Observation Report 4/3/2011

Another less-than-brilliant night, seeing-wise. Clear skies, but poor transparency. This was my first time out with the 127 Mak which I’d temporarily bodged onto an EQ1 mount though, so I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity even though I did end up hunting Messier objects with it when my ST102 would probably have been more suited.

Starting in the west, M32 and M110 proved impossible to separate from M31, probably due to a combination of the wrong scope, poor seeing and being low on the horizon. I abandoned M33, M39 and M74 for the same reason. After a such a sorry start I eventually managed to find M103, but it did take quite some hunting down and wasn’t visible as much more than a few points of light, if that. One to try with the refractor another time.

Having had such poor luck with the western sky I moved over to Canes Venatici and identified M3, M63 and M94, but utterly failed to pick out M106 when I’m sure I must have had the scope pointing straight at it more than once.

I also failed with my first target in Coma Berenices — M88, but located M53 with some difficulty and then M85.

Hercules hasn’t really been far enough above the horizon to view until now, but tonight my first sight of M13 was stunning, as was M92. Definitely ones to revisit with a refractor when they’re higher in the sky.

Finally for this evening I spent a short while viewing Saturn, but it was really still too low and the seeing in its direction (which is unfortunately towards the light dome of Taunton from my usual observation position) was too poor to make it worth spending a lot of time on.

Overall I was very pleased with the Mak, despite it being far too heavy for the mount and using it for viewing objects it’s not particularly well-suited for. I look forward to getting it onto an EQ3-2 mount and spending some more time looking at the moon and Saturn.

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