Last updated: 4 January 2006
Subject:	faint fuzzies
Sent:	Monday, January 2, 2006 03:05:33
From:	David Adriance (
Happy new year, first of all!  

I know that the process of self-selection often gives new visitors to
your site the impression that the ETX is more trouble than it's worth. 
So I thought I would give your readers a recent example of the enjoyment
that I have derived from my ETX-125 over the last 5 years.

We've just come from spending the last few nights visiting my wife's
parents' place about an hour north of Nairobi, Kenya (1.01 S, 37.00 E). 
After months of overcast weather, a rainy season, light pollution and
too much work-related travel, I revelled in the  breathtakingly clear
and dark skies.  And given the lack of phone lines or electricity, I
really had nothing to do these evenings but fire up the ETX (on
batteries) and see what I had been missing.

A couple of nights were largely spent pursuing one of my favorite
targets, colored doubles.  There is a very handy list of Color-Contrast
Double Stars developed by Wayne Reed  not sure if I got this off of your
site or the LX-90 users group on Yahoo. Mostly for northern hemisphere
viewing, but handy nevertheless.

I also concentrated on objects that I usually can't see from my backyard
in Nairobi, such as Tucanae 47 or the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds.
However, what I really enjoyed and wanted to share with you was the
night I spent in pursuit of the faint fuzzies, i.e. distant galaxies. 
I'm always blown away by the thought of having light from billions of
stars in incredibly remote "Milky Ways" entering my eyes as I perch on
this tiny and turbulent planet.

Andromeda, M32 and M110 were easy finds, also some other named galaxies
such as the Pinwheel (like I said, it was DARK out there).  For a real
challenge, I decided to check out the group of 18 galaxies in Fornax. 
For reference purposes, I used the list of objects for owners of small
and medium-sized telescopes developed by by Mark Kudlowski.  I'm pretty
sure I found this list on your site  I highly recommend it to others who
are curious about what else is out there besides what one finds on the
Autostar Guided Tours.

Mark's list includes 8 galaxies in Fornax, of which about half can be
seen north of 35 degrees S and half can be seen south of 30 degrees S. 
Sitting on the equator, I was well-placed to pursue all of them.  I
started out with the "brightest" of the galaxies on the list, NGC 1316,
which has a magnitude of 8.4.  It's worth mentioning that my eyepiece of
choice for this exercise was the Nagler 13mm Type 6, which features an
82 degree FOV  this is a fabulous EP which I cannot say enough about if
you've got the cash, it's a must-have.

When searching for the faint fuzzies, using the spiral search function
on the Autostar is also very useful.  Sure enough, within about a
minute, I was able to easily pick out NGC 1316.  With averted vision, I
thought I could just make out the spiral shape of this galaxy  but that
may be wishful thinking.  As with the other galaxies in Fornax that I
found, the Autostar didn't really have much useful descriptive
information  I suppose they figure that not too many folks are going to
try and find these things  so I'm still not sure how far away this
galaxy is but it's gotta be pushing the limits of the 125.

I synchronized on NGC 1316 before trying for nearby, even dimmer
targets. Within the space of an hour, I had managed to find and observe
ALL the other galaxies on Mark's list  all between magnitude 9 and 11+. 
Not only that, the Autostar placed all of them within the FOV of the
finder scope and sometimes even within the FOV of the Nagler 13mm. 
This, to me, highlights the amazing value of the ETX-125  not only are
the optics superb, but when the tracking works well one is able to
observe a number and variety of objects that is astounding.  For people
like me who are occasional weekend observers (excluding vacations spent
in dark sky areas lacking basic amenities), this is undoubtedly a
wonderfully redeeming feature.

One final note: soon after purchasing my scope five years ago  and
proceeding to irretrievably mess it up while attempting to take it apart
and "fix" it I sent it to Dr. Clay Sherrod for servicing.  Ever since,
it has worked superbly. Like the Nagler EP, Dr. Clay's supercharge
service is one that I would describe as indispensable.  I have reaped
countless hours of enjoyment from my hobby since that time and am
indebted to Dr. Clay for his services and advice.

Best regards,


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