In praise of dark skies and small ‘scopes

It’s been pretty severe weather here for almost a week, but there were clear skies tonight, and I was free from commitments after 6.30, so I headed out. I found a nice spot even beyond the White Ladies a few weeks ago, and I spent quite a while there tonight, with the viewfinder of my 8″ Skywatcher. I’d hope to do some more constellation photography, but the battery was almost dead on the camera.
So, I did some scanning with the viewfinder, and the Beehive and other open clusters were great, but I got to wanting to go a bit more deep sky, and it wasn’t happening. M31 and M42 where fine, but I wanted to see other stuff.
I spent ages looking for the Triangulum alaxy. I’ve been convinced I was thos as a naked eye object in the 90’s in Wiltshire. But now I’m not so sure. It really is faint.
I looked for M81 and M82 for ages too, in 10X50 bins, and also the viewfinder, but they were not there. It was looking bleak.
cccccccccccccccccccccThen I got the little 4″ scope out, and without even star-hopping, I found the two galaxies by pointing the red dot finder in the general area of where I thought they’d be. Just as I found the Andromeda Galaxy in Perton a couple of weeks ago. (It was of course from Perton, not in Perton), actually).
The red dot finder really works for me. With the wide-field eyepiece I easily found M35, the open star cluster in Gemini, and the open clusters in Auriga, which I posted about in my last entry. I’m pleased I found this spot, only ten miles from the centre of he city, and nice and dark. Shame about the snow…