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Belper CC. 27.7.2012


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Well the evening didn't get off to a flying start, there was a stream of cloud above us, we could see the edge in the distance, which was getting a little higher, very slowly.

This started to clear gradually by around half eleven, and it was only then beginning to get dark.

Saturn was the first target of the night, and even though it was only a few degrees above the horizon, and shimmering a bit, the Cassini division was clear.

M31, the Andromeda galaxy decided to appear, and proved the seeing was quite good. Even though the sky was still light, M32 stood out well.

A look then at Brocchi's cluster, the "Coat-hanger" in Vulpecula. This is an asterism of 5th to 7th magnitude stars, 6 in a straight line, with 4 forming the hook. This is in a rich area of the sky and numerous smaller stars provide a pleasing background. This is easily found with binoculars, by scanning up from Altair in Aquila, directly towards Vega, in Lyra. You will find the coat-hanger about a third of the way up from Altair.

Over then to the owl cluster NGC457, in Cassiopeia. This is a nice open cluster of around 150 stars, with two bright stars forming the "eyes" of the owl, which appears to have outstretched wings.

Next, one of my favourite DSO's, M57 the Ring Nebula in Lyra. This took me hours to find the first time, and now I can just point the scope and it's there. I never tire of looking at this.

It was discovered in 1779 by Antoine Darquier de Pellepoix, who said it looked like Jupiter, and so they became Planetary Nebula.

The Double Cluster in Perseus became the next item of interest, again another object that never disappoints, and will always get attention. This is between the out stretched arms of Perseus and Cassiopeia. PhilJ described it, "Like diamonds sprinkled on black velvet". Hard to disagree with really, a more detailed inspection will reveal stars of every colour, I would suggest spending time on this as it will always reward.

I had a look at the Veil Nebula in Cygnus next, and although it was just there, it was not easily picked out due to the sky being bright. An OIII filter helped, but darker skies would have been a better backdrop.

M81 and M82 seemed a good bet, and these were found with minimum effort. The "Cigar" standing out well, and "Bodes" not far behind it.

I had a go for M51, the Whirlpool galaxy then,but failed to find it.

At this point a large fireball of a meteor, lit up not only the sky, but the entire field, it seemed just like a camera flash going off. People who were facing the wrong way saw the flash. A good long lasting train hung there afterwards, this was at 01.44.

It was time then to find another friend, M13 in Hercules. This is a spectacular Globular cluster, and with good seeing and a 8mm Hyperion in the scope it was found with ease. This always gets a viewing.

The outer yellow and inner blue stars are easy to resolve down to the core.

Again this is not difficult to find, and is a small fuzzy blob in a finder scope. It's about a third of the way down on the right hand side of the "Keystone" of Hercules

M27 called out next, some nights this can be difficult to find, not tonight! It stood out like a sore thumb, and the apple core shape was clearly evident. It's not difficult to see why this is a dark sider's favourite target. Other members have very good images of this object.

I had another go for M51, and this time got it, it was very faint, but both components were visible.

I had a look for M56 next, this is a open Globular cluster, which has been found to be about 13.7 billion years old. Astronomers suspect this was picked up from a merger of a dwarf galaxy, possibly Omega Centuri, which shares similar properties.

Jupiter was spotted rising By Eddy, but was right on the horizon and in cloud, giving it the "scooby doo" effect. ( Showing my age there!).

Over to M34 which was nice and high at this point. This is a loose open cluster in Perseus, which is hard to find as there are so many other stars around it, it does not jump out at you, as it would in a sparser area of sky.

Eddy again pointed out an object, which turned out to be the ISS, passing over at 02.24 this was a nice bright pass, and as it was travelling towards the rising Sun, remaining visible for a long time.

M45 gained attention then, this is another perennial favorite, the bright blue stars standing out like beacons.

Jupiter was now well above the clouds and horizon, with the four moons all to the right side of the Planet.

At 02.42 Eddy yet again drew our attention to an object actually within the tree line. It turned out to be Venus.

I would suggest sticking with Eddy, he doesn't miss much, I propose he is made the EMS lucky mascot! It certainly worked for this session.

The night was made far more enjoyable by Sheila's kind contribution of a selection of superb home made cakes.


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Smashing report Martyn - shame I missed this one - stars and cakes woulda been great lol :)

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Bugger, I know I should have phoned in sick, when the sky is clear at belper it really is an amazing place to be, sorry I missed it

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Great write up, the sheer number of shooting stars was incredible. Can't disagree with anything that's already been said, but only to add, that early on before Saturn, myself and Eddy bagged a fast setting Mars. OK, it was awfull seeing and apeared only as a redish smudgy bloated star, but it was Mars. The rest of them were too busy eating the delicious cakes to see this lol.

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Cracking report there Martyn, thanks for the tea and a big thanks to Sheila for the cakes, also a thanks to Steve for helping me locate stuff and teaching me that setting up an EQ mount can a pain in the bottom. I was totally blown away when I saw the milky way, never seen it before so was just stood in awe. Loved the meteor show as well. Big thanks to everybody else for making it such an enjoyable night. I think it was truely an awesome night!

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Wish I could have been there. Sounds like I really missed out on a wonderful night.

My ears were having a battering at a wedding reception. Was forced to listen to some cringy 70s music for hours :)

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That's funny, our ears were taking a battering to, Martyn decided we all should listen to his latest ring tone, ohhhh dear!


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Great report Martyn, wished I could have been there but it was Fliss' final day of work and I had to take her out to celebrate. She never took me anywhere when I retired, funny that :D

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Guest JohnC

Great report Baz.

Spent yesterday sulking. :(

Gutted i missed it. No call outs for weeks then Friday!!

Really pleased that everyone had a good time, it's been a long time coming for most people.

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