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Observing Report 20th May 2010


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Observing Report 20th May 2010

Location Stockport, England Latitude: +53.42 (53°25'12"N)

Longitude: -2.17 (2°10'12"W)

Equipment – f8.3 120mm Celestron OMNI XLT Refractor, TV Radian and Panoptic /Powermate / WO 33mm SWAN

Main Target: Lunar Photography

As mentioned in my thread http://stargazerslounge.com/imaging-lunar/104570-must-resist-imaging-lunar-shots.html I got home from a night at a relative’s house and as the moon was in a decent position for the first time in a few days and the sky was clear I decided to try and get my first Lunar images with the refractor. I did not expect much with my Nikon Coolpix / £8 Scopes N Skies Astroboot connector but the results were actually surprisingly good. I hope to eventually find a way to connect my Fuji finepix s9600 (which has a 58mm thread if anyone has any ideas?) to my scope as this has much more control over the various functions. I managed to see and photograph the Lunar X, a new feature for me and was delighted with this.

Although not totally hooked with imaging, I did enjoy this but it will remain a side interest for me as while I was imaging, I was missing using the scope and felt I missed out to some extent.

The seeing was very good and Saturn revealed good levels of detail at lower magnifications. Even at 180x, the image held with little ‘bubbling’ in the atmosphere which encouraged me to have a further look at other items. As I had started so late, I was not really very organised and had no specific targets but had a look at M13, the Great Cluster in Hercules which resolved good numbers of stars. There was no chance of seeing the propeller with this scope though.

I turned next to the Ring Nebula, M57 in Lyra which as always did not disappoint and again confirmed that the seeing was better than usual. Beta Cygni (Albireo) was the next item I looked for and it’s an easy find. The two elements widely spaced and showing their blue and golden colours well, especially when slightly off focus. A good comparison with this was the slightly more widely spaced Delta Lyrae which has similar colours but on reflection does not compete with Beta Cygni despite my previous comments to this effect.

As by now Lyra was quite high in the sky, I thought I had a chance of seeing M27, the Dumbbell Nebula over the trees at the back of my garden. I was not well prepared but from memory, recalled that M27 was in Vulpecula I put in my widest field eyepiece and scanned the area and eventually found the round fuzzy blob with side ‘cut-outs’ which is this interestingly shaped nebula. It really lives up to its name and is one I’d like to see in the dob, next time out. and about the same distance again ‘down’ from Beta Cygni as Beta Cygni was from Alpha Lyrae (Vega).

As the seeing was so good, I decided to have a look at Epsilon Bootis as I had never been able to get a really good split or see the correct colour of the secondary. I finally managed to get a good split on this double and even saw the blue/green colour of the secondary.

My final target of the night was the lovely pink and yellow Xi Bootis, which is one of the more attractive doubles in the sky; a great way to end the short night’s observing.

A short and sharp session and I think I'll be having a few more with the camera as Lunar photography sees to be relatively quick and easy which are and always have been two of my main requirements for photography.

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