Sunday, 22 March 2015

Very brief and unexpected first light with the SBT

Good morning everyone.
Last night, after the excitement of the rugby 6 Nations championships had died down, I was all ready for a bit of trashy telly to round of the evening, and then an early night.  Then, I let the dog out the garden and looked up....
The weather forecast for this part of the country had continually predicted cloud to varying degrees all evening so I had no intention of going outside.  When I did look up, I noticed the cloud was absent.  Jupiter was shining bright.  Orion had made good progress through the sky.  A quick time check - 9.15pm.  Excellent, the potential for a quick session and an early night.  Within 15 minutes, the SBT was deployed and I was set up out the garden.  I was really excited.
Any other night, I would spend some quality time observing Jupiter.  However, I'm afraid to say that last night, I served it injustice and merely used it for aligning the Telrad.  However, I did have a quick glance.  While I was there, I did a quick change of eyepieces down to 8mm.  It was at this point, the scope started to struggle a little bit.  I left it there for the time being, but will be back.
Next on the list was the Orion Nebula.  I could certainly see more of it in the SBT in comparison to the 150p.  At least another 25% increase in nebulosity I would say.  I sat there for about 10 minutes looking at it.  With the SBT, I was able to observe in a seated position which is something that I struggle with the 150p on its EQ mount.
I glanced up around the sky and noticed that Leo had risen high in the sky.  I had intended on observing Leo weeks ago before the arrival of the SBT.  I managed to pick out one or two things of note, but with many objects in the mag 9.0 sort of brightness, it was beyond the scopes capability at that point, and in those conditions.  I made an attempt at M65 and M66.  Bang!  First time!  I could see them clearly against the background of the slightly light polluted sky.  Seeing wasn't brilliant but sufficient to confirm the target.  This is when excitement really took hold.  I m never usually one to rush through the targets, but I immediately started to wonder what else I could see with the SBT.  Before I moved on, I gave first light to the 32mm 2" Panaview that I had also bought.  This is an impressive EP and is very comfortable to use.
Next on the list, I decide to look for M105.  Bang!  Straight there with the 32mm.  But wait, not one galaxy, not 2, 3 but 4 targets easily distinguished all in the same field of view.  I was confused, but a bit excited and wondered what I was looking at.  I observed the targets for another 10 minutes or so through occasional periods of reduced visibility as some high level cloud whipped across the sky.  I felt the best way to tackle this was to make a very basic sketch of the eyepiece.  No particular detail, but the positions of the targets were mapped out.  I could try and figure out what I had see when I got back indoors.
Finally, I spotted the Pleiades in the sky behind me, so to finish the session of, I swung the SBT around and sat there in awe as the brightness of the cluster filled the eyepiece.  This had to be the biggest and best view of the Pleiades I have ever had.  I might even try to put more time into sketching it one night!
So, that's a very quick update.  I am hoping to get out again tonight because the forecast is much better again.  I'll do a more thorough first light report of the new kit in the near future, but for now, I'm very happy!
So, following a bit of reading up when I got in, the confirmed targets observed fro the night were:

  • Jupiter
  • Orion Nebula
  • M65
  • M66
  • M105
  • M95
  • M96
  • NGC 3384
  • Pleiades
Not bad for an off the cuff unplanned first light session!
Thanks for reading :-)

2 comments:

  1. Sounds like the new scope is performing well. Did it fit through your back door ok?

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    1. Fitted out the back door fine. And in prep yesterday afternoon, I made a dob trolley to get out from the garden to the garage in one go. Happy times! Another post coming this evening if I have time to cover last nights mini tick fest too :-)

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