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Messier Marathon

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1 month 4 weeks ago #106571 by flt158
flt158 replied the topic: Messier Marathon
6 more -okay. I shall go.

Aubrey.

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1 month 4 weeks ago #106572 by flt158
flt158 replied the topic: Messier Marathon
6 more -okay. I shall go.

Aubrey.

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1 month 3 weeks ago #106573 by flt158
flt158 replied the topic: Messier Marathon
Good evening, all.
I promised to give a report about Friday night's observing time in a parking area which was in front of Lough Tay.
There were 4 of us (Michael, Ben and Kevin) in the end using our telescopes. Although the sky conditions were appalling, the transparency was very good indeed. So double stars were extraordinarily difficult; but deep sky objects were very good.
Here is my own list as to what I observed with my William Optics 158 mm apochromatic refractor. My north is up; my east is to the right.

1. I must thank Michael for arriving before 6 pm. Because as soon as the Sun went behind the mountains, we caught Venus at about 6.30 pm. Its magnitude was -4. Its distance was 42,000,000 kilometres. The illumination was barely over 1% lit and its angular diameter was a very large 59.4 arc seconds. The sky was still a very bright blue, and at 40X, it looked featureless. As the sky conditions were plain bad, I refused to use higher magnifications. There was a lot of haze along our horizon.
2. Once Venus had disappeared, the planet Mercury was easy to find. This planet's magnitude was -0.9; even though its angular diameter was a mere 6.2 arc seconds. It is way beyond the Sun with a distance of 163.000.000 kilometres. The 70% lit disc was not easy to discern even at 112X as the conditions had not improved.
3. I even had difficulty seeing Rigel's B component at 112X which normally is easy.
4. However, straight down from Sirius, I found the glorious open star cluster M41. It had been some years since I last observed it. This time I noticed 2 K class orange stars near its centre. They gave a most pleasing effect. At 112X, M41 filled the field of view completely.
5. M42 / M43 was next. And I have to say nothing could prepare me for what I was about to see. Okay -I could not see the E and F stars in the infamous Trapezium. But at 112X, the Orion Nebula filled beyond my 35 arc minute FOV. The gaseous cloud was amazingly powerful. I could see a large arm of the nebula heading northwards on the western side. On the eastern side I saw another gaseous arm going southwards. I can safely say I have never seen M42 like this ever in my life!
6. M1 the Crab Nebula was next. It is small but easily identifiable at 40X and 112X. The magnitude is +8.5 and its diameter is 8 arc minutes.
7. Iota Leonis was split at 140X and 167X. Its magnitudes are +4.1 and 6.7. The separation is 2.1 arc seconds at present and the PA is 90 degrees. Again because of the bad conditions I was not going to give any estimations of its colours.
8. Nearby Iota Leo, I once again had the huge privilege of observing M65 and M66. But I had the additional excitement of seeing NGC 3628 for the 1st time. At just 40X, I could see all 3 galaxies very plainly in the same FOV. NGC 4628 is seen edge on and pointing downwards.

That is it from me.
Perhaps the others can chip in any of their observations.

Clear skies,

Aubrey.
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1 month 3 weeks ago #106575 by Fermidox
Fermidox replied the topic: Messier Marathon
Interesting report again Aubrey. Messier marathons don't really float my boat tbh as I prefer to utilise our precious clear nights for observing less familiar objects, and this particular weekend was taken up with comets Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak and Johnson.

The former is passing through the Plough and appears as a nebulous fuzz about half-a-moon diameter. It's been interesting to read the reports of people having difficulty picking it up in binoculars considering I've had no such problems whatever - makes me further appreciate the rural skies down here in Limerick.

Comet Johnson is currently in Hercules and brightening to around mag 9, with a tail of a few arcminutes - quite a nice sight and should be at its best in June. That brings me up to 15 comets bagged since 2013.

Finbarr.
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1 month 3 weeks ago #106578 by lunartic
lunartic replied the topic: Messier Marathon
How did you find the Lough Tay site? Would you go up there again?

Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better programs, and the universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the universe is winning.

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1 month 3 weeks ago #106579 by michael_murphy
michael_murphy replied the topic: Messier Marathon
Hi Paul,

The site is quite good but a bit close to the road for my liking.
Trooperstown or Ben's site in St Kevins church is probably better for dark skies.

Michael.

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1 month 3 weeks ago #106580 by lunartic
lunartic replied the topic: Messier Marathon
I've never been to St Kevins, we must arrange a trip some clear weekend.

Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better programs, and the universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the universe is winning.

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1 month 3 weeks ago #106581 by flt158
flt158 replied the topic: Messier Marathon
Hi Paul.
Did you have just a heavy cold or was it the real flu?
I trust you are much better after a few days in bed.
I am willing to go any place where the consensus decides.
The dark skies of Wicklow are ready for us.
Next time I truly want to the see M104 -the Sombrero Galaxy.
Maybe a few extra people can come too.
But I do reckon that we might need a bit more space for our cars and scopes.

Clear skies,
Aubrey.

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