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2nd April 2013.

Daz Type-R

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I`m not great at writing these reports but I`m still buzzing from a number of factors which are....


1. First time I have been out stargazing in weeks (or is it months) ????

2. The latest mod to the dob (setting circle) has come into its own tonight - why did I leave it sooo long!!!!!


Anyway, after putting my son to bed for about the 4th time, SWMBO came home from work so I left her to it and got outside and got set up in the back garden.  I started about 21:00 hrs and was all set up, ready to go by 21:20.


Equipment as is below (see signature), nice clear sky, seeing seemed ok.  So I started just having a look with the old MK I eye balls, just while I got dark adapted, I then used Arcturus (as it is the brightest star in the sky eastwards) to align the OTA, the finder scope and the Telrad. I then set about polar aligning, starting off at 20mm then narrowing it down and down until at 8mm Polaris was bang in the centre of the FOV, adjusted the setting circle to read 0 degrees and then I made sure the Wixey digital angle gauge was set at zero (using a good old fashioned spirit level on the OTA) to make sure it was level.


So using a great app on the IPhone (Sky Safari +) I plugged in M3, a globular cluster in Canes Venatici to get the ALT/AZ co-ordinates and duly set about adjusting the dob base and then the OTA, after about 4-5 seconds or very gentle manovering, there it was, M3, a faint smudge of grey against a dark background.  I spent a while looking at that before seeing if the trusty setting circle was going to be as good on the next target.


So next I went onto M53, another globular cluster this time in Coma Berenices, plugged in the co-ordinates from my IPhone (which by the way has a cracking good night mode feature to protect night vision) and after a few seconds of aligning, there it was.


Next up was M44, an open cluster in Cancer, then M67 (another open cluster) in Cancer, then M48 in Hydra (open cluster) and at this point I was that pleased that my bit of DIY was working great, that I just had to see if I could find a Messier object that has eluded me for the last 2 years, M51.


I wasn't expecting to find it, but imagine my surprise and shock when after slewing to the co-ordinates and having a scan around, using averted vision there it was, 2 very, very, very faint smudges, one slightly bigger than the other.  Using direct vision I just lost them, but using averted vision I could just make them out (not a chance of spotting the interconnecting gas and dust lane that links them together) but who cares, I found the little bu**er!


It was at this point that I had run out of open or globular clusters so tried to find M101 but just could not spot it.


I waited about 20 minutes and came inside for a coffee to warm up a bit and by the time I went back outside, M92 (globular cluster) had risen above the garage.  Spent a short while looking at that then went to my best globular cluster of all, M13 in Hercules, I just love this Messier object, mainly because even from my back garden, I can resolve quite a few of the stars and make out some detail, where other globs are just smudges.


It is at this point that I decided to pack up as it was 23:20 and I have to be up around 5:30 - 6:00 time and I wanted to write this report while still on a stargazing high!


Can’t wait to get to a dark site now and have a proper all night session but I`m well pleased with tonight’s effort.


Fingers crossed for more clear nights before summer (if ever) arrives.

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Sounds like that setting circles mod was a great success Darren.

You must be well pleased with the result.

Sounds like you had a great evening.

Top marks sir I like it when a self made mod works so well.

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"I`m not great at writing these reports"


Sorry Daz - gotta disagree - that was a smashing read - you're a natural so keep it up mate :)


The Beehive is one of my favourite objects with bins - all those stars buzzing round in there is fascinating. And you got the technique for M51 spot on - it doesn't appear much better to the naked eye even at Kelling and AV is still needed. So well done and great report :)

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Seems let ke a perfectly good report to me Daz. Setting circle mod obviously helped out massively. Not sure if I'd be able to apply something similar on my setup, but I'll have a think about it. I'm useless at finding stuff.

Good read.

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Brilliant Daz :D  so pleased it all went well with new setting circle...  perhaps Mike should start taking orders???


And your report is very good :P




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"Put my son to bed for the 4th time", :D


A very enjoyable read Darren, and Iam pleased the DIY works. I think if you polar aligned a little more accurately, you would be even more accurate. Have a look at this and you will see Polaris is around half a degree off the celestial pole.




I might see if there is a way of mounting a polar scope to get better alignment. Polar aligning a Dob, what next? Imaging! :D

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Cheers all for your kind comments.

Martyn, wash your mouth out!!! With regards to polar aligning, I don't even have a pointer on my cable tidy yet, so it was all done by eye, that could be where the inaccuracies are coming from????

I'm hoping to get it all finalised in the next week.

Edited by Daz Type-R
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