Observing session 11th-12th February 2019.

Swadlincote C6r refractor , Neq6, 13mm Nagler ,5.5mm Meade UWA.

All my apps and net forecasts  gave massive cloud cover. Listening to radio 4 , I heard “clear breaks” and a touch of frost. Heading out at 10 gave three lovely clear hours . The opposite situation from the night before , when setting up in clear sky to find it clouded over completely , a few minutes later.

Transparency wasn’t up to much , I usually don’t look south west , but Gemini looked great and I had one of the best views of NGC 2392 , the “Eskimo Nebula”. X216 really brought out the central white dwarf star ,the bright core and the dimmer halo.

Not much luck with the Coma Berenices galaxies , M64 (“black eye”), M85 with a star like centre, the faint M88,M91 ,M99 and M100 by averted vision, no great things there ! NGC 4725 at +9.4 did look bright as did the “needle galaxy”, NGC 4565. M53 did show as a globular , but not much contrast. Better luck with binaries, very surprised to see the secondary of 35 Comae Berenices at low power, it opens out into a stunning triple. What secrets these low power views hold !

Cold hovered around zero degrees , no breeze and still clear.
Porrima ( gamma Virginie ) showed as very open at 2.8″, a stunning sight.Not so long  ago , it was a struggle to get even a glimpse of a split. Adds some interest finding binaries opening and closing as they move.

Up to Canes Venatici and a lovely view of “La Superba” one of the brightest red stars , on its way to becoming a planetary Nebula. 25 CNv gave a wide 1.7″, a bit wider for Σ 261 . Followed this with a view of the colourful “Cor Caroli” . There’s only two visible stars in Canes Venatici , with M94 being between them . Come off that line and there’s a plethora of galaxies .

Just a few years ago and with less light pollution , I’d scan the remarkable CNv galaxies. Nowadays they are hardly a streak ( “whale galaxy”) , but there are plenty of accessible targets , under ,

Clear skies ! Nick.

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