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Tantalus

Quick Reports, 4th June.

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120mm F/8.3 refractor

Meade5000 26mm (~40x)

10mm standard Plossl

X-Cel 5mm (200x)

Initially I wasn't planning on going out, so I didn't have a prepared list, but in the end I couldn't resist the allure of a clear sky.

Started off with M15. At only around 25 deg altitude, it wasn't easy to find with nearby stars lost in lp, but I managed to find Enif in the finder scope, then swept upwards from there until M15 appeared as a feint fuzzy in the 26mm ep, a first-obsy for me. Tried to tease out some detail in the 5mm, but wasn't really able to do so.

Tried to find M11, the curiously named Wild Duck Cluster, but working without a star chart it proved too elusive. So next I went for the Double Cluster in Perseus. This one is much easier to find, lying so close to Cassiopea. Both clusters fitted nicely into the FOV of the 26mm ep, giving me a stunning view of the clusters.

Next, I couldn't resist the temptation of a quick peek at M31. Still low in the sky, it's not at it's best just yet, but the 26mm ep still managed to show quite a large feint elliptical disc around the central core. Then after several minutes of looking at M31, I detected a very feint fuzzy spot just above it. I swapped in the 5mm ep and moved it around in the ep with the motor drives just to make sure I wasn't imagining things - M110? I made a careful mental note of it's position in relation to nearby stars, and was later able to confirm with Stellarium that it was indeed M110! Another first for me, and it made my night.

By now it was nearly 02:30 am, and the eastern sky was already beginning to brighten, so I went inside for a cuppa until 3am, when Jupiter would be above the rooftops.

I took the chance to use Jupiter as a pointer to Uranus. In the 5mm ep I could just about make out a very small blue-ish disc. Another first, and I'm up to 6 planets, just Neptune and Pluto to go. Then Jupiter. Not much to see with it being so low and with some whispy morning cloud low in the east, but I could make out the NEB, and moons Ganymede, Io, and Callisto. The Moon was also rising, but I have to sleep some time, the Moon can wait.

Three new targets though, I call that a good night. :D

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