Stargazing & Bikepacking

Not-so expensive astronomy and some bikepacking stories

Uddel, April 25th

Let’s start with the list…

  • NGC 4371 is a Planetary Nebulae (PN) in Corvus. Big and round and easily spotted in the 20mm @ 77x with NPB filter
  • M13 en NGC 6207 showed the transparency was not as good as two days ago
  • This time I did see M101. Easily visible with direct vision. With AV I seemed to notice some irregularities in the shape but I did not see the spirals (which is to bee expected from this site)
  • the bi-polar PN in Gemini NGC 2371-72 was best seen without filter. I noticed this before. When transparency is better I will revisit it because it can show quite a bit of detail
  • In the Eskimo Nebula I clearly noticed the stellar core but the ‘fur hood’ of the eskimo remained a fuzzy blob
  • I asked Frans if it was me or that the seeing was much worse than two days ago. He confirmed my supicion. So for the rest of the evening I stuck to lower magnicications
  • M51 revisited but less beautiful than before. Moving on…
  • to Leo and small galaxy group NGC 3605, 3608 & 3608 which were all easily found
  • Close to it is NGC 3599. It is round and very faint (mag 12.2?) and it popped in and out of vision using AV
  • Also in Leo is galaxy group NGC 3681, 84 and 86. All three visible. Also noticed NGC 3691 but barely and using AV. It is mag 12.9 so very faint indeed. Luckily it is also rather small.
  • As I don’t have a finder scope I stick to objects close to naked eye stars. Between Denebola and Vindemiatrix is one such star. Next to it I first noticed M98, a sigar shaped galaxy that showed some mottling when using 281x on it
  • Also close by is spiral galaxy M100: weak and only once or twice I thought I noticed a spiral arm?
  • Then I noticed another M100 which was in fact the Coma Pinwheel Galaxy
  • Then I went looking for the Needle Galaxy but found NGC 4559 first. A spiral galaxy seen at an angle.
  • The Needle right below, a edge-on galaxy in 5:1
  • By now I needed something new and easy to find and I remembered I never saw the Cat Eye Nebula! So on to it, it’s an easy find. Suprised by the greenish blue color! Easily visible @ 77x. Increasing that to 281x I noticed the central star popping in and out of view. I even once or twice noticed some lobe popping up?
  • The Silver Streak is a really thin edge-on galaxy 7:1. Did I see a dust lane running off-centre?
  • On to globular M92 which is a bit …. not … round?
  • Closing the evening with M104, the Sombrero Galaxy. It was in fact pretty low already. It is a small one, and I am not really sure why everyone is going on about it when you have stuff like the Needle Galay to see… 3:1 I guesstimate it is.

All in all a great second run with the newly acquired 14″ F4.3 made by Frans. There’s a bunch of things I will probably change in the coming months. But all small personal tweaks and nothing major. The scope is a solid piece of work and I salute the maker, Frans van Schaik for having the patience and skill. I am sure I will have years of joy with this scope!

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