M41 - Canis Major Open Cluster
My first stop was
M41 is around 200 million years old and may have been known to Aristotle in 325 BC. It contains around 100 stars and is 2300 light years away, close to another OC called Collinder 121.
M47 - Puppis Open Cluster
A stunning open cluster in
M46 - Puppis Open Cluster
A second Open Cluster, located close to M47 but dimmer overal despite seeming more populous. The overall appearance was more grainy with many fainter stars hinting at further unresolved stars beyond.
M48 - Hydra Open Cluster
A large but seemingly scattered cluster of bright stars in
Described by William Herschel as "the most beautiful sight in the heavens" I was expecting a lot from this triple star system. In my not so well collimated scope it was a difficult to focus on all three stars but the stretched triangle shape was visible, each of the bright white stars of a similar magnitude.
M53 - Coma Berenices Globular Cluster
M53 is the brightest Messier in the constellation at mag7.7, and is thought to be 65,000 light years away.
24 Comae - The Spring Albireo
This is a really nice little double star - a fixed binary with a golden primary and an emerald-blue secondary component (mags 5.2, 6.5; separation 20.3") which gives it the resemblance of a smaller version of Albiereo in Cygnus, hence its moniker. Definitely one to add to the "highlights" list.
M64 - Blackeye Galaxy
I was looking forward to this as all the pictures you see look very impressive, even this one which is what you might see through a moderate sized telescope. When I found it it was disappointingly normal looking. At magnitude 8.5 it was compact and bright but I think the moonlight washed out all the outer detail meaning that the dark central patch (the black eye) was not visible. I will return to this on a moonless night.
Coma Cluster Messiers
The Coma Cluster is filled with galaxies and I was finding it difficult to identify what I was seeing. By comparing what I saw at the telescope with a detailed sky map I believe that I observed