By now, I have been observing 14 consecutive whole nights in the bush. This was the last night before the First quarter Moon which happens tomorrow (read today).
After moonset, I was gonna take a look at IC2118 (the Witch-head nebula) close to Rigel, but which resides in Eridanus. While swinging my tube away from Rigel, I already saw with the 8x50 finder that this area was nebulous. I had not seen the Witch-head before! With my lowest telescope magnification, 38x (using a 32mm Erfle ocular), the Witch´s "mouth" was the most contrasty part and the "neck" on the other side could fit in the same field of view.
I SAW SIRIUS B! My holy Grale had to finally surrender. First I looked at Rigel and memorized the distance to its B-companion. With my 10-inch Dob and 250x magnification (5mm Baader Hyperion), I saw a tiny dot which followed Sirius path in the sky, i.e. the PA was about 90º. The separation seemed somewhat larger than Rigel´s. According to Washington Double Star Catalog in Vizier, the separation was 9".6 and PA 83º in 2013. What is the distance and PA today? I knew only the rough distance of Sirius B but the position angle was unknown to me prior to the observation. I could some of the time hold Sirius B with direct vision and it was hanging on Sirius A so this was without a doubt a real star and not an optical aberration. Unfortunately, Sirius B was close to one of the secondary´s spikes which was somewhat disturbing. The difficulty of Sirius B is due to the 10,000 times lower brightness that of Sirius A.
The dwarf galaxy Leo I was found without a map. Just N of Regulus, I found with 38x - 76x power a large, foot-ball shaped glow. Once you have seen Leo I several times, it is no longer a challenge.
I hunted down a few planetary nebulae using my MegaStar charts. These were Minkowski 3-1 in Canis Major, Sanduleak 2-6 in Puppis, Henize 2-5 in Carina, Henize 2-7 in Vela and IC4599 in Scorpius. All of these showed discs except He 2-5. Henize 2-7 was within a funny 0º.6 long, straight line of stars. The star row looked almost artificial and was straighter than Kemble´s Cascade in Camelopardalis.
With my naked eyes I found M5 in Serpens (close to a star) and glimpsed M12 in Ophiuchus. M12 became my 39th Messier-object with my unaided eyes. A new record?
With 250x, M5 was in principle resolved to the core. Near M5 is a much more humble globular found, Palomar 5. Using 50x power, I saw a faint, round glow. With 150x it actually became smaller but its centre was better defined and its position was perfect according to MegaStar. In front of Palomar 5 I saw some stars but they could have been ordinary foreground stars.
Antares B companion was a blue-green shimmering close to A. It was lying on the other side of the main star compared to Sirius, that is, Antares B was preceding. Great to be able to view both Sirius B and Antares B in the same night!
The temperature was rising during the night and it was a balmy +28º C at 4:30 am. It was a sign that today is going to be hot. Just half an hour ago (1 pm) my thermometer was showing +42º.9 C. Dare I go outside?
Edited by timokarhula, 15 February 2016 - 12:58 AM.