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Messier Hunt with an Infinity 80, Targets 71 through 110


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#21 MistrBadgr

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 08:23 PM

Hi Rick!

 

My wife does not THINK I am crazy.  She KNOWS I am.  But, if this kind of stuff makes me happy, which it does, then she is happy for me as well. :)

 

Bill


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

#22 MistrBadgr

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 07:59 PM

April 20, 2017 – After Midnight

 
The weather report said that clouds were supposed to come in and there would not be any backyard astronomy for a few days.  However, I had a reasonable sky in the early evening for checking out another scope, though none of the Messier objects I needed were in a usable position.  I decided, about midnight to look outside and see if the clouds had come in yet.  If not, then I might be able to get M5, which should be in a good position.  Fortunately, the sky was still reasonable, though seeing was not very good, nor was transparency.  I decided to make a try, since I had nothing to lose for the effort, other than a little sleep.  I set up my equipment and waited a bit for my eyes to dark adapt.

 
105-M5:  This is a large globular cluster, normally quite visible in a telescope or binoculars in Serpens Caput, east of Virgo and west of Ophiuchus.  The lines normally drawn for the figure of Serpens Caput start at Yed Prior, the western-most star in the bottom of Ophiuchus and heads straight west maybe four degrees to Mu Serpens Caput, then makes a sharp left, 90 degree turn for another roughly 9 degrees northward to Epsilon, then onward toward the northeast.  It is MU and Epsilon that I was interested in finding.  M5 is east of the Mu-Epsilon line and forms almost an equilateral triangle with those two stars.  I put my red dot finder on the spot where I thought M5 would be.  Looking through  the eyepiece in my Infinity 80, giving me almost a four degree field of view, I only had to move the scope around a small amount to see the obvious globular cluster.

 
I worked my way down the line of eyepieces and eventually tried a 6mm.  The 8mm at 50X ended up showing the most detail, even though the light level was significantly decreased.  I could see a relatively large number of sparkles and could see what appeared to be mottling in the bright center.  The mottling would come and go, but was consistent in its location.  Possibly, this was my brain attempting to make sense out of the low contrast information it was receiving.  At this point, I am not sure if it was real or not.  Looking at my watch, the time was 12:25 AM CDT.
Well, that was easy, maybe I can at least start learning the area that M107, a dim globular cluster, calls home.  No clouds so far and the seeing seems to be getting a bit better.

 
106-M107:  This dim globular cluster is located maybe three degrees SSW of Zeta Ophiuchus, the center star in the bottom of the Ophiuchus’, house-shaped figure.  The figure was located in the southeastern part of the sky and relatively low.  M107 should be effectively to the right of Zeta in my correct image diagonal.  I was able to find the spot where M107 is supposed to be located following the pattern of dim stars that are shown in my Pocket Sky Atlas and my finder chart.  I set up the scope with that spot in the middle of the field and started down the line of eyepieces.  There was no sign of the cluster at 13X.  the globular cluster finally showed up at 40X and I believe it was the only magnification where it showed enough for me to see it.  It was simply a dim grey spot with no other detail.  This ended up being the most difficult object to see for the evening.  The time was 1:04 by the time I was certain that I had the object located and was convinced I had seen it. 

 
The sky was remaining usable, so I had decided to continue.

 
107-M9:  This globular cluster is located about four degrees SW of Eta Ophiuchus, the left corner star in the bottom of the Ophiuchus figure.  I could find the spot where the object should be by following the dim star pattern, but could not convince myself that I was actually seeing it. I decided that it was still too low in the sky and decided to wait a while for it to rise.  I simply sat there looking around, arcing to Arcturus, speeding on to Spica, and other things like that for maybe thirty minutes.  After that, I thought the object may have risen enough to get out of the thicker atmosphere and the low elevation light pollution in that part of my sky.  Even though this area is outside the beginning of a real light dome, there is still some lower level LP in the area.

Once again, I found the spot where M9 is supposed to be, by starting with Eta Ophiuchus and using the lesser star pattern to work my way into position.  I thought I could make out a fuzzy spot at 20X but was not certain.  I was confident of finding it at 40X.  This object was dim, but better than M107.

108-M19:  This one ended up being easier to find than I thought it was.  I started out at Eta Ophiuchus, like with M9, but I moved the scope in a direction a little more South at 13X and continued for about ten degrees, keeping in mind that I had a field slightly less than four degrees.  I finally came to the two stars I was looking for Theta and 36 Ophiuchus.  These two stars were obvious and easily identified, though not as bright as Eta.  This cluster is a little lower when in this position than M9, but not excessively so, with this area still in my southeast.  I was not sure if this cluster would be visible, but I followed the dimmer star pattern on to the cluster.  I could see an indication of it with my finder eyepiece at 13X, but was better at 20x and on to 40X.  I had better contrast at 40X, but liked the view at 20X better.  The time was 1:55.

109-M62:  This cluster was to the right of M19, at this time, and was right at the edge of my neighbor’s two-story roof ridge.  I decided to go ahead and try for it, rather than wait just a few minutes.  Fortunately, the object had cleared the roof top and I did not have any problems with it.

On a chart, M62 is located about four degrees South of M19.  However, I found that it was easiest to find 45 Ophiuchus, the next star down the Ophiuchus figure simply move slowly to the right in my correct image field, identifying lesser stars along the way.  M62 was noticeable at 13X in my finder eyepiece, when I came to it, but I tried different eyepieces.  Contrast was best at 40X, but I liked the view better, due to some dim stars being in the field at 20X.  The time for this object was 2:10.

By this time, my finder charts were quite soggy and the sky looked like it was about to cloud over.  The remaining object M56, which I had previously found but forgot to document, was probably an hour away as a minimum.  My body was also telling me there were going to be problems if I did not go to bed, so I decided to pack it up and go in.

Since my goal had only been to find M5, I am quite happy with this session.  Next time will be the last Messier object!

 
Session Summary:

 
105-M5:  Bright Globular Cluster.  Forms equilateral triangle with Mu and Epsilon Serpens Caput and to their west. Apparent at 13X, and sparkles at 40X. 4/20/2017 12:25 AM CDT

 
106-M107:  Very dim Globular Cluster about 3 deg SSW of Zeta Ophiuchus, the bottom middle bright star in Oph figure. Apparent at 40X but not at other magnifications. 4/20/2017 1:04 AM CDT

 
107-M9:  Dim GC about 4 deg SE of Eta Ophiuchus. Located by lesser star pattern.  Became visible at 20X but best at 40X.  Disappeared at 50X 4/20/2017 1:45 AM CDT

 
108-M19:  Dim GC about 4 deg WSW of Theta Ophiuchus.  Indication at 13X but best at 40X.  Dimmed again at 50X. 4/20/2017 1:55 AM CDT

 
109-M62:  Dim GC about 6 deg west of 45 Ophiuchus.  Followed star pattern westward from 45.  Saw wisp at 13X.  Best contrast at 27X. Gone at 50X. Liked 20X with more stars.  4/20/2017 02:10 AM CDT


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

#23 MistrBadgr

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 10:59 AM

April 24, 2017 – Morning

 
My phone alarm went off at 4 AM.  I woke up sharp and ready to go, surprisingly.  I managed to be outside with scope, chair, and head in place by 4:10!  Going for the last Messier Object, the one I had seen but failed to document near the start of the run, M56.  The sky was very still, but the temperature was cool and I could almost feel moisture dripping out of the air.  Hopefully, I can do this before the objective fogs over!

 
110-M56:  This globular cluster is located maybe 40 to 50% of the way from Albireo (Beta Cygnus) and Gamma Lyra (point star of the Lyre farthest from Vega).

 
I put my red dot finder on Albireo and looked through the scope at 13X.  I had no problem recognizing this well-known beige and blue double star!  From there, I moved the scope toward the NE, upward in my view, about two degrees to the star 2 Cygnus.  Moving the scope toward ENE to put 2 Cygnus at the edge of the field, I could see two sets of three stars, each set forming a curve, with the two curves being almost parallel with each other.  From my position, I could see a dim indication of M56 just past the far end of the left-most curve in my field.  (I was using a correct image diagonal and was facing east with this alt-az refractor setup, Infinity 80).  On the far side of M56, was another star that was brighter than any in the two curves, but remains unnamed or numbered on my Pocket Sky Atlas or finder chart.

 
Working with different eyepieces, I found the cluster visible with 30mm down to 10mm.  At 10mm, the image of the cluster was diminishing.  The 15mm seemed to be slightly better than the 20.  With the 15, after some study, I could not only see the normal core fuzzy spot, but a circular apron of dim grey area all the way around the core, which I believe was the outer portion of the object.
This observation concludes my run on the Messier Objects with an Infinity 80 f/5, entry level refractor.  My question, “Can all the Messier Objects be found with an 80mm scope from my dark red zone suburban back yard?” has been answered with a definite, “Yes!”

 
Session Summary:

 
110-M56  Globular Cluster about half way between Albireo and Gamma Lyra.  Saw central core and significant but faint outer circular area.  Indication at 13X.  Best at 26X. 4/24/2017 04:30 AM CDT


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

#24 E Sully

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 02:57 PM

Nice work.  Your description of the hunt is great.



#25 MistrBadgr

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 05:01 PM

Thank you sir! :)


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




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