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First try at reports. 19th Aug 2012

Guest JohnC

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First attempt at writing an observing report, so be kind. :)

Telescopes used:- Intes micro 715 MaK and Megrez 72mm refractor.

Mount:- Skytee 2.

Site:- Home base Hucknall.

The skies cleared around 18:00 so the scopes were put outside to cool down.

At about 21:30 the skies had darkened sufficientley to start observations.

Having recentley moved from goto mounts to a manual alt az i have had to start learning the sky and it soon became apparent that i have a lot to learn.

tonights targets were to be Double cluster, M57, M13, Alberio, Mu Cephus (garnet star) and finally NGC457 Owl cluster.

I began by focusing both scopes on Vega and ensuring that my telrad finder was aligned.

I had seen M57 many times before so selected it as my first target. Using telrad charts it was easily found and was well presented in the 7" Mak.

Using a 25mm plossl (108x) and averted vision the ring was plain to see with a slight degree of texture being noted.

Alberio was the next object and was as beautiful as ever. The contrasting colours were set against the very dark background that Mak's are known for. The blue component was striking however the orange component appeared to my eyes to be a little washed out.

M13 Globular cluster. Another favourite of mine was found using the Megrez 72. In the Mak it was well resolved and averted vision brought out many more stars. i tried to see the "Propeller" but was not successful.

Double cluster. Anice sight in the Megrez 72 if a little small scale. In the Mak it was much more impressive due both to the larger scale and the better contrast.

NGC457 Owl cluster. I saw this mentioned on the forum and having not seen it before decided to have a try for it. The star given in the telrad charts was not as easy to see as i thought and took a little time to locate. Once found and lined up in the telrad the cluster was centred in the FOV of the Mak.

A nice cluster with different coloured components giving plenty to see.

The final target was Mu cephus "The Garnet star",

I must admit that i had never heard of this before. It was mentioned at a recent meeting at Belper and so i looked it up in the guides which said that it was a nice red star, It was straight forward to find using the stars in Cygnus as locators. A very beautiful sight in the Mak, keeping me captivated for some time. However to my eyes it appeared a very deep orange? Not sure why this was so. Will definitely be revisiting that one.

So all in all a very successful session. Much more enjoyable not having goto and also better for having only a few pre selected targets. I have tended in the past to flit from object to object and not gaining much from the experience.

I am finding that my present set up has rekindled my passion for astronomy, no cables, computers or goto. I really like the contrast the Mak gives and this combined with the wide field refractor views adds up to a great combination. i intend to replace the small Megrez with a larger 6" F5 refractor as soon as i am able.

Edited to add that i also saw a great pass by the ISS.

Thanks for reading.


Edited by JohnC
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Enjoyed your report John.

I know what you mean about moving away from Goto, it's not as easy (obviously), but more rewarding when you find these objects yourself, if not a little frustrating at times :)

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Smashing report John - and a good guide for newbies on organising their sessions too - just a few objects is all you need to make a fun evening :)

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Great report John - nice to see you are enjoying your new scopes.

I'll have to have a look for the Garnet star, it is one I have never got round to looking for, and will add to my list now.

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A great read John, and I agree the Garnet star is a wonderful sight, If I remember correctly it appeared dark red in my Lightbridge.

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Great report John. I have a Dob and have always had to locate targets manually. I tend to set the 15x70's up on my horizon 8115 tripod and scan the general area where my intended target is and then star hop with the 9x50 RACI finder.

As you say you tend to see less (quantity) but you concentrate more on your targets doing it manually and get more from each one.

A thoroughly enjoyable read and sounds like you had a great night, well written with lots of detail. Thanks John :)

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Nice write up.

I went from non-goto to goto after almost 30 years and enjoy no longer having to hunt down targets.

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