Things this evening were looking a little dodgy, but if I can see the Milky Way through the high thin murk, then I figured it was probably just worth opening up.  The Moon is 70% illuminated, but slowly setting.

Session Data

  • Date: 17/07/2013
  • Time: 22:11 – 00:23 UT
  • Temp: 14.7c,
  • Air Pressure: 1019Mb,
  • Humidity: 99%,
  • Dew point: 14.5c,
  • Wind Speed: 4.0 MPH .
  • Seeing: I Perfectly Stable,
  • Transparency: Mostly Clear.


Can’t really make this out from the background star field. It’s still a little light, and looking at the Astroplanner, astronomical darkness is about an hour away. Moon is out and 47 degrees away to the West.

West is to the 8 o’clock. In the TMB 80 f/6, Plossl 26mm, 18 X, 2.7°, I see a random star field that fills the FOV. A number of brighter stars form the number ‘3’. Need to come back to this one when it’s darker.


West is to the 4 o’clock. With the edge on Galaxy orientated  in the 10 to 4 o’clock.

In the Altair Astro 250mm, Delos 14mm, 145 X, 29.8′, I can just make out two faint stars just above and below the galaxy forming a line running 1 to 7 o’clock. These are ID/s: ASCC195157 Magnitude: 11.4 and ID/s: ASCC195155T Magnitude: 12.2.

It’s still not fully dark yet,  so seeing a 10.8 mag Galaxy is quite something I would think. In Altair Astro 250mm, Delos 10mm., 203 X, 21.3′, Galaxy looks to be about 20% of the FOV


In Altair Astro 250mm, Plossl 26mm, 78 X, 38.4′,  I cannot see it.  Changing to Altair Astro 250mm, Delos 14mm, 145 X, 29.8′ it would completely fill the FOV and I still can’t see it!

Again. It’s still not fully dark yet. Quite a contrast with my previous best view of M102 using a pair of binoculars during perfect seeing conditions.


West is to the 11 o’clock. In the Altair Astro 250mm, Delos 14mm, 145 X, 29.8′ the core appears to be off centre to the right. The outer edge of the core appears to be brighter from the 2 o’clock,  going anticlockwise to the 7 o’clock position. The our rim of the cluster appears to be about 2 to 3 times the diameter of the central core.
The view does not improve when changing to the Altair Astro 250mm, Delos 10mm., 203 X, 21.3′


West is to the 10 o’clock. The most striking thing is how far away this is from M31. In the Altair Astro 250mm, Delos 14mm, 145 X, 29.8′ I have to slew quite a distance before I see the bright core of M31.
When you look at photographs M32 appears to be embedded within the outer arms of M31. The galaxy is round with a brigher core. Conditions must be deteriorating as the only star I can see in the FOV is ID/s: ASCC375221, Magnitude: 7.0


Ah. Open clusters either mean Star Trek or jet aircraft asterisms and tonight’s offering is another F111 bomber. Astroplanner tells me the last time I saw one of these was in September of last year while observing NGC457 🙂

West is to the 7 clock and in the Altair Astro 250mm, Delos 14mm, 145 X, 29.8′ I count about 15 stars that make out my F111 shape. The nose is heading to the 10 o’clock with the swept back wings of a width of about half the fuselage’s length – which itself extends about 50% of the FOV.

Wayhay ! A satellite has just passed through the left hand side of my FOV in an 11 to 5 o’clock direction. About 10 seconds later, another one passed through on an identical path.
The central area of the cluster appears to have nebulous characteristics. This is either down to a concentration of unresolvable stars or dew. A torch down the tube confirms a little dew on the primary mirror – I must sort out the hair dryer!


Just slewed back to this and conditions have deteriorated so much, that I’m hardly able to make out the galaxy at all.
It was good to be observing something other than Globular Clusters again 🙂