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Albireo380

14" Flextube GOTO Messier Marathon

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I was up at Kindrogan Fild Studies Centre in Perthshire over the weekend. I took up my 14" Flextube GOTO, as it hadn't yet been open to a real dark sky.

Iset up at 8pm on Saturday evening the grass outside the main house and despite a chimney fire in the stable block, with fire engines arriving etc) I observed until 2.15am on Sunday morning. A friend kept urging me to "wait until M92 and M13 come up from behind the trees". So it was a long and fruitful observing session.

Used the 14’ GOTO and an 11mm Nagler (x145):

M3 Superb Glob in Coma Berenices, resolved to the core

M13 Great Gobular Cluster in Hercules - beautiful as ever

M35 Open cluster in Gemini

M42 Nebula in Orion, trapezium crisp, superb detail in nebula -

best I have ever seen

M44 Beehive cluster in Cance

M51 Whirlpool Galaxy in UMaj. Good structure.

M53 Bright, well defined Glob in CBer

M63 Spiral in CVen

M64 “Black Eye” Galaxy in CBer

M65 9th mag spiral in Leo. Structure observable

M66 9th mag spiral in Leo. Structure observable

M67 Nice little open cluster in Cancer

M81 Face on spiral in UMaj

M82 Edge on spiral in UMaj

M85 Lenticular galaxy in Virgo cluster

M88 Spiral in Virgo cluster

M89 Elliptical in Virgo cluster

M90 Spiral in Virgo cluster

M92 Glob in Hercules - resolved to core, fantastic.

M95 Spiral in Leo (Leo Triplet)

M96 Spiral in Leo (Leo Triplet)

M97 Owl nebula in UMaj. Small, but well formed Planetary

nebula

M101 Pinwheel Galaxy - large spiral in UMaj

M104 Sombrero Galaxy in Virgo.

M105 Spiral in Leo (Leo Triplet)

NGC4565 Caldwell 38 Large, mag 9.8, edge on spiral in CBer.

Big central bulge and well defined edge on structure in

spirals

In 15x70 binoculars - Double Cluster, Pleiades (M45) and Andromeda galaxy (M31)

Saturn - saw rings, ring shadow on cloud deck, Titan and Rhea

So, 27 Messiers in 6 hours :)

The 14" GOTO performed perfectly. Once level and pointing north, I simply aligned on two stars then started observing. I slewed by up to 180 degrees and still got the object in an tFOV of 0.6 degrees. So the GOTO is reasonably accurate.

The temperature dropped to -10 degrees C, and if the bar in the Field Centre hadn't been open until 11pm, I would have suffered for my Messiers, but that plus lots of hot coffee meant we managed through until the skies started to deteriorate at 2pm.

A great night's observing through a good, big 'scope. Despite it's size and weight, I think the 14" is a keeper.

Tom

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Fantastic list...As a galaxy geek may I suggest you add M63/94/106/108 and M109 in and around the Plough next time.

Mark

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Sounds like you had a cracking time, well done. There's quite a few of them at this time of the year isn't there?

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Fantastic list...As a galaxy geek may I suggest you add M63/94/106/108 and M109 in and around the Plough next time.

Mark

I will remember those Mark - simply ran out of energy as I slewed the scope around grabbing fuzzies. I also got M1, just forgot to list it.

GliderP - yeah, Spring is good for looking outside the plane of our Galaxy. The Virgo Cluster beckons :)

Tom

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Hi Tom, what a great read, thanks for posting! You really took advantage of the weather in getting out for such a long spell, must have been very enjoyable to observe so many great objects. :)

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Nice report Tom. I'm toying with the idea of a 16" Flextube (undecided on GoTo yet) as I missed out on a 18" David Lukehurst dob. Did you notice much improvement in the 14" over the 12" Flextube?

Cheers, Martin

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Try doing it withOUT the GOTO.

It's much more rewarding.

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Nice report Tom. I'm toying with the idea of a 16" Flextube (undecided on GoTo yet) as I missed out on a 18" David Lukehurst dob. Did you notice much improvement in the 14" over the 12" Flextube?

Cheers, Martin

Hi Martin,

To be honest, the difference between the 12" and 14" is marginal. A hint more detail in DSOs is all I am aware of. The 12" was a cracking 'scope, but the 14" is a little better and the tracking + GOTO make it easier to use. If you go for the 16" (and it will weigh a ton so needs to be at a fairly static site - Galloway perhaps?) then it should show much more than my 12" did. If you have it in your dark sky site, it should blow your socks off.

Cheers

Hi Waccoo - I previously had a 12" non-GOTO Flextube, so I know the joys of star hopping. I upgraded as with the weather being so poor in West Central Scotland, I have to cram in as much in as possible in the short breaks between clouds and rain. A GOTO allows me to do that.

Regards

Tom

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Hi Waccoo - I previously had a 12" non-GOTO Flextube, so I know the joys of star hopping. I upgraded as with the weather being so poor in West Central Scotland, I have to cram in as much in as possible in the short breaks between clouds and rain. A GOTO allows me to do that.

Regards

Tom

Couldn't agree more Tom. We just don't have enough time with the constant cloud. I've been thinking about getting a goto for a while.

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I hear you about the weather. I live in South Georgia USA. The weather here, while much warmer, is also rather rainy or at least murky. I am a member of the Astronomical League's Urban Astronomy Club, so, I do know about limited seeing. Still, I don't use Goto or digital setting circles.

When I do my astronomy from home, it's in the fall to later spring. After that the murk is so think I just can't see more that 4th mag stars. Living in the middle of a small southern city doesn't help much. But, once the sand gnats come out (I think you Brits would call them midges), out door activities are even more limited.

To be honest, my club does have access to a dark sky site about 50 miles out of town. But, even then, when the temps hit 85F+ at night (30c+ for you folks) you don't want to be out there either.

Anywho, I understand about time no matter what.

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I hear you about the weather. I live in South Georgia USA. The weather here, while much warmer, is also rather rainy or at least murky. I am a member of the Astronomical League's Urban Astronomy Club, so, I do know about limited seeing. Still, I don't use Goto or digital setting circles.

When I do my astronomy from home, it's in the fall to later spring. After that the murk is so think I just can't see more that 4th mag stars. Living in the middle of a small southern city doesn't help much. But, once the sand gnats come out (I think you Brits would call them midges), out door activities are even more limited.

To be honest, my club does have access to a dark sky site about 50 miles out of town. But, even then, when the temps hit 85F+ at night (30c+ for you folks) you don't want to be out there either.

Anywho, I understand about time no matter what.

I don't think I have ever observed in 85F (or even in 70F). One part of me says "great, tee shirt and shorts", the other part thinks "far too hot". My usual observing temperature is from 20F to 45F.

As you might have guessed Walter, I am old enough to have been educated in real measurement. Metric is for youngsters. I remember being taught that 12" = 1 foot, 3 feet = 1 yard, 22 yards = 1 chain, 10 chains = 1 furlong and 8 furlongs = 1 mile. Happy days, before British lives were ruled by European politicians.

Could be worse though, I can still measure 'scope aperture in inches. :)

In Scotland I don't have midges / sand flies when I observe (as I am limited to autumn/Fall to Spring observing). In Summer it is light almost all the night (I am 56 degrees North). Midges come out when the temperatures rise to about 60F, so that is early June here - makes hillwalking a bit itchy in Summer though - the wee blighters have chased me over many a summit.

Cheers

Tom

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I have fond memories of Kindrogan wheile doing an open university Geology Summer School! Ace skies and well done!

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Try doing it withOUT the GOTO.

It's much more rewarding.

Its doable, but then I do not have goto, just a big finder scope, and this time the weather was perfect, as it was two nights later. On nights with intermittent clouds, goto would be nice. I do notice I can pick up the same objects next time with ease.

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I'm fast becoming a bit of a galaxy junkie and I'm only using an 8" newt...

T x

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Aren't they great!

This would be a great time of year for the galaxy group around NGC 3190. They are in the neck of Leo.

There are four or five nice galaxies in the group. Take a stab at it.

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Aren't they great!

This would be a great time of year for the galaxy group around NGC 3190. They are in the neck of Leo.

There are four or five nice galaxies in the group. Take a stab at it.

Good tip, I give it a go when the skies clear!

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We did our Messier Marathon Last night. IN about 4 hours, I did find 45+ different objects before the dew got so bad that it might just have been raining. It was a very nice night otherwise, we had a nice Zodiacal (sp?) glow in the West. We also had a nice glow in the South and Northwest from nearby towns, but, it was still dark enough for us to see the winter Milky Way.

Started at dark with M42, 43 and 45. They were quite easy. For such a wet night it was VERY clear. I found M31 and 32 just before they went behind the line of trees about 1/2 mile away. I couldn't get 110 as the sky was just too bright for it still. I did get 31 and 32 before the trees got in the way.

As the night progressed, I pretty much cruised. I had my Wil Tirion Sky Atlas 2000 (1st Ed) with me and only had to consult on a few items. The rest I could do from memory.

Like I said, it got very wet about 11:30pm, so, I didn't bother with the Virgo group. Just went around it. I have done MMs several times and, while I don't have the whole group memorized, I have enough in my head to do it in about 30 minutes or so. The problem is identification, not, finding the galaxies.

As it was, I didn't spend too much time looking at individual objects. The idea behind the Marathon is speed, not, the quality of your report.

GoTo has it's uses, but, it's like bringing a auto to a horse race. Turn it off and learn the sky!

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Turn it off and learn the sky!

Well I've learnt my sky - it's one big blob of cloud most of the year.

So with a GOTO, I can lock on to an object without seeing it in the finder....wait for the cloud window...wait a bit.....wait a bit...nearly there.....waiiiiitttttt......NOW, there's M27....oh, it's gone again.

GOTO fan, don't get me wrong, did 14 hrs observing over last 3 nights with binos and eyes only....

Edited by mikeknowle

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Sounds like a great night. I was out last night with an 8" scope under bad light pollution (limiting naked eye mag about 4.9). The seeing wasn't great. M65 and M66 were just about visible. M108 I just couldn't see. M51 was fairly good and wth a light pollution filter I'm sure there was a hint of structure. As far as galaxies go that's about all I can see (other than M81/M82). The clusters in Auriga, and M35 are always good though. I'm very tempted to save up for a 12" flextube to take down to my parent's house where the skies are very dark. I've been using a 6", and now 8" for 4 years under terrible skies (with ocassional trips to Kielder etc) and those flextubes are really calling me now.

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I'm very tempted to save up for a 12" flextube to take down to my parent's house where the skies are very dark. I've been using a 6", and now 8" for 4 years under terrible skies (with ocassional trips to Kielder etc) and those flextubes are really calling me now.

Me too, Bish, me too!

I'll be extremely surprised if I don't have one by the summer! Now trying to find reasons not to buy one, if you know what I mean!

Edited by mikeknowle

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Sounds like your conditions are just like mine when I go out in my backyard (garden?). Even on the best nights, I can't see the Milky way and can just see the Pleiades.

But, I have managed to fine several Virgo cluster galaxies and a number of other deep sky objects from my house. I used the list from the Astronomical League for Urban Astronomers. It was a tough go, but, very rewarding.

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Me too, Bish, me too!

I'll be extremely surprised if I don't have one by the summer! Now trying to find reasons not to buy one, if you know what I mean!

Trouble is my girlfriend won't be happy about having another scope in the house, which means the expense of a garden shed too! I'm always reading about aperture fever and think I've definitely caught it.

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