Observation Report 2/3/2011

Another night when the seeing was far from great, not helped by having a breakdown truck parked nearby with all the lights flashing whilst I was setting up, and then someone wandering through the adjoining field at about 10pm flashing a very bright torch around, all set off by the sheep on the nearby cricket pitch setting off all the security lights on the pavilion! I had new toys again though, in the guise of a set of Revelation (allegedly the same as GSO) eyepieces, that I wanted to try out.

However, having decided that some of my targets from last time weren’t going to be worth spending time on, I perhaps unwisely picked M76 for my first target. Had I looked at Stellarium and realised that I was going after a tiny planetary nebula with an apparent magnitude of 12, perhaps I’d have looked for something else. Nonetheless I spent a long time hunting from star to star, switching up and down eyepieces to get different magnifications, until I found what I had no other choice than to identify as the nebula in question, though I wasn’t able to identify any detail. It and HIP8053 complete what appears to me as a “pawprint” asterism with φ-Perseii, 2 Perseii, HIP8771 and HIP8598.

Thinking I’d try something a little easier I opted to give M103 a try, but completely failed to locate it for no reason that I could understand, so moving up the magnitudes a little more I moved on to M52 which I located as being near the crossing points of lines drawn between Shedir and Caph in Cassiopeia and β-Cephi and ι-Cephi. Finding the cluster needed 25x magnification and once found opened up to give a good view at around 50x.

After this success I found M31 again thinking that I might look for M32 or M110, but I really couldn’t make enough detail out to say that I could see them. By this time the cloud cover had increased to the point where very little sky was visible so I decided to call it a night, taking my Messier total up to twenty-four.

And the EPs? I’m very pleased with them. The 32mm makes a great EP for scanning the sky and the views through them all are clean and sharp. A proper try out really needs somewhat better seeing than was on offer on this particular night though.

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