Wednesday, April 2, 2014

When I arrived at one of our dark sites called Ds-2 around 8:00 PM and got out of the van, that nasty wind was gone with only a gentle breeze. A CAS member (Lou) was already well into setting up, but I had to say “we should have gone to our darker site (called the Edge)”. Oh, well better safe then sorry I guess. Even so the sky conditions were quite good (seeing also).
I had the 8” f/9 refractor and the 4” f/10 refractor (needed some GL notes).
My initial CGE two star mount alignment proved to be off a bit. So I redid it with terrific results and the mount work perfectly through the night.
Lou’s 17.5 inch dob is a marvelous set-up, and provided terrific views. He should be very proud of that scope, but hey it’s a Telekit with a Zambuto mirror! He also has the complete line-up from 14mm to 3.5mm Delos, which match his scope perfectly.
Lou’s views of a number of objects like M-82 (and dimming SN), M-51, Ngc 2371/2372, and the Eskimo nebula to name a few were outstanding.
As for my night the 8” refractor was hitting on all cylinders, with a first view of M-82 and the SN. Using a 9mm X-Cel LX (200x) gave a very fine view of the galaxy and SN. This is when I borrowed the 8mm Delos (225x) from Lou. The view just blew me away and showed just how good this Beast of a refractor could optically perform. The match of this eyepiece to this high-end refractor was nothing short of perfection. The galaxy showed vivid detail, and the SN standing out very well. The clarity and contrast (black background sky) was off the charts. And I’m thinking this is just Ds-2, and the Edge (we should have gone) is darker of course.
I returned Lou his eyepiece, and went onto other galaxies in the area like Ngc 3675 which gave a very nice view. Also Ngc 2841 (a favorite), which looks like a distant M-31 in the eyepiece. The interacting galaxy Ngc 3690 (GL 04.2013) in my 7mm Pentax (257x) and Meade 5.5mm UWA (327x) showed some nice detail, including a bright stellar nucleus.
Some other galaxies in the area were Ngc 3998 and next to it Ngc 3990. Ngc 3998 showed a round disc and an intensely bright stellar core. The small 3990 was slightly elongated with also a nice though less bright stellar nucleus.
Did some Galaxy Logging with both the 8” and the almost forgotten 4” refractor. Hey, the Celestron Omni 4” f/10 refractor is really a good scope and highly recommended, but when you have a 17.5” dob and 8” refractor to view through, it kind of remains as a secondary observing scope. I will say it certainly did its job for Galaxy Log, and a 4” refractor can indeed show fine views of many galaxies.
Showed Lou a medium power view of M-5 (a favorite), and a must see when in that area of the sky.
Back to galaxies and a nice pair in Canes Venatici Ngc 5311 and Ngc 5313. I think these are going to be future GL video “stars’. In Bootes Ngc 5611 was a nice find, and that also could be a future GL object.
Did some deep viewing with a trio of galaxies in Bootes as in Ngc 5598, Ngc 5601, and Ngc 5603. With a AT 8mm WF the two brighter 13th mag galaxies were easily visible, but I used the Meade 5.5mm UWA and a ES 4.7mm UWA (393x) to glance at the almost 15th mag Ngc 5601, which looked like a dim fuzzy star.

As the night was getting closer to the end, plus some high clouds were coming in. With the 4.7mm still in the scope, I gave a quick look at M-57 as Lyra was rising in the east. I then swung the scope back over to the west to view M-63 and M-106, both providing views to end a great night.

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