Jump to content
  • Join the online East Midlands astronomy club today!

    With active forums, two dark sites and a knowledgeable membership, East Midlands Stargazers has something for everyone.

Amazing bino session


Recommended Posts

I'm Just spending my wedding anniversary weekend at Fulready Manor in the Cotswolds. It is a luxury B&B with only 3 rooms in the middle of no where, but we are the only guests this weekend. The place is extremely quiet and relaxing and is set in a beautiful 120 acre estate with a lake and pleasant walks. I can thoroughly recommend this place if you want quietness and relaxation in luxurious surroundings coupled with a really dark sky if you are lucky with the weather.


We have the Tower Room with an adjacent lounge in an octagonal castellated tower on one corner of the building looking out over a panorama of fields and woods. I intend to come back here with the 10" F4 Schmidt Newt one day.

I already knew from my Phillips Dark Sky Map that this was a pretty dark sky site and had arranged to borrow Damians ST120 again, but due to work pressures, just didn't find time to collect the scope. I now realise that I could have had a marvellous time with the light grasp of his 120, but had an amazing night anyway with the binos.

We had dinner at a restaurant in a village a few miles away last night and was pleased that most of the villages don't have streetlights! There really is no light pollution or any sky glow here. We arrived back at the Manor at about 9pm and when I got out of the car, I was initially shocked as I looked up. With little dark adaptation after driving the car about 5 miles the milky way was stunning and the dark rift in Cygnus was immediately visible. For a few moments I had a little difficulty picking out the constellations due to the sheer number of stars up there. Well, I had to make do with my binocs, and left my wife reading her book, but what a time I had.

Most of my time was spent lying on a sloping bank of the newly mown lawn, just drinking in the rich star clouds of Cygnus overhead. I had a wonderful time just scanning around and checking out old favourite DSOs which showed up so easily in these sky conditions. Had some really nice views of the usual bright Messiers in Cygnus, Sagitta, Scutum, and Hercules but my personal highlights are as follows.

M57 the Ring Nebula showed in the bino's as very slightly bigger than a star, but was still extremely small at 10x and would have easily been missed if I hadn't known precisely where it was. No detail was discernable except that I could just detect that it would not focus as tight as the other stars.

M31 the Andromeda galaxy was really big and I could see the bright central core, which is all that is normally visible from home, as well as a faint outer oval spanning half the field of view. M32 was visible as a star since I knew where it was and M110 was barely there as a tiny hazy oval and was only glimpsed some of the time. M33 was a big more oblate patch similar in size to the bright central part of M31, but the whole thing seemed a pretty even brightness (faintness), similar to the outer part of M31.

I saw more richness in the Double Cluster than ever before with bino's and plainly saw the large much fainter hazy cluster Stock 1 and the more condensed cluster NGC 957 nearby. The big cluster spanning between Mirfak (alpha) and delta Persei was an incredible sight with so many stars looking really bright and filling the field of view. I think that one is called the alpha Perseus association or something similar. M34 was quite a dense mass of bright and many fainter stars.

Cassiopiea was rich with stars and numerous fuzzy clusters, though I could not remember all the numbers or exactly which ones I was looking at.

Then over to the Ophiuchus region. Two large clusters made a nice view, IC 4756 was very sparse and IC 4665 had a few rather bright stars and was a little denser. Between the two was a very interesting looking cluster NGC 6633 looking like a mottled fuzzy elongated arrowhead just above a bright (probably 6th mag) star.

Back in Cygnus, I had a search around 52 Cygni hoping that maybe with averted vision and a lot of luck, I'd catch a glimpse of the veil nebula, but it didn't appear. In my pocket I had my newly aquired 2" UHC filter, still awaiting the arrival of an OIII which would probably be better. Trying to use that with the binos just did not work, so I had a go holding the filter to my naked eye, but nothing appeared and of course most of the stars disappeared.

The highlight of the night (second only to the wonderful time with my wife celebrating our 17 years of wedded bliss, I hasten to add) was something I had never seen before. The North American Nebula :) :) . This was after a lot of dark adaptation under pristine skies. At first I was really unsure whether I was actually seeing it, or it was just wishful thinking. It was very spurious and ghostly, but the more I studied the region and integrated the photons on my retina, the more I realised that this extremely faint glow was definitely NAN. I realised that to see it best I needed to keep the very bright glow of Deneb outside the field of view. The shape was there but not quite like the photographs, it was a very faint less resolved shape, more of a right angled triangle with a slightly wiggly hypotenuse, but at the correct orientation in a field with a lot of stars. I was really thrilled to bag this one in the binos. I had read all the books that say it can be seen with naked eye or binos. But these books are usually written by some yank living half way up a mountain with mag 7 skies and your average 24 inch dob as his grab n'go :) .

Last night was really inspirational and my humble 10x50s took me right out of this world :) .

Can't wait to see everyone elses reports and images from Kelling.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Congrats on your anniversary.

That's a cracking report. Sounds Like you had a great time in a great location! I think I may have to check this place out.

Thanks for the report, great detail. Glad you had such clear skies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A good report, well done on finding the NAN, I was impressed at finding Jupiter at Kelling lol.

Congratulations on your anniversary, a perfect place to celebrate, a weekend to remember. :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone.

It just shows how a really dark transparent sky can make small aperture equipment perform like something much larger.

It certainly surprised me what simple 10x50 binoculars were capable of.

Definitely a weekend to remember for many different reasons.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.