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More M31 Observing, DSO Observing

Posted: 7 October 2013

Cassiopeia Observatory was opened Sunday, 6 October 2013, at 2031 MST, 68°F. The sky was clear and there were no breezes. At 2040 MST, I slewed the 8" telescope to M31 (Andromeda Galaxy) and began a period of dark adapting my eyes. I spent the time studying the labeled photograph of M31 in the "Exploring Messier 31" article in the November 2013 issue of Sky & Telescope. As I had done on the previous three nights, I used this article to guide my exploration of objects in the M31 galaxy.

At 2057 MST, I began searching for C410 (open cluster) in M31 using 83X. But by 2117 MST, I had had no luck finding C410 or any other objects not previously viewed in M31. I added the focal reducer to see if the reduced magnification and increased brightness of the view would help. Unfortunately, I was still unable to positively ID any objects. However, making the attempt was a lot of fun and there were fascinating views of M31.

At 2133 MST, viewed M33 (Pinwheel Galaxy), 24mm UWA eyepiece + focal reducer. Wow, nice view. Spiral arms were easily seen. I decided to keep the focal reducer on the telescope and began viewing other Deep Sky Objects (DSOs). First was the Double Cluster. Then the Bubble Nebula; some hints of nebulosity was seen. Next was M45 (the Pleiades). Although M45 was low in the eastern sky, nebulosity was visible around the stars. Definitely a pretty sight at low magnification.

At 2211 MST, viewed the planet Uranus, 83X and 364X. I then did some terrestrial and sky viewing using the 2X nightscope. Returned to Uranus viewing with the 8" at 364X at 2221 MST. A strong breeze was beginning to blow.

Beginning at 2227 MST, I did a tour of DSOs in the constellation of Sculptor, 83X: NGC55 (galaxy), NGC134 (galaxy), NGC253 (galaxy), NGC288 (globular cluster), and NGC300 (galaxy). Sculptor was low in the southern sky from my location but the views were still nice. I next viewed some DSOs in Cetus: NGC246 (planetary nebula), NGC247 (galaxy), Caldwell 51 (galaxy), and M77 (galaxy). I returned to NGC288 (globular cluster) for some extending viewing.

At 2300 MST, the 8" telescope was slewed to M74 (galaxy) to check on the two month old supernova SN2013ej. It was still faintly visible at 83X. I then viewed M1 (Crab Nebula), low in the east. That was followed by a tour of DSOs in Auriga: NGC1664 (open cluster), Caldwell 31 (diffuse nebula), NGC1857 (open cluster), NGC 1893 (open cluster), NGC1907 (open cluster), M38 (open cluster), M36 (open cluster), and M37 (open cluster). At 2334 MST, returned to M1 for a look; the view was better now. I then viewed two DSOs in Taurus: NGC1647 (open cluster) and NGC1817 (open cluster).

I returned to M1 for a final look at 2350 MST and then began closing for the night.

The observatory was closed at 0003 MST, 66°F.

Comments are welcome; use the Comments section below, or you can Email Me. Thanks.

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