Thursday, May 1, 2008

Observation March 30, 2008

This is my first observation report with my Obsession 18”. It will contain a list of observed objects with minimal explanations, as I’m still learning to use the scope and have not yet the patience to write everything down.

Location: Boutersem (Belgium)
Equipment: Obsession 18”
Eyepieces: 24mm and 16mm - Powermate 2,5x
Limit Magnitude 5.0
Seeing: moderate
Time from 21:00 UT to 24:00 UT

M51 – galaxy in Canes Venatici
The 2 spiral arms are well visible at 127x (16mm). I can see 3 stars superimposed on the galaxy. This is a very nice DSO

M101 – galaxy in Ursa Major
At 127x I can see several (at least 3) HII regions. Not sure if I have seen the spiral arms (as such). I need to learn to look for details and shapes, something I’m not used too. With my 8” scope the aim was to find faint objects – it was rarely the case that lot’s of details were visible. I have to acquire a new skill!

NGC 4631 (The Whale) and NGC 4656 (the Hockeystick) – galaxies in Canes Venatici
Magnificent. At 127x the whale takes more than half of the FOV of 38’. The shape is clearly recognisable. Also baby whale (NGC 4627) is clear visible as a “large” objects.
Same comment concerning the shape for the Hockeystick. I can clearly see the shape like on photographs. The brightness is not equal across the object. There is a brighter zone at the NW side.

M3 – globular in Canes Venatici
Again, a show piece. At 211x (24mm + 2,5 Barlow). Stars are well resolved, also in the core.

M64 – Blackeye – galaxy in Coma
At 127x the dark lane is clearly visible, even with direct vision.

M53 and NGC 5053 – globulars in Coma
M53 is a very nice object. Again plenty of stars visible at 211x. NGC 5053 is a difficult object. I have seen this one with my 8” in the Provence. Here with my 18” I can hardly see it.

NGC 4565 – edge on galaxy in Coma
Again a showpiece. At 127x the dust lane is visible. Again not easy for me, as this is the kind of things I need to learn to look for. But I can see it already better than 1 week ago.

Markarian Chain – galaxies in Coma
I really like this chain of galaxies. Today’s objective is just to find as many galaxies as possible, without really noting downs the details I could see. So here is the list that was visible at 127x: NGC 4305, 4306, m84, m86, 4402, 4387, IC3303, 1388, 4413, 4425, 4438, 4435, 4461, 4458, 4473, 4479, 4477, 4506. So 18 galaxies! There are probably more visible at higher power, but that’s something for next time.

NGC 4874 – Coma Galaxy cluster
At 127x I could see 4874, 4869, 4889 and 4898. Wanted to see more of them, but the Argo Navis had an issue, and tracking was disable. So I stopped observing at 00:00.

This was my 5th observation session. It’s really a good scope. Also the GOTO is working well as long as the 2 alignment stars are in the neighbourhood of the objects you’d like to see. But as aligning is a very quick process (much quicker than on my previous scope) it’s really not an isse.

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