Observing Report 12/12/18

Slightly strange conditions last night- the sky south and east was distinctly murky with very ropey seeing. This isn’t unusual as I live north and west of Burton, but it seemed to be especially exaggerated. List below was all in 14” dob:

Aldeberan and the Hyades– whilst checking the Finder and the Rigel were lined up properly I put Aldeberan in the EP. It’s too easy to forget the simple pleasure of putting a big fat red star with whopping diffraction spikes (yeah, I know- not everyone’s cup of tea) in the middle of your field of view. Spent a while wandering round the neighbouring star field. A lovely start and almost forgot I had a list to go through.

Comet 46p – A nice little hop from Epsilon Taurus, but still took a couple of attempts. The head was really clear; I spent ages trying to see the tail. Eventually, with the 35mm in, a bit of averted vision and wiggling the scope I could see some elongation of the head and a hint of the tail.

Pleiades – Because if you’re in the area with a low power eyepiece it’s rude not to.

Mars – shrinking after the summer, but some detail still visible at 206x including polar cap.

Neptune – very small, but the blue colour is so striking. Given the seeing so low in the sky I didn’t try to go past 206x

NGC 6543 – Cat’s eye nebula – lovely pleasing green, and decent disk at 206x

NGC 7023 – Iris Cluster and Nebula – I got to the cluster OK, and I think I found some nebulosity but it was very faint. Not really sure.

NGC6946 – Fireworks Galaxy – Very faint and averted vision only.

NGC7331 and Stephan’s Quintet (NGC7320) – I’ve wanted to have a go at this one for a while, and with it high in a good part of the sky it seemed like a good chance. NGC7331 was straightforward- with an elongated shape clearly visible with direct vision. At low power (47x) it was easy to put it in same the FOV as Stephan’s Quintet. The four stars that they sit within were a distinctive shape and easily picked out. I think when you know what something is supposed to look like it’s easy to imagine it right there. There could possibly, maybe, have been a sort of mottling in the right area with averted vision??? I don’t think I can really claim that.

M42 – Again- rude not to and wonderful as always. The seeing was bad around there, although there was a hint of the ‘E’ star in the trapezium. Spent a while playing with Oiii and UHC filters. The Oiii filter just gives a brilliant view of the cloud with so much texture.

Rosette Nebula – My first observation of this object. The central cluster was easily picked out and I could find some faint nebulosity, especially beneath and to the right of the cluster.

Really enjoyable evening, and hopefully have some subs of 46p to play with soon…

2 Responses

  1. Agree the conditions were very poor last night. I was out between 6 and 7pm with temperature low enough to form ice on the tube and mount of my Sky-watcher 200p and heavy condensation on eyepiece lenses.
    I went for Epsilon Lyrae (Double Double) but although I could see it in the 9×50 finder it would not show on the LCD screen of my Canon 60D set to ISO1000…it was thick with water! When I did get a shot it was very poor but could just make out the 4 stars visually with x100. I am east of Burton so I am looking westerly over the town’s sky glow.

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