Observing Log 9/1/2021

Orion UK 10 inch Dobsonian

Explore Scientific 9mm 100 degree AFOV eyepiece



Wow! I have just had my best ever view of M36, 37 and 38. Never expected that tonight. Using ten inch Dobo with Explore Scientific 9mm 100 degree FOV eyepiece, each cluster fills the field of view of the eyepiece. The views of M36 and M38 are extremely bright with that diamonds on velvet appearance that makes the Double Cluster in Perseus through a 10 inch Dobsonian scope such a wonderful view – it is just that I have never seen it before with these three open clusters, which often disappoint,  but not tonight! M36 is entirely different, with loads of fainter white stars, also filling the field from end to end. What a comparison! I guess this must be related to how high Auriga is riding tonight, at about 75 degrees for these clusters. Not the clearest of nights, but not too bad either – 7/10 on my personal “visibility of Orion’s sword” scale (I resort to this because the local seeing conditions are almost always poor so it is a question of how poor they are tonight….) There is minimal scintillation and, at this elevation, the constellation is above most of the light pollution.

Looking at Pleiades, can see that the sky has lot of moisture with halo around the brightest stars.

I have been photographing the Tadpoles with my imaging rig, but Orion now cleared the trees. At the RAG astrophotography SIG last night, Rob Leonard suggested this months target should be something in Orion, so I have now moved over to Orion to photograph the Horsehead and Flame Nebula. Only once have ever photographed those in colour and it is an awful picture. Since then I’ve taken a half-decent black and white photo – hopefully, if the clouds hold off, I can add a reasonable colour photo to that tonight…….although of course today’s reasonable becomes tomorrow’s awful as our standards improve with experience (I also very happy with my previous photo when I took it!)

I am quite excited about tonight. I must go for my Covid vaccine tomorrow at 9am so sadly can’t keep going so in a minute I am going to put the kit away. However I have managed 2 hours straight in Horsehead. This is first time that I have ever been able to keep imaging one object for that long on single night, either because of cloud or because the object I am imaging goes behind trees in my garden. And its a great object too – the Horsehead and Flame plus my stars look round(!) So hopefully I can produce something decent.

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