Date: Tuesday April 22nd.
Location: Llyn Brenig
Conditions: Hazy low down then hazy high up!
I had low expectations given the conditions earlier in the day, however, the conditions on arrival were surprisingly good and I had a relaxing 2 ½ hour session.
I started off in the deepening twilight looking at the Messier galaxies in Leo and the surrounding bright NGCs. The M105, 95 and 96 groupings showed out very nicely.
I moved over to the galaxy cluster Abell 1656 in Coma Berenices to finish off a chart from last time. Again, wall to wall galaxies, I must be able to pick up about 100 in a 1 square degree field of view? OK, maybe a slight exaggeration. Another couple of dozen down to mag. 15.8 were picked up. The whole cluster was now becoming familiar territory and I browsed around recognising many faint streaks and smudges between the field stars. A brief respite was had using x300+ to view the obviously blacked eye, `whirlpooled' and NGC 4565 galaxies. The same power was thrown at the globular clusters M53 and M3. All the sights were magnificent! M3 was a huge splat of pinpoint stars drawing the mind and eye in forever.
The Corona Borealis galaxy cluster, Abell 2065, is on the Deep Sky Challenge list of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. I could pick up the brightest member, PCG 54846 at mag. 15.3, with direct vision. A couple of others at mag. 16+ flirted with my imagination. A brief tour near M101 found nice knotted spiral detail. Nearby NGC 5907 is another excellent edge-on spiral with central dust lane; I then cruised around the centre of the Virgo cluster and along Markarian's Chain at x300+. Galaxies swam in and out of the eyepiece, some with stacks of detail.
After failing to get to grips with Seyfert's Sextet near the head of Serpens I realised that the haze had risen to unworkable levels.
Home by 02:30.
by Paul C.