Observing Log for

Session Details


54.33, -1.445



Conditions: Warm, light cloud at times - thicker towards midnight, UrMi NELM: 5


M56 - Globular Cluster in Lyra

This was a difficult object to find as the rich starfields of the Milky Way in this area meant that the faint fuzzy patch was almost invisible in the finderscope. I eventually had to resort to scanning the area using the 25mm Plossl in the telescope. This method proved successful and I was rewarded with another of the summers fine Globular Clusters. The starfields around it didn't help, but the cluster was easily visible as a rich concentration of stars. Unlike 13 the other night, 56 is much smaller and dimmer however with averted vision a great deal of star detail could be seen.

M57 - The Ring Nebula

I have seen the Ring Nebula brifly before in a society telescope but never had a chance to look at it more closely. It was very easy to locate, close to the bright star Vega in the constellation Lyra and was instantly rewarding even in the 25mm Plossl. At this magnification it was a very small but very distinct ring shape suspended in the field of view. Increasing the magnification increased the size but also caused considerable reduction in sharpness. At x200 it was almost impossible to look at it was so out of focus. x80 seemed to be the best compromise and I stood entranced watching this strange object which changes with averted vision, moving in and out of focus.

This is a planetary nebula caused by a white dwarf star which has blown off its outer layer of gas during a process that will eventually lead to it becoming a black dwarf. The central star is around mag 15 and so could not be seen

M27 - The Dumbbell Nebula

This target was made difficult to found by the encroaching clouds that had built up whilst I searched for M56. However with a little help from Turn Left... I quickly located it. In the finderscope it was a very distinct fuzzy patch of light and on turning to the telescope it immediately sprang out from the scattered background of stars. This is a much bigger planetary nebula than the Ring Nebula and the resemblance to a dumbbell or bow tie was immediately apparent. It stood up well to increased magnification but looked best at x80. Sadly my viewing was cut short by the clouds but I shall be visiting this one again - a very impressive sight.

Iridium Flare

At 23:25 BST I observed a mag -6 Iridium Flare which passed close to Arcturas in the low western sky.