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M3 / M53 - How do globular clusters appear?


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10 minutes ago, Captain Magenta said:

I was observing M3 in my 8” newt last week and it was better than I was expecting. With direct vision, it was a prominent smudge, but if I looked about 1 glob-diameter to the right, suddenly it was like a pepper-pot of faint stars. Really remarkable difference. And this was in a 19.15 location without moon.

Then last night, with a bit of low moon and through my 105mm LZOS frac, it was back to “full smudge” with no hint of resolved stars. (But the seeing was quite good so I managed some decent doubles to compensate).

Magnus

I find that looking directly at the cluster, then flicking my eye away from it works well to make the stars ‘pop’.

Have you tried M13 in the 105mm Magnus? I reckon you should get some resolution around the edges with that.

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4 minutes ago, Stu said:

I find that looking directly at the cluster, then flicking my eye away from it works well to make the stars ‘pop’.

Have you tried M13 in the 105mm Magnus? I reckon you should get some resolution around the edges with that.

Yes that could be another way of describing how I was looking at M3.

I haven’t tried M13 with it yet, it doesn’t clear the edge of my house until 1am at the moment. It’s on my list now though...

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Relaxing your observers eye, sitting comfortably correct posture, relaxed upon an adjustable observers chair - as though reading an absorbing book sat on your favourite armchair, will enhance and resolve with ease, the brighter globular clusters.  

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9 hours ago, Pixies said:

M13 is the place to start - although it's all downhill from there. With a 8" dob in Bortle 4 it'll be impressive and you'll resolve plenty of stars if your collimation is good.

Indeed. On my 8" Dob and my bortle 4 (edging 3) skies I can easily resolve stars; In 25mm EP it is a bright spot with some scattered stars at the edges. Using more magnification with a 15mm EP and some averted vision you start seeing individual stars towards the core; the edges become much clearer with more individual stars. I found that with eye strain you start losing the central stars so it is key to be relaxed.

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Having observed Globular clusters through small and large scopes and from different locations, aperture is king but also dark skies work really well. Get to the darkest skies possible, it really makes all the difference. If you have a chance to look through a large scope, take it, it will take your breath away.

 

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