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Old 21-05-2009, 06:27 PM
beefking (Nathan)
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Cairns
Posts: 54
backyard obs 19/05/09

Had another session with my 12" dob, in the backyard on Tuesday night. There was a bit of annoying light from inside the house occasionally, but on the whole it was a good few hours.

It was my first real session with my new 6mm Ethos and 31mm T5 Nagler.

Started off with saturn, and finally got a good look at it through the ethos. looked great, and there were a few moments of excellent clarity.

My next stop was Eta Carina, which is incredible at the best of times. I put in the 31T5, and the view was astonishing. A lot of attention is focussed on the keyhole and surrounds of Eta Carina itself, but the nebula to the south looked like a curtain billowing in the breeze.

Conversely, at higher powers the section of nebula to the north-west of the keyhole looked lumpy and kind of foreboding. Through the 6mm, the field is small enough that motion is obvious - the nebula looked like a storm cloud drifting overhead.

I moved on briefly to DY Crucis - it's quickly becoming a favourite.

Omega Centauri was swarming with stars, the footprint effect in the middle was obvious.

Next up was the NGC 3132, the eight-burst nebula. It was blinking in and out at 63x, but there were hints of structure at 166x.

Followed it up with NGC 3201 in Vela. This is a pretty small globular. partially resolved at 166x, with a squarish shape.

Had a quick look at NGC 2818, and it is an interesting object.

I had a good look at NGC4945 and NGC4976 in Centaurus. 4945 was large, obvious and elongated, however only the core of 4976 was easily visible. I was viewing with a fair bit of stray light, so the view was not as good as it could have been .

I had a quick look in Virgo, at M61 and NGC4666. M61 was easy to find - 13 Vir, on to 16Vir, then to 17Vir, then half way back to 16Vir. I picked up the core and a circular glow, but couldn't really pick out any spirals.

NGC4666 is close to Gamma Virgo, or Porrima, though I originally thought I'd found NGC4653. The scale of SkyAtlas is a bit deceiving sometimes, and it wasn't until I'd checked against Starry Night that I identified 4666. Anyway, it was an elongated glow, with a bit of central brightening. I will have to have a better look, because it wasn't too hard to find. I want to find 4653 and 4668 as well, as they are shown very close by.

I moved on to M83, and picked up hints of the spirals. My final object was NGC 3918, the blue planetary, and blow me down, it's blue. not especially strongly, but I'm pretty sure I picked up colour.

it was a good night, and a good practice run for next weekend.
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