Planets and clusters and galaxies... oh my!

Apr 19

Written by:
4/19/2012 9:44 PM  RssIcon

I purchased a nice used 6" f/5 reflector last week, and it arrived today.  Despite the usual, "Amateur Astronomer's Curse" (which says, "If thou buyest new-to-you equipment, thine clouds shall afflict thee for a week, at minimum") and the afternoon / evening clouds not disappointing, I was expecting to have to wait until the weekend at least before getting it outside.  Well, the weather changed plans, and it wound up being mostly clear, so I took the scope out for a test spin (after collimating it this afternoon).

The mirror had retained the heat from the afternoon (80F), and the cold front that dropped temps to 45F meant that planetary views were out of the question.  So I looked at some other less demanding targets instead, such as:

  • M3
  • M81 / M82
  • M65 / M66
  • M94

As a star-hopper, there is something satisfying about looking at the sky and saying, "Gee, I think I'll look at "XYZ object," pointing to it and observing within seconds.  Since my sky "window" in my front yard restricts me to a 100 x 100 degree viewing 'window' (approximately), it's nice to be able to know what is available to see and then look at it.  There's no way for me to adequately do a GoTo star alignment (not enough view west of the meridian to align to a star that way), and although I am learning setting circles, tonight was not the night for me to mess with them.  I just wanted to put the scope on some objects, see them and call it a night.  So I did - worked out well, and the scope is a nice one.  

I'll report more about it in the near future as I gather some pictures and things.

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The Nightlight

This blog includes what to see in the night and daytime skies, thoughts on telescopes, binoculars, and other astronomy observing accessories and equipment, plus my own occasional notes on objects I've seen and observed. Oh, and the random theater or other "my take on life" post. In other words, there is always something interesting. Check it out.