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A session to remember!


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I originally posted this in the "What did you see tonight?" thread, but @Stu asked me to pop my comments as a separate thread on here, which I'm happy to do now.

I should just say firstly that my own very satisfying session from the 16th/17th Jan was only one of a number of reports from that couple of nights where numerous SGLers had nights to remember: - so it's well worth checking these other reports out too, some really good reads over on that thread during last week's great run of clear nights! Perhaps the authors of those reports would also like to add their own to this thread 😊.

This is what I said..

"Just came indoors after my first session for a good while, just 90 minutes, but WHAT a 90 minutes!

I genuinely think this is one of the best night skies I've seen here since we moved to Linconshire almost 6 years ago.

Tonight I just wallowed in the conditions..

Scope: - Tak FS128. Now my only scope, and I am content with that. No other scopes to distract me from this one!

Targets, in order of viewing (no prior planned list!):

Firstly, Mars. Surprised how small it's got now since last viewing several weeks back. Pin sharp (and very bright) at 100x (Pentax XL 10.5mm). Adding 1.6x Barlow to 160x plus a red filter really looked great.. North polar cap very evident, with some large darker land masses showing halfway down the disk and in the bottom third. Too small an image for me to see or identify specifics, but a lovely sight. Got up to 200x with 5mm Burgess TMB Planetary (lovely little eyepiece!) and disk still very sharp.

Next, Crab Nebula in Taurus. I've only ever glimpsed this twice, and never tried from this location. What a revelation tonight..easily found star hopping north from Betelgeuse..easily, immediately, visible with direct vision with 31mm Axiom LX, in a sea of sparkling stars background. From here I closed in more and more with 23mm Axiom, Morpheus 17.5mm, Pentax 10.5mm and Burgess 5mm (200x). The higher the Mag, the darker the background, and I started to see the extent of this object. The best view was with the Pentax at 100x.

Next the Pleiades, just superbly shown with the big 31mm Axiom, the nebulosity clearer than I've ever seen it!

Inevitably, M42..instantly saw all 6 main Trap stars, direct vision, and I continued to be able to see them directly right up to 200x,  another first for me..

The overall vista with the 23mm Axiom LX at 85 degree fov was absolutely stunning..Bat Wings, Fish Mouth, Trap, Iota and Sigma close by..just beautiful.

I came in after 90 minutes, elated, frozen, mesmerised and invigorated. I now remember why I love this hobby so much.

And great to read how good a session many others enjoyed tonight as well👍:hello2:"

..and finally, a shot of  the scope used, fondly known as "Trinity"..

"My Precious"..😂😂


Thanks for reading 🙂




Edited by F15Rules
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  • 2 weeks later...

What a night Dave, thanks for giving your report some room to breathe here! It’s a sort of personal campaign to encourage people to realise that longer reports just get lost and not appreciated in the what did you see thread.

Anyway, nights like that don’t come along very often, do they, when the seeing is just spot on. I think I’ve only had one or two like it, and it does confirm that our scopes are very capable!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Lovely account Dave, a rare night to remember. And just one scope but what a “just one” to have. Very nice. I have actually more than once failed to get out on a perfectly viable night through pure indecision about whether this scope or that one or the other.


Edited by Captain Scarlet
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A once or twice in a year night is something really special and it looks like you got one of those. 
I noted that you said only ninety minutes. I have on average four or five of those amazing nights a year.

An hour and and half under perfect conditions is mind blowing. I always see myself out all night with coffee but those nights always come with early start for work the next day, so they are always snippet.

Your Crab Nebula is the one that grabs me the most. When I started in 2018 I dreamed that one day I could see it. 
The first time I did see it I was amazed it was there at all.

A few weeks ago I got eyes on with a 5”newt on a nice night and it was perfect. 
I hope you get more of those nights and I hope they are new moon and Friday/Saturday.


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