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16th Feb in Backyard


Tweedledee
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Had an enjoyable session this evening.


Set up the scope on the patio in the garden at about 4.30pm and aligned the 10" SNT, ST120, red dot, 8x50 finder, and 12x80 finder, accurately on a cusp of the moon in daylight. Maybe overkill on the finders but I like to have plenty of options, and after dark I also use a green laser which is brilliant for initial location. I really love the 12x80 RACI finder which is pretty much a rich field telescope in its own right. Had a nice walk with my wife and our new dog in the local park at dusk. Enjoyed watching the ISS after 6pm in a lovely comepletely clear sky. My son and daughter were very interested in the view. With the naked eye we looked at the ISS, Jupiter, the moon and Orion with its fuzzy patch. It is great how kids enjoy these things especially when you explain a bit about the different objects on show. Did a few jobs around the house and then went out to find a few blobs of cloud around. The blobs of cloud got bigger and I finally packed everything away after exhausting everything I could find in the small holes in the clouds that only allowed me a couple of minutes viewing. But, between the clouds I managed to have a look at just a few objects as follows.

Two things I had hoped to see for the first time tonight were NGC1999 and NGC2022 in Orion, but I just didn't have enough time between clouds to find either, and the moon didn't help.  NGC1999 is a small faint reflection nebula south of the Orion Nebula and NGC2022 is a 12th mag planetary nebula near the head of Orion. I was probably being a bit optimistic about those two for tonight.

Checked out the usual stuff like M41, M44, M45, M35, M42 and NGC2169 which all looked great.

Jupiter looked really good tonight at 73x in the 14mm 100 degree in the 10". Lot's of band detail visible and two moons each side, and I wished I had brought out my barlow to see it a bit bigger. A nice thing about Jupiter at the moment is that it is situated in a bright asterism called Davis' Dog. The asterism has a few bright stars, some a little brighter or fainter than Jupiters moons. Only a portion of the asterism was visible in the 10" but it still added interest to the view. The view in the ST120 at 26x in the 23mm 82 degree showed a bit more of the dog but to see the whole of it required the 12x80 finder with a 4.5 degree field where it made a fine sight, all the richer for Jupiter and its moons.

Two massive clusters that I love to examine with different scopes are Orions Belt Cluster (Collinder 70) and the Alpha Persei cluster. Had a study of these tonight, first with the 12x80 since it just frames them nicely. The ST120 is great for these with the extra light grasp and a 3.1 degree field at 26x and the 10" at 44x and 1.9 degrees brings out lots of fainter stars. Both show various patterns and curving strings of stars which look great. Every time I look I see some new patterns. These two are well worth a close look.

Above the head of Orion is the Beach Umbrella asterism. This is best view viewed in binoculars but the 12x80 finder showed it nicely tonight as big arrow pointing west.

I checked out an interesting asterism, Lorenzin 1, in Taurus which I only just found out tonight is also called The Spermatozoon. I detailed this in one of my previous reports but now see exactly why they call it the Spermatozoon. The shape is exactly that or even a 1.5 degree tadpole perhaps. Nice to view in a wide field like the 23mm 82 degree in the 10" at 1.9 degrees.

Last off the clouds were really closing in so I jumped around a bit checking out M81 and 82, Mizar and some of the many clusters in Cassiopiea. By then my corrector plate on the 10" had finally dewed up so I called it a night and got out the whisky :D .

So despite the clouds it was a pretty good night.

 

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Nice report Pete. Very interesting read as always. I do like the targets you go for, always informs me that I should look for the less likely ones also. I really need to start writing these down! :)

Edited by catman161
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Cheers everyone.


 


I like to have a look at some of the more neglected stuff out there.


There is a lot of lovely sights to see away from the well beaten track, and some of it is very easy to find and enjoy.


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