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Widefield Wanderings


SuburbanMak
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Nice night here - a wee bit breezy but otherwise seeing decent and transparency slightly milky but better than average - could just about see the Beehive naked eye with AV. 
Very chilled out session from the garden with ST80 in 2 inch mode & 31mm Baader Hyperion Aspheric giving 13x magnification & a massive 5.9 degree field. Have a bog standard RDF on it as the field is so big it can actually be quite disorientating in rich fields. 
I have this permanently set up on a Manfrotto 55 and it’s an easy one hand carry out into the garden, so gets me out on nights when I otherwise might not make the effort. 
I always get a thrill from seeing galaxies from my back garden so started with a long look at M81 & 82. 
Hunted for M101 for a bit but really couldn’t see it, know I was in the right spot. I am sure that one special night it will just pop out, but not tonight! 
Went on to the Beehive M44 - almost the perfect object in this widefield rig, lovely sparkling lost in space scene. 
Moved to the Coma Berenices cluster another super star filled field. 
Pottered around Leo, couldn’t pick out the Triplet (M65 & M66) but could just about discern M95  M96  & M105 only as fuzzy stars but nevertheless upped my distance record for the nights from M82’s 11 Million LY to around 60. 
Looked at M3, M13 & M92 - love globulars in the widefield, you really get their context as lonely extra galactic wanderers and these brighter ones show up a bit better than the galaxies. 
Took a first trip this year into the bowl of Virgo, familiarising myself again with the “mini-asterisms”  I used last spring to galaxy-hop my way through the Messiers here, the “jet plane” around Rho V., the “StarTrek badge and “the line”. 
A tantalising glimpse of smudges in Markarian’s chain 
Caught M35 as it slipped West toward the roofline then finished back on the Beehive. 

I do love this kind of low power observing and some day would love to upgrade to a really sharp ED set up, for now though the ST80 delivers a whole lot of outer space for the money. 
 

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