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Last night's observing session, 6/1/10


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last night with a temperature of -5 and snow still on the ground and the skies clear, I decided to brave the cold and do some observing. First job was to clear a patch of snow on the patio to place the dob on and then put the tube out to cool.

Only after I became dark adapted did the motion sensitive floodlight decide to turn on and ruin my night vision:mad:

Thankfully after that it didn't come on for the rest of the night.

So... on to what I saw last night:

#1 Messier 35--Found quite easily with the help of my S&T pocket atlas. A nice object, averted vision showed up a haze behind the dozen or so resolved stars. NGC 2158 visible below the cluster as a small patch of faint stars

#2 Double cluster--Easy to find, nudged the scope towards Perseus and tilted up and there it was in the finder scope. Fits snugly into the eyepiece FOV, Lots of stars resolved and the two cluster cores nice and dense and distinct.

#3 The Eskimo Nebula--A bit of a challenge this one as it is quite faint. Started by finding Wasat then moving down 2 degrees to 63 Geminorum and another degree hop to the nebula. Couldn't find it at first but then found it as an fuzzy blob next to a star, higher magnification showed it was indeed the nebula but it was faint and no structure was visible. I am quite pleased to have seen this one:D

#4 Sigma Orionis--A nice triple star below Orion's belt, all three main stars visible and also the triangle of stars know as Struve 761 a few arc minutes to the west.

#5 Orion Nebula--Not that good this time, only a small amount of nebulosity visible but the trapezium stood out in the centre and I think a hint of M43 or the running man???

#6 Mars of course--Small... too small, clearly a disk but at 120x it shows no features whatsoever. I would buy a barlow or eyepiece if the scope was mine but it isn't so 120x will have to do for now:(

That's all managed to see last night, I hoped to spy the Owl Nebula (M97) and M108 but not a hint of either. I knew I was looking in the right area as the star field matched up with what was on Stellarium nut I guess my area is to light polluted and my scope too small. Oh well, that's enough for one night, I'll see what I can see tonight if the skies remain clear.

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Great report. You picked out a fair number of special objects..

No galaxies though? What about trying M81 and M82 which are getting higher now after 10pm..


I've seen them before so I thought I might try some new ones, although I couldn't resit looking again at M42.

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