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Explorer 130P SynScan Report - 08/04/2010


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Explorer 130P SynScan Report - 08/04/2010

Clear Sky - No Moon

130P scope - 650mm FL (f/5)

EP's: 25mm, 10mm, 9mm and a 2x Barlow

Visual Mag. 3.8 bordering onto 4

Location: Lat = 52 degrees, 45.5 minutes North, Long = 0 degrees, 53.8 minutes West

(N 52.6 and W 0.54 is what I used for the SynScan)

Started to set up at about 6p.m., to let the scope cool. Went out at about 8.30 p.m., when I started to see some stars around.

Aligned using Betelgeuse and Denebola, which proved to be successful.

At that moment, The batteries went dead. :p:).

Ran inside, got 4 new batteries (cba to change all 8!!).

Re-aligned using Denebola and Mizar, as Betelgeuse was behind a house now:rolleyes:.

Finally ready to go at 8.45 p.m. First sight: Saturn. Scope slewed, and then I used the backlash function and centered Saturn, making the controllers' accuracy even better.

Also took advantage of Saturns' brightness to align the finderscope perfectly.

Saturn was looking good through the 25mm (x26), the rings just wisible.

I cranked up the power to 9mm (x72) which wasn't a real difference, but revealed the rings and colour a bit more. I then decided to put the barlow to the test.

The power was now at 4.5mm (x144), which gave a stunning view compared to the AstroMaster 70AZ I used to see Saturn the last time.

My second object was Mars, which I really wanted to see, because the sky clouded over when I had the Evostar 150, which wrecked any chance of me seeing Mars.

At 25mm, it still looked like a star, so I used the 9mm wioth the barlow.

WOW, was my fist thought. I could see the disc shape, and even though it looked tiny, I could make out some faint markings anfd even its 'phase' (part of the disc was black [as shown in S@N]).

My third object of intrest was in the 'tour' function: The Beehive Cluster. Seeing as it wasn't very far from Mars, I opted to observe that as it wouldn't take very long to slew.

I put the 25mm EP in, and it fitted perfectly into the FOW (which is apparently 52 degrees with this particular EP). It was STUNNING, a graceful cluster sparkling beautifully against a blue-black sea.

My final stop for last night was M81/82, or Bode's Galaxy. I chose to use the 25mm EP, as I thought the galaxies would be more noticable, and I was right. I could make out M82's cigar-like shape, fuzzy against the pinpoint stars around it, with M81 close to it. Building up the power spoilt the view a bit, as you couldn't see the full picture. Came bak inside at about 9.20, as my parents were tired (

:):rolleyes:) and had to go to work the next day.

I hope you enjoy reading my first PROPER night out, and I pray for clear skies so I can go out again!!


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Great report you did really have a good evening. Long may there clear skies continue...

Have you tried M3 the globular below and right of the Plough handle. Put in high power to see a view that is without equal!


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Great report. It sounds as if you have a similar view to me from your observing point. In the last few clear nights, I've viewed the same sights as you, although I always leave Saturn until last as a 'treat'.

Mars is getting close to the Beehive now and I used binoculars the other night to see the two together. Superb.

You might want to try NGC2903, just west of the Leo 'sickle'. I usually try to resolve the double star Algieba, too, as a test of optics (mine and the OTA).

Edited by franticsmurf
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