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Another big session.


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After fixing my in-laws' computer, I hooked the scope out of the car (they live in a small village, so less LP), and had a go at getting a few more DSOs under the belt. I first scouted around with the 15x70 bins, to get a feel for the transparency of the sky. I spotted M51 with ease, and M81 and M82 were also simple, as was M42 of course. The Rosette nebula was not that clear, due to an awkwardly placed street light. I did manage to get a hint of C1 (NGC 188) a very faint open cluster near Polaris. The view was not conclusive.

I then got out the C8 for some serious stuff.

M51 was first to go: two nuclei shone out, and distinct spiral structure was visible, in particular with the 22mm at 90x

M101 came next: star hopping from Mizar, I got to the right position after some trial and error, and the 40mm Paragon showed a huge glowing region, with a fairly modest nucleus, and distinct hints of spiral structure. The Nagler 22 brought out stronger spiral detail. What struck me is that as you moved your eye about the FOV, the object showed the illusion of motion (rotation, faintly) which is typical for spiral patterns.

M40 came next, my only new Messier for the evening (should not complain, I got 15 new Messiers two nights ago). The (optical) double was a lot easier to find near Megrez than I had thought, and was verified by the presence of a nearby galaxy NGC 4290. The two stars are almost identical in brightness. The galaxy shows up as a faint elliptical blur, seen in averted vision only.

NGC 4236, or Caldwell 3 was next. This is very difficult to find. I found it with the 40mm and its 1.38 deg FOV, as a faint grey line running almost parallel to a row of faint stars. Averted vision is needed. The galaxy has a reasonable integrated magnitude, but with its large surface area is much harder to spot than many other members of the M81 group.

NGC 188 or Caldwell 1 was found by star hopping from Polaris, and showed up as a faint sprinkling of tiny stars, almost circular in appearance. Averted vision showed up the cluster best. As it is quite a large cluster, the Paragon 40mm showed it up best.

Though it was low in the sky, I had a quick go at M31, M32 and M110, which were all well visible, I tried to get to two more Caldwell galaxies in Cassiopeia, but they were probably too low.

IC 342, Caldwell 5, was next. A faint large haze with a sprinkling of foreground stars almost suggesting it is a nebula with cluster. It showed up best in the 40mm at 50x magnification. The appearance of the galaxy is slightly blotchy, suggestive of a face-on spiral with star-forming regions. This was confirmed when I looked up an image.

I now went for the Rosette in my C8. Even with the FOV of the Paragon 40mm, it just does not fit, but the nebulosity was distincly visible now, with hints of regions of dust.

I moved the telescope to get a better view of Leo, Coma, and Virgo, and aimed for the triplet, which I spotted two days ago from the suburbs. The view from the darker sight was STUNNING :). M65 and M66 were clearly visible in the finder, and internal detail stood out in the C8 with the Paragon. NGC 3628 showed a slightly sigmoidal shape and hinted of a dust lane. The latter was even clearer in the FOV of the 22mm Nagler.

I also had a look at NGC 3596 and NGC 3593 nearby, but these did not show any internal detail. They were easy in direct vision though.

I then moved to M98, which was much clearer as an edge-on spiral now than from the suburbs, and M99 which is easy even from where I live.

M84 and M86 were next, and clearly visible in the finder. I looked through the scope and my jaw dropped. Seven galaxies were visible in the FOV of the Paragon:

- M86: large elliptical blur

- M84: similar but smaller

- NGC 4387: small ellipse between and below the two Messiers

- NGC 4387: lower still and more elongated

- NGC 4425: More off to the right (due to star diagonal) faint, averted vision

- NGC 4435: One of the "Eyes" I did not take time to spot yesterday (in a rush to grab more Messiers:rolleyes:), very easy to see, quite compact, nearly comma-shaped

- NGC 4438: The other "Eye" which I did spot previously. This time the sigmoidal shape stood out.

There should have been a couple more in the FOV, but these proved too faint. I then grabbed the 22mm to study the Eyes in more detail. A really beautiful pair.

As I had to drive 40 km back to Groningen, I packed the gear in and drove back. All in all a very successful deep-sky jaunt: 25 galaxies, including 7 new to me, 3 new Caldwells and one (weird) Messier.

And tonight is looking good again:headbang:

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What an amazing night you had, these sort of nights are so rare in the UK and I would imagine Holland as well.

I love looking round Coma Berenices and Virgo when it's higher, those galaxies really pop out with aperture and dark skies.

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An amazing session. The sky is literred with these galaxies. I would almost call it galaxy pollution up there.

I was looking in the plough in the saucepan itself logging those galaxies I had not yet located.

I managed NGC 3838 - not to difficult to pick out.

Then NGC 3894 & 5. 94 is relatively easy but 3895 is much harder and needs averted vision.

Also logged 3835 / 3796 / 3888 & 3898. The last being easily the brightest of the night a lovely bright glowing disk of light.

I did end with a look at M51/M63 and NGC4565 that needle galaxy, just awesome when compared to the 7 new galaxies above! They are in a different league..

Over 400 logged and there are still so many I can pick up another 7 in an hours viewing even with a slither of moon..

I hope you have many more sessions in Virgo!

Mark

P.S Doc I hope you are doing alright, hows your health now..?

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It was an amazing session, which pushed my galaxy count up to 70 (nowhere near your 400 yet Mark, but I am hooked now:D). I will have another go at Virgo to nab some more. I am particularly pleased with the three Caldwell objects. I tried the first two several times, so getting them at last was great. IC342 was easier than I expected. I will start hunting in CVN and UMA as well. I should be able to push beyond 100 in a coupe of sessions if the weather clears.

I will also focus on other Caldwells as well. There are a couple that are well-positioned early in the evening, when UMA, CVN, Leo and Virgo are still too low. Now pray for a break in the clouds.

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