03 January 2011

And then there was wind

Even more wind last night. Still, at least it kept the possibility of mozzies at bay.

Tragically, I discovered that I could my thumbs all the way through the thumbs of my gloves... very sad. Especially since it got awfully cold.

Anyway, I decided to do a mini Messier marathon for this session, since that required no planning on my part and hey, it's the Messier catalogue! I did try looking at Jupiter first of course, but again it was mush; the seeing was atrocious in the west, and again the wind was not playing nice.

M79: lovely little globular cluster. A couple of bright stars to the side, better with averted vision. Quite irregular.
M77: itty little galaxy. Better in Copernicus with the 10mm, but still no details obvious.
M42 and 43: a favourite, of course. I looked at the Trapezium, and am convinced that I could see three additional faint stars in between the main bright ones. I tried putting the 6mm in, but the wind made focussing a nightmare.
M41: in Copernicus with the 21mm, very bright and interesting; numerous yellow and bright white stars. With the 35mm, boring. In Keppler, the 10mm gave a chaotic and somewhat overwhelming view of the cluster; the 21mm made it more coherent, and showed off the lovely yellow stars in the centre.
M50: chaotic in the 10mm, boring through the 21mm.
M47: a nice enough little cluster with a somewhat interesting arrangement; I liked the line of bright stars through the middle.
M46: could not be seen in the same field of view as M47 through Keppler; good case in point of how awesome Ptolemy is, for wide views. A bit boring, overall, although exciting to see the planetary nebula off to the side (NGC2438).
M45: in Copernicus, it was a group of bright dots with what is apparently nebulosity, but it just looked like haze around individual stars to me. The Pleiades is, I think, best naked eye.
M93: boring... looks a bit like an anvil. Or maybe a teapot.
M48: chaotic in the 10mm; 21mm made it look like the outline of something I couldn't quite figure out.
M67: looks a bit like a comma. Possibly some nebulosity?
M44: some trouble finding this as the Argo thought it was upside down... impossible int he 10mm, and no shape in the 21mm - just looked like a bunch of visual double and triples. Again, more interesting naked eye, where it was a pronounced smudge.
M1: large grey smudge in Copernicus; ditto in Keppler, bigger of course in the 10mm. Not very crabby-looking.
M35: an open cluster; boring except for the fact that it has a little companion that looks like a globular but is actually a really tight little cluster.

And that is when tragedy struck! Well, when I say tragedy, I mean that M36, 37 and 38 were all behind the house AND that the RA encoder died! J gallantly resuscitated it thanks to his trusty Allan key set. At this point it was after midnight and getting awfully cold, so there was no way I was going to re-align. Thus, to bed.

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