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Impromptu session 10/12/10


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23.30 to 02.00ish

Skywatcher ST120

Weather forcast was not good, i'd resigned myself to yet another night in, enthusiasm not exactly in running high as i'm up at 5.30 weekdays(tired), & this Autumn hasn't exactly been a very memorable one on the Astronomy front!

10pm there was broken cloud, still litttle enthusiasm.

11pm clear skies, didn't look too bad, decided to have half an hour- no telling how long a wait till the next clear night!

First up the great nebula in Orion- in a 20mm ep this was looking good!- way better than normal,oooh-best make an extra stong coffee(by red light,naturally!)

Yep, transparencies good- i can see the sword handle,m36,m36,m38,praesape,&the winter milky way naked eye-not that common from my back yard.So many stars in the finder its a little disorientating compared to normal.

I'm afraid i develop what i call "sweet shop syndrome" on rare nights like this, don't know where to look first, everything's looking good!

Thought i'd see if i could find something new given the conditions- optimism running rediculously high now i throw in a 35mm ep & go for the rosette nebula, pretty long shot i thought, but worth a try.

There's ngc 2244 in the finder, never been too sure i've found that one before- it IS a good night.

Switch to the main scope, pretty good- oh & theres the rosette, big isn't it! couldn't believe my eyes at first, but no mistaking the nebulosity, suprised, wasn't even that hard to see?.No real details, but the broad outline unmistakable.Switched to a 32mm- bit more contrast.

I returned to the Rosette several times in the night, just to prove i wasn't seeing things, i wasn't.WOW!

Next up the eskimo nebula, spent a fair while searching,but no joy!

Discovered today i wasn't looking in quite the right place-DOH! Theres a moral in there, plan beforehand, but it was an impromptu session after all.

Back into Orion, could see some nebulosity of ngc2024, first positive view of that. Could not positively see ic434, was hoping to catch the bright part even if the horsehead itself was a non starter.

M42 again, kept bumping up the mag & it kept getting better, ended up at 120x & it didn't wash out!- half that's more normal for me.

Tried for the extra trapezium stars, but seeing too unsteady,so just the usual four.

M1- this has always been a rather disappointing object for me, not hard to spot, but pale & dull. Got some real good views last night, clearly showing at 19x, again i was able to up the mag way beyond what normally works- ended up at 92x with more of the nebula showing than normal- & a hint of detail, but that was right at the limit of my vision, so suspected rather than confirmed as such.

Well i've rambled on rather haven't I!, can you tell i had a great night??

It was quite amazing how well really low & relatively high powers worked for DSO in the little ST last night-mags that normally just wouldn't work for me.

Thats not all i saw, but a few highlights.

The more i use this scope, the more i'm liking it!

Hope some of you out there enjoyed similar conditions.

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