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Mayall II


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To begin this year’s dark season I wanted to try something faint in order to really get the feeling of dark skies again. Have had the andromeda galaxy globular clusters on my list for a while and decided to give G1 or Mayall II, the brightest one, a go.

Finding M31 wasn’t difficult and even though G1 was surprisingly far from the core regions it was still a fairly easy star hop. Had prepared detailed charts beforehand and that certainly helped. The difficult part was identifying the triangle asterism with two stars in one corner, a faint star of similar magnitude in the second and G1 with a magnitude of 13.8 in the third.

Once dark adapted it was a distinct but faint averted vision asterism but I found that at higher magnifications I lost it a couple of times and had to start over with wider field EPs.

Mayall II appeared starlike at first, and after a while I thought it took on a slightly diffuse appearence. Either from the two faint stars close to G1 or from that it had an angular diameter greater than a pinpoint star. Could never separate the glob from the two stars for certain even though I may have glimpsed it at times. Or not. Could have been tricks of the mind.

Spent some time on this object and found it really enjoyable. First in a session a few days ago and then again yesterday when I made a sketch as a keepsake. Had major dew problems on the secondary mirror though that made sketching more difficult.

Shall have to try the fainter M31 globulars as well, maybe doable but would certainly stretch the limits of the scope and myself.

 

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Edited by davhei
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11 minutes ago, MimasDeathStar said:

Thats really nice - does that 254 mean its a 254mm mirror? I guess that means I probably wont see it in my 90mm telescpe. Is that just in pencil? How did you make the smudge shape for M31?

Aye, 254 would be the mirror size: 254mm or around 10". The 1200 number is the scopes focal length: 1200mm.

Clearly lacking the skills of Davhei, I think I'd struggle to find Mayall II with a 10" under dark skies :biggrin: With an apparent magnitude of around 14, even under dark skies, I reckon Mayall II is a tad beyond what a 90mm could pick out

Not wanting to speak for Davhei but I imagine it is a pencil sketch of Mayall II (not M31) and the smudge could have been produced with a blending stump.

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12 hours ago, Rob Sellent said:

Aye, 254 would be the mirror size: 254mm or around 10". The 1200 number is the scopes focal length: 1200mm.

Clearly lacking the skills of Davhei, I think I'd struggle to find Mayall II with a 10" under dark skies :biggrin: With an apparent magnitude of around 14, even under dark skies, I reckon Mayall II is a tad beyond what a 90mm could pick out

Not wanting to speak for Davhei but I imagine it is a pencil sketch of Mayall II (not M31) and the smudge could have been produced with a blending stump.

Thank you for your kind words! Not sure I deserve all that much praise on the observation skills, it mostly boils down to aperture and dark skies I think. 90 mm does seem a tad on the small side for this object though. As a side note, the deepest I've gone with my scope setup is in the range of mag 14.4 +/- 0.2 for a quasar and thereabout I think is the limit for my location.

You are spot on, 254 mm or 10 inches is the mirror size and 1200 mm is the focal length. The technique is also just like you guessed, a blending stump to create the diffuse effect and a soft pencil to get the graphite for the stump.

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43 minutes ago, Littleguy80 said:

Wonderful report. You’ve inspired me to give this a go in my 10” dob. Excellent observing skills :) 

Brilliant! I recall that you inspired me to observe quasar PG 1634+706 in draco. If you could see that then Mayall II should be a breeze. 😀

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 09/09/2019 at 19:15, davhei said:

Brilliant! I recall that you inspired me to observe quasar PG 1634+706 in draco. If you could see that then Mayall II should be a breeze. 😀

I just wanted to follow this up to say that I managed to observe this tonight from my dark site. It was quite tricky. I actually used your sketch as a means of confirming that I’d found it! It’s surprising how far from the core of Andromeda this is. 
This was the highlight of my session tonight so thank you once again for posting your excellent report and sketch :D 

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I'm motivated to have another try at this one now !

I did try once but found it hard to track down due to how far from the visible core of M31 it is (as Neil says). These observation reports and sketches are very helpful for aspiring Mayall II observers ! :smiley:

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6 hours ago, Littleguy80 said:

I just wanted to follow this up to say that I managed to observe this tonight from my dark site. It was quite tricky. I actually used your sketch as a means of confirming that I’d found it! It’s surprising how far from the core of Andromeda this is. 
This was the highlight of my session tonight so thank you once again for posting your excellent report and sketch :D 

Fantastic! Makes me very glad that I was able to inspire and that the sketch actually helped. In general I have found that people’s sketches at the eyepiece are a great aid for visual observation, perhaps more so than images of the same object, simply because they provide good references for fields of view and magnitude of visible stars.

Edited by davhei
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