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A galaxy hunt with NV and a 1/2 moon from Bortle 8 skies.

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#1 Dale Eason

Dale Eason

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Posted 20 June 2021 - 12:19 AM

Tonight from 10 till 11:30 pm I was testing my RPI sky solving app for the first time under real sky conditions on my driveway.   It is an RPI based camera mounted like a finder on my 10 F3 telescope and loops taking sky images, plate solving them and uploading the position to a tablet running SkySafari.   I used NV Afocal through the TV55 mm eyepiece with a long pass 685 filter to dime the light pollution but let star light through.

 

I was amazed to discover how well I could still detect galaxies in Virgo and Coma clusters under those conditions.   I started off using the solver to direct me from Arcturus (easily found by naked eye) then to M3 which was   visible in glass but rather dim and uninteresting.   Then with NV it was easily seen and much more interesting.   Next using the wide field view of the scope I manually shifted the scope along the star patterns showing in SkySafari to M53. It was  slight smaller and about the same brightness.   Since the solver and display were working so well I decided to use it to move over to the Virgo Cluster and see if M87 was visible.  I usually get lost over there.  Yep there it was.   Not great but easily seen.   So I scanned around to see how much I could really see under these adverse conditions with the moon only 25 deg away.   I saw about 1/2 of the Markarian chain galaxies.  Next moved over to M100.   It took great care of moving the scope slightly back and forth but both my 30 year old son and I could see it move against the background.  It dissapeared into the bright background otherwise.  Even easier to detect was NGC4596 at Mag 10.   Overall the galaxies did not pop out.  You had to work at most of them but once the scope settled in a few seconds the bright ones could be seen easily.

 

What  a treat for such a sky.   Pretty happy with my sky solving app as well.   I will eventually publish more about it in the ATM forum.   


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