Category: Deepsky binocular
Rigel was observed with the 12 inch dobson. The double star did not show itself as a double initially, due to a lot of turbulence in the tube (the scope was just outside for a few minutes. However, after switching on the fan, the weaker B companion popped into view, just like that. The image was stable right from the moment the fan started to make a laminar flow in the 12-inch tube. Amazing. Betelgeuse was also observed with the twelve inch, and the deep orange color was simply overwhelming, especially at lowest power. However, in the 85mm Zeiss, the color looked even much deeper than in the 12-inch.
Collinder 65 is a large open cluster, which actually belongs to Taurus, but lies on the Orion-Taurus border. I observed and sketched this large open cluster (3.3 degrees) using the Skywindow and the 8x42 Orion binoculars, field of view 8.2 degrees. Until a few days ago I didn't know this cluster was actually there, but when scanning the area between Collinder 69 and Messier 1, you cannot miss it. You immediately will recognize it as a cluster.
In the next few weeks I hope to publish my observing reports and sketches on http://www.starobserver.eu On the map below you can see where the objects I observed can be found.
image from Voyager by Capellasoft
Last winter I made a detailed sketch of the Pleiades (M45) in Taurus. The sketch was made outdoors using a felt-tip pen and white copy paper. Later this spring I scanned the sketch and processed it using Photoshop. The instrument used during the observation was an 8x42 wide angle binocular, with a field of view of 8.2 degrees, mounted on the SkyWindow mirror mount. For a detailed observing report and further background info, please visit my website dedicated to double stars and open clusters, Starobserver.eu
Click on the image to enlarge
Our next stop was Phil Harrington's STAR 26 ( STAR=Small Telescope Asterism Roster), the Red Necked Emu in Cygnus, The Swan. I had seen it once before in my 4-inch refractor a few years ago, so I knew what I was looking for. The Red Necked Emu looks like a giant propeller with three blades, about 1 degree in diameter. Just start at Gamma Cygni, the orange star at the heart of Cygnus, and move towards Albireo along the neck of the Swan for 2.5 degrees to 34 Cygnus. From there move about 1.5 degrees in the same direction to arrive at 29 Cygnus. This star marks the tip of the Emu's tail. On the image below you can see how the Emu is oriented in the sky. Through my 15x80 it was very simple to find. I think this object is best in 80 to 100 mm instruments, with a large field of view. This strange bird is called Red-Necked Emu because all the stars he consists of are white-bluish, except one orange-reddish star in its neck. This is very easy to see.
Click to enlarge
After this I first freewheeled a little through the Milky Way in Cygnus, a wonderful experience with binoculars. M 29, Albireo, Omicron 1 and 2, are just a few of the stops I made. After that I also made a little tour through Vulpecula: The Coathanger (Collinder 399) The Dumbbell (M 27), and the wonderful open cluster NGC 6940. Although not very well resolved, NGC 6940 stood out well from its surroundings, however I like this object more in my 300mm Newtonian. From Vulpecula I turned back again into the Swan, passing M 39 and on to Mu Cepheus, the Garnet star. In this area we looked at a few open clusters, but because we had some problems identifying them, we will have to revisit this area.
Last Sunday, 2 January 2005, I observed comet Macholz with the 7x50 and 15x80 binoculars. I observed it from my backyard (limiting magnitude was 4.7) but I could not detect it without optical aid. In the 7x50, the comet was very easy to spot. It was high in the sky, in the constellation Taurus.
Later that night I used my 15x80 binoculars mounted on the Sky Window. The comet looked like a big unresolved globular cluster: round, with a bright centre and a fading halo. Using averted vision, it looked almost twice as big. I could not detect a tail, only the core and the big halo. The sketch below was made about 22.30 UT. It should give you an idea of what I saw through the 15x80 binoculars. The two bright stars to the north are of magnitude 7 and 8. To the south, a ring of stars was visible, partially within the 3.5 field of view and partially just outside the field of view (when the comet was centred). This little “asterism” helped met to verify my observation with the maps I had printed from the comet and it’s surrounding star field using SkyTools2.
On April 11th 2004 I observed Melotte 111(Coma Star Cluster) and M 3 with the Skywindow and my 7x 50 Bresser and the Vixen 15 x 80 binoculars. The seeing was 7 or 8 (on a scale of 10, where 1 = best and 10 is worse).
The Coma Star Cluster was not visible with the naked eye. After searching...... follow this link to the deepsky section to read the full story.