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Smudge night


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A decent clear sky after such a long time! I think the seeing was pretty good even if the moon glow took away some contrast.

I say that because I bagged the 2 elusive (for me so far) smudges M81,M82. Galaxy M81 was like a smaller Hercules M13, the greyish surround with the bright core and with about 270x mag, hinting at some points of light though I'm sure, given the size, not actual stars. Galaxy M82 the slightly ellipsoid shape with just some lighter grey inside.

staying around Ursa Major, galaxy M106 was rather elusive. I could just get a hint of a grey ball. You know, just give a slow burst of DEC or RA either way and if you see something move that isn't a star! I tried the same for galaxy M63 but then I'd say yep, nope, nope, yep, nope... This carried on for galaxies M51, M101, M102, M108 and nebula M97 though some of those probably need a proper dark site and no moon.

Success returned with galaxy M94, just above double star Cor Caroli. It deserves the "smudge" title but its tight ball had a slightly bright inner.

Moving over to Bootes and Arcturus area. cluster M3 is an easy, fairly largish, lighter fuzzball. Higher mag didn't give any pinpoints for me. Back to the grey smudge with cluster M53, almost in a line out from Arcturus via Muphrid. That perhaps wavy line continues out a bit to M64, Black-Eye galaxy. I think it has been battered again, making it blacker!!! There was a hint of something there though, I had a few more 'yep' than 'nope' doing the DEC dance!

As night, or morning, wore on, the area a bit left and down of Arcturus to Ophiuchus and Scorpius came around. Cluster M5 is a decent size with the brighter inner. In contrast, cluster M10 with less than a half jump in mag came up as the dim smudge. Definite nopes down there were clusters M12 and M107.

Not a great night for Messiers though the moonless nights earlier in the year wouldn't have brought some regions into my view.

Those items above range in brightness mag from 6.5 to 11 but, even if the double figure ones definitely need a moonless darksite, it's interesting that some with the apparently same mag can be a yep or nope.

I consoled myself with a final satisfying look at a pair of double stars in Scorpius. Graffias is a fine pair easily split (14") both tending to whitey-blue. Just slightly further is Nu-Scorpio (RA 16.12 DEC -19.28) with even greater sep (41") and each nice distinct dots due to their lower mag, the dimmer one a definite blue.

And I have to mention, Saturn looked crisper than earlier moonless nights. Possibly due to it being a bit higher. There was very distinct seperation of the ring in front and surface variation and with 270x mag I'm sure I got the Cassini slivers on each side.

Edited by starguest
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