Observing Log for

Session Details


54.33, -1.445



Conditions: Very clear with good seeing (5/10) for LP'd skies. Second night out with the scope and as I get more used to its operation I find it even more incredible what this thing can do! Tonight I set up in my side garden in an attempt to cut out some of the LP. I successfully hid from two street lights, but the third (and biggest) was still a nusiance. Despite this I had an excellent session.


M42 - The Great Nebula in Orion

My first target, now that Orion was nicely placed in the sky, was 42 the Great Nebula in Orion. With the finderscope now aligned it was easy to locate and in the 25mm Plossl looked spectacular. Even at 40x nebulosity was evident virtually thoughout the field of view, of course mainly concentrated around the Theta stars of Orions sword. Averted vision gave astonishing brightness and revealed further nebulosity towards the edge of the FOV. With the scope roughly polar aligned it was possible to track the object (I couldn't be bothered trying to run a power cable round to power the clock drive) and so I could cycle through the eyepieces. At 80x (25mm plus 2x Barlow) the view was sensational - now I could resolve stars in the trapezium area. Then I went for 200x (10mm Plossl plus 2x Barlow) and was knocked out. I have never seen so much detail in M42. The 203mm of aperture were sucking in light and I could resolve 4 stars in the trapezium area. The view was so good and the nebulosity now filled the field of view - quite astonishing. Tracking around slightly I could spot M43 as well as other nebulosity NGC1980 and NGC1977.


With much better seeing than the previous night I turned the 'scope back to Saturn. Ever an incredible sight it was brilliant tonight and held up well under x200. After tracking it for over 10 minutes the Cassini Division was faintly coming into view, although it would often disappear only to reappear moments later. Also I could see three moons which were (according to positions in CdC) Titan, Rhea and either Tethys or Dione. Very impressive views.


Now that I had the finderscope aligned I went back to Saturn - absolutely amazing - the seeing wasn't great with lots of atmospheric disturbance but with the 10mm EP I got a nice view of the rings plus Titan and Rhea. With the Barlow (upto x200) it occasionaly looked great but the atmospheric disturbance was terrible and the image was shifting around a lot (clouds were rolling in by this point).

With the sky rapidly clouding over I took a look at M31. Very distinct fuzziness in all eyepieces - even stood up to 200x which shows how much light this thing gulps! Seeing was bad enough to mask details (or it could have been the damn street light opposite).

M38 - Open Cluster in Auriga

I have tried to find the Three Amigos several times in the Field but it wasn't until tonight that I finally found one of them - 38. At x40 this was a beautiful open cluster with hundreds of stars visible. There was a particularly bright star at the centre and using averted vision it was possible to see the brightness at the centre of the cluster. Using the 10mm (100x) eyepiece gave a less satisfying view with the cluster filling the FOV.


I observed one meteor that radiated from 5 degrees to the right of Rigel and travelled vertically down leaving little in the way of a trail