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11 Messier objects added to the list in one vacation

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As I noted in some other posts, I was in South Africa under wonderful clear skies this Xmas, which gave me a great opportunity to go Messier hunting south of Orion, with the 15x70s I brought along. The first night (20-12) in Hout Bay near Cape Town got me M47, a very nice open cluster, quite easily spotted. As I was still very tired from the flight, I did not wait for long enough to get more. Moonlight was also a problem.

The 21st was cloudy, but the 22nd was OK. I bagged M46 (much fainter than M47 which is very close by). I searched for M48, but it was still rather low in the sky, so opted to go and look for M41 (quite easy, nice open cluster), and M93 (also open cluster, and very easy). The moon was still a "blerry nuisance" as they say in SA.

The 23rd was my last night in Hout Bay, and yielded M48 (easier now the moon had moved far enough away), and confirmed the observation of M46 (also easier now). A bit later I bagged M50.

Besides these, I followed the Milky way down towards the Southern Cross, and spotted the Southern Pleiades, the Jewel Box, and many more besides.

I then moved to Langebaan along the Atlantic Coast, where I bagged M77 in Cetus from a nice dark location along the beach, along with the globular cluster M79. I also tried to spot M74, but to no avail, it is beyond the range of the binos. I also looked at the LMC and SMC during that night (24-12), as posted earlier here:


That was the end of my stargazing there, but when I got home I was treated to some crystal clear breaks in the clouds, so I first got out the 15x70s and got M67 on Jan 2 (quite faint in the light polluted skies of home). I also tried M74 again but no dice in the 15x70s. Therefore I hauled the C8 out, and after much searching got M74. It is the most difficult one I bagged, but it brought the count up to 66 (60% done):eek:

The best thing is, I get to go to Australia some time in April, so I get another chance at some southern Messiers. Can't wait!!:)

Edited by michael.h.f.wilkinson
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Excellent account michael. Would be great to have such views but I guess with the weather here as it is, just a break in the cloud would do :)

Good luck down under! :eek:


Rest assured, to pay for my good weather there, it is solid grey cloud here now ;), but I shouldn't complain.

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That's a super haul Michael. Well done on bagging all those objects. A superb advert for observing the night sky with binoculars. Hope you get some clear skies in Oz

I hope so too. Binoculars are really great for this kind of stuff. I would not mind access to a bigger beast down under, however :eek:

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