Glad to have a clear night to observe Orion with my Nexstar 8SE. Nice views of M42, M43 and M78 then onto the more difficult stuff. I found the combination of Sky Safari 3 Pro and Deep Sky Browser very helpful in checking I was in the right star field. tracking was good all night.
I compared the TeleVue Delos 17.3mm with the Vixen VLW 22mm eyepieces. The Delos certainly is flat and sharp right to the edge of the image but somehow looked a bit “processed”. Stars looked a little more natural in the Vixen. The 72 degree field of view in the Delos was impressive and appeared wider than the 68 degree field of the Vixen.
I just couldnt see some of the bright nebulae in and around Orion – I suspect I will need long exposure imaging to see them at all. Here’s the list of new targets:
NGC 2022 PN Orion
NGC 1999 EN RN Orion Rubber stamp nebula
NGC 1788 RN Orion
NGC 1977 RN Orion Running man nebula
NGC 1980 EN Orion
NGC 2194 OC Orion
NGC 1647 OC Orion
NGC 2169 OC Orion Shopping cart cluster
Collinder 70 OC Orion
LDN 1616 Dark nebula Orion
NGC 1647 OC Taurus
NGC 1746 OC Taurus
The plan was to enjoy a nights observing with my Nexstar 8SE and all started well. I aligned on Capella and Vega and looked at the Moon, M15 and Andromeda for a while and then looked at a new OC (H400)in Andromeda.
Then all went dim and fuzzy. This was the first, cold and damp night that I’d been out since the spring and my anti-dew system had been turned down over the Summer. Although I turned it up full, it took quite a while to clear.
I gave up for a while then came back after midnight to watch the tail end of the Draconid meteor shower. I saw 3 Draconids and 3 coincidentals. Caroline came out to join me and saw her first shooting star.
Took my Nexstar 8SE out around midnight (it was hazy earlier). I concentrated on the constellation Auriga to the Northeast but over the course of the evening, had a look at the Pleides, the Hyades, Castor and Pollux and then finally Jupiter with initially 3 then 4 moons.
I had a look at the 3 Messier open clusters in Auriga (M36, M37 and M38) and viewed some new objects:
Caldwell 31 EN RN Auriga (Flaming Star Nebula)
NGC 1931 OC Auriga (H400)
NGC 1907 EN OC Auriga (H400)
NGC 2126 OC Auriga (H400)
NGC 2165 OC Auriga
NGC 1778 OC Auriga
NGC 1893 OC Auriga
At last, the cloud has gone! (For a while).
After a long hiatus, I got my scope out and aligned on Mirach and Aquila.
I checked alignment was good by looking at M31 Andromeda galaxy and then looked at Kemble’s cascade and NGC 1502, a pretty open cluster. I then moved on to some new objects:
Caldwell 5 Camelopardalis GLX
Caldwell 30 Pegasus GLX
Caldwell 43 Pegasus GLX
Herschel 400 objects
NGC 1023 Perseus GLX
NGC 0278 Cassiopeia GLX
NGC 7217 Pegasus GLX
NGC 7448 Pegasus GLX
NGC 1245 Perseus OC
NGC 1545 Perseus OC
Great square of Pegasus
A great night. Very clear views of the Milky Way, a few Perseid meteors and the ISS as well.
Tried to find M33 Triangulum galaxy which only appeared later in the night when it got really dark.
The Lagoon nebula was fairly easy to find.
Caldwell 55, the Saturn planetary nebula was next, then the rocking horse open cluster and the asterism, Kemble’s cascade.
That brings me up to 90 Messier objects – Im not sure if I can find many more from my back garden – the lower bits of Ophiuchus and Sagittarius seem a little too low in the South for me to locate up here at 55 North. My neighbours’ houses also raise my Southern and Western horizons quite a bit.
What to do? Maybe a nice Summer astronomy holiday in the South of France (Messier did his observing at 49 North in Paris).
M33 GLX Triangulum
M8 OC EN Lagoon nebula Sagittarius
Caldwell 55 PN Aquarius
NGC 6804 PN Aquila
NGC 6910 OC Cygnus
Collinder 419 OC Cygnus
Kemble’s cascade Asterism
Almach double star Andromeda
After the fantastic weather – thunder and lightning. Looked outside about 11pm and saw that all the clouds had cleared so took the opportunity to get outside quick. By 12MN, it was surprisingly dark and I could even see the Milky Way – A rarity in Limavady!
Rather than haul out my heavy lead acid battery, I tried out my 22Ah Tracer light-weight lithium power pack. This performed impeccably for the 90 minutes or so I was out. Eventually the cloud closed in, but I managed to see 5 new Messier objects and 4 Herschel 400s in Perseus.
I used the iPAD app “DS Browser” to check that I was looking at the right open cluster – you just dial in the catalogue number and it produces a DSS image and some useful information about viewing times.
M22 GC Sagittarius* “Crackerjack cluster”
M28 GC Sagittarius*
M72 GC Aquarius
M73 Asterism Aquarius
M76 PN Perseus “Little dumbbell”
NGC 1513 OC Perseus
NGC 1528 OC Perseus*
NGC 1342 OC Perseus
NGC 1444 OC Perseus