I went out viewing at the darkest time of the night tonight.
Between Midnight and 1 am. I set my scope out a few hours earlier so
that when I was ready to view, the mirror was acclimated to the
temperature. Unfortunately, there was quite a bit of atmospheric
disturbance so viewing wasn't as good as it could have been.
Even with the conditions as mediocre as
they were, I didn't actually look at very many objects because I got
fascinated right away and started experimenting which made tonight very
interesting. I took a slightly different approach to viewing globular
clusters: High power. Looking back in my journal, I've never looked at
M92, M3 or M5 at 300 power. Tonight I did and it was spectacular.
Though the clouds were slowly whisping in I was able to catch 5 of them to try high power views on.
Holy macarel. I've never seen M5 look like this. Again,
stars to the core. Fantastic. I was surprised to see many stars
surrounding the main core of the cluster. There were more stars loosley
and faintly surrounding the core than the other clusters. This gave it
a real peppered look to it. In total it was almost as big as M13,
though not as bright, literally filling my field of view in the 5.1mm
Though B??otes was beginning his descent, and for me
that means passing through the far edge of the Portland light bubble,
when looking at the cluster at 300 power I could see stars resolving
right into the core. The GC also looked much larger (duh) than I'm used
to seeing it. I was very pleaseed with this view.
M13 was nearly straight up
in the darkest part of the sky. As I looked at it at 300x I recalled
how last summer my favorite view was at about 90 power with my 16mm EP
(2" 32mm with a 2x Barlow). I didn't push it any more because I liked
the way it was framed at the lower power. Pushing it to 300x tonight
really made it look like a spider. The curved lines of stars were
clearly reaching out from the nucleus in several directions and the
clear white stars were resolving nicely.
I could barely see the
stars in Come Bernices. Only with averted vision did I find the pointer
star. This one was by far the most disappointing. A grey splotch in the
soup of turbulent atmosphere only about 25 degrees off of the horizon.
I was amazed that I resolved anything at all, but sure enough, like the
others, there was more resolution than I was expecting to see. There
was a tiny bit of contrast between a few brighter white stars and the
greyish massat the nucleus.
Also nearly straight
up in the darkest part of the sky, I've never seen this cluster look
like this. The high power makes a significant difference in looking at
this object. Like M5, it also nearly filled the field of view.
*NGC 6712 - Globular Cluster
I stumbled across this one. I've never seen it before, but
found it looking for M11. It's an 8.1 mag GC, but I couldn't really get
it to resolve much. I pounced on it at 300x, but it nearly dissappeared
with the light loss. I'll add this one to the list for my dark sky
outing to Indian Trail Spring in two weeks.
I looked at a few other
things, but this was the bulk of my hour. Very satisfying in light of
the limited viewing opportunities we've had here in the Northwest this