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Dark sky evening 19th September


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went up to my local astro soc dark sky site for an evening's viewing yesterday. Got up there about 9:30pm, the clouds had lifted, clear skies and almost no light pollution:hello2:.

Started using my C80-ED on an alt-az mount. First went to M31 as it's flavour of the month. I can find it in a minute or so now. The sky was so dark it was borderline visible by eye. In the telescope you could see it covered almost the whole field of view using averted vision and a 32mm eyepiece. You could also pick out M110 and M32 as smudges.

Getting bolder I and consulting the S@N sky guide, I looked down for M33 which I picked up as a large round smudge. 3 new messier objects in a night - I was on a roll.

I then wanted to look for some of the objects in ursa major. I managed to find M51 a smudge that resolved to two bits with close examination and averted vision, but couldn't find the owl nebula.

Staring up at the sky I spotted a good visual smudge under cassiopiea, consulted the chart and decided it had to be the Double Cluster. Training the telescope that gave nice views. It's the first time I have seen that through my C80-ED. I then panned the scope upwards to M103, another new Messier!

I then got a call from another club member to see if anybody was up at the dark site. someone to talk to!

It this point I wanted to take a look at Jupiter which was scudding along through the trees. It revealed Ganymede on the left, Callisto and Io were pretty much on top of each other close to Jupiter and on the right and Europa far out the right of the planet.

I then zoomed back to Andromeda for another peep, after spending a long time looking for it last winter and failing I can't resist going back. By this time the other club member turned up and we spent a bit more time looking at Jupiter and Andromeda.

We then took a look at M45, my first view since the summer and tried unsuccessfully to find MM36/M38 which might still have been below the trees.

Finally we went hunting for some Messiers in the summer triangle, but couldn't find much with the C80-ED although we got some nice views of Alberio. Swapping across to the WOZS66 I think I found M27 and M56.

One evening to remember!



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