Old 09-06-2008, 08:43 PM
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goober (Doug)
No obs, raising Harrison

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Observation Report: 7th June 2008

Location: Mt Toolebewong (590m)
Telescope: 4" Apo on alt-az
Time: 8pm - 9:30pm EST
Temperature: 5C
Dew: light
Transparency: 4-6/10
Seeing: 3/10
Wind: Breezy
Moon: crescent, set early

Observing up on a mountain above Healesville. Skies were quite good, with a bit of cloud scudding over. Seeing was poor, with stars winking out. I observed with my 11mm (49x) and 7mm (77x) Naglers.

A rather hurried session as there was cloud about, and an annoying tree blocked by view of Virgo, so I couldn't see many of the galaxies in the cluster.

M60 - Gx in Virgo
Large, obvious glow, but no detail seen. Size estimated as 6x6'. Slightly brighter in the centre, but a very even look.

M59 - Gx in Virgo
Very close to M60, in same field of view, separated by a chain of three magnitude 8/9 stars. Fainter and smaller than M60, and slightly elongated.

M61 - Gx in Virgo
Large galaxy, but very faint in the eyepiece. Bright star about 25' away. No detail seen.

M49 - Gx in Virgo

Large, very bright galaxy, easily spotted. Round, with a hint of elongation. Very nice object.

M58 - Gx in Virgo
Small, faint galaxy near a magnitude 8 star. Faint core and wispy halo.

M80 - GC in Scorpius
Bright cluster, condensed even looking core. No resolution at either 49x or 77x.

M4 - GC in Scorpius
Large, easy to spot, several stars resolved. Not a condensed cluster, but lovely to look at. Unusual.

M6 / M7 - OC in Scorpius

Checked them out while in the area. Great views, much better than from home, but not as good a views as I'd seen before. Rather muted, instead of their usual scintillating appearance. Haze?

M20 - nebula in Sagittarius
Nebula - quite faint but easily seen. Hints of lanes seen through the nebula. I should have broken out the filters, but I was racing the clouds that were coming in fast.

M8 - nebula in Sagittarius

Bright, large nebula that wrapped around a nice open cluster. Lovely object.

M23 - open cluster in Sagittarius
Large, sparse open cluster. Lots of members, but not that memorable.

M21 - open cluster in Sagittarius
Tiny, compact cluster near M20. Not that many members spotted.

M28 - GC in Sagittarius
Bright and obvious, diffuse and large core. Very nice object. No resolution at 77x.

M69 - GC in Sagittarius
Bright, with an interesting and uneven core. Need to revisit this one for some higher power study.

Clouded out at 9:30pm...
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Old 09-06-2008, 10:26 PM
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Location: Bright, Vic, Australia
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Great report Doug! A short session, but good by the sounds of it anyway! I missed out on a decent observing session this new moon, combination of work overload and a few hasty astrophotography missions getting in the way. Oh well, next time...

Cheers -
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Old 12-06-2008, 01:44 PM
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The Observologist

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Virgo Galaxies

Hi Doug,

Nice one again !

Good to see someone other than myself is looking in on M61 from time to time -- I really like this face-on spiral galaxy that has the unusual "broken arms".

Take a look at an image like, this one for instance:


And you will see that the arms are not smoothly curved like most ordinary spiral galaxies but instead seem to be in broken segments -- almost like they are wrapped around a 50c piece or something that puts these squarish-looking "joints" in them. Pretty unusual. I think the smallest telescope that can show the indications of spiral structure in M61 is 30cm, while in 46cm under a pristine sky it is pretty straightforward.

Bit of a fan of M28 too -- dunno why, just am.


Les D
Contributing Editor
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Old 12-06-2008, 02:08 PM
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goober (Doug)
No obs, raising Harrison

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Thanks Rob and Les - not my greatest session at the eyepiece, I was racing the clouds.

I broke out O'Meara's "Messier Objects" when I got home and had a fit at his sketch of M61 - he basically picked out the broken arms with a 4" on top of a Hawaiian volcano. I need to have another look at this one (and M69, which looked rather unusual).
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Old 12-06-2008, 03:38 PM
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I like M28 too - I think because it is relatively compressed, so its 'globulosity' (?) is very apparent.

Doug, how did you find Mt Toole-be-wong as an observing spot? Worth the hike out of Melb, assuming no cloud?

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Old 12-06-2008, 05:19 PM
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goober (Doug)
No obs, raising Harrison

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Phil, it wasn't bad. It's a very tight, windy road to get up there, about a 20 minute drive from Healesville.

I observed from the B&B we stayed at, which was on a very steep slope. Altimeter said 590m. It looked to the south east, meaning you could see the lights of Melbourne, but they were a long way away.

Dobbies wouldn't have anywhere flat to set up at the B&B. However, there was an open field on the crest of the mountain at a co-op community centre, at 650m. Great view of the horizon, and hidden from the Melbourne lights. I'm not sure if you could observe in the field there, but it wouldn't hurt to ask.

The other thing was the wildlife - lyrebirds and wombats everywhere.
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Old 12-06-2008, 08:56 PM
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That can be good - wombats make great observing stools for objects at lower altitudes.
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Old 21-06-2008, 09:50 PM
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wow, can't beleive I missed this. Doug, again you have provided a fantastic report! I have good memories being at the helm of an NP101

Certainly do go after the galaxies - I remember spending several memorable sessions chasing galaxies with my 4.5".


Last edited by 你B; 22-06-2008 at 09:51 AM.
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