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  1. #1
    mike_crow's Avatar
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    Default A clear and productive night



    I managed to step outside for a while the Saturday night - which happened to be one of the clearest nights this spring. Although the warmer nights are more enjoyable, the clouds that have been forming in the evening are less than desirable. I was forced to set up on my deck and face North/East because of the rude light trespass from the house across the street.

    I've kinda been on a cluster streak lately and I was in the mood for a new galaxy or nebula. Every object I found this night was to be new to me. I began with M3. I can tell that this is a beautiful dense cluster, but with my 8" and my skies it was mostly dim and washed out. I could make out the texture and individual stars - it just wasn't very sharp. Next up was M63, then 51. M51 had eluded me in the past so I was happy to finally catch it on this clear night. As faint as it was, I was actually able to tell it was spiraled.

    I spotted M101 and M109 - M101 being the absolute faintest of the night. I was only able to detect it after about a minute of staring and using averted vision - it was like a ghost. M108 was actually more distinguishable than 63, but still very faint. After moving away from M108, I changed my mind and decided to go back for another look. I'm really starting to dislike my finder scope, and finding my way back just wasn't as easy as it could be. While searching for 108 again, I found another object which surprised and thrilled me. It wasn't on the map I had with me, so I had no idea what I was looking at, but it was a very large round cloud. I eventually realized that I could put this object and M108 in the same FOV, which was beautiful and exciting. After I got back inside, I found out I had spotted the Owl Nebula. How very cool. All in all, very satisfying for me. The best find though was M81 and 82 side by side. These were the most distinct objects I found, and were a great pleasure to see. Everything I saw was best viewed at 48x (Barlow is coming in this week), 150x was just too much for the galaxies except for M51 and 63.

    You know, checking out stars and clusters are great with my XT8, and for as long as I've had this scope, it really wasn't until this night when I started yearning for more aperture. This actually leads me to an entirely separate discussion, so I'll save it for a new thread in the dob forum.


    Clear skies, friends,
    Mike
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  3. #2
    Dublin sky watch's Avatar
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    Default

    Hey Mike great write up there.
    Hope the baby is in good form.
    Thanks for your time to write this up....
    Declan.
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  4. #3
    mike_crow's Avatar
    mike_crow is offline Bright Giants
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    Thanks Declan. All is well. Back to work today from my 2 weeks off. Alas.
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    Default

    nice reports, for me is impossible to spot thouse objectc because of my aperture and light polluted sky, i have seen part of them only far from the city in the dark skyp.

    Thanks for sharing....

    Regards
    Antonio
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    Default

    Thanks for the report Mike. You did very well. I've noticed that tendancy for high level clouds to form after dark recently. I've set the scope up early a couple times and then gone out later to just put it away. I tell my wife I'm going out to set up the cloud magnet. I got out Saturday night for awhile too. Just doing doubles using the refractor. Based on the viewing conditions I probably should have broke the reflector out and gave M101 a shot. I've tried for it a couple times recently but just haven't been able to spot it. I've seen some of the other galaxies in Ursa Major but I'm still working on M101. Thought I noticed a very faint spot but not positive. Might be averted imagination. My eyes are getting old. Glad you had a good night.
    Len
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