Thursday, 8 May 2008

Observing, 7th-8th May 2008

A much more transparent night due probably to a breeze that had been blowing during the day and into the evening. This died down when it got dark.

Set up the scope in twilight and wondered why, when I came to align the finder and check the collimation, I couldn't see a damned thing. The secondary holder had become misaligned but a quick adjustment soon sorted that out. The nut holding it had worked its way loose so two seconds with a spanner tightened it up - I'll have to keep an eye on that because the last thing I want is for the secondary to work loose and crash into the main mirror, which doesn't bare thinking about!

Date: 7th-8th May 2008:
Conditions: Clear, slight breeze (this died down after dark), cooler than previous evening, more transparent (on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is cloudy and 5 is excellent, this was around 4).
Scope: 12" f5 Dobsonian.
Place: near Sandown, Isle of Wight, UK.

As the conditions were more transparent than the previous night I looked for galaxies in Ursa Major - the 'lollipops' M81 and M82 were superb through the 12" ( a real 'wow' factor with lots of detail) and other, small, galaxies in the vicinity were easy to see: NGC 3077, NGC 2976 and, further away, NGC 2787.
Hercules was rising, so I had the obligatory look at M13 - it was a fantastic sight in the 12" with a dense core and arms of stars radiating out from it. I didn't do a sketch, that can wait until later in the year. While in the area, I decided to have a look at the galaxy near M13, NGC 6207. At low power (37x) both M13 and NGC 6207 are in the same field of view. NGC 6207 is a slightly elongated oval smudge, evenly bright.
It was on to NGC 6229 a globular cluster in Hercules. At 37x, this was obvious, next to a couple of bright stars. It's small, condensed, round and bright. Some stars resolved, but only just.
After this it was 1am and time to pack in.