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Old 22-04-2009, 03:39 PM
beefking (Nathan)
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beefking is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Cairns
Posts: 54
backyard obs 21/04/09

Hi all, this is just a brief rundown of some objects I viewed last night from my backyard with my 12" dob. It's reasonably dark, but there are a few streetlights that need to be avoided and a good degree of spill light from neighbour's houses.

I looked at a lot of the usual suspects, but the standouts/new ones were:

Jewel Box - I really noticed the colours this time, which reminded me to have a look at the carbon star near Beta Crux - (DY crucis) extremely red, and looked great contrasted with Mimosa.

M104 - tracked down for the first time last night. I thought I could pick up in my 9x63 binoculars as well. The well-known shape of the galaxy was easy to pick up, but the dust lane only showed itself occasionally.

A planetary in Vela and one in Pyxis - I had my copy of sky atlas 2000.0 out, and looking around Vela I picked up NGC 2818 as looking interesting.
I thought I'd go for nearby NGC 2792 first, as it is close to Gamma Velorum. It looked small on the chart, and I honestly didn't expect to find it, but about 20 minutes later, there it was, barely visible as a dot. The max magnification I can do at the moment is 167x, and even at that it was tiny, but clearly non-stellar. Stellarium gives it as mag. 14, so I'm kind of surprised I could find it from my backyard.

Encouraged by that victory, I thought I'd have a go at NGC 2818 - it looked more remote from bright stars so I assumed it would be harder to find. It's a pretty cool object - a cluster and planetary similar to M46, but the cluster and planetary are much closer in size, and the planetary did not have a well defined edge. It's an interesting object and I recommend it.

M83 - After that win, I thought I'd have a go at M83, which has always looked so far away from handy sign posts that it would be kind of impossible. It wasn't and I was rewarded with a large, round soft glow with a stellar centre. There seemed to be hints of more detail just out of reach, but with the amount of stray light flying around... well, I think it will be worth finding from a dark site.

this star-hopping thing, it's not so hard after all
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