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Northern Exposure

Epick Crom

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Hi fellow Astronomers. I had not observed in 6 weeks prior to last night due to persistent clouds and rain. Finally got a clear night last night, and as Murphy's Law would have it, it happened on an almost full moon night!


The sky was dark blue from my bortle 7/6 backyard with transparency estimated at 3/5. Seeing 4/5. The sky was bright in the south due to the 97% lit moon in Capricornus so I decided to focus on the far north sky which was a bit "darker". I used my trusty 10 inch dobsonian for all my observations:

 Rasalgethi ( Alpha Herculis): A beautiful double star with a nice colour contrast. The blue and orange colours seemed to become more enhanced as I increased the magnification. Usually I find higher magnification washes out the colours a bit but not in this case.

 M 13: The Great Hercules Globular: Large but rather washed out due to the blue background. Not as stunning when I saw it for the first time last year. I must revisit this one in better conditions.

 NGC 6210: A fine planetary nebula in Hercules. Very green and defined. Looked like a hazy light green circular cloud at high magnification (370x). Interesting object.

 M 92: Took me ages to find it as it was down in the murk at 12 degrees above the horizon and starhopping to it was made more difficult by the bright sky. I got lost multiple times but in the end I just aimed to where I thought it was and it slipped into view! I was very happy to catch this Messier object as it is at the northern limit of what I can see from my backyard. Woohoo! Even at that low altitude I could see that it is quite condensed but I could barely resolve individual stars using averted vision.

 Epsilon Lyrae: The famous double double. On this night I could not resolve both components as the view turned wavy and turbulent. I'm sure this was due to me placing my dob on my side table under my concrete patio which must have still been radiating heat.

 M 57: The Ring Nebula: This was a fantastic sight! The ring looked ghostly floating in the blue background. This is the most well defined planetary nebula in the sky IMO.  

 Stephenson 1: A charming small open cluster of stars close to Delta Lyrae. Interesting grouping .

 I called it a night after that. It felt good to get an observing session in after such a long time. Wishing you all clear skies!!



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Nice report Joe.  It seems you have all the rain down under while UK is more like Australia at the moment. Did you spot the nearby NGC6207 by M13? It's quite nice with a wide FOV EP to observe both at low mag. With your 10" you may also spot IC 4617 at around mag 15.

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