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Early morning with the 15x70 binos - 5th January report


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Awoken at 4 by Nalu this morning and we tried everything. Eventually we decided to take her on a stroll with the pram. It was a beautiful (but freezing cold) starry night and I tried to familiarise myself with some old friends. Leo, adorned with a bright creamy Saturn under his hind quarters, Virgo somewhere under that, Ursa Major in its entirety, Bootes... At first Cygnus was confusing me - I had seen it setting about 8 hours previously and now it was rising in a different direction.

Well the pram thing worked - she was asleep - Hurrah!

I faffed about trying to get the DSLR and associated bits for some widefield imaging but couldn't find the remote release. So instead I just got the Revelation 15x70s and tripod and got out there.

Saturn revealed his rings as tiny lines extending from the body, but it was almost lost in the glare. Titan was clear to the east of the planet. Had a gander around the rest of Leo.

Then over to Bootes. Tracked a line from Arcturus to Cor Caroli - one of the hunting dogs (Canes Venatici) under the handle of the plough. About half way between these stars is M3 - a beautiful globular cluster. No resolution of individual stars was achieved but a tight core was surrounded by a fine mist. Lovely sight.

Clouds were threatening so as a last attempt I swung over to the plough. To the east of the southwestern-most plough star (Merak) there are two Messier objects - the Owl Nebula (M97) and a galaxy (M108), in close proximity. I mentally sketched the star pattern around a round evenly bright glowing patch, and it appears to have been M97. M108 I didn't notice. At first I found this odd. I originally thought one was about as difficult as the other. In fact, M97 is photographically fainter, but visually brighter than M108. Well, there must have been a reason why Messier noticed M108 after M97!

I will certainly return to this pair next time the scope's out. It was nice to cross M97 off as my 43rd Messier object!

And with that I called it a morning, as the clouds were getting in the way.

It was very relieving to finally get out after 4 weeks of cloud and one week of illness during the clear spell in between. :hello2:


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That sounds very interesting Andrew. I tried for M97/M108 with the 20x80's. I couldn't see either but the sky wasn't brilliant at the time. You've given me hope for another try. Or at least once i shift the toothache.....

I must try Saturn too with the bins tripod mounted.

Nice report!

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Nice report Andrew :thumbright:

I find M97 a real challenge from my backyard. I need a UHC filter to find it with my 102mm refractor then I can just about make it out with the filter removed. Easier with the 8" dob of course but still not easy by any means. Looking forward to trying a 12" on it soon :hello2:


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