Astronomy

Observing Log for

Session Details


Northallerton

54.3299, -1.44529

10m

Notes

Cold, Breezy, UrMi NELM: 5, No Moon

Observations

Algeiba

Algeiba is a double star in the "sickle" or "mane" of Leo the Lion. I do not believe I actually suceeded in splitting this double although given the right conditions it should be fairly easy. Unfortunately when I tried, Leo was still quite low in the sky and the conditions in general were not good with poor transparency.

M51 : The Whirlpool Galaxy

The Whirlpool Galaxy is very famous. It is so called because in astrophotography it is revealed to have very distinctive spiral arms, and is currently interacting with a neighbouring galaxy, 5195. In the scope tonight the seeing was not so good. The two galaxies appeared as fuzzy blobs (like an out of focus double star) although by blocking off all extrenuous light and using averted vision it was possible to start distinguishing a faint shape to the fuzz. It became easy to tell 51 from its companion and I believe that with slightly better transparency, the spiral arms would have been visible - they seemed to be just on the edge of sight.

It held up well to increased magnification but looked best at x80 with the barlowed 25mm.

M51 is a large galaxy consisting of around 100 billion stars in a spiral 50,000 light years in diameter at a distance of 15 - 40 million light years from Earth.

Kappa Bootis

This is a double star consisting of a mag 4.6 blue primary star and a mag 6.6 yellow secondary. The colours were quite distinguished, although again the poor transparency contributed to a slightly inferior view to that which was expected.

Cor Caroli

Another double star, this one in Canes Venatici. The split was easy (even got it with the 25mm Ploss) but the colours were not all that distinctive. The primary, at mag 2.9 did appear faintly blue, but the mag 5.4 secondary was hardly very different - it appeared to be white rather than yellow as Turn Left At Orion described.

M94 : Small Spiral Galaxy

This was located very close to Cor Caroli in Canes Venatici and was an easy find. In the eyepiece it appeared as an out of focus star, but at x100 there was more detail revealed and a more oval shape emerged.

M53 : Globular Cluster in Coma Berenices

My first globular cluster with the 'scope! This one was an easy find, although it proved to be quite small and not very distinctive. There was a definite graininess to this particular fuzz of light (showing I had found the right object) but the sky conditions did not allow the fainter outer disc to be seen. I will definitely take another look at this object in the future.

This is a cloud of ancient stars (over 100,000) and is located around 65,000 light years from us

Saturn

The Cassini division was difficult to spot even at x200 tonight showing how bad the conditions were, although the planetary disc did yield quite a bit of detail, with bands in the northern hemisphere visible.

Jupiter

I only looked at Jupiter briefly before it disappeared behind some trees - it was very bright, being only one day after opposition, but details were again elusive thanks to poor atmospheric conditions.