The Dumbbell Nebula
by, 07-22-2012 at 07:03 AM (305 Views)
Tonight was another clear Saturday night, though the seeing was rated as 'poor' on ClearDarkSky at least the transparency was average. I started off by viewing the target of my last blog post.. Albireo and while it was a great sight again, it wasn't quite as crystal clear as the last time I saw it. My next immediate target was to go for the Ring Nebula which is fairly close by to Albireo, but after about 10 minutes of searching without success I decided I'd go for my secondary target - the dumbbell nebula.
A couple notes, my telescope isn't very big and I don't even have a finder-scope attached to it, so my method of alignment is very basic, I do my very best to setup my scope to be pointing at exactly where I want it and then use the knobs on the manual EQ mount I have to slew around the general area where I'm looking for the object. It took me about 5 minutes this time to catch something out of the corner of my eye. Sort of like when I first saw M31, I wasn't sure I'd seen anything, but then I changed eyepieces and moved the telescope back and forth a bit and there was no mistaking there was something there which looked faint, but remarkably like a dumbbell!
I've now got aperture fever cause I know its got to be brighter than that and a bigger telescope would bring in lots more light. Fortunately I'm looking to get a scope soon which will be almost double the aperature of my 80mm scope. The light pollution in my backyard is also terrible, but I'll be moving in under a year, so that should solve that problem (I hope)! Though it was nice to have a close to new moon this evening.