Observing Report – 2013-08-17

With the main scope in storage, i setup the 70mm Pronto and camera tripod on the front porch and spent an hour looking around. The moon was 11.5days old and 94% illuminated so was washing out the sky quite a bit. Worse was that the objects i wanted to find were near the Milky Way and close to the moon.

I observed between 9:15 and 10:15 which was between nautical twilight and astronomical twilight. With the moon so bright, the sky wasn’t going to get any darker after nautical twilight.

I concentrated on the objects i listed in the August highlights although with the moon so bright my expectations were low. I used either the 24mm Hyperion (20x, FoV 3°23′) eyepiece or the 5mm Hyperion (96x, FoV 42′).

Observing list:

  • Saturn – low in the west. With the 24mm EP (20x)i could tell it was Saturn. With the 5mm (96x) the rings were visible but no details.
  • Double Double – Using the 24mm EP (20x) i could easily see the two pairs. Switching to the 5mm (96x, FoV 42′) both pairs still fit in the same FoV. I could just see the gap between ε2a and ε2b. I could not actually separate ε1 but it was elongated in the correct orientation so it was obviously a double system.
  • M13 – Hercules Cluster was bright and large even with the 24mm EP
  • M92 – Was not visible at 9:15 but by 10pm i could make it out. It was quite small and faint in the 24mm.
  • M57 – At 10:15 i could just find it. With the 24mm it appeared star like albeit a tad fuzzy. With the 5mm (96x) i could just tell that it was a ring.
  • M22 – Very small and faint and only really detectable with averted vision.
  • M20 and M8 – could not find them.
  • M7 – Ptolemy’s Cluster stood out crisply against the rather bright sky. It all fit in the 24mm FoV (20x, FoV 3°23′). At altitude 9° it was just above the tree line.
  • Moon – scanned around a bit. Looked for Vallis Alpes but could not find it.