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Beautiful night in West of Scotland


Silent Running
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Living in lockdown like everyone else, I haven't been able to return to my work in the Middle East. All my astrophotography gear is over there... so frustrating when the last few nights have been so clear. Luckily I had a refractor scope in the attic and put it on an alt-az mount. No motor, but I do have Nexus digital setting circles. Fortunately i have a binoviewer and a pair of 8-24 zoom eyepieces. I downloaded an e-copy of Stargazing in Suburban Skies from the Patrick Moore series, and decided to try and work my way through it. Armed with these i have been rediscovering the joys of observing from my Bortle 5/6 back garden on the edge of Glasgow. Although the Clear Outside app gave heavy cloud cover, the reality was a gorgeous crystal clear night... but cold. 

Starting with the gorgeous crescent Venus at dusk, I spent a long time looking at a Planet I had never really studied before. I concentrated on the circum polar regions mainly. I really enjoyed simple things like splitting Polaris, Alcor/Mizar group, Castor and Archid in Cassiopoea. Then a few star clusters in Cassiopoea and Perseus. NGC 457, the Double Cluster, alpha and the nearby Muscle Man Cluster. Sadly, zoomed out to 24mm (magnification x34) was too much to see the whole figure of the stick man. And my favourite, the Owl Cluster... many of these I had never seen before.

With rising ambition, I homed in on M51 and M101 expectantly. With averted vision and slight movements of the scope, I could make out faint nebulosity in both galaxies. They were at the edge of perception given the LP. M51 was slightly more prominent. I hope there will be more nights as clear as this. Clear skies and keep well everyone.

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23 minutes ago, Silent Running said:

Starting with the gorgeous crescent Venus at dusk

Had the 102 frac on Venus at the same time, yep, was gorgeous. Called the wife out to take a look and was glad to hear some appreciation 😁

Nice report. 

Ciaran. 

Edited by Ciaran Meier
Typo.
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