Monday, February 18, 2008

Managed to spend some time outside just now, we've had some high pressure weather the past few days and with it clear skies but very cold!

Anyway, first went out with the monocular and as my view north is better than the old house I decided to look for my old failed targets M81/M82 . I thought I'd found the culprits so went back to fetch the spotting scope on my camera tripod. Certainly looks like it could be them but they look more like stars than anything else, more investigation is required I think but there is certainly nothing else in the neighbourhood that looks remotely like candidates.

The waxing moon is lighting up the Eastern and Southern sky but still I could see Orion and Sirius beaming away while overhead the Plieades are twinkling away. I decided to test the scope on the double double of Mizar and Alcor in Ursa Major, a good test for optics is to split Mizar which is itself a tight double, the Opticron easily splits Mizar!

Whilst looking for M81/M82 i saw 2 small satellites whizzing through the fov, I still get a spooky feeling when I see them.

In the endless pursuit for M81/M82 I decided to try to find them using Stellarium which has labels for such objects. Interestingly it took quite an effort to find them even with labels! So out I went again but still no result, I can only assume that the spotting scope has insufficient aperture to show "fuzzies" although I have seen M31 through this scope.

It looks like I will have to wait to get the Skywatcher out and use the low power EP to "scope" around for this pair.



  1. Hi Mitch - stumbled across your blog, nice work! I've had no luck finding M81/82 either, my garden suffers from a bit of light pollution in that general direction...might have more luck when I actually get a telescope too :-)

    Mind if I include a link to your blog off mine?


  2. Ian, glad you like the blog, no problem with a link, I'll do likewise.

  3. Nice to see you back Mitch haven’t had much luck myself these past few months :(

    Got any plans for tonight’s lunar eclipse clouded out here in Lincolnshire :(


  4. Hi Mark,

    Looking cloudy here right now, over the years there have been a few occasions when I've got up in the middle of the night only to see clouds!

    It would be nice to see the US trying to shoot down their spy satellite, just about to see what I can find about that!