A Binocular Tour

A very clear night, and a half-lit moon. Because it was so low, I hoped it wouldn’t hinder my search for binocular deep-sky objects on the outskirts of Wolverhampton. It did, actually. I did a bit of searching, then decided to get a coffee and wait for the Moon to set. The garage I went o was closed, so no coffee. It wasn’t going great.
Anyway, I got back to my observing spot and found th sky had gotten a lot darker, so I started with Cassiopeia. I’ve been a bit fascinated with Cassiopeia’s clusters since I saw the Binocular Tour map in (I think) April 2018’s Sky at Night magazine.
I first stopped at Messier 103, by the star Ruchbah, (the second star of the ‘w’). It’seasy to make out under dark skies. There are several other clusters to the left of this one, in the area almost between Ruchbah and Segin, but tonight I can only profess to have seen NGC 659, looking like a fainter M103. Obviously, I stopped at the double cluster just down the road in Perseus. Who wouldn’t?
Following the line from Schedar, to Caph, and then just over the same distance again, you get to M52, another bright, unmistakable cluster. Back to Caph, and towards the right, I found a nebulous patch, or so I thought. Checking my star atlas back in the van, I found it was NGC 7789, also called the Ghost Cluster, nd I can see why. It looks nebulous, and not at all like a cluster. It’s not in my Cambridge Deep Sky Album, I was surprised to see. It’s quite bright.
A hazy atch on the horizon caught my attention, so I pointed the Opticroms at it and glory be, the Pleiades! And there’s Capella and Auriga rising. Winter is coming!
For quitea while I’ve been trying to find M33. I’ve told people that I saw this with the naked eye ence, in Wiltshire about 20 years ago but these days I wonder if I was right. I’ve not been able to find it recently. It’s fainter than I remember. Anyway, I saw it tonight, by star-hopping from Triangulum. Obviously M31 was an easy find, and as th sky darkened, it became a naked eye object.
Turning to the area under Cygnus, I found M71 (The Angelfish Cluster) in Saggita. This was cool, because I’ve looked for this before this year, and it’s not been forthcoming. I got the 4″ reflecting telescope out the van to get a ‘closer’ look at this, but found I’d left the red dot finderscope on and the battery was dead (again). And I hadn’t got my wide-field eyepiece anyway. But I did manage to find the Ring Nebula in Lyra with it tonight, so that was okay. Grea part of the sky actually. Saw the Coathanger asterism on my travels too.
What else? ah, Bode’s Galaxy and its companion were found tonight too. Making that four binocular galaxies. Could I see M51? I could tell myself I could, put it that way.
With Auriga rising, I found the ‘Leaping Minnow’ asterism, and one of the clusters. Which one? I don’t know. The brightest I suppose, possibly M37.
I’ve got a picture of the Moon and Saturn from tonight, I’ll upload it tomorrow probably.