Stargazing & Bikepacking

Not-so expensive astronomy and some bikepacking stories

Messiers with a bino, Drenthe – 28 apr

A family weekend brought me and my binoculars to the province of Drenthe. This part of our country is known for little light pollution so I figured I’d bring by binocular along. The SSCX bike took a lot of space so the 8″ F6 had to stay at home.

Originally I was out to catch the 41P comet near Hercules. Should be easy enough because of it’s magnitude but the day before I tried but failed. On the 28th of April I wanted a second chance but I also wanted to see if I could bag some other objects. As Messier objects are usually quite bright I selected a few. Here’s the result:

  • 41P again remained invisible. Very strange. I haven’t checked it yet but I’m guessing the surface brightness is really low;
  • M13, the biggest globular in my skies, was an easy catch: bright nucleus and fainter blob around it. Cool to see it this easily with only a 10×50;
  • M92 was also an easy find. It’s located midway between two bright stars and a miniature version of M13;
  • To my surprise I was able to make out M87 en M86 in the Virgo cluster. After reading an article by Jeremy Perez I thought I might be able to see them but it was in fact really easy;
  • The best catch was M104, the Sombrero Galaxy. I could make out a sigar shaped little smear dotted with a stellar core. Ofcourse, only slightly visible with averted vision;
  • Melotte 111 is an easy naked eye object and the bino’s FOV appeared to small to fit all of it in one view. Big, bright, blue-ish stars.

I forgot to have a look at Kemble 1 or Kemble’s Cascade. It’s a cool asterism but quite hard to locate.

Sketch by Jeremy Perez

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