Thursday, April 16, 2009

April 16, 2009 Observing Report

This was a quick one hour session as I was a bit tired after a late day trip to Boston with the family. We arrived home around 10pm and I was able to set the scope out at 11:00 for a proper cooldown. It was around 12:40am that I went outside to begin the session.

First up as usual was Saturn. It is still at a nice position in the sky, but bordering my southern haze, which is caused by the heat emanating from my neighbor's house. Nonetheless, the ringed planet was a pleasure to track. Brightest views of course were in the 16mm UWAN, which gives me 37.5x magnification. The 4mm BO/TMB also gave a crisp disk, but at 150x mag in the 80mm scope, the view was not bright enough tonight. There have been better nights.

Up next and very close to Saturn was the Leo Triplet. I had to go back there as during my last DSO(deep sky objects) session I forgot to get views of the galaxies. Tonights view in the 16mm UWAN did not dissapoint. The only problem was that I was starting to yearn for a bit more aperture. I began to wonder what I would be able to see in a 5" or 6" scope, refractor of course.

From there, I had a problem settling on a target. It was not the fault of the scope. I just had not put enough forethought into what to see tonight. I was not planning on it being cloudless. After looking at my charts I decided on M57. It was a quick find tonight. I started with the star Vega and moved over to the Nebula. It was best seen in the 16mm UWAN. Again aperature fever struck. I was pondering the view in larger scopes. Also I wondered if an Ultrablock filter might show me anything. Probably not in the 3.2" scope.

After enjoying the Ring Nebula, I settled on M92, the globular cluster in Hercules. It was an easy catch in the 9x50 finder, and both the 16mm UWAN and the 4mm BO/TMB provided superb views. From there I went to M13, another globular in Hercules, which provided similar views. Both of these clusters were the highlight of the night. For whatever reason, I was able to resovle stars at the edge of the clusters. I have never been able to do that before. Again, I am pushing the limits of the 80ED refractor, but they really did look superb today.

This highpoint concluded the session as I was tiring. I would have to say the theme of the night was aperture fever. Oh, and since I have not discussed the mount up to this point, it must have done it's job and not gotten in the way. The EZ Touch is really great. Tracking is easy and the movement is so smooth that finding object is a breeze. The mount has been a great investment and I know that it will easily support that larger scope I see myself getting when the time is

Objects seen:
Leo Triplet (M65, M66, NGC3628)

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