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Good trip out to Trough of Bowland

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Prior to the trip I had arranged to meet up with some lads from the local astro society, 4 of us turned up although only two of us were doing anything visual. We all had imaging rigs but mine was laid out onto auto pilot and forgotten about until i left.

For visual I was using my TS optics 82mm bins on the parallelogram mount (which I love) and really only used the 24 and 18 APM UFF eyepieces. Filters for nebula were TV bandmate.

I had made a list of possible DSO but when I got there at least half went out of the window. I forgot we had a raised southern elevation but nevermind. (This killed lots of the Sagittarius part) 

I scratched all the globulars from the list and stuck with galaxies and nebula plus a few asterisms. (plus a brief peep at a low Jupiter)

So I got to start off with the coathanger although at first this was difficult. Mainly due to the fact the (legal) laser pointer I was using needed collimating to the bins. After this finding things became somewhat easier.  Using a laser  (bins rough point, laser on, find and off) was a novel and fun way to find objects, not sure if I would use it on my dob though.

This venue used to be very good but now on 50% of the horizon you get a lovely blue (LED Lamp) glow so as your evening doesn't get too dark. So this made my first set of other DSO (saggitarius nebulas) harder to find as A. they were quite washed out in the middle of the glow and B. I struggled even in full darkness to find stars to guide me. I would point out  the milky way was clearly visible overhead and struck a lovely sight but that darn blue horizon glow. This is no longer a horsehead type venue sadly although still 8/10 overall.

Moving on, yes I got M's 8,16,17 & 20 and 8, the lagoon was a maiden find, very chuffed with this although all 4 were pretty "meh!" in the gloop. The veil was superb in the east but lacklustre, although visible to the west strangely enough. Historically i have always found it the other way around but maybe it works differently when viewed through bino's!  Moving on again NGC 7000 was exquisite, like a fluff of candy floss sprinkled in star dust. I spent quite a while on this even though at zenith it was hard work but it was the best view I have had of this little gem. I tried the heart and soul as well, I got one of those am I seeing it definately maybe moments, spent ages blinking, tapping the mount, eventually swearing under my breath but in the end I gave up unconvinced I had bagged either.

Other good hits made were M81 & 82 easily in one fov, M51, M31 & M33 as well as the merest of smudges to bag the elusive M101. This last one really took some finding and confirming.  M33 and M31 both showed sign's of structure, particularly andromeda which had the bonus of M110 to the top. None of the other galaxies offered much detail to speak of. I now wish I had had a go with the 10mm APM on the galaxy DSO's but I was so absorbed in my viewing that I forgot to change. I think the dimmer ones, well all of them really would have responded well to the extra push in magnification. (x26 to x49)

So in all it was a cracking little session, a couple of wow moments and I am finding out that bins have a bigger part to play than I first thought and a worthwhile evening but at 8C in August, I was glad I took my extra jacket.

Cheers all



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