NexStar 50 Club Observation Log

Name: Kevin Brett
NexStar Telescope Model(s): NexStar 114GT, NexStar 5

Moderate Light Pollution: Naked eye = 3.9mag fair to good & 4.9mag very good to excellent

All viewing sessions were done at the above location unless otherwise noted.


Object: #4 Saturn
Date Observed: 11/11/01 03:00UT
Telescope: NexStar 114GT
Comments: Clear warm November evening, seeing conditions were fair. 15 minutes of observation yielded nice views of the planet and it’s rings. Two of the moons were also visible in my 17 mm eyepiece.

Object: #9 Jupiter
Date Observed: 11/11/01 03:30UT
Telescope: NexStar 114GT
Comments: Same conditions as above gave nice views of Jupiter and it’s four Galilean satellites. Both North and South Equatorial Belts were clearly visible. Io, Europa and Callisto were on the West side of the disc and Ganymede was to the East.

Object: #8 M45 – Pleiades/Seven Sisters
Date Observed: 11/11/01 04:00UT
Telescope: NexStar 114G
Comments: Close to zenith when observed and only 6 of the "Sisters" could be viewed by the unaided eye. Always a lovely sight in a 25mm eyepiece, a whole sky of stars in my view, but yet just a small fraction of the heavens.

Object: #1 M42 – Orion Nebula
Date Observed: 11/11/01 04:45UT
Telescope: NexStar 114GT
Comments: The last stop on the tour for the evening and a good time to see this object. High enough in the sky to give a clearer view than when I started this evening. Bright glowing center with what looked like faintly outstretched arms reaching to embrace what comes to it. A 17mm eyepiece allowed this view through fair seeing conditions.

Object: #33 Trapezium in Orion
Date Observed: 11/11/01 05:05UT
Telescope: NexStar 114GT
Comments: Switching to a Barlow lens and doubling my magnification brought this group of young stars out of what was viewed in the object above. Seen more clearly than with the 17mm alone these jewels were a nice close for a night of enjoying the sky.

Session Notes: (11/11/01) A single meteor was seen tonight 11/11/01 at 03:42-45UT(??) streaking through Taurus from the East. It burned an orange color and left a trail the size of the constellation it passed through.


Object: #49 M36/NGC1960 Open Cluster in Auriga
Date Observed: 11/13/01 03:55UT
Telescope: NexStar 114GT
Comments: First stop tonight on my quest. A very pretty little cluster of stars in a 17mm eyepiece made this a fine start. Conditions allowed me to count about 30+ stars in this 4,100 light year distant group of stars.

Object: #38 M35/NGC2168 Open Cluster in Gemini
Date Observed: 11/13/01 04:04UT
Telescope: NexStar 114GT
Comments: This was a lovely sight through my N114 GT. I had viewed this cluster before in my small Celestron refractor, but what a difference! Beautiful!!! Found interest with the arc formation in the cluster near bottom right in my eyepiece, flanked on either side by stars that were the brightest of the "arc" and about the same magnitude. Then lesser magnitude stars making up the structure of the Asterism. Noting also the absence of stars in the center of the cluster. As I gazed at this object what I believe to be a Taurid streaked through my eyepiece! At first I thought it had been a plane, but when I looked up in that direction there were no planes in that area of the sky. It happened at 04:12UT, I keep a notepad and the time by the telescope for things like this. I believe it was a Taurid Meteor because of the direction it came from as it was headed East from Taurus. Two others were observed later this evening without any optical aid, all three had the same pale blue/green color to them.

Object: #31 NGC457 Owl Cluster
Date Observed: 11/13/01 04:33UT
Telescope: NexStar 114GT
Comments: When I first looked at this through the eyepiece it reminded me of a little "Gemini" with almost the same position in my eyepiece as it’s namesake holds in the sky at the same time. After a few moments of viewing I was able to "see the Owl" in the grouping of this cluster.

Session Notes: (11/13/01) Only able to mark off three objects from the list tonight. Not many items to the East this month at the time of viewing. Made some other observations in that area of the sky since I was set up in the part of my yard that restricts me to only pointing the telescope from the Southeast to the North. Had the best views I ever had of the Orion Nebula, M42. Many times before have I observed this nursery but never has it been so pronounced and bright to me. Actually was able to pick out structure in the gas clouds for the first time with both a 17mm and a 6mm eyepiece. I viewed M1, the Crab Nebula, for the first time tonight. Appearing as a small smudge of dark gray on a charcoal background with a 17mm eyepiece, I can see why I never was able to find this object in my 60mm refractor. Another first was being able to view NGC2244 tonight. The cluster of stars shone bright but I was unable to see any of the nebulae that are around it. M78/NGC2068 made its’ way into my view as well this evening, just a very faint glow with some faint stars in it with a 17mm. Before I packed up for the night I had to take a quick peek at Jupiter and Saturn. Tonight I could see the Cassini Division in Saturn’s rings unlike a few nights ago. Jupiter shone brightly as well with both Equatorial Belts clearly visible in both a 17mm and a 6mm eyepiece. The highlights of the night were the three Taurids that blessed my session. The first I spoke of earlier, the other two happened within minutes of each other at the end of my viewing session. The first of those headed West from Taurus at 05:03UT and the second of this pair shot East across the sky from the same area as the first at 05:09UT. All three of these had the same pale blue/green color to them and were very bright and left only small trails. Just quick flashes they were in the night sky to end the evening on a great note.


Object: #47 Betelguese
Date Observed: 11/17/01 04:18UT
Telescope: NexStar 114GT
Comments: The second alignment star tonight was Rigel, so slewing to this giant was a given. A pale orange color in the eyepiece, it shone brightly among the tiny blue twinkles surrounding it.

Object: #6 M31 Andromeda Galaxy
Date Observed: 11/17/01 04:22UT
Telescope: NexStar 114GT
Comments: Got a late start tonight so this was my choice for the first stop on the tour, now high in the Western sky at this time of night. Seeing conditions were not so good this evening so I had to keep my viewing above 40 degrees. With the conditions the way they were I was able to get good views of this subject and M110/NGC205 nearby. M32 was not visible to me.

Object: #24 NGC7662 Blue Snowball Planetary Nebula
Date Observed: 11/17/01 04:30UT
Telescope: NexStar 114GT
Comments: Again conditions did not permit a real good view of this tiny dot in my eyepiece, but I could tell this was something unlike the stars in the same FOV.

Object: #14 NGC869 & 884 Perseus Double Cluster
Date Observed: 11/17/01 05:10UT
Telescope: NexStar 114GT
Comments: Absolutely beautiful!!! What else can one say. One of my favorites visited, many, many times. Through current and previous telescopes, binoculars and even my naked eyes when the sky permits, this is always a treat for me. And the later I know will fade with my youth, sadly.

Session Notes: (11/17/01) Tried to check off #42, NGC891, but either poor goto or bad seeing conditions did not permit me to see this object tonight. There was a haze in the air and reflected light filled the sky. Made some more stops tonight that are not on the list but able to be viewed at the time. NGC2264 was a stop on the way since the telescope was looking in that area after alignment. I could not see any Nebula but the cluster of stars there were a lovely sight. Jupiter, cannot avoid looking at this monster planet! At 05:19UT, all four visible moons were on the East and appeared to be at a 20 degree or so angle to the Equatorial belts. Finally to top off the night I tried and managed to find Comet Linear(C/2000 WM,). Just a little fuzzy mark with a brighter core, almost seemed like a tiny smudge given the seeing conditions and the tail not leaning to one side or the other. At 06:02UT RA was 3h 16.6m & Dec 38 49.9m, AZM 274 21.0m & ALT 72 25.3m.


Object: #5 Moon, Full Moon occults Saturn
Date Observed: 12/01/01 00:50 – 02:50UT
Telescope: NexStar 114GT
Comments: Figured this would be a great opportunity to view this object while it occults Saturn tonight. I did not get the telescope set up in time to view the ringed planet disappear behind the Moon but I had decent views of our companion while waiting for Saturn to reappear.

Session Notes: (11/30/01) It had been raining all day today and it had been overcast for the last few days and I did not think that I would be able to view the occultation at all. The skies did manage to clear enough to be able to get a pretty good view of the event although the seeing conditions were not that great. A light haze still remained in the air and the clouds eventually came back and ended my session for the evening. I captured a series of images of the occultation, my first real attempt at trying to photograph a celestial event. The images have an orange color to them from the filter I was using to protect my eyes for I wanted to observe the event as well as photograph it.


Session Notes: (12/03-04/01) On 12/03/01 06:08 – 06:26UT I took advantage of the early dark skies of late fall to get a glimpse of Mars, Uranus & Neptune. Mars did appear to have some surface markings visible but I could not be sure for the red planet was too low in the sky for clear viewing. Being in that area of the sky I decided to try to get a look at the outer gas planets. Uranus was visible and I could clearly see that it is a planet, a tiny pale disc. Neptune on the other hand was quite difficult to distinguish from the surrounding stars, but it did have a definite blue color. The skies have been nice and clear these past two evenings and I wanted to take the opportunity to get some images of the Moon. The Moon is two days past full and I wanted images of the Waning gibbous moon. I was able to get some great images of Mare Crisium and the surrounding mountains. The lunar observations started at 02:36 on 12/03UT and at 03:36 on 12/04UT. Jupiter and Saturn also found their way into my eyepiece both evenings. On 12/03 between 03:16 and 03:28 I viewed these two gas giants, Jupiter was flanked by two moons on both the East and West sides and for the first time I was able to see three of Saturn’s moons and the Cassini division was clearly visible. On 12/04/01 at 05:00UT I set the scope on Jupiter and watched the Galilean satellites close in on the planet, at 05:17UT Io disappeared behind Jupiter on the West sideand then there were three. I did manage to get some images of Jupiter, not real clear but 3 of the moons show in some of the images and all four in one image.


Object: #9 Jupiter
Date Observed: 12/20/01 03:53 – 04:16UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 114GT
Comments: Seeing conditions were fair and multiple bands were visible on the disc. I watched the planet for a few minutes and then shot some pictures.

Object: #4 Saturn
Date Observed: 12/20/02 04:48 – 05:28UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 114GT
Comments: The Cassini Division was clearly visible tonight. It stood out nicely even with the 10mm SMA e.p. and a Ultima 2x Barlow lens. Banding on the disc was also visible.


Object: #17 M44 Beehive Cluster
Date Observed: 03/18/02 04:07 – 04:31UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 114GT 17mm e.p.
Comments: Very pretty, could resolve 60+ stars with colors of yellow, blue, green and white. The whole cluster could not be viewed at one time. Even with the standard 25mm SMA the cluster did not fit in the FOV.

Object: #36 24 Com Double
Date Observed: 03/18/02 04:58 – 05:04UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 114GT 17mm e.p.
Comments: This one wowed me! The color difference was very clear. I really like this double combo of the tiny green star and the larger yellow-gold companion.

Object: #40 M92 Globular Cluster in Hercules
Date Observed: 03/18/02 05:08 – 05:15UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 114GT 17mm e.p.
Comments: This globular cluster looked very dense towards the core and a bit sparse around the outside. The center was very bright. I could not resolve any single stars.

Object: #2 M13 Hercules Cluster
Date Observed: 03/18/02 05:25 – 05:43UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 114GT 17mm e.p.
Comments: The first DSO I ever viewed through a telescope. A few years ago this was the first deep space object I was able to locate with a 60mm refractor. Tonight with the 114 it looked like a whole new object from what I saw through the 60mm. The cluster looked very evenly distributed with stars, unlike M92. The cluster gave off a nice very light blue color. Could not resolve any stars.

Object: #25 M66 Spiral Galaxy
Date Observed: 03/18/02 05:47 – 05:58UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 114GT 17mm e.p.
Comments: This object and the next were viewed together in the same FOV. The first time I was able to see one of these multi galaxy FOV’s. What a treat! Could definitely see the rounder shape of this galaxy compared to it’s neighbor.

Object: #27 M65 Galaxy in Leo
Date Observed: 03/18/02 05:47 – 05:58UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 114GT 17mm e.p.
Comments: As stated above this cigar shape fuzzy was viewed with its’ companion M66. Both gave nice views of their shapes. I looked for nearby NGC 3628 and found it also, but this was just a smudge in the eyepiece. No shape was noticeable.

Session Notes: (03/17-18/02) Tonight I was able to view six more of the NexStar 50 List objects. There were a few more that I had tried to view, but sky conditions did not allow some of the dimmer object to be seen. M102 was another object viewed tonight, but it was very faint and without any shape. M53 found it’s way into the eyepiece as well. At 06:00UT a meteor streaked through the sky from the tail of Leo through Virgo towards the east. It had a distinct blue/green color to it.


Object: #11 M81-82 Bode’s Galaxy & Cigar Galaxy
Date Observed: 04/12/02 04:00 – 04:18UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 114GT 17mm e.p.
Comments: Another great pair of galaxies to be seen in this telescope! Here I could definitely see distinct differences in shape and structure. I really love these FOV pairs!!! M82 appeared brighter than it’s companion M81.

Object: #44 M100 Galaxy in Coma Berenices
Date Observed: 04/12/02 04:47UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 114GT 17mm e.p.
Comments: This galaxy showed up in the FOV as a very faint tiny smudge of gray. No shape or structure was seen.

Object: #3 M57 Ring Nebula
Date Observed: 04/12/02 05:55UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 114GT 17mm e.p.
Comments: The first time I was able to view this object after years of searching. Such a tiny little thing, no wonder this was such a difficult object to find. The "ring " structure was clearly visible with the dark center. A tiny gray doughnut in space. Hard to find but worth the wait.

Session Notes: (04/11-12/02) Many other DSO’s were viewed tonight. Seeing conditions were very good. Other objects viewed tonight were: M104, M49, M61, M53, M5, M13, M92, M44. The seeing tonight was very good. Earlier in the evening I had spent some time taking images of Jupiter. All in all it was a very enjoyable evening.


Object: #7 Dumbell Nebula
Date Observed: 04/16/02 09:50UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 114GT 17mm e.p.
Comments: The only NexStar 50 object viewed during this session. Here’s another first time view of a NexStar 50 List object. I could see the hourglass shape very clearly, but I could also see the whole circle faintly.

Session Notes: (04/16/02) Setting the alarm for the early morning hours to try and glimpse Comet Ikeya-Zhang before it travels to far out through the solar system. I did a GOTO M27 to check alignment before entering the RA & Dec to find the Comet. GOTO the Comet worked great. The tail appeared very very faint, but the Comet showed its’ bright coma with a very bright nucleus. The fuzzy traveler stayed in my FOV until the dawn faded it away.

Object: #15 M51 Whirlpool Galaxy
Date Observed: 05/08/02 05:45UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 5
Comments: WOW!!! This one is really cool. I could see both galaxies very clearly. M51 even showed the spiral structure nicely. The first time I saw any type of spiral arms looking through a telescope. A very exciting moment was had! The Whirlpool will become a frequent stop!

Object: #35 Double Triangle Asterism
Date Observed: 05/08/02 06:03UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 5 17mm e.p.
Comments: A nice open cluster arrangement.

Session Notes: (05/04 - 5, 07-8/02) The night of May 4 to the 5th was the first night out with the N5. There were no plans to view any new NexStar 50 List objects. It was a night to get acquainted with the new NexStar. First stop was M13. What a difference from the previous views given with the N114. I could resolve some stars! The GOTO the Double Double in Lyra was right on target, but I was unable to split the pairs. Seeing conditions were not the best. Went to the Her Double on the HC list and viewed that pair for a few minutes and then tried M57. Conditions being what they were, I could barely see the dark center of the tiny object. M81 – 82 were very clear. The best view I had of this pair so far. Being higher in the sky than the other objects helped the clarity of the view. M65 – 66 did not yield the same views. Lower in the sky than the previous pair, there was too much sky glow to show any detail at all. The final target for the maiden voyage of the N5 was Comet Ikeya-Zhang. VERY NICE! Bright Coma with a short fuzzy whisp of a tail.

On May 7th – 8th was a photographic mission with the new N5. At 05:08UT I shot some images of the Colored Double, 24 Com Double. Having viewed this before with the N114 I though it would make an interesting subject to image. Below is the resulting image.

BrettKevin.jpg (69172 bytes)


Object: #10 M11 Wild Duck Cluster
Date Observed: 05/16/02 06:20 – 06:33UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 5 & 114GT
Comments: Very lovely cluster of stars, but I was unable to "see" the duck. This is the first NexStar 50 List object to be viewed with both NexStars at the same time.

Object: #22 Double Double – Epsilon Lyra 1 & 2
Date Observed: 05/16/02 06:45UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 5 13mm w/ 2x Barlow
Comments: Finally was able to split the pairs of this object. It took a 13mm and a 2x Barlow to be able to see all four stars. It was a poor image due to the higher magnification.

Object: #50 Eagle Nebula & Cluster
Date Observed: 05/16/02 06:56UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 5 25mm e.p.
Comments: The N5 and a 25mm e.p. really gave a beautiful view of this object. 25+ stars were clearly viewable along with the nebula.

Object: #12 M17 Swan Nebula
Date Observed: 05/16/02 07:04UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 5 25mm e.p.
Comments: Another cluster with nebulae was also a treat in the eyepiece tonight. The cluster of stars shone nicely with a faint almost bent cigar shape of fuzziness below in the FOV.

Session Notes: (05/15 – 16/02) Transparency was clear, seeing was fair with temperatures around 5°c. Many objects were compared in both telescopes tonight and both NexStars looked at some objects independently. There was a mini marathon going on tonight. Objects viewed along with the above NexStar 50 List objects were as follows. M44, M81-82, M65-66, M51. M101 finally appeared in my eyepiece using the N5. It was just a fuzzy something, but it was there. M102 was pretty much the same. M104 showed a faint cigar shape with a bright central blob. In the N114 M64 was a dim fuzzy with a faint core visible using a 17mm e.p. M81-82 gave comparable views in both telescopes. The view from the N5 was a bit sharper, but the brightness of the galaxies were about the same in the NexStars. Comet Ikeya-Zhang also was viewd in both scopes. Each gave a nice view of a glowing fuzzball with a faint core in the coma. Others compared were M13, M92, M11, & M56. M29 viewed through the N114 with a 17mm e.p. showed 10+ stars in that cluster. M23 I looked at with the N5 with a 25mm e.p. and it gave what I noted as a stunning view. Not very bright, but a eye pleaser! M27 was seen as a hourglass fuzzy in the 5 before finishing up with the NexStar 5 targeted on M57. The lobes were able to be seen for the first time.


Object: #16 M8 Lagoon Nebula
Date Observed: 06/01 –02/02 05:38UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 5 & 114GT
Comments: Cluster of stars clearly visible in both telescopes, but the nebula was only visible through the N5. This will have to be seen under better conditions to be really appreciated.

Object: #37 M25 Open Cluster in Sagittarius
Date Observed: 06/01 –02/02 05:49UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 5 & 114GT
Comments: A very pretty cluster of stars. Viewed in both the N5 &114GT there were 50+ stars visible. One of the nicer objects viewed tonight.


Object: #29 NGC 4565 Bernice’s Hair Clip
Date Observed: 06/01 –02/02 06:12UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 5
Comments: This little fuzzy was seen in the N5 clearly, but not in the N114. Being able to just see these objects impresses me. To think how far away these galaxies are really amazes me.

Object: #46 M20 Trifid Nebula
Date Observed: 06/01 –02/02 06:13UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 5 & 114GT
Comments: Viewed through both NexStars. Nebulosity was detected with the N5 but not the 114. Both showed the cluster of stars nicely. It was the N5 that brought out the faint nebula into view.

Object: #20 M22 Globular Cluster in Sagittarius
Date Observed: 06/01 –02/02 06:24UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 5 & 114GT
Comments: Appeared as just a fuzz ball in both NexStars. Again, this needs to be viewed under better conditions.

Object: #21 M6 Butterfly Cluster
Date Observed: 06/01 –02/02 06:50UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 5 & 114GT
Comments: Hey I could actually see the Butterfly!!! Both telescopes gave wonderful views of this neat cluster of stars. The N114 gives a little bit wider FOV, but the N5 gives a clearer view of this object.

Session Notes: (06/01-02/02) Seeing conditions allowed some better views of things tonight. I tried to view the Eastern & Western Veil Nebulae but I could not see the Super Nova remnant. All that was viewable was the cluster of stars in both the N5 & N114GT. As stated above, some of these objects will need to be viewed from a dark location to really appreciate the beauty that is there to observe. While observing M27 at the end of the evening a satellite went through the FOV at 06:48UT.


Object: #26 Coathanger – CR399
Date Observed: 07/11/02 05:01UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 114GT 25mm & 40mm e.p.’s
Comments: The first NexStar 50 object for the evening. This is a beautiful open star cluster with colors of yellow, blue and white showing in the stars of this object. The 114 even with the 40mm eyepiece could not let me view the whole cluster at once.

Object: #43 NGC 6633 Open Cluster in Ophiuchus
Date Observed: 07/11/02 05:14UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 5 & 114GT
Comments: Viewed in both the N5 & 114GT. I like this little open cluster of stars. I spent quite a bit of time comparing the views between the NexStars.

Object: #13 Albireo Double
Date Observed: 07/11/02 05:21UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 5 & 114GT
Comments: Here’s another one to image! Two very distinct colors of Yellow/Orange on the larger star & Green on the smaller were seen in both telescopes.

Object: #28 M7 Ptolemy’s Cluster
Date Observed: 07/11/02 05:54UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 5
Comments: Another wonderful cluster of stars. This area of the sky is filled with so many lovely sights. The N5 gave a very pleasing view of this object.

Object: #30 M15 Globular in Pegasus
Date Observed: 07/11/02 06:00UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 5 & 114GT
Comments: This object showed up as a tiny bright fuzz ball in both the N5 and N114GT. Not a large as some of the other globular clusters viewed, but a noticeable difference in how bright this one appeared.

Object: #19 Substitution M2 Globular Cluster in Aquarius
Date Observed: 07/11/02 06:07UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 114GT 25mm e.p.
Comments: Also tiny and very bright like the object mentioned above. The 114 showed this cluster very nicely, but I could not resolve any stars in it.

Object: #32 Milky Way
Date Observed: 07/11/02 06:50 – 07:10UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 5 & 114GT
Comments: The last activity for the night was taking both telescopes and scanning the Milky Way from the South all the way up through and past Cygnus. There are countless star groupings and clusters visible along with the many nebulae and globular clusters stated above. It was fun to hop from scope to scope looking at different objects found along the way. I did not log anything, just spent the time enjoying this rare occasion. A nice way to end the evening

Session Notes: (07/10-11/02) The best night so far that I ever experienced under the stars. Both the N5 and N114GT were set up for a nice night before sunset. The air here had become quite stable and humidity was very low. The NexStar 5 was set up with a 17mm eyepiece and the N114GT had a 25mm in place. At 10:00PM EDT the Milky Way was already visible as the daylight glow faded to a darker blue. The following notes pertain to the other objects viewed with the Nexstar 50 List objects above. The first stop for the night was M57 with the N5. The best view of this ring so far! I COULD SEE LOBES!!! For the first time I could see some structure in this tiny object. M8…VERY NICE! Both the N5 & 114 showed nebula. In the N5 the nebula was a bit brighter than in the 114. Beautiful in both NexStars! I was able to split the Double Double in Lyra for the second time tonight with the N5 and a 6mm eyepiece. Looked at M11, the Wild Duck Cluster, again with the NexStars and tonight it was better than previous views. Awesome in the N5! M17 was incredible looking through each telescope. Both the 114 and N5 showed the nebula nicely. With the N5 I could count 30+ stars. I could not make out the "Swan" shape though. M20, the Trifid Nebula, was viewed through the N5, and it showed some faint nebula within the surrounding cluster of stars. The open cluster M25 was absolutely beautiful! Equally stunning in both NexStars I could resolve 50+ stars. The Eagle Nebula, M16, showed more stars in the N5 than it did in the N114GT, but the Nebula was visible in both telescopes as a faint cloud around the stars although the N5 yielded more of the clouds to be seen. M22!!! WOW! WOW! WOW! This globular cluster has to be the best thing I viewed in the N5 so far. Bright, large and very lovely, I could resolve 15 to 20 stars in the N5 using a 17mm e.p. and I could almost resolve some in the N114 with averted vision. BEST OF SHOW!!! M6, the Butterfly Cluster was viewed with the N5 and I could see the "Butterfly" shape this time. The cluster looked incredible, much better than before, but M22 spoiled it. The Dumbell Nebula, M27 was a stop for a few minutes with the N5 and I could see the whole circle with the "Dumbell" shape within. Very Nice! M39 proved to be very enjoyable with the 5 along with M52 in the N114. Both scopes stopped at M31 & M32 as well. M71 appeared as a fuzzy dim ball near a bright open cluster with the 5 & 114. M103 was really neat in the N114GT, but not as pretty in the N5. A meteor shot from Lyra heading west. It seemed very fast as it burned a very bright white/blue at 07:01UT. As stated above this has been I think the best night of viewing I ever had. The Milky Way was clearly visible at 07:00UT from the southern horizon all the way across the sky into Cassiopeia! Very rare for this area in the summer! The Cygnus portion of the sky was amazing. I don’t know if it was the very good conditions this evening, but there seemed to be more satellites or space debris crossing my FOV than I have ever noticed before. I stopped counting at about 10 or 11.


Object: #39 NGC 7510 Open Cluster in Cepheus
Date Observed: 07/13/02 04:50UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 5 17mm e.p.
Comments: A very tiny cluster needing averted vision to resolve about 10 stars. This is another object I think would benefit greatly viewing at a dark site.

Object: #23 Substitution M3 Globular Cluster in Aquarius
Date Observed: 07/13/02 05:22UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 5 17mm e.p.
Comments: The N5 gave a really nice view of this tiny bright fuzz ball. I was not able to resolve any stars.

Object: #41 Substitution M5 Globular Cluster in Serpens
Date Observed: 07/13/02 05:25
Telescope(s): NexStar 5 17mm e.p.
Comments: This globular looked more open than the previous M3 and I could resolve 5+ stars with averted vision.

Object: #48 M55 Globular Cluster in Sagittarius
Date Observed: 07/13/02 06:00UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 5 17mm e.p.
Comments: Trying during the whole evening and waiting for it to rise above the tree line I finally found this very fuzzy and dim DSO. Being very low in the sky at the time of observation the views were not very clear. No stars were able to be resolved although the size and shape were seen.

Session Notes: (07/12-13/02) Not the night I had a few nights ago, but very enjoyable just the same. The N5 was the only scope set up tonight and I focused on checking off remaining NexStar 50 List objects. I looked at M16, 18, 17 and M15 along with the objects listed above. When I viewed M17, the Swan Nebula I could for the first time see the "Swan"! It appeared upside down, but I could make out the shape very clearly…cool!


Object: # 45 Substitution M37 Open Cluster in Auriga
Date Observed: 11/09/02 04:18UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 5 17 & 25 mm e.p.
Comments: Very eye appealing open cluster, countless stars visible. Looked like a central cluster of stars with arms of stars. Seeing conditions were quite poor so it was hard to focus. I sure many more stars would be visible under better conditions.

Object: # Substitution M38 Open Cluster in Auriga
Date Observed: 11/09/02 04:50 UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 5 17 & 25 mm e.p.
Comments: Another very nice open cluster pleasing to the eye. The cluster appeared to look like a criss-cross strings of stars.

Object: # 34 Open Cluster in Puppis
Date Observed: 11/09/02 05:33 UT
Telescope(s): NexStar 5 17mm e.p.
Comments: At the time of viewing this object was very low in the sky and conditions prevented me from seeing anything impressive, but I could see how large this dense cluster is in the eyepiece.

Session notes: (11/09/02) Originally I set up for a night of imaging but sky conditions were not suitable to get any quality images. Having only a few objects to check off the NexStar 50 List I decided to spend the night searching for these objects. My first stop after aligning the N5 was Saturn. Here is where I made the decision to just observe. The sky was full of turbulence and it made focusing extremely difficult. Every once and a while a nice crisp image of the ringed planet was viewable. M42 was very impressive. I could clearly see all four stars of the Trapezium . While in the area of M37/38 I stopped and took in some views of M36 This was another enjoyable open cluster in the eyepiece. I did take a peek at Jupiter briefly. I could not make out any detail on the giant due to the waves of air and it’s low position in the sky. The last object on my Nexstar 50 List is # 42, NGC 891. I searched for this galaxy on a few different occasions tonight without success. I thought that it being near zenith would give me the best opportunity to see the galaxy and it’s dark dust lane. Maybe next time.


The above list contains at least 50 “NexStar 50 List” objects/substitutions, but I already had used the substitutions for those 4 Southern Sky objects that are not viewable from my location any time of year. So in order for the list to be complete I think I need one more object to enter the “Master” ranking.

1 more!

Object: # 42 NGC 891 Galaxy in Andromeda
Date Observed: