Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March 24, 2009 Observing Report

Today was quite interesting. I took the scope out at about 9:15pm to cool down a little. It is still quite cold here in Rhode Island. I took another quick look at the Orion Nebula(M42). It is quite beautiful and I wish I could get some more time exploring the trap. I will have to do that soon before it hides for the summer.

At about 10:15, I went out with a stool to begin my session. As has been the past couple of nights, I started with Saturn. I viewed it with the WO UWAN 16mm (37.5x) and the BO/TMB 4mm (150x) and quite enjoyed the ringed planet. The air seemed quite steady tonight so the seeing was quite good. This was great, because the last day was quite breezy and unsteady.

I then began the interesting part of the night. First, I thought I would try to find M3. Having seen it before, I thought it would be easy to get to. A combination of bad light pollution and a shaky mount contributed to 25 minutes of fruitless searching. I decided to go to the constellation Virgo and work my way over from there.

Looking at S&Ts Pocket Sky Atlas, I saw that M53 was close my in Coma Berenices. This proved to be an easy find as it is right next to one of the corner stars. M53 is a globular cluster at 7.6 magnitude and was a decent view in the Orion 80ED coupled with the 16mm UWAN. From there I easily hoped over to M64 (Black-Eye Galaxy) which is 8.5 magnitude. Again , the detail was not great in the 3.15" aperture scope, but I was quite happy to find it. It made me feel better in my sky hopping abilities.

From M53 I slewed over to the star Muphrid in the constellation Bootes. At this point, the time was about 11:15pm and the sky was a bit darker, with M3 being a little higher in the sky. It was an easy find now and the 6.3 mag globular cluster was a fun sight in the UWAN (37.5x) and the 10mm Sirius plossl (60x). Next, I hoped over to the star Cor Caroli in Canes Venatici. From there is was a quick jump to M63 (Sunflower Galaxy) which is 8.6 mag. I ended the night with a look at the 8.2 mag M94 galaxy.

At this point, I was freezing. Next time I must remember to double up on the socks. The night was quite successful overall even with the terrible start. The good news is that I finally placed an order for the William Optics Eazy Touch mount yesterday. I expect it to come in within a week from now with the requisite cloudy nights to follow.

Objects Seen:
M53 (first time)
M64 (first time)
M63 (first time)
M94 (first time)

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