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Thread: Night of 6/2 2018 - morning of 6/3 2018 Report

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    Default Night of 6/2 2018 - morning of 6/3 2018 Report



    Once again I was out at 10:00 just as the sky had reached full darkness. The temperature was warm, about 75 degrees so I was out there in shorts and a tank top - ah the joys of near-summer!

    I had left the AR 152 set up from the previous night so it got a lot of sun during the day. By now, though it had cooled down to reach the ambient temperature. I started with the 2" 30mm eyepiece that had served well the previous night. My first targets lay in Ursa Major - so I aimed the scope at Mizar and hopped up the chain of stars to M101, which I managed to discern as a faint cloud. Since the FOV was about 1.8 degrees it easily came into view. I had the hint of perhaps one spiral arm though this was fleeting with averted vision at best.

    Heading over to Phecda I picked up M109, which I was able to keep out of the glow of the bright star. Kind of oblong with the hint of a brighter core - I pumped the magnification up to 115 power and was able to darken the sky background a bit. This resulted in the galaxy becoming more apparent with averted vision.

    Next up I picked up M108 and M97 in the same field of view. The Owl was a faint gauzy smudge with perhaps a hint of a greenish tint. I thought for a second that I picked up one of the eyes, though the effect quickly disappeared, so I guess not. At least it couldn't definitively be confirmed. The Surfboard galaxy was a medium bright streak with a silvery tone.

    M81 and 82 were next, floating just above the roofline in the northern direction. M81 appeared as a bright frisbee shaped thing, with a concentrated core, whereas M82 appeared as a tortured streak of light with hints of knottiness from the slashes of dark matter in its midsection.

    Next I explored the bowl of the dipper and was hoping to catch a bushel of NGC galaxies. I nailed down 5 of them which were visible as amorphous blobs, once again at 33x, but could see no more. Even these required averted vision and were quite small.

    I saw that Hercules was rising in the East and could just make out the keystone shape. I grabbed the 15x70 binos and did a position check of M13. Sometimes I get confused as to which side of the keystone M13 is on. This effect becomes pronounced as the keystone moves during the night. So pointing the scope at the same spot I swept up the Hercules cluster with appeared a bit more impressive than M3 on the previous night, with increased resolution. I jumped up to 115x power to get a better view. As an aside, I could not see NGC 6207 which is obvious in the Obsession and sometimes visible in the Z10.

    NGC 6229 was next, a faint 9.4 magnitude globular that I could locate, but could not resolve. NGC 6210 showed up as my next target which appeared as a greenish disk at 175x, so a fairly nice planetary nebula. I thought that the view at least matched my earlier catches of this object through the Z10.

    At that point I covered the scope and turned in. I had no thought of a morning session but that's how it panned out. It turns out I awoke at 4:30 and thought - "should I go out again?"

    So I went outside to the deck with bare feet and looked up at the heavens. Cygnus was at the zenith and I could just make out the Summer Milky Way flowing across it's body. Since I hadn't seen M57 the night before I looked between Sulafat and Sheiliak in Lyra, at the end of the Lyre and found M57 - it was quite small and appeared as a defocused star at 33x so I knew I had to increase the magnification. I went up to 175x which yielded a much better view and once again darkened the sky background, and the donut hole in the center was much more obvious. I couldn't see the central star but that is not a surprise.

    I hopped over to M56 and partook of this relatively loose globular cluster. Nothing was resolved but still a nice view. I saw in the IDSA that there are a few galaxies in Lyra but I could not see any them. I next found M27 Vulpecula and enjoyed the apple core shape, with two lobes, once on each side. By now the astronomical dawn was occurring so I decided to end the DSO hunt and take a look at the almost last quarter moon. It looked magnificent at 33x with a defined limb and a wondrous field of crates and maria. Keep in mind that I hardly ever look at the moon. I was pleased that there was no color fringing at all at the edges, so the entire object was crisp and whitish.

    Another bright object was nearby and I aimed the scope at it and saw that it was indeed what I had guessed, Saturn. At 33x the rings were just visible but the disk was really small. Not enough to impress folks during an outreach session I thought, so I ramped up to 175x and could make out the rings much better along with Cassini's division - a couple of moons were also visible, though I am not sure which ones they were.

    By now it was 5:30 so I headed back to bad. I awoke at around 6:40, had my morning mocha and a bagel with cream cheese and fired up Af.net to write this report. So that's it. Hopefully the clear weather will continue. Still no sign of fog last evening or this morning so perhaps it will be three nights in a row. If so, I'll roll out the big scope and also set up the Z10 and the AR152 and compare some of the views.
    Michael
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    Default Re: Night of 6/2 2018 - morning of 6/3 2018 Report

    Well that was a fine pair of observing sessions, Michael! Awesome! You really put the frac through its paces on a variety of objects. Sweet!

    Clear here today, so am hoping to get a little dob work done this evening, sky willing.
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    Default Re: Night of 6/2 2018 - morning of 6/3 2018 Report

    Some nice views Michael, hopefully your skies will remain clear for more.
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    Default Re: Night of 6/2 2018 - morning of 6/3 2018 Report

    Hello Michael,

    that's a great and very successful observing session of yours.
    I bet, you will love your frac,

    JG
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    Default Re: Night of 6/2 2018 - morning of 6/3 2018 Report

    Great sessions...and targets, Michael! Glad you are enjoying your new scope!!

    Dave
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    Default Re: Night of 6/2 2018 - morning of 6/3 2018 Report

    Ooops - a couple of typos in there! Sorry folks. Most of the time I do know how to spell.
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    Default Re: Night of 6/2 2018 - morning of 6/3 2018 Report

    Wonderful session Michael! I haven't seen the Messiers you observed last night in ages - but hesitant to re-observe them from home.

    We had clear, moonless skies here in SoCal (in the early evening at least) the last couple of nights as well. Had a short peek at Jupiter and a huge asterism in Hercules before the moon came up Friday night, but nothing else. Expected to be clear again tonight...
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    Default Re: Night of 6/2 2018 - morning of 6/3 2018 Report

    Nice job! Puts a spark into my jaded heart. Anyone seen the white dwarf in the middle of the Ring Nebula? I tried to see the one in Ghost of Jupiter but it was so out of my league...
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    Default Re: Night of 6/2 2018 - morning of 6/3 2018 Report

    Quote Originally Posted by milanpicard View Post
    Nice job! Puts a spark into my jaded heart. Anyone seen the white dwarf in the middle of the Ring Nebula? I tried to see the one in Ghost of Jupiter but it was so out of my league...
    Thanks Milan. Sometimes viewing those familiar objects through a different scope brings back the sense of wonder and newness. A pretty cool feeling.
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    Default Re: Night of 6/2 2018 - morning of 6/3 2018 Report

    Quote Originally Posted by helicon64 View Post
    Thanks Milan. Sometimes viewing those familiar objects through a different scope brings back the sense of wonder and newness. A pretty cool feeling.
    Exactly! I've been doing this with my fracs, and even with my "Lil Whizz Popper" 80mm as Milan likes to call it. Enormous fun!
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