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Thread: 5 galaxies, a globular and an open cluster...

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    aLiAz's Avatar
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    Default 5 galaxies, a globular and an open cluster...



    Tonight was one of my best observing nights (if not THE best), and only with my binoculars.

    I'm visiting my mum this weekend (with my girlfriend), and I decided to bring along only the binos, and no scope. Turned out nice weather (clear skies), and all I had to do was wait for the moon to set around 22:30.

    So by 22:30 I was ready to start, with my mum and gf going to bed. As I had no need to cool down any optics (dob left at home) I lied down on my back and just looked at all the stars while my eyes were getting dark adapted. I then decided to judge the quality of the sky, and despite it being difficult to figure out, I came to the conclusion that the skies were bortle scale 4 or 5, but most probably yellow. Transparency was also good at 4/5.

    So the first object I wanted to look at was the Andromeda galaxy, but the Pleiades cluster caught my eye, and I had to look at it. I could see 6 stars naked eye. In the binos it was very impressive, with more than 30 stars visible, of which 8 are very bright. The cluster is about medium density and large, and a stunning view. Deciding to get back to my list, M31 was suprisingly not visible naked eye. But I put that down to the object being only 35 deg above the horizon. However in the binos it was easy to find.The core is very bright, and visible direct vision. With averted vision I could just barely make out a large faint elongated shape. What is interesting is the view I've had of M31 in my binos tonight was better than I've had of it in my 6 inch scope in bortle scale 6 skies back at home!

    Okay next I again lay flat on my back, as the next galaxy was straight overhead. That would be the Silver Coin galaxy, or the Sculptor galaxy, or NGC 253. Which ever way, it's the brightest southern galaxy (excluding the Magelanic clouds, which I'll get to shortly). I've had dissapointing views of the Sculptor galaxy in my scope back at home, but tonight in my binos it was prominent (albeit faint), but I could clearly make out an elongated shape.

    Next I turned south to see 47 Tucanae, which turned out to be an extremely bright globular. I've seen few globs that look this bright through my 6 inch dob! But even though it was amazing, another very closeby object was calling for my attention. The Small Magelanic cloud. I've never seen it before, but tonight in this smaller town the skies allowed me to see it, I could make out both SMC and LMC naked eye (I'll get to the Large Magelanic cloud in a moment), with SMC being faint but prominent. In the binos it was covering about half the FOV in the form of an irregularly shaped, large fuzzy shape. I noticed a brighter round patch in the northern part of the object (It may be a globular but I'm writing under correction).

    When I finally had enough of SMC...okay well I didn't have enoung of it, but I wanted to find the Triangulum galaxy, M33. I've read that it is a difficult object to find, and have not even attempted to find it back at home. But I had good skies for a change so I tried to find it, and not a minute later I did! At first I thought, okay maybe I'm imagining it, lets lose the object, and if I can find it again,I know I have it. And I found it in the same spot 2 more times. Though it was very faint, more or less round shaped smudge, and quite large with no features.

    Not believing my luck, I turned back south toward LMC which is now high in the sky. It was visible to the naked eye with direct vision.Very large even naked eye, but in the binos it was huge, covering more than one FOV. I must have looked at it a while. I also noticed a bright spot, which is probably the tarantula nebula.

    Starting to get a bit cold, I decided to end the night on a high, satisfied with whatwas probably the best night I've had observing. It was also an eye opener as to how much can be seen through binoculars given a dark site.

    Clear skies
    J
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    Default Re: 5 galaxies, a globular and an open cluster...

    Very nice report!

    I have been thinking I need some binoculars soon, and you talking about M33 and the Pleiades in particular has me thinking I want them sooner than later.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Will

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    tweaked,
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    Default Re: 5 galaxies, a globular and an open cluster...

    Great to hear and glad you shared, thanks ! Living this far north Ive never had the opportunity to see the large or small magellanic clouds, maybe someday. One of these days hopefully I want to see alpha centauri also. Those dark skies do make a significant difference and you did a wonderful job describing this. Enjoy those beautiful skies there.

    Cliff - Missouri
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    Default Re: 5 galaxies, a globular and an open cluster...

    Nice report. Reading others viewing reports is always inspiring. Now if the cloud cover would go away ..
    Bill

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    Default Re: 5 galaxies, a globular and an open cluster...

    Thank you for the excellent report. I couldn't agree more about the value of a pair of binoculars when observing. It's part of my kit and I'm distraught when I forget them on a dark sky road trip. Often when I'm imaging, I pan the sky with binos while the camera is working. It helps you learn the night the sky and the art of "spotting". Also, when new comers to astronomy complain about the cost, I always tell them:
    "You can do most of astronomy with a pair of binoculars and a subscription to "Sky and Telescope". That doesn't cost a lot of money. I guess I'm a minimalist by nature.

    Clear Skies and blackouts.
    --Cliff

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    Cool Re: 5 galaxies, a globular and an open cluster...

    "J"
    just saw MIB111 wasn't bad

    Yep can't beat the Southern Sky for spectacular Galaxies, Clusters & Globulars
    Binos are great 4 cruising

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    Default Re: 5 galaxies, a globular and an open cluster...

    Congrats on the excellent views - it sounds like a great night with the binos!
    Michael
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    Default Re: 5 galaxies, a globular and an open cluster...

    sometimes the binos are all that you need

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    Default Re: 5 galaxies, a globular and an open cluster...

    great report my man & grats.

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    Default Re: 5 galaxies, a globular and an open cluster...

    Hello J,

    you have had a great observing night with your binoculars.

    Thanks for the nice report,

    JG
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