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A case of mistaken identity & some quality time with M13.


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Skies started to clear as I was finishing work on Friday and checking the Met Office Cloud Cover forecast things looked happier than on Clear Outside for my part of the world, so I took my go -bag out into the garden to cool & crossed my fingers for later. 

When the rest of the house went to bed I sneaked out through silent streets close to midnight, the crescent moon with its full disc illuminated by Earthlight was dipping  in the West near Aldebaran & the Pleiades and there were fine, high skeins of mist with tantalising clear patches between.   Seeing was quite steady and transparency good outside of those streaks of high mist which meant about 60% of the sky looked in good shape.  I'd made a list of spring galaxies to go for starting with M94 after reading @Pixies report on here, I figured I'd start with that and see how it went, working my way to fainter targets as conditions allowed.    

I've relaxed into my observing spot in the park and decided I would invest a bit more time setting up & bring both the Mak 127 on an AZGTi  and the ST 80 on a photo tripod.  I will be doing that again... 

I was using a Baader Hyperion 24mm 68 degree in the Mak which gives its maximum TFOV of just over a degree and put a Baader 8-24mm Zoom in the ST80. 

I aligned the Mak on the top 2 stars suggested by Synscan and noted the gradual turning of the season- it was midnight and it had me point at Vega & Arcturus, spring really is well on the way!  Focussed in an out on Vega and enjoyed some lovely round patterns either side of focus.  

On  to Cor Caroli which made a lovely clean white pair at 63x, stayed there for a while.

Hit GoTo for M94 and after some searching settled on a nice fuzzy patch with a brighter centre and some definite surrounding nebulosity, soaked it in for a bit and made a sketch (ahem, VERY rough). 

Unknown.jpeg.e793732a9c8a7e158c81a02673e0a0e3.jpeg

 

Everything was a bit uncomfortably close to the Zenith - haven't really solved the whole observing position thing yet, not sure I can carry one of those big wooden chairs about but mean to experiment with the cheapo camping chairs in the cupboard and see if it helps, until then a degree of neck-ache remains inevitable (or better target selection!) .      

Meantime I'd sought out the Double Cluster with the ST80 and was really pleased to get a lovely view with neat round points and some colour apparent in one or two of the orangey members. May just be a novelty but having a break from peering at faint fuzzy things to take in a wide field view of a favourite object really added to the enjoyment for me. 

With the Mak I went on to search for M51 & M63 but couldn't find anything having hunted around for a bit but was having no joy.  Later with Stellarium and the atlas I've become almost certain I'd landed on M63 by mistake - be interested in any opinions based on my sketch (gives the RACI view from the Mak 127 i.e. reversed LR)

In the end I gave up and put both 'scopes on M13 and enjoyed my best views of the Great Hercules Cluster yet. I switched the Zoom into the Mak and played with all magnifications from 63x - 188x, much above 120x wasn't adding much but at that power stars were resolving in and out across the cluster - literally breathtaking.   The contrasting wide-field view in the ST80 gave scale and context - really enjoyable way to appreciate a real gem. 

Seeing, heavy dew and numbing toes conspired around the same time to send me home to warm and mull over whether I'd identified M94 or not. 

 

 

 

 

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Nice report, you did see some great objecs there. I always enjoy the double cluster, plus its easy to find so makes me feel good when I couldn't get a target.

 

Looking at your sketch and comparing with a .7 degree view of M94 I've circled the stars which seem to correspond to yours.

Inkedstellarium-000_LI.thumb.jpg.c6b32620b18abc8c051b6ee9cc2b07a0.jpg

 

Looks like you got it! The center of M94 is definitely star-like.

 

By the way it helps if you record in the sketch which way is west (i.e. the direction in which the stars drift) to help with the orientation. When objects are near the zenith this is the only reliable way to orient the view.

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Great report Mak . I observed Cor Caroli tonight....I’m embarrassed to say that I have never observed it before 🤥 A beautiful binary, it’s bizarre how you can spend years missing the obvious!!. I recommend 54 Leonis if you haven’t viewed it before.....stunning!

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13 hours ago, Nik271 said:

Nice report, you did see some great objecs there. I always enjoy the double cluster, plus its easy to find so makes me feel good when I couldn't get a target.

 

Looking at your sketch and comparing with a .7 degree view of M94 I've circled the stars which seem to correspond to yours.

Inkedstellarium-000_LI.thumb.jpg.c6b32620b18abc8c051b6ee9cc2b07a0.jpg

 

Looks like you got it! The center of M94 is definitely star-like.

 

By the way it helps if you record in the sketch which way is west (i.e. the direction in which the stars drift) to help with the orientation. When objects are near the zenith this is the only reliable way to orient the view.

Thanks @Nik271 - your detective work is very much appreciated here, following peer-review I will log this as M94 :)  

You make a good point on including orientation in a sketch - amended... 

Unknown-1.jpeg.9d615899f46d648b33e99b9e02d2f811.jpeg

 

+ Here's both tubes facing M13

 

Unknown-2.jpeg.f58cf5af297c78a22840b88278e400f8.jpeg

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    • By Basementboy
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    • By SuburbanMak
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      Wide-field views weren’t bad either...
      15.4, 9.30 PM
      ST80 & Baader Zoom. 
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      Enjoyed for ages with a glass of wine!  
      Civilised galactic travel... 
    • By SuburbanMak
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      Xi Bootes (Sep 7") - Split from 24mm, 63x. Off white primary, small orange secondary at 11 o'clock. Quite lovely. 
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      Struve 1825 (Sep: 4.4) - faint white second at 7o'clock. Clean space between. Lies about 1 fov N of Arcturus (just over a degree). 
       
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      Hometime for a celebratory cup of tea (well it was a school night after all).  
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
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