PaulC, KevinT and Mike and Warren Cook went observing from Llyn Brenig. Mike and Warren brought a pair of 10” Dobsonians, PaulC his 18” Obsession and KevinT his binoculars and plenty of enthusiasm. Indeed, enthusiasm was the order of the night, very good conditions and lots and lots of observing.
I initially set up on M42. The view through the wide-angle eyepiece resulted in a few choice Anglo-Saxon phases! I was particularly keen to borrow Mike’s Hydrogen beta filter to get a good view of the Horsehead nebula in Orion. I was not disappointed. The notch of the ‘head’ could be seen straight off. After a short while the features became obvious with the nose pointing down towards Zeta Orionis. It was a moment of great personal satisfaction. The nebula could also just be made out with the UHC filter. This gave a very similar view to that obtained through Mike’s 10” equipped with the Hydrogen beta filter.
The others were making plenty of progress with Mike’s Dobsonian. He has refitted the azimuth mounting and added a levelling platform. The scope was spot on with the digital setting circles.
The M81 and M82 pairing was admired in all instruments. A few nearby galaxies also wandered into the frame. I re-visited the Perseus I galaxy cluster. The favourable conditions increased the number of galaxies to 11 (down to magnitude 14.8) in the one field of view.
The magnitude 11 Owl nebula developed big overlapping eyes and could be seen with the edge-on galaxy M108. M1 also showed an ‘S’ shaped marking through the Obsession. On request I had a look at the Andromeda galaxy. A nice central core and narrow and broad dust lanes delineated the spiral arms. Nearby M110 was transformed from a faint amorphous haze into a striking long elliptical galaxy. The Eskimo nebula in Gemini developed a Parka hood and bright face at x200 plus using the UHC filter. It also exhibited classic ‘blinking planetary’ behaviour at lower powers.
In the meantime numerous objects were being picked up through the 10” dobsonians and views were often swapped and compared.
The Whirlpool galaxy gradually rose from the light horizon. Spiral detail was visible and it is surely to be very spectacular when overhead later in the year.
Imagine the best ever view of the Ring nebula and superimpose this on a huge sparkling dense open cluster. This is the view we experienced of M46 and NGC 2438. At x100 with the UHC filter the sight was stunning.
The final showpiece was the Rosette nebula. A wide, dense and detailed swathe of nebulosity encircled the central open cluster. The detail seen at x63 with the UHC filter was magnificent.
As it began to haze over I finished off with a few Messiers and nearby galaxies in Leo.
by Unknown ADAS member