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Dec 6th Observing - 16" Lightbridge


DarkerSky
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18.40 to 21.30

and

22.25 to 00.05

After spending what seemed like ages getting near-on perfect mirror collimation, I managed to clock 4.5 hours underneath the stars last night with my new 16” Lightbridge :icon_eek:

To summarise – IT WAS AWESOME !!!!!!!

My ‘warm up’ targets were the M31, M32 and M110 grouping. Although my sky is plagued by light pollution I was highly impressed with the clarity of my targets. M31, near the zenith, stretched almost entirely across my field of view with my 26mm wide angle meade QX eyepiece. M32 stood out very clearly, and with a little nudge of the scope M110 came into view.

I decided to take a closer look at M110 at various magnifications up to x140. M110 is a dwarf elliptical satellite galaxy to M31, and part of the local gx group. I could easily make out a bright core and central area that faded as it moved outwards towards the edges. Started a sketch of the galaxy but the backdoor neighbour’s security light got the better of my sky, and then I lost the galaxy over the roof of my house before I could make any real headway. I’ll come back to that one :hello2:

Once it was all dark again I went for M1 – the Crab Nebula. That was an awesome sight with my Baader Hyperion 17mm eyepiece. A clear mis-shapen ‘s’ structure could be seen defining the supernova remnant’s edges. The shape was more defined with my OIII filter, and the nebulosity a bit brighter. With averted vision there appeared to be mottling in places. Definitely going to study this more to see if I can detect any of the filaments that can be seen – although might have to wait until I am at a darker location.

To my east now the moon was rising, washing out the sky. After a break I came out again and trained my scope on the double star Theta Aurigae….wow..!! With a separation of just 3.6” this was a toughie for my 8.5”. With the 16” though I managed to split it with mediocre seeing (3 mostly) at x140. Once I had marvelled at it for a while through the eyepiece I decided to sketch it. Will post the sketch soon once I have digitized it.

To finish off the evening I spent some time looking at Mars. At low mags it was impressive, the NPC clearly standing out. Went up to x295 but only average seeing, invading cloud and increasing gusts of wind at ground level hampered my search for much detail on the surface. Utopia was clearly seen collaring the NPC, but beyond that only suggestions of markings on the surface. I think I will have a better time of it when Mars is at a higher altitude.

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Hi Seb - Is this your first light report for the LB ? If so, then great news to see another one in commission. I used to live not far from Bedford so appreciate the lack of dark skies. Believe me, when you get that scope to a dark location, it will knock you back yet another stage.

Congrats !

Steve

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