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The red car and the blue car had a race......


Perkil8r

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....... but good old blue he took the Milky Way!

Sunday 22nd July '12

Decided to get the 200p out and do a spot of visual seeing as how the RA drive is broken. So I made a sort of plan, which is the first time for me I must say. I had planned to start off at Arcturus since it's easy to find, get all the finders set up on that target then drop down to Muphrid and try to split it because on Selarium it looks to be a triple, although I may be wrong of course. Arcturus was pretty un exciting I guess, but served a purpose, Muphrid I just couldn't get any decent magnification on, I think I need to collimate the scope, I've not done it for a long time so this comes as no surprise.

I had planned to pop across next to M3, then down to M53 but our tree was in the way (that will soon be coming out!)

I decided to swing around instead to have a go at M31. Quite under whelming really, but still a nice feeling to have finally cracked it visually with the 200p since I couldn't find it for love nor money before summer/spring. And on to Cassiopeia for a quick tour. Worked my way from "right" to "left" with the 25mm SW plossl which, whilst not the best eyepiece about, it does give nice wide views, and is my biggest. The amount of stars in this area is amazing, so much to see! So then on to Double Cluster... Wow! There's no mistaking the fact you've found it is there! An explosion of light and stars filled the eye piece.

Some of the stars in Double cluster appear to twinkle in the eye piece, maybe that's down to the seeing, but hey, it's an awsome sight. So I swapped to the 8mm BST for a closer look around the area, again wow! I must have spent 15 or 20 minutes just staring at the thousands of stars in that little complex. The BST is a truely fantastic little Eye piece for the task at hand. I did try the 5mm X-Cel, but again, collimation reared it's ugly head so I swapped back to the BST which didn't seem as affected by it. Then back to the 25mm plossl for another overview of the double cluster.

And so onto Ursa Major. I decided to have a look for M51. This is a challenge since it is very faint, but with averted vision, and by this time good dark adapted vision I managed to make out initially what looked like a double star, very faint, with more time fuzziness came out and I could just about make out some rough shape. What did strike me was that I wondered how much I was actually seeing and how much was being filled in from memory having seen numerous images of it. Certainly no dust lanes or spirals were visible, but a rough outline was I am sure. Sort of an egg shaped haze with a small star-like glow at the tin end, and a slightly larger one at the fat end.

And so off up the other end to find Bodes. Having looked back on stelarium I should have been able to see both, yet I only saw M82, M81 elluded me for some reason. To be honest by this time I was unsure what it was I was looking for as my plan had gone out of the window a long long time since. I made out the iconic cigar shape quite clearly, although I suspect to anybody glancing for the first time without averted vision and dark adapted vision it would have been a difficult object to find, it almost appeared like a mark on the lens since it was so straight and faint, but the fact it moves accross the field of view makes it obvious that it isn't.

I was surprised to see how much time had now passed, so decided to open a beer and sit on the bench staring into space for a bit to see if I could regain composure to try and find some other targets. Whilst sitting there head way back, I looked from Cassiopeia which was virtually behind me, straight over head and roughly south, was I seeing things? Could this really be? Surely not!? It looked almost like very thin clouds were rolling in, except they weren't moving... A long thin stripe of cloud reflecting a small amount of light pollution, or at least that's what it looked like. Get the scope up there and have a look because it doesn't appear to be moving yet it's quite breezy at times, I would expect it to be moving, yet no, it's stationary... Could this really be? A quick look through the scope and there are thousands no millions of stars filling the eye piece, this isn't clouds reflecting light, this is light from stars in a cloud like formation! :o Oh my, grabbing the beer and slumping back on the bench starring up in awe, it's the Milky Way! In my own back garden it's only the blooming Milky Way! A long time seemed to pass in a few seconds as I starred mouth wide open at the spledure of our Milky Way laid out like a cloud of stars cutting a path through the darkness above.

Did I have fun last night? I should say so :)

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Nice write up there Mike,

I think you should have finished up with a bit of planetary and had a look at MARS but there again I suppose that is a completely different TOPIC, :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Great night wasn't it, I had 3 hours out, looking all over the shop!! Nice report :) :)

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Nice write up there Mike,

I think you should have finished up with a bit of planetary and had a look at MARS but there again I suppose that is a completely different TOPIC, :lol: :lol: :lol:

That is awful Graham :lol:

I'm now really looking forward to getting the shed/ warm room sorted. Having started my journey in January I spent a short time each time as I was getting cold and bored quite easily so had to keep coming in out of the cold to warm up, which meant that dark adapted vision was gone. The warm room will allow me to warm up again in the dark hopefully meaning I will see more. Last night was very good Ron yes, and it has been a tonic I assure you. :)

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