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Wednesday, April 21st, 2004
What an amazing night. 3 and a half hours of wonderful observation. Getting this 12" Dob makes such a significant difference, it's hard to describe. Not only were dim, difficult objects MUCH easier to find, but many of them looked absolutely spectacular.

To get an idea of how awesome observation with this telescope is, just look at my list compared to every previous posting below it.

Star Clusters:
M3 - Globular Cluster
I finally found it! It appears to be much further north than my star charts say it is. It looks very similar to M92 from my novice perspective. But in this scope, it has wonderful definition, particularly in the 15mm and 12mm eyepieces.

M13 - Globular Cluster
Absolutely amazing. This is perhaps one of the most incredible objects I have seen.

M53 - Globular Cluster
Relatively dim, but easy to find in the 12" Dob. Another beautiful cluster.

M92 - Globular Cluster
Much like M53 and M3, this globular is smaller than M13 and fewer stars resolve in it. Even still, there are hundreds of points of light and it looks truly amazing.

Galaxies:
Instead of commenting on each one, I can say that they were all facinating to me. Not as spectacular sights to behold, but just the fact that I could see them, and for the most part, find them very quickly in this scope was simply amazing. The only one that had real definition was M82. I'm looking forward to a darker, clearer night to pull definition out of some of the others. Here is the list of galaxies I saw tonight:
M51 - Whirlpool Galaxy
M65 - Leo Triplet 1 Galaxy
M66 - Leo Triplet 2 Galaxy
M81 - Bode's Galaxy
M82 - Cigar Galaxy
M101 - Pinwheel Galaxy
M104 - Sombrero Galaxy
Various Galaxies in the Virgo Cluster
I saw so many in here that I'm not exactly sure which ones I saw. I mostly stuck close to the star Vindemiatrix, so I assume I was looking at M60. M90, M87 and M49. They were all very dim, but I could definitely make them out.

Planets:
Venus
Until now, Venus has been a bright fuzzy gibbous disc with virtually no definition. Tonight, it was clearly defined.

Saturn
A sight to behold. Clear Cassini Division, bands on the planet, and for the first time in my observing, it took on a true 3 dimentional shape. It was not a flat disc at all but a beautiful ringed sphere.

Jupiter
Nearly picture perfect. Not only could I clearly see 5 bands instead of the 2 I normally see in the 6 inch scope, but I could also see variation in the bands. Jupiter also took on a true 3 dimentional spherical presence rather than the more flattened disc I'm used to seeing.





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