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Travel Observation of M-81 and 82 with a Polaris 130

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#1 MistrBadgr


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Posted 15 March 2015 - 09:55 AM

On Wednesday night, I think, I got out for a couple hours with the Polaris 130 to a power plant I go to near Vernon, Texas. Even though the plant is maybe three/quarters of a mile away, the light from it is cut off more than most power plants, and it does not affect me too much. I go to their mail box, which has quite a bit of concrete poured around it. There are other places around, where the plant lighting is blocked off entirely, but it had been raining and those places were quite muddy. Besides, I saw some cougar tracks at one of those locations and I don't like the idea of a cougar sneaking up on me while I am concentrating on some astronomical object.

Anyway, I did get a good look at M-81 and M-82. Their location is on the Polaris side of the big dipper and a little bit forward of the dipper proper. They stood out brightly at that location, which is probably a green zone for light pollution. I don't know why, but I was surprised to see both of them in the view with a 26 mm, 60 deg, Meade 5000 series 5 element Plossl, which has almost the same true field of view as a 4000 series 32mm Plossl. I actually had quite a bit of room around the two galaxies, so I dropped to the 20 mm to get a little more magnification. I thought M-82 looked somewhat like a minnow with its head down and M-81 was sort of an egg. I got glimpses of what looked like a semi-circle of dark very near the core, first on one side and then on the other at times, but thought that was probably my imagination. I also saw what looked to be a curved portion of dark in the outer part of both the lower left and the upper right, if I remember correctly. These were just momentary blinks, so I was not sure if they were real or not.

I finally thought about putting in the 14 or 9 mm eyepieces and see if I could get more contrast, but I glanced at my watch and was surprised to see if was 10 PM...time to go to bed. I had to drive for a couple hours the next morning to get to my next plant.

I thought there would be another good night on the following evening. There was in terms of the weather, but after a long day with not as much sleep as I needed the previous night, I decided I better not go out with six hours of driving scheduled the next day, which happened to be mostly in the rain. So, looking at M 81 with higher powers will have to wait for another time.

I looked up pictures of M 81 and was surprised to see a dark ring around the core in some pictures and some swirls of dark in about the areas that I remember seeing. Hey! Maybe I really did see some of those things! I am happy!

Meade replaced those five element Plossls with the HD 60 series, which are truly better and I am slowly working on purchasing a set. But, I sure do like the 5000 series Plossls. I have better eyepieces, like the 82 degree MWAs, but I think I will keep those home and not travel with the them to my plants. Both 4000 and 5000 series Plossles are plenty good for taking to places that I am not as familiar with as my back yard and it would be easier for something silly to happen.

Actually, a good set of four element Plossls is about all anyone really needs for a lifetime of observation. I have many other eyepieces, which I consider a bit of a luxury but nice to have.

Bill Steen
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Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

#2 Mark Sibole

Mark Sibole

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Posted 16 March 2015 - 06:32 AM

I know a while back I used to use a lot of University optics konig series .They did change design a bit and I dont think they are as good ass the original ones but still not bad for the price.Meade series 5000 were a good set.When i went to imaging I didnt do much visual but still have all eyepieces here.Its been hard to get out to do anything the past year or so with MS issues so ive been at a stand still of late.I did realize a few weeks my OBS PC failed on me as i have so many hardware issues nnow it will beed a complete rebuild.Hopefully if i can get to feeling a little better i can get a new PC going and reload all the siftware and pry to GOD the scope fires up with no issues.If the scope is down ill be down for a long while infortunatly

Mark Sibole
MTSO Observatory
Fife Lake, Mi.


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