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Baz' Kelling Observations. 5.10.13


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I started somewhere around 20.00, with some high haze present.


12" Skywatcher Dob, 26mm Pana view and a 17mm Orion (Vixen) 17mm.


The first object was one of my all time favourites. M13, the great globular cluster in Hercules. Edmond Halley is credited with discovering this object in 1714, but it's a safe bet that the great Arabic, Greek, and Chinese astronomers had it pegged well before this.


This is one of the easier objects to find, locate the top right hand star of the keystone asterism, and head about one third the way down to the bottom right hand star. This is naked eye from a dark site, and is easy to see in the finder or bino's.

Once found, the bigger the aperture, and magnification will display it at it's best, Iam able to get it to 187x with an 8mm before any deterioration occurs. So whack up the magnification up to the point where it fades. 

This will resolve well, showing yellow stars around the blue core stars, and is worth spending time on.


I then went hunting for M72, which I hadn't seen yet. This is another globular cluster in Aquarius, which was first discovered by Pierre Mechain in 1780, and also by Messier a few months later. Both logged it as a nebula, and probably shows the quality of the optics of the day. William Herschel correctly described it as a cluster. 

It has a mag of 9.3, and is fairly faint, it fades with added magnification, but a few stars are just about resolved around the edges.


Being in the neighbourhood, in Aquarius, I had a look for M73, another one I haven't seen. I needed the books for this one, as after much looking, couldn't see any object in the area. It turns out it's four stars! It looks like another boo boo with poor optics, Messier logged this one at the same time as M72, so he was in the same general area. It is a matter for discussion as to whether they are a small cluster, or just a coincidental asterism. Being honest, it is one to tick off the list and move on.


I had a look round some old favourites then, the Double cluster, the Veil nebula, and M34 again.


M40 presented itself as an object I haven't yet seen, and yet again had to refer to the books. This time Messier royally cocked up. Johann Hevelius had reported a nebula in this area, so Messier went looking for it. If M73 doesn't float your boat, this will sink it. It's TWO stars.


Now Iam assuming that as something had been reported in this area, Messier didn't want to loose out on missing it. Messier logged it as two stars, ( mag 9.6 & 10.1) Again the optics of the day may have some bearing on this, but TWO stars are all you get for this, and not remarkable ones either. There are far nicer ones available. Again tick the box and move along, nothing to see here.


Around 23.30 the high haze became high cloud and the satellite images showed a large bank of cloud plonked right over Norfolk.

And so to bed said Zebadee!














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Those Aquarius globs are pretty low down and not too much to look at, but at least you can tick them off, so eventually you will finish your Messier hunt.


Another fine report Martyn.

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