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Is M73 interesting?


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r dust bunny) :

For a few years I have been trying to get an image of each item in the Messier catalogue.  This has proved quite challenging for the more southerly targets, many of which never get more than 15° above the horizon here at 52½° N.  Sometimes they are even lower if one waits for astronomical dark.

So, last weekend, there was the promise of a clear night with little wind at the barren, exposed moorland site that is the nearest thing to a dark sky site nearby.

One slight issue: it was full moon. Only an idiot would try to capture a DSO under those conditions, right? 

So the AZEQ6, tripod and SW190 MN got put in the car along with laptop, old car battery, folding chairs and assorted masks, dew heaters &c. 

Arriving at the dark site my usual pitch was already occupied (not sure if he was an astronomer) so I had to look elsewhere.  I found somewhere but had the disadvantage of not being quite sure where north was.

Somehow the mount got levelled, sort of polar aligned and calibrated. A fiery full moon rose above the heather and imaging started.

I think that the second of the admittedly very low targets probably ranks as the most boring Messier object ever.  M73 consists of four stars which may or may not be a cluster (open clusters don’t do much for me, generally) and according to a recent paper the four stars are all going in different directions, are at wildly different distances and therefore are merely an asterism. 

So, was it worth it?  I am not sure, here’s one result (and yes, I do know about the monster dust bunny) :


Edited by almcl
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12 hours ago, almcl said:

So, was it worth it?

M73: check!

if you go for the whole list, you must also image the less exotic ones. And you didn’t spend an entire dark, stable night on this target. I’d say definitely worth the time spent.

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