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East coast 21/3/11


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Well for once the Met office forecast proved correct :hello2: Clear skies on the Lincolnshire coast.

I set up my SW150p in good time before dark in anticipation of clearing skies. I started by looking out for an Iridium flare at 18:52. A few brighter stars were starting to show and the satellite became visible as it flared briefly.

The Orion nebula gave good views and I kept returning to it over the evening before it disappeared behind our bungalow. I was using a BST Explorer 18mm eyepiece for nearly all night.

M31, the Andromeda galaxy, was the next target. Only a pale grey smudge but it was just to get my 'eye in'.

M1. the Crab Nebula, was the main one to tick off the Messier list. Having failed previously my determination paid off tonight. It was very faint but I had found it.

M44, the Beehive cluster in Cancer, filled the eyepiece with stars.

Having found M51, the Whirl Pool galaxy, previously, it was fairly straightforward to return to it, appearing as two grey smudges. M101 always seems a struggle for me to find, but it is very faint in my scope. After a few tries I did find it.

Bonuses for the evening was two spectacular meteors. The first about 20:25 in the NE below the handle of the plough, the second was a few minutes after, nearly overhead also heading NE, leaving a very long trail.

Saturn was the main event with the best views I've had so far. With a 5mm eyepiece the rings were clearly visible along with two moons.

To finish the evening off I had a look at M13, the Globular Cluster in Hercules, an objectI had first found a couple of nights ago.

All in all a great evening, and although the Messier objects are just faint grey smudges in my scope, finding them is a good excercise in learning my way around the sky.:hello2:

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