Went out for a nice session in very cold weather! Seeing wasn't flash, but better than last night. It was very cold, about 2慢 and with a hell of alot of dew. Went inside a few times during the night for a hot chocolate which is so gooood in this cold.
Scope: 12" F4.6 truss dob
Dank 1 / Dank 2
Apparently these are supposed to be a pair of open clusters (marked in the Herald-Bobroff atlas), located on the eastern edge of the coalsack. Nothing seen.
Open cluster not far east of Crux. Not alot seen, at 108x a small group of around 6 stars form an "A" shape. Pretty much a poor man's Jewel Box! A bright orange star lies near the cluster's eastern edge.
108x - loose collection of around 15 stars just east of Stock 16, with the 5 most prominent members arranged in a pattern reminiscent of the constellation Delphinus, with the head pointing east.
108x - another cluster adjacent to the Coal Sack. Sparse group barely stands out from the background star fields. A bright yellow star marks the northern extremity of the cluster. The brightest stars of this cluster are arranged in a perfect arrowhead outline. I thought that was pretty cool. It really is a perfect arrow! btw, it points south.
That red star near Beta Crucis. Seems to have brightened and taken on more of an orange hue since the last time I saw it.
Scope has been cooling for a few hours by now and I was able to push it over 200x on the Homunculus. Bouts of good seeing revealed 2 'holes' in the major lobe, which also has a very irregular outline. The 2 spikes coming out of Eta Carina could also been seen.
Very nice at 217x. Full resolution, higher mags make it look more like a rich open cluster! I spotted what appeared to be a ruddy coloured star near the northern end of the row that cuts across the clusters center. Not certain though, as its quite hard to make out colours in these faint stars.
Outer areas of this globular were well resolved at 283x, quite nice but the seeing wasn't really great. Surprisingly I got slightly more resolution 326x, despite seeing. Also found this neat group of 4 stars while searching for M80, basically a nice golden double star with 2 other golden stars sitting on either side.
NGC 6309 - Box nebula
This PN showed up well despite moonlight. Used an OIII filter at 217x and I could see a tiny rectangular or ellipsoidal object with a faint star located immediately off its northern end. Looks like a nice high surface brightness PN, just asking for more mag but ofcourse the seeing realistically didn't allow anything beyond 200x.
At this point I went inside to warm up, and ended up dozing off for over an hour. Well, that was actually good coz when I woke up Jupiter was well positioned for viewing.
First time I aimed the 12" at Jupiter - almost shat myself! At 217x ... it almost looked like a friggin photo!
I've never seen such immensly complex detail in the belts, especially the SEB. It was literally a plethora of streamers, ovals, rifts, spots....amazing. Ofocurse, I had to contend with the seeing (or is it my mirror!?!) but during those still moments it was a memorable sight. I could make out perhaps 10 belts. Numerous festoons were visible aswell,
along with white ovals nestled under the NEB. A couple of lowerings were hanging off the NEB. I was gonna sketch, but stuff me i can't possibly sketch in such intricate detail in 10 minutes - with frozen hands to boot! I spent perhaps an hour drinking in the view.
Also took in a view of the moon, those 4 Plato Craterlets were etched with clarity I have not seen before.
At 1.30am ,, I decided to call it quits. The dew was overwhelming, both mirrors fogged up shortly after finishing. ANd it was bloody freezing! But so worth it.