Thursday, 9 June 2016

From Messier to Barsoom.

The Plough - Join the dots..

I set the telescope up at about 10.30 p.m. and waited for Mars to show its face from behind the trees at the end of the garden.

While waiting I trained the scope on to a few Messier objects around the Plough.

It would be the first time I had used this scope (305mm/f5) from my home location.

Here are some of the observations I made last night:

M-97 - The Owl Nebula. Stands out easily as a faint fuzzy patch!, though no doubt a darker sky background will add to the overall contrast.

M-108 - Easily spotted in the 30mm eyepiece (x50) plus M97 was spotted in the same field of view.

Move M108 to one side of the 30mm eyepiece field of view and you will find M97 at the other side of the field of view.

M-51- The Whirlpool Galaxy. Considering that the sky background was not totally dark the whirlpool was easily found.
Both fuzzy patches noted, with a hints of added surrounding nebulous detail.

After spending some time circling the Plough, I slewed the scope over towards Cygnus the Swan.

M-13 - This globular cluster in Hercules looked amazing, much brighter than in the Schmidt C8. With the 9mm eyepiece the cluster filled the field of view.

M-57 - The Ring Nebula in Lyra, stood out from the not yet dark background really well.

M-29 - OMG! the open cluster in Cygnus, filled the field of view through the 30mm eyepiece. Stars were spilling out everywhere. Helen hogged the eyepiece with this Messier object, I had to wait my turn to grab a view...! haha..

Mars was now well placed for viewing and so I grabbed my chance to observe before it took refuge in the big tall trees to the west.

Through the x2 Barlow and 9mm plossl (x333)  I was able to see slight martian surface detail.

Seeing wasn't up to much, but after inserting a 80a filter in the optical path, the planet was noticeably sharper looking and more detailed.

The blue tinge of the 80a filter made Mars look like an habitable planet.
I spent the next 10 minutes lost in thoughts of Barsoom, the world of John Carter and Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium..!

Actual sunset on Mars.

NASA have amazing pictures of the surface of Mars, click on this link to find more:

Clear Skies


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