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This season, I really wanted to get back into stargazing. I’d hardly done any for some years. I had various excuses for the lack of observing. But this season, I was going to be back! Well, the weather was dire for the first month or so. But over the season, the sessions gradually racked up. And I was wondering whether to skip tonight's session - I was feeling cold and tired.

But there was no such defeatist talk over in the Astro Lounge: “Tonight is the night”, declared mdstuart. “Transparent skies over the uk tonight and no moon”.

Well that picked me up. And anyway, get a good session in tonight, and it’s turned out to be a decent season after all!

As for the cold, that turned out to be a non-issue. I put on a second thermal top, a second pair of trousers, and still managed to squeeze through the door! I felt pretty warm! Nothing could stop me now. Apart from, my neck is cold. Where did I put my scarf?

Five frantic minutes later, scarf was located! Of all the places it could be, it was around my neck!!! Tucked inside one of my various layers. Scarf now deployed more strategically, I kicked off the session at low power with my 10inch dob – with the fab 21mm Ethos. Off to Auriga, before it dips behind the house. M36, M37, M38.

Cass is getting a bit low – Owl Cluster next. Glad I got that in – I can’t get enough of this one, with its cool misty eye.

M35 in Gemini. No Eskimo Nebula, alas. It appears to have gone fishing as I just can’t find it these days.

Now often this season I have been plain lazy and stuck with the 21mm Ethos throughout.

But in goes the 14mm Delos for a bit of galaxy hunting in Leo. Now I am pretty sure that’s M65 and M66 right there.

But over here to the right, what goes on? I’m talking about M95 and co. Now I normally see three galaxies in this patch of the sky, two of them very close, and one lower down. But this pattern doesn’t appear to match M95, M96 and M105 in my Collins gem Stars book. M105 looks like it should be above the other two, not below it like I am seeing.

Anyway, the 14mm is paying off.

I’m not very good at navigating in real life, never mind navigating the Universe, so I mentally give myself a high five when I locate NGC 3655. I was actually trying to find 3632, but I’ll score this as a win!

Oooh, must pop over to M67. It’s taken me over a decade to figure out where Cancer is – I only cracked it  the previous session. Off to M51, the Whirlpool galaxy. What a terrific sight, best of the night so far! M81 and 82 are also splendid with the 14mm.

And now for what will likely be a highlight of the evening – M13. I return to M13 a number of times through the night, plus a few other globs: M92, M5, M12, M3. M10 too, which was faint and delicate at the eyepiece, but also very sweet. M56 I found a little tough, but the view gradually improved as I stayed with it for a few minutes.

As I went through the globs, I increased the mag to 12mm, then 10mm, then 8mm - the higher mag again paying off with it being easier for me to resolve more stars. I nip over to the Ring Nebula. I had a few pans through the Virgo cluster of galaxies. Then onto some galaxies in Canes Venatici. All of a sudden, WOOOOSH! A lovely meteorite, to the right of Lyra. It didn't actually make a woooosh noise, apart from in my head.

Owl Nebula – not normally one I check out, but I will in future - it looked great. The barred spiral M108. An easy split of Alberio. Defocus to more easily see the colours.

The hours are passing by. I take my time with some of the views, enjoying the jewels on display. The evening looks to be coming to an end, however – cloud is moving in. Cygnus starts to disappear from view.

Hmmm, looks like the Veil Nebula will be clouded over in seconds. I don’t suppose if I go fetch my OIII filter and pop the 21mm Ethos in, there will be time to bag the Veil...

So a few minutes later, and lo and behold, I’m looking at the Veil! The clouds seem frozen in that part of the sky. And the broom looks ace! Well, this would be a magical place to end the night. Maybe I should stop now. But, let’s just have a looksy and see if anything else is worth a scan.

Oh, the full sky pretty much is clouded over now. That really was a good place to stop. The broom was a magical place to end a special night. And it sure feels good to be back!

Edited by Luke
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A really fantastic and most enjoyable write-up, Luke. Thanks for sharing it. 😀 You must have been out most of the night to bag the Veil too! 

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Fantastic report Luke, ‘welcome back’ 👍👍

Looks like you made the best of a very good night.

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Great report! It has inspired me to get out as soon as possible! Only had a few sessions with my binoculars so far this year, but must get out with the scope!! Thanks for the kick in the pants!!

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Great report, Luke, with plenty of variety. It was certainly good out there last night.
And I empathise with the "Michelin Man" moment - my current limit is five layers before my movement is retricted, and sometimes I still want more.

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Luke glad you are back into observing - a great report and objects. I still remember viewing through your 16" Dob and seeing the Horsehead and NGC 3912 in Leo at SGL8 (in 2013).

Great memories.

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Excellent stuff Luke :thumbright:

It was a very good night, last night, to get back into DSO hunting.

 

 

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On 06/04/2021 at 08:37, Rob_UK_SE said:

A really fantastic and most enjoyable write-up, Luke. Thanks for sharing it. 😀 You must have been out most of the night to bag the Veil too! 

Thanks Rob, I think it clouded over at about 4am.  I am technically "on holiday" (staycation at home) though out of work currently as well, so I figured, make the most of being able to have a lie-in!

Thanks to everyone for the kind comments! Sorry I am a little late replying, I was wiped out for some of the day, had some stuff to get done, then had an all-nighter with the SCT! hope I never forget how unique and special stargazing is. Being able to e.g. see a galaxy is just mind-blowing.

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Posted (edited)
On 06/04/2021 at 10:34, Mark at Beaufort said:

Luke glad you are back into observing - a great report and objects. I still remember viewing through your 16" Dob and seeing the Horsehead and NGC 3912 in Leo at SGL8 (in 2013).

Great memories.

Thanks Mark, I will never forget the night we hunted down the Horse! We no longer have the 16 inch, alas. I had a nasty knee injury (not caused by the dob!) that took about a year to get better and I figured maybe the scope was a bit of a handful for me.  My back can get iffy too!

We thought about putting castors on it etc but I tend to want to lift the scopes around. We mainly use our 10 inch solid tube dob these days but would like to get a relatively light 12 or possibly 14 one day if funds allow. Mind you, I had a lovely time with an 8 inch SCT the following night.

I really hope Sarah and I are able to attend another SGL star party, it would be lovely to catch up with folks and to meet more SGLers. And it would be lovely to see the Lucksall site again.

Edited by Luke
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2 hours ago, Luke said:

Thanks Mark, I will never forget the night we hunted down the Horse! We no longer have the 16 inch, alas. I had a nasty knee injury (not caused by the dob!) that took about a year to get better and I figured maybe the scope was a bit of a handful for me.  My back can get iffy too!

We thought about putting castors on it etc but I tend to want to lift the scopes around. We mainly use our 10 inch solid tube dob these days but would like to get a relatively light 12 or possibly 14 one day if funds allow. Mind you, I had a lovely time with an 8 inch SCT the following night.

I really hope Sarah and I are able to attend another SGL star party, it would be lovely to catch up with folks and to meet more SGLers. And it would be lovely to see the Lucksall site again.

I well remember that night as well - but mainly because I arrived the following morning to find the camp still buzzing with the previous nights observing excitement :icon_biggrin:

I seem to recall that it mostly rained for the following nights :rolleyes2:

 

 

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