was better than the E21.
-- Let’s try M82… over we go.
Similar, its bigger but not much better. Closer to the E21 view this time…
I need to experiment more. Maybe an E17 would have been the killer view (but I don’t own one of those?)
** My new scope will be 2000mm focal length so the E13 should drop right into the killer view zone, I’ll have to be patient and wait another month **
117. Nearly finished now, time for M102 spindle (not viewed this too often)
It was small & bright. Not really a spindle.
Light is coming now, so time for the finale … Jupiter.
This is my third attempt of 2017, two previous goes were rubbish. Conditions were better and I could at least get a decent focus on the planet with the E21. (E13 was too much for it). I bunged in the Baader Neodymium Filter (which I find useful on planets) and was able to tease out some blue bits in the banding BUT its pretty thin pickings compared to previous years.
I had a plan to watch the GRS but my feet are now cold and the view wasn’t promising enough to keep me out there so time to pack up had come.
It was 6-00am, I had a bonus two and half hours of galaxy heaven Markarian’s chain was the highlight for sure
I slid the roof shut to the sound of breaking ice on the roof tracks confirming what my toes were telling me – it was cold.
Switched the lights on.
The dew shield and Borg89 (that rides on top) were thick with ice. More ice than the 27Jan report!
I left one layer of clothes on and got into bed. I was very cold and it took quite a while before I started to warm up!
I hope the weather god’s continue to show mercy as we move into the best time of the year (according to me) – Galaxy season!
** Got news last week that my new 20” mirror is completed and has gone off for coatings. Fingers crossed, I will get to re-tread these steps before this great season is passed. Should be something to savour
Hope you enjoyed it,