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Mak on Wheels


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Biked to a new spot tonight with the Mak 127, about a mile out of town on a disused roadway.  Shows 20.86 SQM, Bortle 4 on CO an improvement of 0.7 on my normal site in the park and not too far behind my 15 minute drive option + more sheltered and better masking from the lights of Southampton away to the South.   

First results were promising so will definitely be back. 
Aligned on Arcturus & Capella & then GoTo was rubbish.  Levelled the tripod & tried again - much better this time!  

Transparency was quite good, seeing actually quite poor. Had thought I might go for a list of tight doubles tonight but quickly apparent this was not on, so opted for a favourites tour instead. 

Looked at M36/7/8 all of which were fab despite the very bright moon. I’d found them lacking in the ST80 last night but in the tighter frame & higher mags of the Mak 127 they were superb tonight. 

After the Auriga clusters, M35 in Gemini looks both bright blue-white & also huge! Mesmerising object. 

Quick look at the Beehive M44 - best view  in the finder tbh, nice to sweep around in the main scope though. I do love my Baader Hyperion 24mm 68 degree, gives 62x in the Mak and a super sharp, contrasty flat to the edge view that squeezes the maximum possible field out of the scope (1.04 degrees). Left it in most of the night, swapping in the BCO 18mm (83x) on a few of the tighter objects, tried the 10mm once but 150x was beyond the limit of tonight’s sky. 
 

M67 - red toned & somehow mysterious this is an enthralling view of, I believe, very ancient stars. Dimmed slightly by moonlight tonight but still worth spending the time. 
 

Looked at a few Cancer doubles - Iota Cancri, an easy & very bright Orange/White-blue jewel.  
Phi 2 Cancri - a fairly tight even white figure of 8 and new to me, definitely worth a look. 
Tegmine, Zeta Cancri - just a double tonight, piled on the magnification but all was mush, no 1.1 arc second split this time! 
Revisited the tree-skimming Double Cluster & Dragonfly/Owl (NGC 457) - the latter so much better in the Mak.  

Had a good look at M81/2 in the same field - little detail under the moon but an awe inspiring field nevertheless. Reminded myself that those photons spent 11 million years crossing space for me to have the privilege… 

Had a good nose around where M101 is meant to be - no chance tonight but noted the descending dogleg line of 4 bright stars from Mizar  that will help me get my bearings some dark night soon. 

Finished with moonwashed but nevertheless satisfying views of M13 & M57, both of which, along with the fact that I only had to roll my balaclava down for the last half hour, mean that Spring is well and truly under way & a fitting end to a great Equinox session! 

Kept my lights off for a moonlit bike ride back through the woods playing a game of “who’s the most startled, you or me?” with a surprisingly large number of the local deer. 

 


 

 

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Edited by SuburbanMak
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A busy session, and an enjoyable one by the sounds of it - loads of targets despite the moon and seeing! It was terrible for me last night too, and I couldn't even get any sort of alignment 😠

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Looks like a nice location which will certainly be beneficial without the moon-light.  Nice report!  You should easily see M101 on a good transparent night (like it was last night...) from what sounds like a good potentially dark site.

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Nice list of targets! I like the idea of a bike ride to an observing location. I recently assembled a lightweight rig: Manfrotto tripod, AZ5 Deluxe and the 127 Mak, total weight it about 7kgs, easy to carry in a backback. Will try it on a warmer night later in spring.

M101 is more of a binocular or finderscope target, it is large and diffuse, will be very hard to spot in a 1 degree field of the Mak.

Last night I was also using my 127Mak and can recommend a couple of (new for me) galaxies within reach of the Mak in Canes Venatici:

M106, shows as a elongated fuzzy blob.

NGC 4990 (Cocoon galaxy), just a degree west from Chara, seen with averted vision mostly. It has a dim companion at mag 11 that was invisible in Bortle 5 but may show up in a draker location..

I also tried for the Whale galaxy NGC 4631 but could not spot that one. I still think it should be doable in the Mak, just have to pick a moonless night.

 

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1 hour ago, Nik271 said:

Nice list of targets! I like the idea of a bike ride to an observing location. I recently assembled a lightweight rig: Manfrotto tripod, AZ5 Deluxe and the 127 Mak, total weight it about 7kgs, easy to carry in a backback. Will try it on a warmer night later in spring.

M101 is more of a binocular or finderscope target, it is large and diffuse, will be very hard to spot in a 1 degree field of the Mak.

Last night I was also using my 127Mak and can recommend a couple of (new for me) galaxies within reach of the Mak in Canes Venatici:

M106, shows as a elongated fuzzy blob.

NGC 4990 (Cocoon galaxy), just a degree west from Chara, seen with averted vision mostly. It has a dim companion at mag 11 that was invisible in Bortle 5 but may show up in a draker location..

I also tried for the Whale galaxy NGC 4631 but could not spot that one. I still think it should be doable in the Mak, just have to pick a moonless night.

 

Thanks Nik - my pack was a bit on the heavy side last night, I think if I am biking again I might go for the ST80 and Manfrotto 55 and save the Mak /Report 312 for nights when I’m in the car. 

Good galaxy tips thank you - M101 sounds a bit like M33 where I’d been looking “through” rather than “at” with the Mak.  
If we get the right weather this new moon I’ll be out hunting with 10x50s, ST80 and the Mak side by side. The night I found  M33 I picked it up in the bins and the best view was with the ST80. 

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5 hours ago, OK Apricot said:

A busy session, and an enjoyable one by the sounds of it - loads of targets despite the moon and seeing! It was terrible for me last night too, and I couldn't even get any sort of alignment 😠

Sorry to hear about your alignment woes - I had forgotten to check the level before I started but as I was planning to be out a while thought it worth repeating the process. I only tend to use GoTo when the moon is this bright. 

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