James Paulson's roll off roof observatory at the Sunridge Observatory site, taken in the summer of 1986, housing a 10 inch f/5 Cave Astrola Newtonian reflector telescope

Monday, August 24, 2009

Touring the Galaxy with GoTo

Tonite I decided the sky conditions were superb for a last summer blast of some of the finest objects in the Milky Way galaxy. I headed out a little after 8 PM and set up the scope to give it a little time to adjust, which it has little problems with. The night was cool and bug free, and clearer than I have seen it since I got my telescope. After I got it aligned, I worked on a small list of objects that were unfinished from my last dark sky evening. I viewed M22, M25, M28 and M70, all globular star clusters. The area around the heart of the galaxy, the halo, is rich with these old objects, and each one is slightly different. I used only one eyepiece tonight, the 18mm Ortho delivering approximately 42x.

I went on to view a variety of objects including M92gc, M13gc, M7oc, M8 (Lagoon), M15gc, M27 (Dumbell), M20 (Trifid), M17 (Swan), M11 (Wild Duck), M31 (Andromeda galaxy), M16, and M32. I also pointed the scope at Neptune and could pick out it's color, and took a look at Jupiter, which was unusually crisp this evening.

All in all it was a good Monday evening, and I am inside and heading to bed at a reasonable hour.

Image is M20 - the Trifid Nebula - courtesy of Gemini Observatory/AURA

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