Tales from the observatory #563

I feel like I live in an observatory these days! The faff element with a go-to mount is substantial. I still haven’t mastered it. it’s going to somewhere near the objects I want to see. Ah well, I’ll keep trying.
celestronEven so, I’ve seen some very nice sights indeed. Last night I was checking out the star clouds of M23 and M25, both very pretty and both in Sagittarius, the constellation which has more Messier objects than any other. It’s a shame it’s half-hid behind trees at the observatory. One night I’ll go up on the hill with my Opticrom bins and do a sweep.
What else? Ah, I’ve ticked off the weird M40, which is a bit of a quirk in the catalogue. It’s a double star in Ursa Major, and was left in the list because Messier conceded it could actually be confused with a comet. Hmmm. Anyway, it’s on the list.
‘Bright galaxy’ (yea, right), M101, I’m beginning to suspect, doesn’t exist.
Two cluster shapes to mention and remember – the arrowhead of M103 in Cassiopeia and the shape of the constellation of Hercules in the middle of M25 in Sagittarius.
The 32mm eyepiece of the 8″ Celestron doesn’t put M81 and M82 in the same field of view, so what I said about ‘limiting magnitude’ in my last post was poppycock.
The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) is fainter than a faint thing, I can just make out the two central smudges. Ursa Major was quite low though, I’ll wait till it swings round before I re-visit this one.
Saturn and Jupiter looked fab through the Celestron, even though it was low, I could see the belts even through a 25mm eyepiece.
About three weeks ago, in the Elan Valley, (pic below), I could make out markings on Saturn’s disc. I think the hazier skies of Staffs/Shrops aren’t going to allow that. blog2