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an evening with the big binos in Wicklow

  • johnflannery
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an evening with the big binos in Wicklow was created by johnflannery

hi all,

great observing last night down at Cloon Wood with Gordon Nason until cloud rolled in around 11pm. Sadly, it meant a missed opportunity to try the "big guns" (22x100mm binoculars) in the Coma-Virgo Cluster.

observed the following however;

M1: Showed up really well as a largish rectangular patch with Zeta Tauri in the field.

M45: The Pleiades are just stunning in any binocular with blue-white jewels scattered on a velvet background.

The Hyades: Amazing contrast between the stars of the Hyades and orange Aldebaran (not a true member of the cluster, being only half as distant as the association).

NGC 1647: A loose open cluster in Taurus that is easy in binoculars and often overlooked by people for the "brighter lights" of the Hyades and Pleiades.

NGC 1746: Similarly, another scattered cluster in Taurus for binoculars that is not on many observing lists.

M77: The famous Seyfert galaxy in Cetus. Not as obvious as I've seen it before in these binoculars but visible all the same as a ghostly oval with a bright star-like point of light marking the active nucleus. I didn't bother looking for NGC 1055, an even more distant galaxy, that I have swept up just outside the field of M77 before. That is a real challenge for large binoculars.

M34: very scattered open cluster in Perseus. No apparent pattern but very rich in bright stars. Very nice yellow tint to Gamma Andromedae as I star-hopped from there to M34.

Melotte 20: the smattering of brilliant O-B type stars surrounding Alpha Perseii. My favourite cluster.

Double Cluster: The gem of Perseus. Two young star clusters visible to the unaided eye and a must-see object for binocular users.

M31/M32/M110: The Andromeda Galaxy dominates the 2.7 degree field-of-view of the 22x100mm binos. The companions were harder to see last night as the constellation sank towards the horizon murk.

M78: "Either it's comet Nason-Flannery or it's M78" . . . I'm sure more than one person has been fooled by the cometary appearance of this puff of gas in Orion. The two stars embedded in the nebula were visible with averted vision.

M42/43: The famous Orion Nebula along with the tuft with it's own Messier number, were simply stunning. The group of stars that powers this nebula (the Trapezium) are a beautiful sight in a field studded with stars. The NGC complex north of the Orion nebula was not as obvious as I saw it Christmas Eve from the Midlands.

M79: A forlorn globular cluster in Lepus. Nicely seen as a roundish patch of light but a certain amount of horizon murk meant it's appearance didn't match my best ever view of it.

M76: Cheated a little with this one as we used Gordon's 8-inch scope to track the dimmest Messier object down. The two lobes of this planetary nebula were very nicely seen with the long axis very obviously pinched.

M35: The field simply exploded with stars . . . a beautiful chain of suns extended southwest of the cluster, ending in a club-like pattern. The more distant open cluster NGC 2158 was also nicely seen with a hint of graininess and four stars seemingly resolved.

M44: Another open cluster visible to the unaided eye. I found it remarkable how Saturn's light overpowered our unaided eye view of the cluster a couple of weeks ago but now that the planet has moved on, M44 is nicely seen again as a spot of light. In binoculars, the field is extremely rich.

M67: Tiny grains of stars are heaped upon each other in this cluster. Very pretty stellar association.

M50: slap bang in the middle of the Milky Way highway, this is a very nice cluster with many stars resolved.

M46/M47: One of the prettiest pairings in the sky. The two open clusters in Puppis are very much individuals with M47 very scattered and M46 much more compact with many pinpoints of light set against a soft glow. Nudging the binoculars up a fraction showed Harvard 71, a weak cluster but nicely seen as a huddle of stellar points.

M93: Another cluster in Puppis. The two prominent chains of suns were well seen along with many other cluster members being resolved.

M65/M66: Battling cloud forming and evaporating for this pairing of galaxies (didn't confirm the third galaxy in the field however). Very well seen with both appearing as quite large and elongated greyish patches.

M51: Both the Whirlpool and it's companion were very obvious. The nucleus in both were stellar.

all the best,

John
John Flannery ( aurorawatcher - at * gmail - dot * com ... remove hyphens/asterisks/spaces for email)
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Replied by DeirdreKelleghan on topic post

I have a touch of the green eyed monster.

What an amazing evening's viewing.

Deirdre Kelleghan
16 years 11 months ago #24197

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Replied by martinastro on topic Re: an evening with the big binos in Wicklow

Thats an excellent observing report John. I enjoyed reading it very much indeed! :D

Keep it up
Martin Mc Kenna

coruscations attending the whole length of the luminosity, giving to the phenomena the aspect of a wrathful messenger, and not that of a tranquil body pursuing a harmless course..comet of 1680
16 years 11 months ago #24205

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Excellent! I love the binos
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16 years 11 months ago #24240

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Replied by Keith g on topic Re:

Are these the binos from Strathspey? I take it you used a mount....what type?

Looks like it was a great night for you! :D

Keith..
If a telescope can fit into your backyard it's too small. If you can't move it, it's too big." -- John Dobson
16 years 11 months ago #24279

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  • johnflannery
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Replied by johnflannery on topic Re: an evening with the big binos in Wicklow

hi Keith,

well done on following the nova in Ophiuchus . . . unfortunately I've been a bit lazy these mornings :)

yes, they are the Strathspeys. An excellent binocular though I've become a bit more critical about how they focus. I wear spectacles and prefer to leave them on when observing as I've got astigmatism but found the other night I couldn't rack the right focus on the binoculars out far enough to get the star images nice and round. It may also be the fact that I've suspected the prescription for my right eye is a little off. Must get that checked out.

I've a Slik 88 tripod which I picked up on eBay for £40 Sterling. It's quite good but the legs splay a little (or else I'm just not used to it yet). I was generously given a very heavy tripod for free recently and this is my preferred mount. I can't remember the make as I've loaned it out to someone looking to maybe bring it on the eclipse trip. EBay is definitely worth a look in if you are after a strong tripod. The Slik 88 caters more for the photographer rather than astronomer as you can set the legs in multiple ways . . . a good tripod but as with any equipment, there's something else we'll always find better :D

atb,

John
John Flannery ( aurorawatcher - at * gmail - dot * com ... remove hyphens/asterisks/spaces for email)
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16 years 11 months ago #24332

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Replied by Keith g on topic Re:

Thnaks for the reply John! I'm thinking of getting a pair of Helios 15 x 80mm binos, I was just interested in what sort of tripod would be needed for these.

I'll check out ebay! Good Observing!
Keith..
If a telescope can fit into your backyard it's too small. If you can't move it, it's too big." -- John Dobson
16 years 11 months ago #24392

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Replied by Keith g on topic Re:

John, just one more question if you don't mind, I'm thinking of buying the 20x90mm binos from strathspey today, how do you find the 4.5mm exit pupil?

Do you think it's too small for night time observing?
Thanks,
Keith..
If a telescope can fit into your backyard it's too small. If you can't move it, it's too big." -- John Dobson
16 years 11 months ago #24464

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  • johnflannery
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Replied by johnflannery on topic Re: an evening with the big binos in Wicklow

hi Keith,

just saw your post now. I had seen the query on Cloudy Nights as well but forgot to come back over to the IFAS board.

20x90mm is an excellent choice. Exit pupil in my case (40 this year!) will never match my youth :wink: but in terms of DSOs, I've had better performance so far from my old 20x60mm (3mm exit pupil) than with the 22x100mm binoculars . . . that's more a testiment to the fact that I've not had the same quality skies to test the binos on. I think that although the recommended exit pupil is between 5mm and 7mm, with a smaller exit pupil it paradoxically isn't a major point for DSOs in binoculars. What you need is the aperture. The performance on open clusters with the 90mm to 100mm range of binoculars is astounding.

best of luck with the Strathspey's. John, the guy over there I dealt with, is very obliging and ships the binocs very quickly. Not sure if the deal on eBay for the Strathspey's is cheaper than from the web site? I think the difference was the VAT and shipping which isn't quoted in the eBay price.

any luck with a suitable tripod?

JOhn
John Flannery ( aurorawatcher - at * gmail - dot * com ... remove hyphens/asterisks/spaces for email)
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16 years 11 months ago #24471

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Replied by Keith g on topic Re:

Thnaks for your reply John

Not sure if the deal on eBay for the Strathspey's is cheaper than from the web site?

No, I think it is marginally dearer.

any luck with a suitable tripod?


I'm looking for a 'parallelogram' mount from scs astro in the uk, from what you said this is as important as the binos! and i'm over 6ft tall :P

Keith..
If a telescope can fit into your backyard it's too small. If you can't move it, it's too big." -- John Dobson
16 years 11 months ago #24478

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