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Old 30-12-2010, 03:00 PM
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Rodstar (Rod)
The Glenfallus

Rodstar is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Central Coast, NSW
Posts: 2,697
Hi James (and hi Alexandra!!),

Sounds like you are having a wonderful time down there, albeit with a few thermal and cable tension issues. Hope conditions are again dew free for you tonight.

We must be cosmically aligned, because I was out in the backyard last night enjoying many of the same views as you (with the unfortunate addition of a heavy seasoning of suburban light), with the assistance of my new Cambridge Star Atlas ( thanks mate - decided to keep it, it is SO good!).

It had been a while since I had done any observing, so I went through a series of familiar favourites, enjoying the beauty and wonder of M42, the gargantuan Tarantula Nebula (still replete with Christmas ribbons) and surrounding host of angelic shapes of the LMC, the diamond pin cushion that is 47 Tuc, the wispy mystery of the Pleiades, the royal engagement ring that is NGC 1535, and the ghostly orange sapphire that is IC 418.

My old favourite M79, a nice globular in Lepus is still there, humbly doing its own thing, and M46, what a treat, with her little foreground planetary teased me with some detail in its outer shell.

James, I tried in vain to snare some detail in some of the Fornax galaxies, but there was a constant passage of clouds meandering through the sky on the central coast, reflecting all of that ambient light and washing out any detail. I will have to wait for some darker skies to enjoy such deep skies wonders.

I also have no chance of seeing the Horsehead under suburban conditions. You are doing well to see it with a 16" scope, it is one very elusive target! I have to work very hard to see it under dark skies with 20".

If you enjoyed M46, you might like to try NGC 2818 in Pyxis, which is a more subtle version of M46, with planetary.

There are so many beautiful doubles in Orion and Canis Major. Don't miss out on Sigma Orionis or Adhara (epsilon Canis Majorum).

Clear skies!
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