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Hi all,

Thought I would post a short write up on last nights viewing session. This is my 1st report so any pointers for future is welcome..

I set up the dob about 5pm to beautiful clear blue sky which was very encouraging.

1st up was Venus around 7pm while still light.  I wanted to view the phase as best as possible without a filter. Unfortunately Venus was very shimmery at x300 & 240 nothing like the clear views over the last couple of nights.  This gave me some doubts about the transparency and high mag.

Once fully dark I went back out with the hope of locating Tegmine as I have heard a lot about these binary stars on here over the last week. Bearing in mind the poor transparency earlier on Venus I wasn't counting on seeing much if I could locate it. Unfortunately for me I failed to find Tegmine anyway, So I will give this ago another night. (maybe tonight?) I did however have some wonderful views of M44 Beehive cluster. This provided some remarkable viewing, I mainly viewed most of the cluster in x66 & x48 to take in as much of the full cluster as possible. My next eye piece is going to be around 30 - 32mm I think as I really enjoy seeing these clusters at low power. (Stu & John kindly advised me on some great options but I cant remember what they were!) 

Moving on from the beehive I went over to Leo to look at Algieba at x150 at this power it showed the split very nicely without any shimmer. I really enjoy this double, it has become one of my favorites. After reading the fact about the gap of this tiny split being 4 times the distance between our Sun and Pluto I was totally blown away trying to comprehend this!

Denebola was also looking excellent at x150 giving of a stunning white glow!

I then started my search for the Leo triplet, I have never managed to locate these before so this was a new one for me. I did find M65 & M66 at x 66 power. I was very pleased that I managed to locate and see them, However I was a little underwhelmed with these galaxies to be honest. I couldn't see anymore than a small smudge for both of them and I had spent quite a bit of time looking for them.

Arcturus had now risen above my house roof so I spent some time viewing this again at x150 - This is a very beautiful star which was releasing a lovely soft yellow glow. I very much enjoyed looking at this target for some time.

As I was in the area I decided to try and locate the M3 Globular. I haven't seen a globular since M13 was around late last year. I am slightly embarrassed to say I failed to find this target. 😞  For a veteran star gazer this is most likely child's play. but being an amateur this wasn't to be for me last night...

I then tried my luck at locating M101 in Ursa Major, No joy here either, Just a real sore back for my efforts looking up at the Zenith!

To round the night off I bounced over to the double cluster, Again viewed at x66 & x48 - Just to reiterate I am really enjoying this sort of object at low power. taking in the majority of the cluster is a joy and the start really stand out wonderfully. 

 

That was my 2.5 - 3hrs viewing complete for the evening, A very mixed set of results in truth. I found some new objects, Didn't find others and revisited some greats! Not a huge amount of substance to report, However I just though I would share a very enjoyable few hours at the eye piece with fellow observers. 

Any advice on how to locate my missed targets greatly appreciated 🙂

 

Here is a quick snap of the Beehive cluster at x66

 

Regards

 

Baz

 

 

DSC_0557.JPG

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Good stuff Barry, works for me!

To pick up on a few points. The wobbling/shimmering you see on Venus is related to seeing conditions, not transparency. Seeing is related to the stability of the atmosphere at all levels, that is anything from local heat flumes from central heating or houses up to high level turbulence caused by the Jetstream running overhead. Get all these things coming together and you can get some lovely stable views. Things like observing location you can choose, the Jetstream is obviously out of our control so you just have to check the forecasts and observe as often as possible. Seeing is mainly important for high mag observing of planets, the Moon and doubles.

Poor transparency is related to either high level haze or pollution/pollen building up in the atmosphere after a period of warm weather. This mainly affects observation of faint diffuse targets such as galaxies and nebulae. Often observing on the first clear night after a heavy down pour can have excellent transparency as the atmosphere has been washed clean.

You rarely get good seeing and transparency together, so normally this defines what type of observing will be most successful on each night.

Second point, I think the ES 30mm 82 degree eyepiece is an excellent option for lower power, widefield views.

M101 has very low surface brightness so can be a very tricky customer, washed out by light pollution. I can’t really see it from home, and the Leo Triplet are also pretty underwhelming from here. Darker skies are the only answer to this really.

cheers,

Stu

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Nice write up.

Next time you are in the Beehive area, check out M67 the Golden Eye cluster. 
Paul

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32 minutes ago, Paul73 said:

M67 the Golden Eye cluster. 

Well I never knew it was called that!

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Nice report. The nights observing plan rarely comes off in its entirety. 

44 minutes ago, Paul73 said:

Nice write up.

Next time you are in the Beehive area, check out M67 the Golden Eye cluster. 
Paul

+1 for M67. Probably the most beautiful open cluster I've seen. At x40 mag, almost globular. at x 83 mag numerous bright stars fill the whole field of view with thousands of unresolved stars in the background. 

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1 hour ago, Barry-W-Fenner said:

I decided to try and locate the M3 Globular. I haven't seen a globular since M13 was around late last year. I am slightly embarrassed to say I failed to find this target. 😞  For a veteran star gazer this is most likely child's play. but being an amateur this wasn't to be for me last night.

Nicely written report Baz, not finding M3 is nothing to be embarrassed about. Whilst not a veteran stargazer, I also tried and failed to find M3 last night.

After 5 years I'm giving goto a rest and learning to find things manually.

It's a bit of a learning curve.

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Very good report Baz, thanks for posting it :icon_biggrin:

M101 is a tricky blighter as Stu says.

With a very few exceptions galaxy spotting is about picking out those faint smudges.

This is my star hop route to Tegmine, in case it is of any use:

 

 

stellarium-000.png

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Nice write up @Barry-W-Fenner I’ve tried on numerous occasions to locate M101 and failed! probably due to LP where I live and my lack of aperture. Have you tried M35? nice cluster on the foot of Gemini.

Thanks for the heads up on M67 @Paul73 might give that a go tonight if it stays clear.

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Great report. Some successes, some failures-the way it should be.

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5 hours ago, Stu said:

Good stuff Barry, works for me!

To pick up on a few points. The wobbling/shimmering you see on Venus is related to seeing conditions, not transparency. Seeing is related to the stability of the atmosphere at all levels, that is anything from local heat flumes from central heating or houses up to high level turbulence caused by the Jetstream running overhead. Get all these things coming together and you can get some lovely stable views. Things like observing location you can choose, the Jetstream is obviously out of our control so you just have to check the forecasts and observe as often as possible. Seeing is mainly important for high mag observing of planets, the Moon and doubles.

Poor transparency is related to either high level haze or pollution/pollen building up in the atmosphere after a period of warm weather. This mainly affects observation of faint diffuse targets such as galaxies and nebulae. Often observing on the first clear night after a heavy down pour can have excellent transparency as the atmosphere has been washed clean.

You rarely get good seeing and transparency together, so normally this defines what type of observing will be most successful on each night.

Second point, I think the ES 30mm 82 degree eyepiece is an excellent option for lower power, widefield views.

M101 has very low surface brightness so can be a very tricky customer, washed out by light pollution. I can’t really see it from home, and the Leo Triplet are also pretty underwhelming from here. Darker skies are the only answer to this really.

cheers,

Stu

Hi Stu. Thanks for the excellent explanation of the differences between seeing & transparency.  This is a big help and now I have a better understanding of what is affecting my viewing.

I am pretty sure the ES 30mm 82 degree eye piece is what you recommended me before, However I cant seem to locate the thread that was on. I will certainly check that out for my low mag wide field cluster viewing needs!

Regarding galaxies I have really struggled to find any that have been enjoyable to view from my location I am definitely keen to get to a dark site to see the difference when I get a spare 5 mins 🙂

 

Cheers

Baz

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5 hours ago, Paul73 said:

Nice write up.

Next time you are in the Beehive area, check out M67 the Golden Eye cluster. 
Paul

Hi Paul,

Scope is outside cooling now for tonight 🙂 M67 now on my list, I will hopefully locate it tonight! I will let you know how I get on. 

Thanks for the heads up.

Baz

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4 hours ago, Jiggy 67 said:

Nice report. The nights observing plan rarely comes off in its entirety. 

+1 for M67. Probably the most beautiful open cluster I've seen. At x40 mag, almost globular. at x 83 mag numerous bright stars fill the whole field of view with thousands of unresolved stars in the background. 

Reading this is very encouraging, I look forward to having a look tonight. As mentioned in my report my lowest powers are x48 & 66 so very similar to your suggested power Jiggy. I will try them both.

Regards

Baz

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4 hours ago, AdeKing said:

Nicely written report Baz, not finding M3 is nothing to be embarrassed about. Whilst not a veteran stargazer, I also tried and failed to find M3 last night.

After 5 years I'm giving goto a rest and learning to find things manually.

It's a bit of a learning curve.

I honestly thought it would be easier to locate to be honest. I will have another go tonight I think. Its always good to try and get some experience hunting the globulars.

 

Thanks AdeKing

Regards

 

Baz

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3 hours ago, John said:

Very good report Baz, thanks for posting it :icon_biggrin:

M101 is a tricky blighter as Stu says.

With a very few exceptions galaxy spotting is about picking out those faint smudges.

This is my star hop route to Tegmine, in case it is of any use:

 

 

stellarium-000.png

Hi John,

That is a big help thank you. I will bring this star hop up on my phone later and have another go. I started my hunt for Tegmine from both the Beehive and Procyon (I forgot to mention what an excellent colour of white Procyon is)  but had no joy. Looking at the above I think I located either 8 Cnc or D1 Cnc but couldnt seem to get the correct angle to Tegmine. 

 

This also shows the M67 aswell so two birds with one stone!

Cheers John

 

Baz

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3 hours ago, jock1958 said:

Nice write up @Barry-W-Fenner I’ve tried on numerous occasions to locate M101 and failed! probably due to LP where I live and my lack of aperture. Have you tried M35? nice cluster on the foot of Gemini.

Thanks for the heads up on M67 @Paul73 might give that a go tonight if it stays clear.

Hi Jock1958

I have viewed M35  A few times and it is one of my favorite open clusters. It is spread over a large area and very enjoyable to view. I might jump over to it on tonight's viewing as it goes! 

 

Baz

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1 hour ago, domstar said:

Great report. Some successes, some failures-the way it should be.

Domstar, You hit the nail right on the head. I felt I had a mixed bag of success and failure which IMO is great. It was just a joy to get out and have a go win or lose!

 

Baz

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Posted (edited)

Nice report. For what it's worth I find M3 one of the harder star hops. From my Bortle 5 back garden it's 3 or 4 finder fields of view from a visible star and I often need several goes to locate it. It's a lovely target when you land though.

Definitely going to check out m67 tonight...

Edited by Whistlin Bob
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A little update. I had a good look at M67 last night. A very pleasing tight spiral like cluster. Quite faint but with averted vision a lot of stars popped in and out of view. Very enjoyable.

Another good look at the beehive followed by M35 Some stunning open cluster viewing at low power.

I also attempted the Crab Nebular at x66 but couldn't see it, Does anyone know if this is a particularly tough target in an 8" dob?

Now I really need to source a 30-32mm wide fov eye piece for this type of viewing. Any other suggestions folks?

Regards

 

Barry

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7 minutes ago, Barry-W-Fenner said:

I also attempted the Crab Nebular at x66 but couldn't see it, Does anyone know if this is a particularly tough target in an 8" dob?

The Crab is tricky with much light pollution but quite easy if you have reasonable skies. I struggled for years to see it, then tried from a dark sky and got it easily, first time.

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Nice report. A good night. Have another go at M3. It's actually one of the easier targets later on in the night when it's higher. Start at Arcturus and star hop to it. 

Screenshot_20200416-140934.thumb.png.f62fdffe4aef2f4ac0445eaba9a3e05e.png

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1 hour ago, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

Nice report. A good night. Have another go at M3. It's actually one of the easier targets later on in the night when it's higher. Start at Arcturus and star hop to it. 

Screenshot_20200416-140934.thumb.png.f62fdffe4aef2f4ac0445eaba9a3e05e.png

Cheers SSC I will certainly have another hunt for it. I did actually start from Arcturus as I was observing it. I thought it would be almost straight up but couldn't locate it.  What sort of power did you use to locate M3 before viewing?

 

Regards

 

Baz

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It shows in a 9x50 finder as a round grey smudge. When I was using an 8" dob I usually started with a 1.25" 25mm Celestron Xcel or 2" 30mm Aero ED to resolve the grey smudge into a grey blob (lol). Then 15mm and so on.

 

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4 minutes ago, Barry-W-Fenner said:

Cheers SSC I will certainly have another hunt for it. I did actually start from Arcturus as I was observing it. I thought it would be almost straight up but couldn't locate it.  What sort of power did you use to locate M3 before viewing?

 

Regards

 

Baz

I found it fairly easily from Arcturus last night, but that was in a frac on an alt az Mount which is perhaps easier. I used my lowest power which was x37 and about a 1.8 degree field, it showed up very clearly though not in my finder. Once found I upped the power. You can use Coma Berenices as a guide too like this.

D118438D-A917-4C8B-8421-85ABF9B0D868.jpeg

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4 hours ago, Stu said:

I found it fairly easily from Arcturus last night, but that was in a frac on an alt az Mount which is perhaps easier. I used my lowest power which was x37 and about a 1.8 degree field, it showed up very clearly though not in my finder. Once found I upped the power. You can use Coma Berenices as a guide too like this.

D118438D-A917-4C8B-8421-85ABF9B0D868.jpeg

Excellent, thank you Stu. I was hunting for it with the finder but didn't realise it wouldn't be visible through that.. Next time I am out I will try to find it with my lowest mag instead.

doesn't look like that will be tonight, sky is thick cloud here 😕

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1 hour ago, Barry-W-Fenner said:

I was hunting for it with the finder but didn't realise it wouldn't be visible through that.

Under decent skies it would show in a finder but it certainly wasn’t in my 9x50 last night.

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