Observing at Blue Canyon
This was my second trip to BC and I brought a few friends with me new to astronomy. I brought everything with me for observing except the red screen, I carefully set aside, for my laptop..Oops. So I selected targets from memory and by following the lead of Susan Strosahl and her husband.
My Equipment – Orion XT8 ( 8" F/6 Dob.) EP's 32mm, 25mm, 21mm, 10mm, 7mm and 2x Barlow More info on the Messier objects can be found at http://www.seds.org/messier/data3.html The home page for SEDS is http://www.seds.org
Moon - This is always a favorite of newcomers and it's fun to hear people say "I've never seen the moon before in a telescope" and "It looks like you can reach out and touch it" :)>
M13 - Hercules was glorious as usual and my guests were amazed at all the stars in one place.
M51 – Showed up fairly well considering the moon was still up. It's surprising how much light just a sliver of moon can throw out.
M63 – Was visible as a smudge without much detail
N57 Ring Nebula – It was bright enough for 342x in my 8" dob but the seeing wasn't good enough to resolve it very well.
Leo Trio – With the moon still up I could only see M65 and M66
M104 Sombrero – I saw first in the 20" and immediately ran over to try it out in my 8" and even though it couldn't compare to the 20" I was still able to see the dark band through the middle.
About this point my guests little girl decided they should go home. She had so much fun earlier with the junior astronomers group that when her father checked on her she told him go back out with the other grownups. He translated for me saying that meant she was having too much fun to stop. They enjoyed the evening and plan to be back. It was a shame they couldn't have stayed a little longer since the moon was setting and it was finally getting dark.
M29 – I was able to see between mag 12 and 13 in the cooling tower but not as good as the viewing on May 19th.
M84, M86 and PGC40581 I could see this group in one view and remembered it from M19th but this time I was very careful to note the location for their identification.
NGC 4438 – I could also identify this one since it was close to M84 but didn't know to look for the effect of seeing eyes (NGC 4438 and PGC40898 next to it. )
M4, M80 – Both globular clusters showed good detail with lots of little stars.
Mars - At 342x I could see the darker regions but the seeing prevented a steady view. How steady does the air in Claifornia get???
M8 - The awesome Lagoon Nebula shows up very well in my 8" with 2 distinct cloudy regions and of course much better in 20" and when they added the O-III filter I was very impressed by what it could do for viewing nebulas and I knew I had to get one.
M20 – In Roseville the Trifid Nebula barely shows any nebulosity but here in dark skies I could not only see the cloud of the nebula but I could clearly see the darker separation the regions into 3 main sections.
M21 – A very bright Open Cluster that is fun to view.
M16 - The Eagle Nebula is always fun to view and when I viewed it through the 20" first there was some doubt about whether or not it was M16 or M17. When I looked I saw more cloud than previously through my XT8 but I still thought it was M16 I viewed it through my XT8 and we all concluded it was indeed M16.
M17 – After viewing M16 the only way to be sure it was not M17 was to actually find M17 and when we did we realized that there was more than one name. I had been using Swan Nebula and the others had been using (I forget) Omega or Horseshoe Nebula and we noticed that in my 8" it looked more like a Swan and in the 20" it had more of an Omega shape leading us to wonder about what kind of telescopes were being used when the objects received their names.
M27 – I made note of seeing this one again but my memory fades on the details.
Veil Nebula/Network – This was a thrill for me to see first in the 20" and then to a lesser degree in my 8". I had heard of this nebula and thought it out of reach never bothering to look for it in Cygnus. It was interesting how it was too big to fit in even wide field of view EP's and had to be viewed by moving the telescope in an arc to see where the remnants ended and started up again until the full circle was revealed.
M109 - I missed this one earlier and found this galaxy quite easily by moving a short distance from Phecda the Big Dipper star at the bottom of the cup toward the handle.
M101 – (Pinwheel Galaxy) After spending so much time looking for this from Roseville it was a real confidence builder to quickly find it where it was supposed to be near the handle of the Big Dipper.
M82, M81 – I was able to find once again M82 and M81 and new this time thanks to my trailblazers PGC29146 lurking just beyond my view to the right (Newtonian view).
This was a great night of viewing with one or two new members of SVAS (checks in the mail). Looking forward to the Star-B-Q
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