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Feasting on DSOs over the weekend


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I had two sessions over the weekend with excellent transparency. Milky Way very bright with structure and loads of stars. 

On Saturday I wanted to observe some of the late summer DSOs on my southern horizon before they are gone. I started low as the horizon was disappearing in the thick atmosphere and the farm woods across my garden. First was the M8 and M20 mostly with the OIII filter. M8 was showing nebulosity but not much features. On the other hand M20 showed the darker nebula. Without the filter it was harder to see the darker lanes. With the filter off I looked at the 'countless' open clusters in the area; M20, NGC6553, M38, M23, NGC6605, M25, M28, M24, IC1276, M22. I observed with my 24, 145 and 8.8mm EPs. Some of the clusters allowed to resolve individual stars. Several were showing bright yellow stars.  My personal favourite was M25 with its bright central yellow/orange star. I then moved to M17 (easily found on the finder scope; it shows quality of transparency). Immediately it popped on the 24mm EP as a little swan 'swimming' in the star field. The OIII made it pop more against the dark sky but I prefer it without it. Then the M16; faint nebulosity around the stars that looked a lot better with the OIII. That was the end of the first excellent seeing.

Night 2 and my focus was on more  DSOs. Transparency was even better than the night before. M31 was visible with naked eye. With my 24mm EP I was amazed on the structure it revealed. I could see dust lanes extending far out, almost like ripples. I think that was the best seeing I had off it. M32 and M110 bright as well; just fuzzy blobs. I then moved up to Blue Snowball nebula. I had not seen this target before. As the name suggests it had a wonderful blue hue to it. That was an wow moment to see something new. Going up with the magnification did not reveal much structure. Next was M33. OMG! That was the brightest I have seen it and some spiral structure was evident; not well defined but fuzzy. I then looked at my favourite double Persei cluster with its hundreds of stars with different colours. It is really a crowd pleaser. The nearby NGC957 looked less dramatic. With my OIII I looked at IC1805 but very faint glimpses of nebulosity could be made; i could just about differentiate from the darker background. 

Since the seeing was so good, I revisited the NAN and Veil. NAN was feeling my FOV on my 24 EP (I need to invest to a lower mag wide field view EP). The Gulf of Mexico was showing some nice structure at the edges. Last but not least the Veil. Both East and West Veil were showing excellent structure with long thin filaments. Pickering's triangle was also extended down to thin narrow structure. I could follow from one side of the Veil to the other by moving the Dob around (point #2 I need a low mag wide FOV EP!). 

I also squeezed the planets but my favourites are always the nebulas.

It was an excellent weekend with several old favourites. I am looking forward to more nebulas and probably start planning for winter to see new ones.

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35 minutes ago, Stu said:

Great stuff @Kon, two excellent sessions there. Really hoping I can do likewise before those targets are out of reach until next year.

Thanks. I am pleased to have got the southern DSOs as we were discussing on my other post last week. You have no excuse with darkness around 830 😜.

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2 hours ago, MalcolmM said:

Great read @Kon, makes me want to move to a really dark site and get a bigger telescope:)


Thanks. I keep contemplating a larger Dob as well but trying to work out the logistics, as with my 8" it is the case of getting it in/out within minutes from the sitting room.

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