FINALLY found my first galaxy today.
The ol 10 inch dob came through.
Story goes that I've been foaming at the mouth to get out under the skies tonight, as it's the first properly clear evening for me where I can actually get a bit of astro done in about 6 weeks. Ah, the withdrawl!
So anyway I rush home after work, as I can see nothing but blue from horizon to horizon on my Kwaka on the way home. Lucky I was wearing a full face helmet, otherwise my manic grin might have gotten me in trouble with the rozzers.
I get home and find my scope. I blow off the dust, evict a few spiders (a bit of dramatic licence here) and exorcise the spirits that have taken up residence in the long absence. I take special care to collimate it while there's still light out, and then once the sun is below the horizon I take it outside to equalize the temperature and wait for twilight to end.
Come about 8.30pm local time I'm out there at the eyepiece, but all is not well. I'm lucky in that the street light on my cul-de-sac, which happens to be right in my front yard, is dead. However, the neighbours across the road have got their porch lights on... for no reason. I do the best I can, but there's no way I can preserve my night vision this way. A quick nip across the road, and the ol' fella was kind enough to switch the lights out. No air rifle required (although that might have been more fun
Back to my yard I go. It's been a while since I've been at the eyepiece, and I have a bit of trouble finding Omega Centauri. I'm using a 90 degree finder and a newt, so the finder is showing a reversed image, and the newt is showing an inverted image, which is making it difficult to figure out how I should be hopping. Add to the fact that the spot I'm trying to look in is almost at zenith, and the 'dob hole' effect is evident.
Omega Centauri is found. Excellent! Now... Centaurus A. I vainly try and hop to where I need to be, but I'm not sure how far I need to hop in my finder (as I'm not sure of the true field of view in the finder). I consult my atlas. More fruitless searching. Back to the atlas. and so on, and so on. The frustration builds. I begin to wonder if it's possible to see Centaurus A from my yard. Doubt creeps in...
Then I reconise the V formation (with one arm of the V forming an extended chain of stars) near Omega Centauri. According to my atlas, Centaurus A is just near (but not actually in the path of) where the V points, near a reasonably bright star. I put the eyepiece as close as I can figure to where it needs to be....
Nothing... Wait. what's that smudge of what looks like nebulosity? It has no business being there according to my atlas. I can only see it with averted vision, but it's definitely there. There seems to be a slightly brighter spot on it too. It looks like a smudge with the middle erased...
yahoo! found it! I can't get it with direct vision, but it's definitely there. A nebulosity with a bright point, separated by a dark lane. yippie! All that hard work, and neck craning paid off. I had a good long look, and then realised that the dew was decending, and I had to pack up for an early start tomorrow. So that's what I did.
I was tired, sore, cold, and had a massive grin on my face.
Man what a weird hobby we have. Getting all hyped up over a smudge in the sky.