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Mark9473
Postmaster


Reged: 07/21/05
Posts: 6459
Loc: 51N 4E
finally a clear night
      #1353244 - 01/10/07 07:38 PM

It seems like weeks since it last was clear on a Moonless night, so when I stepped out under a really nice sky earlier this evening I was immediately inspired to grab a few binoculars and check out some of the sights. I settled on tripod-mounted 20x80s and my 7x50s around my neck.

After a short peek at Saturn (globe, rings, moon) my first real target was open cluster M67 in Cancer. This one is always a nice sight in my 20x80s. Tonight, I resolved about 15-20 stars on an irregular background glow. The brighter cluster members seemed to be concentrating towards the 'bottom' of the cluster, where the background glow ended most abruptly. I also got the impression of seeing some cluster members just below that 'edge', so together this gave me rather the impression of seeing a dust lane! Quite a remarkable sight.

My next target was M35 in Gemini. It made a nice effort to show up to the naked eye, so I could hardly skip this one. This has got to be one of the nicest clusters for my 7x50s: it resolves quite a good number of stars in a range of brightnesses, but the low magnification does lump together many fainter members into a really nice and bright background glow. Sort of like seeing a star cluster with some nebulosity in it. Nearby NGC 2158 was a bright small glow adding to the quality of the scene. In my 20x80s M35 looks like it is completely resolved, losing some of its mystery but rewarding with a rich collection of pinpoint stars.

Just a small hop below M35, I looked for open cluster NGC 2169 in the 'fist' of Orion, which I hadn't seen yet. In the 20x80 I saw just a small clump of few stars, with some very faint glow in between. I wasn't particularly impressed by this one.

By now Sirius was standing due south, so I aimed my binoculars a few degrees below it to look for M41. This is a quite nice and big cluster, but at my lattitude it culminates at less than 20 degrees above the horizon where conditions are always very poor. I've only once seen this cluster with the naked eye. Tonight, in the binoculars it showed up very nicely, about as good as it gets for me.

Inspired by this last view, I decided to hunt for a low-altitude target that has always eluded me till now: globular cluster M79 in Lepus. This one is never higher than 15 degrees above my horizon, and in my climate that part of the sky is pretty much lost. I remember hunting for M79 in my youth, but I gave up after a couple of years. But tonight I saw it! In the 7x50 is was a small faint puff of light, and in the 20x80 it didn't seem that much larger nor brighter, but I'm happy to have seen it anyway!

A few more highlights of the evening: the Pleiades as nice as always, seeing the Crab Nebula as bright as ever before, catching a hint of the Rosette Nebula, suspecting nebulosity elsewhere in Monoceros particlarly around the Cone nebula, the clusters in Auriga, ...

Too bad I got cut short by the clouds, but anyway I've got to be up for work in not too many hours, so that's it for tonight.

--------------------
Mark
Leica 8x20; Nikon 7x35; Vixen 8x42; Orion 15x63; Docter 15x60
WO Megrez II 80 FD / APM 107mm f/6.5 / Mewlon 210 on DM-6 + Berlebach Planet


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Rich V.
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/02/05
Posts: 3143
Loc: Lake Tahoe area, Nevada, USA
Re: finally a clear night new [Re: Mark9473]
      #1353290 - 01/10/07 08:06 PM

Nice report, Mark. It sure sounds like an evening well spent. I admire your staying up late on a work night; perhaps you were lucky the clouds moved in when they did!

Best regards,

Rich V

--------------------
Binoculars:
33/50/71/150x100 Saturn III, 22x70ED, 16x70 FMT-SX, 10x50 PCF-V, 10x43 DCF-SP, 10x35 EII, 7x35 E, 8x30 EII,
7x26 Custom, 8x23CF AS Diplomat, 6.5x21 Papilio
Scopes:
C9.25, TMB130SS, SV80S-LOMO 80/480
IDA member


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Erik D
Post Laureate


Reged: 04/28/03
Posts: 4066
Loc: Central New Jersey, USA
Re: finally a clear night new [Re: Rich V.]
      #1353560 - 01/10/07 10:26 PM

Hi Mark,

Thanks for that report. We have an exceptionally clear night in Central New Jersey, USA as well. I spend about an hour outside....that's a long time for me on a week night.

I concentrated my viewing around Orion and Canis Major/Minor. M 42 showed more defination than I have seen for more than a year. I saw many more stars than unusal around that region I did not wonder to other areas. I used my 100mmF 7.5 (53X) and my 12X50 roofs to help me spot. The Belt Stars region looked spectacular in the 12X50s( 4.8 deg) but the Trap stars looked best at 53X100.

Temp was -3 C but it was a wonderful night.

Erik D


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Mark9473
Postmaster


Reged: 07/21/05
Posts: 6459
Loc: 51N 4E
Re: finally a clear night new [Re: Erik D]
      #1354882 - 01/11/07 04:33 PM

Thanks Rich, I think you're right! I was in a meeting all day and felt pretty good, but driving home I really got very tired all of the sudden. Wonder why...

Thanks Erik; luckily here it was a full 10 degrees C warmer than where you are!
I wonder how I could have missed writing about M42. It was HUGE even in the 7x50, and in the 20x80 it was just great, about 1.5 degrees wide. Tempted me to try and see the green colour, but I failed at that.

--------------------
Mark
Leica 8x20; Nikon 7x35; Vixen 8x42; Orion 15x63; Docter 15x60
WO Megrez II 80 FD / APM 107mm f/6.5 / Mewlon 210 on DM-6 + Berlebach Planet


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Erik D
Post Laureate


Reged: 04/28/03
Posts: 4066
Loc: Central New Jersey, USA
Re: finally a clear night new [Re: Mark9473]
      #1359383 - 01/13/07 06:41 PM

Mark,

I've REALLAY tried to see the "Green" in my 25X100 and 53X100 every time I observed M42. M42 was more deifined on the night of the 10th than I ever recall seeing in large binoculars during the last five years. However, I can NOT say I saw even a "hint" of green. Makes me wonder if I should have taken out my 6 in APO that night just to look at M42 and see if I can split Rigel.

Erik D


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