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19th April 2009 ~ A fine nights observing.

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Hi Everyone. Went out observing on Sunday night. Here's my report.

I took the telescope outside to allow it time to cool down for a full hour beforehand.

Whilst it was cooling, I grabbed my Binos and tracked down Mercury low in the West. Nice and bright but too low for telescopic observation though.

After the dark had settled in I kissed the wife goodnight and ventured outside.

Started off looking at Saturn. At high power (180x) banding and the ring detail were evident plus the Cassini division could be glimpsed under averted vision. Many Moons were visable as well - lovely.

Moving onto Deep Sky objects I trained the 'scope onto Galaxies M65 and M66 in Leo. No discernable structure visable (mainly due the slow f ratio and aperture of the scope (Maks don't do Galaxies very well!). Pleased to view these two none the less.

Next I moved onto M81 & M82 in Ursa Major. The nucleus of M81 was evident but again, due to the Maks characteristics, no extended details were evident. M82 was more rewarding, despite being the fainter of the two. the edge on nature of this galaxy was clear to see at low power (56x).

Moving on, I then located M53 in Coma Berenices. This is a relatively easy Globular Cluster to locate being so close the Alpha Comae Berenices.

Next on the list was the Globular Cluster M3 in Bootes. Both these Clusters showed mottling at high power. Though I could not see individual stars these two objects were rewarding to view (and find - M3 can be tricky as it is in a releatively sparse region of the sky.)

Next up was the Globular Cluster M5 in Ophiuchus - this was a treat at high power (180x) with individual stars viewable using averted vision.

After viewing M5 I noticed that Theta Corona Borealis was a designated double star in my Sky and Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas. Training the 'scope on the star showed two white companion stars of equal magnitude closely split at low power (56x).

By this time the cold was setting in and next doors cat had come to visit. The last two objects I decided to take a look at were two old favourites the Planetary Nebula M57 in Lyra and the Globular Cluster M13 in Hercules.

Both were still low (about 30 degrees above the Horizon) in the North-East and were struggling to be viewed against the murk and light pollution generated by Leeds City Center. It was nice to see them, though, and be reminded of warmer evenings to come.

To sum up, two Planets, four Galaxies, four Globular Clusters, one Planetary Nebula and a Double Star to boot. Not a bad night at all.

Enjoy your evenings.


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Thanks for your great report Jarvo! What kind of Mak do you have? (My ETX90RA is an f/13.9 and it doesn't do well on galaxies either, lol.) Nice to see S&T's Pocket Sky Atlas get a mention, too. It's a wonderful publication and has quite a lot on the pages without being too crowded.

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Thanks for the kind comments Guys.

Talitha - Its a Skywatcher Pro Maksutov-Cassegrain. Optics work at F12. 150mm diameter primary objective mirror. Its a lovely 'scope.


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Hi Jarvo - nice report. I use that scope too - it's a very good instrument, especially on the moon, planets, doubles, globular clusters etc. I've had absolutely stunning views of the moon, just like floating over the surface looking down on craters. Thanks. Ed

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