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Session 3 for 2022


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This session is from the 11th Jan - split up into 3 parts.

5 - 6pm
Scope: SW 80ED

Moon - With the 10mm BCO the Moon was an amazing sight! Most of the planet in the view at the same time the detail at the terminator / south area around Tycho really stood out  With a 4mm eyepiece the power was just about managed by the seeing conditions  Great sharp view it's been a long time since I last used this scope  and made me remember why I love the 80ED... more to come later...

Jupiter - With the 10mm BCO provided an excecptionally sharp view with two central bands showing strongly with brown/red colour. Other banding / was observed but not distinct.  With a 4mm eyepiece the view was reasonably steady at times allowing a better view of the within the bands with a hint of detail within them.  All 4 of Jupiter's moons were to one side spaced evenly.

19P/Borelly - Comet in Cetus - This was just above the house rooftop and so I couldn't see nearby Deneb for the closest starhop from a bright star. So a rather longer start from Gamma Pegasus.. uff.  I managed to find my way down fine to Cetus and finally got to its position only to have the focuser give way and slip (a typical issue with the Skywatcher 80ED!)  I had to manually shove it back in to position focusing finely by hand while locking up the focuser so it wouldn't move.  The conditions were hardly ideal however with the 10mm BCO (best darn fuzz finding eyepiece in my arsenal for this scope) I managed to eek out numerous times with averted vision a small patch of fuzz which was evidently at an angle.

6pm it was time to take my daughter to a class for an hour or so, so I brought the 80ED with its cr*p focuser back in...  The 12" dob was already out and getting cold for the later session...

8pm - 12pm
Scope: 12" Dob

Not in any particular order for the 12" dob observations...  The transparency was kicking my ass with really high humidity for the first hour or so and having to fight rapidly dropping temperatures affecting the optics.  It did improve quite a bit from 10pm though.

My targets for the night were two other comets and making some observations in the Herschel 400 list (mainly open clusters because of the moon...).  A few other random objects get thrown in for good measure of course!

67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko - Comet in Cancer - Found relatively easily and needing a touch of averted vision to get a bit more from it with the 10mm Delos.  Reasonable size with a slight extension to it.

C/2019 L3 (Atlas) - Comet in Gemini - Uff! Was really difficult to find in such a low mag star field needing numerous attempts.  Think I would have failed if it were not for using a 60mm finder.  Once i'd got its position this was actually a surpising direct vision object that resembled more of a very faint indistinct globular cluster than a comet.

NGC 381 - Very faint open cluster with no definition to it
NGC 654 - Fine small open cluster barely discerbable - used the 7mm Pentax XW to really see this.
nearby NGC 663 - Nice collection a various mag stars in this in this open cluster. really nice with the 10mm Delos.

Iota Cancri Double Star - Stood out as I was actually star-hopping for a DSO!  Really cool yellow and faint blueish double!

M44 Beehive- Not quite the scope to observe this with!  However, a good field of bright stars - went to it as it was close by after another observation and I haven't observed this in quite a few years!

NGC 2372 - Planetary nebula in Gemini - The faintest of faint murmurs of something small extending from a stellar (not clear) centre.  I'll have to come back to this another day when the transparency is better (and no moon!)

NGC 2264 Christmas Tree Cluster - I actually went to this twice (first with the dob but at this point my secondary was fighting dew and later with the 120ST)  First time was quite unspectacular however the 120ST picked up this cluster magnificently! Getting the whole thing in with the 17.3mm Delos I wasn't able to (unsurprisingly) see any nebulosity - tried a UHC though, however this is still on my list for coming back to again without the moon and better transparency to see if I can see the nebulosity.

NGC 2304 - Barely visible open cluster - individual stars not able to be resolved as they are so low mag.

NGC 2395 - Sparse open cluster of very low mag stars just above visible.

12pm - 1:30am

Scope: SW 120ST

Just before midnight my 12" secondary mirror had given up completely to the dew it was hopeless to even attempt to warm the thing up since everything was sopping wet. :p The transpareny and darkness seemed to improving constantly though and with the Moon starting to get a little out of the way I opted to bring out the 120ST.

M36 - Nice to see a bright open cluster after some of the Herschel 400 clusters earlier being so difficult at times! Really enjoy this one with the 10mm Delos showed it perfectly against the background starfield.

NGC 884/869 - Double Cluster - Again the wide-vision of the 120ST just is perfect for these clusters.  One of my favourite objects in the sky!

M42 - It was starting to get a little low by the time I came to observe it and was quite unremarkable - amazing how much the light polluter (otherwise known as the moon) affects it after some visual treats to this last week :)

M101 - My the time I'd got to this around 1:15am the transparency had gone up yet again and the Moon has gone down sufficiently not to be too bothersome for the other side of the sky.  The galaxy core at least was quite evident direct vision with some averted vision required to see a little extension from the core.

Leo Triplet - Both M65 and M66 appearing bright with the Delos 17.3mm. I could only make out a faint possibility of NGC 3628 with averted vision though.

So at 1:30am, I brought the session to close - everything was fully iced or extremely damp!  Needed the next half an hour just to reasonably dry stuff off apart from the dob which i covered over and left until the morning to then dry out in the sun.  In all reasonably productive although frustrating earlier in the session constantly battling with the humidity!


Edited by Davesellars
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Just now, Whistlin Bob said:

That sounds like a fantastic session- yes, it was very damp last night. I had a very short session and everything was soaked in just a few minutes.

Thanks Bob.   The session was from the previous night (11th).  Last night I waited to start until 11ish - while it was damp it was not quite as bad as this session had been initially.

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