Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Observing 6th-7th May 2008

A beautiful day yesterday (6th May 2008) led to a clear, dry night so, as I didn't have to go to work the following morning it was time for a spot of observing.

Date: 6th-7th May 2008
Conditions: Clear, but milky sky (on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is poor and 5 is excellent, this ranked around 2.5 to 3), warm.
Scope: 12" f5 Dobsonian
Place: near Sandown, Isle of Wight, UK

Sadly, the sky was fairly milky and a lot of the fainter stuff was not visible but I did do a sketch of M51 whose spiral arms and HII regions were visible. I also located and sketched NGC 4036 and NGC 4041, galaxies in Ursa Major (and objects on the Herschel 400 list). Unfortunately a lot more UMa galaxies I wanted for the Herschel 400 were behind the tree in the garden by the time I got round to them, and will have to wait for another time.

This observing session was not without incident - the collimation went out on the scope (I need to do a few mods, I think) necessitating a lot of fiddling with laser collimater and allen keys (it's the secondary which is being a pain in the arse), I knocked my makeshift observing 'table' (an artist's rucksack cum stool) over scattering charts, pencils and sketchpad all over the adjacent flower bed and then injuring my right knee while kneeling to pick them up (I have a damaged cartilidge and it 'locks' up - painfully - from time to time) which meant I spent five minutes in agony and doing a lot of (quiet!) swearing and no observing. Combined with crappy seeing, this was a slightly frustrating session!

After checking out the Ring Nebula which was rising above the trees it was time to pack up. By then it was 1am and I'd been up since 0630 the previous morning.