Paul Clark and myself paid a visit to Llyn B, on Sunday 2nd March. After a hesitant start, the sky cleared very nicely. I had a look at some favourite Messier & NGCs before taking some images, and here is my tale of woe; I accurately guided a shot of M105 for 63 minutes, stopping there as my neck had got very stiff, and it felt like there was a red cross pattern burned into my retina from the guiding eyepiece. On getting the camera home and removing the film, I noticed the shutter speed was at 1/125 sec. - I had not set it to 'B' - @*%&! I've taken it gracefully, and the counseling is helping. During my retrospectively pointless period of self-torture, Paul was probing deeper than ever with his 18-inch monster - please see his report below.
20:00 – 01:00 Sunday 2nd March Llyn Brenig.
Conditions – some cloud early on, excellent until midnight, then good. It was very transparent! The Zodiacal light was very obvious all the way up to the Milky Way. After setting up the 18" I had a spell using a newly acquired H beta filter. The Horsehead nebula was very clear with plenty of detail and contrast. My 80mm, f5 refractor gives 13x magnification and a 4 degree field with a 32 mm Plossl eyepiece. Throw in an H beta filter and a dark hood and it revealed the California Nebula in Perseus as a perfect copy of its namesake, a broad 2 x 4 degree nebula. It also revealed Barnard's Loop! This is an extremely difficult, huge low surface brightness curve of nebulosity reaching down most of the eastern side of Orion. This is possibly the remains of an old and near supernova. It could be seen north of M78 curving down to level with Orion's belt.
The huge supernova remnant of Semeis 147 was visible in Taurus through the 18" and OIII filter. Another swathe of nebulosity was found along the east side of Perseus, Sh2-205. Dropping down to the spirograph Nebula in Lepus found a nice planetary but no colour. Another smattering of nebulae was evident near the Cone in Monoceros.
Late night, late winter means galaxies galore. Recommended are NGC 2841, a mini-Andromeda, NGC3184, a face-on spiral and NGC 2683, an edge-on spiral, all brighter than mag. 10.5! Polarissima Borealis was picked up at mag. 15.3, the `nearest' galaxy to Polaris. Nearby IC 3568 is a fainter Blue Snowball planetary nebula. A hotch-potch of objects was picked up from the area between Hydra, Puppis and Canis Minor. Abell 30 is a large, annular planetary in Hydra with star `attached'. Sextans B maybe a local group galaxy and is a big and pale haze.I finished off by fishing detail out of bright Messier galaxies and indulging in the odd bright globular.
by Dave Timperley