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About SAB

  • Rank
    Venus Team


  • Location
  • Interests
    Astronomy, Flight sim, stuff
  • Occupation
    Uni, Big W employee of the century
  • Astronomy Equipment
    10" GSO dob
    12" dob
    4.5" Meade newtonian
  1. After 9 million consequetive cloudy milleniums, it finally cleared on what looked like a very unlikely day. Late a'noon around sunset, some storm clouds rolled in and to the non-initiated, it would have been a write off. But checking the satpic loops it showed that it would clear. So I set up the scope for a Jupiter and Youranus session. After the massive absence, I've learned a few things: A. I forgot how to use the scope B. A cable which connects the jumpstarter to the scope is apparently no longer in this universe, hence I was unable to run the fans and heaters. After trouble shooting point A, I was on me way. Collimation was atleast striaght forward and was done in 2 miutes. One of the strongest features of an SDM imo is how easy collimation is. After years of messing around with tools and non-intiuative designs, it's like walking out of a Darwin summer into an air conditioned room. Time: 8pm-1045pm Scope: 12" F/4.4 dob Seeing: 1/10-5/10 Transparency: 2/5 Dew: Light JUPITER About 8:30pm, caught a shadow transit of Ganymede. Seeing terrible, boiling at 166x so not much detail could be seen. I also had no fans running, so the delta temp was up to 4C, and defocusing the planet your could see the thermals on the mirror. For the next several minutes Ganymede itself was emerging from the preceeding limb of Jupiter, it was cool seeing half of the moon infront of the planet and the other half beyond it. The disk appeared white against the planet. Over the next hour or so, I could gradually increase the mag as the mirror and air temps ever so slowly closed the gap, eventually topping out at 256x. However the view at 204x was pretty nice. Lots of detail seen. Two thread-like dark barges were spotted in the nothern temperate belt, as was an elongated white feature in the northern temperate zone. A long dark filament was seen hanging from the NEB into the EQ zone. THe SEB was faintly visible, moreso than the last time I saw it. I was going to sketch Jupiter but was clouded out half way through, only for it to clear right after I packed everything in. URANUS Not much to see really, at times I could get a fairly sharp focus at 308x. I could see that the planet is not a perfect sphere, but oblate....otherwise nothing of note. I was hoping to catch some albedo features as some other observers have, but seeing was too unstable. ------------------ Some passing clouds also provided an opportunity to test a long running theory of whether or not thin clouds improve seeing and details seen on an object. It seems to me, on this night anyway, that clouds actually destablise seeing, but can act as a natural filter cutting glare. This has the illusion of cleaning up the image, but you don't actually see any addtional detail. The reduced glare simply means that imperfections or light scattering in your eye/optics etc are far less obvious.
  2. thanks! Certainly no clear nights though, we're suffering thru the coldest, wettest and cloudiest winter in 20 years:frown: Great scope indeed and its good to have everything onboard needed to get thru a cold dewy session! Luckily I got a full time summer job last year and saved enough dosh, but if I wanted one now...I'd be well in the red
  3. Not a pretty sight!

    Probably the best way to end up with a ruined day is to see your pride and joy lying injured on the ground Glad to hear it's all sorted.
  4. Here's a few shots of my new scope by SDM Telescopes. Say hellow to SDM #45!
  5. Last night was the first clear night in Melbourne in 186,338 years and 94 days. After being ugly overcast all day, the clouds cleared by sunset. Isn't that pip! Time: 8:30pm-2:45am scope: 12" F4.6 dob Seeing: 7/10 at the start, degrading to 2/10 after 1am transparency: 2/5 at the start, improving to 4/5. Dew: light So I Left the 12" dob out to cool for a couple of hours while I went inside to watch Home and Away, oh I mean Family Guy, eat pizza and get high........ ....on the anticipation of the night ahead Spirits were good, Family Guy was exceptionally funny as usual, the night was clear, moonrise was not for a few hours. Good times, gooood times. Jupiter Started the session at 8:30pm with the 8mm EP for 176x....Immediately I knew I was going to get good viewing! Seeing was the best I've seen in a LONG time. I was stunned by the amount of detail, for the first time ever I could see the festoons in the EQ zone without straining, they were actually obvious, and yes, a pale bluish colour. I popped in the 5mm LVW, which yields 283x in my scope. Wow it was actually crisp! Normally I can't venture beyond 200x on Jupiter here, but tonight was cracking! THe amount of hair-thin blue festoons in the EQ zone was mind boggling like dude I was tripping balls man It was like spaghetti strewn across the planet. Never seen these features so clear and sharp before. A couple of white ovals were present on the northern edge of the SEB. A massive, dark brown barge was seen in the NNTeB stretching about 1/4 across the disk with another similar curdled feature in the NEB. Very clear ruffling was present in both the NEB and SEB and parts of the NEB appeared to be split in two by a rift. A couple of brown ovals were seen on the northern border of the NEB. Also experimented with higher magnifications, got one moment of crisp viewing at 326x, but it was fleeting but to get a crisp view at 326x was fantastic. That being said, 283x was the practical limit. And even with all this, seeing was still not perfect as when I defocused the planet slightly, you could see the air screaming across it and giving a slight roiling boiling effect. Caught two simulatanious shadow transits aswell, that was quite a treat. Observed the shadow of what I think was Ganymede creep over the limb seemingly taking a "bite" out of Jupiter. This level of seeing only lasted about half and hour, as the night wore on seeing deteriorated rapidly. Still, this was quite possbily the best Jupiter viewing I've ever had! Had a few PNs and Galaxies on my list but seeing as I was staring at Jupiter for nearly 1 of the 4 hours available before moonrise, quite a few objects had escaped me. LSA 1 A PNe in southern Aquila. Could not see it for sure without an OIII filter at any magnification. Hinted at using the 5mm EP for 283x with the OIII, but it was easiest to grasp at 404x using the filter. Still, it was nothing more than a small, extremely faint dust kitty with no discernable structure. DSS images show a tiny elongated donut. NGC 6818 This is a large, very bright PNe in Sagittarius. Clearly non stellar at 44x and bluish in colour. At 283x it appeared slightly egg-shaped with long axis orientated N-S, with just a hint of annularity, although this wasn't obvious enough for conformation. Using the 3.5mm eyepiece at 404x without filtration this suspected annularity became slightly more obvious, but it was still very vague although certain. The annular feature wasn't a perfect ring, but more a horseshoe shape with the open end pointing north. Checking various images of 6818 on the net confirmed what I saw. NGC 7424 This is a large spiral galaxy in Grus. Being large and face-on, SB is very low. At 176x I could only make out the faint knot of its core and basically nothing else. IC 5148 The "Spare Tyre" @ 217x +OIII - see attached sketc NGC 7009 Saturn Nebula - @ 566x + OIII - see attached sketch NGC 253 By now it was 12.30am and the moon was starting to peak over the horizon so I figured I'll see what the 12" can do on this. Being so large, one is inclined to limit power, but I decided to to pour some fuel on the fire. And what a smart idea it was. Using 283x and 404x, I could see the core, that little knot of light that characterises images, and low-contrast dustlanes strewn all over the galaxy. The most obvious was one bordering the core on its eastern edge. Lots of faint mottling could be seen, and a large bright patch (a starcloud or HII region?) toward the SW edge of the GX, directly W of mag 9.2 HD4555. NGC 288 Globular near NGC 253. By now the moon was well above the horizon. Fairly large, but quite faint. At 283x several cluster members appeared to be arranged in a triangle with the long end pointing E and with the tip bent southward. The brightest stars also seemed to be arranged in two rows, one at the bottom and one halfway up the triangle, like rungs on a ladder. The densest concentration of stars and associated background haze is located between the two rungs. NGC 1261 Finding this globular cluster was quite hard in that desert known as Horologium. But it is a rather pretty object, showing obvious resolution in its outer reaches at 176x. The core is nice and condensed. A curious feature was an elongated clump of haze on the southern edge of the cluster seperated from the main body by a narrow dark void. Increasing mag to 283x revealed slightly more resolution slightly closer to the core, but seeing was very poor by now.
  6. G'day Peter, I guess I now know what it's like when comet hunters get tripped by DSOs! I was surprised by the brightness of that galaxy and it's nearby friend, it was clearly visible at 44x even with the glare of Eta overpowering the field. I might have to come back another time and take a good look at 'em, DSS pics show a nice barred spiral. I'm using Vixen LVWs. G'day Ray, Yep it's been a while since I had clear skies Melbourne might aswell be Novosibirsk.... Myanus should be great in your C14, and the moons won't be too hard provided decent seeing and favourable elongation from the planet. Yep I made the observing form.
  7. The first clear sky in 3 weeks. In 3 painful weeks. While the rest of Australia is enjoying spring and wall to wall clear skies, here in Novosibirsk it's been cold and cloudy everyday, so it was finally time for a few precious hours to fill this century's quota of clear sky. Scope: 12" F4.6 dob Seeing: 3/10 - poor Transparency: 3/5 Dew: light Temp: 10C Henize 2-163 A PNe in Norma. Started the hunt at Eta Ara and something immediately tripped my alarms. Nearby was a bright hazy blob, whose position did not match that of the nearby galaxy NGC 6221. After much excitement I finally realised that there is another galaxy, NGC 6215 nearby, which turned out to be my imposter comet! These 2 galaxies are very bright, quite surprising really. Might have to observe the area in more detail. Anyway, The PNe was not seen without the OIII filter, although it was suspected at 404x (massive overkill for the seeing at hand). The OIII immediately made it conspicious. At 283x with the OIII, it was small, circular and I suspected annularity. DSS photos do indeed show it to be a little donut. DeHt 3 A PNe in Sagittarius. Invisible without OIII, but at 283x with the OIII I could make out faint round blob of light, however it was too faint to conclusively detect any detail. M 1-54 PNe in Sagittarius. Relatively bright, although very small. Seen without filter at 283x and 404x as a tiny roundish blob. Using the OIII filter revealed an E-W elongation but other than that, no detail within the nebula was seen. PC 22 PNe in Aquila. Very faint at 217x without filter. Adding the OIII revealed an elongated, somewhat rectangular patch of light, with the southern rim being noticably brighter than the rest of the object. I wanted to use higher mag on this object, but being lower in the sky and with the poor seeing, anything more than the 200x range would render nothing but a blurry mess. Abell 70 PNe in Aquila. Not visible without OIII but at 283x with the OIII I suspected a very faint haze at the nebula's location, visible only intermittently. NGC 7009 Saturn Nebula Tried a variety of magnifications on this in an attempt to see the "rings". Surprisingly, despite seeing, my best view was without the OIII filter at 566x. The rings were seen with averted vision intermittently as the seeing boiled away. The knots at the ends were quite evident. Reducing the mag to 353x in an attempt to get a clearer view rendered the rings nearly invisible, and using the OIII did not improve the view. Uranus I've been wanting to observe Myanus since the dawn of time. Finally, I got the chance. Because seeing was so poor,I was limited to 217x, but got a nice pale Aqua orb. With averted vision, I could spot 2 tiny points of light on either side of the planet intermittently. Upon later research, it turns out that these were the moons Oberon and Titania! Come to think of it, these moons should be a rather easy catch when the seeing cooperates! I've also had a look at NGC 55, 246 and the Helix Nebula. See attached sketches:
  8. Thanks for commenting on my observations guys! I'm using Vixen LVW's, with Televue barlows. I was just swapping them over. Hmm, it never actually occured to me to stack Nebula filters, might give it a try just for kicks, but I suspect too much light will be blocked
  9. After a cold and cloudy Melbourne Saturday, I was stunned out of my jocks to see that all the Melbourne cloud was evaporating before my eyes as dusk fell. Yes, it was actually happening, the first clear night in 150,000 years. Better take advantage of it! So all the gear was out the door faster than you can say "zOMG clear skiez in Melbs!!1!" The night was windy, very windy. But that also meant there was no chance of dew. And seeing was actually quite decent, not perfect but certainly better than anything I've had in the last year (translation: last 5 sessions). I was using my 12" F/4.6 dob for this session. Equipment: 12" F/4.6 dob Time: 10:00pm-3:15am Seeing: 5-6/10 Transparency: 3/5 M57 Kicked off the night with a look at the Ring Nebula. I was surprised by how well it showed, despite it's very low elevation in the murk hugging the northern horizon. I've never actually seen the Ring in the 12", and I was not dissapointed. At 176x, its not-quite-perfect donut shape was obvious, and the northern/southern sides of the ring were distinctly brighter than the ends. The OIII filter rendered the ring to be more uniformly bright, that is the brightness difference between the long axis and the ends was not as obvious. The interior was clearly brighter than the background sky. -------------- Although I had planned to observe some PNe's, I was distracted by the cool stuff in Sagittarius. I never actually made an attempt to properly observe all the cool stuff there with the 12", so now was time. M20 Trifid Nebula At 83x, The dark lanes in the "pink" portion were visible, and easy to detect with averted vision. The "blue" part of the neb was fainter, but appeared to be unevenly bright with a darkening towards the centre, which is marked by a bright orange star. I then added the UHC filter, which greatly accentuated the "pink" part of the nebula, with the dust lanes now easily visible. The southernmost lobe is brighter than the rest of the structure. The "blue" bit remained virtually unchanged. M8 Lagoon Nebula At 83x with a UHC filter, the Lagoon was awesome!!! Bloody stunning! The cloud took up virtually 3/4 of the field, with the faint outer regions seen in photos clearly visible. Dark rifts break up the nebula into 4 distinct sections, with the two bright sections familiar to observers accompanied by a fainter elongated East-west filament to the north and even fainter haze to the west of the main complex. M17 Swan Nebula Again using the 83x EP with UHC filter.... absolutely fantastic. Very bright, and the distinct shape was as obvious as it is on long exposure photos. A fainter filament looping out from the swan's tail and around below the body was clearly visible, as was a bright knot just above the curve in the neck. Increasing power to 176x with the UHC revealed a superbly detailed body, which appears to be superimposed on a fainter background haze which follows the countours of the brighter nebulosity. Infact, the detail in the nebulosity was so complex that it would be a challenge to sketch. Almost a 3D experience. A fainter pool of nebulosity was visible to the north of the main body and adjoining it. In addition, two detached small faint knots of nebulosity were obvious along the extended centreline of the neck. M16 Eagle Nebula Faint at 176x without a filter, but the UHC helped alot. With the UHC in place, the nebulosity resembled a swept airplane wing viewed from above or below, oriented NE-SW. An L-shaped dark region was visible adjecent the SE edge of the associated open cluster, with a narrow finger oriented NW/SE pointing towards the centre of the cluster visible with averted vision. NGC 6772 PNe in Aquila. Quite difficult to detect at 216x without a filter, but the addition of the OIII helped considerably. A large, rather faint oval or oblong shaped ring was visible, with the interior noticably brighter than the background sky. -------------------- At this point it was near midnight, and decided to take a look at Jupiter. Seeing was actually decent, but that being said, it was not perfect. With it still toward the east, the scope was broadside to the wind so was being heavily buffeted. At 176x, to my surprise, I could clearly see the Impact scar, neatly in mid-transit! It appeared as a tiny greyish smudge, visibly elongated E-W. -------------------- Now, with the eye-candy picked off, it was time to hunt some galaxy clusters....but not before answering the call of nature. Upon entering the crapper facility, I almost made the fatal error of turning on the light (well, it's been an integral part of every potty excursion for the entire duraction of my life thus far...). After almost flushing my hard-earned night vision down the toilet, it was time for some hot chocolate and choc chip cookies. Ahhhh, a clear night, great DSO observing with some hot choc and cookies....can life get any better? That's right, it can't Re-energised and relieved, I was set for some faint galaxies *yay*. Abell S 805 A cluster of galaxies in Pavo. The group is easily located by dint of 4 mag 10-11 stars arranged on the western side of the GX cluster in a distorted trapezoid with the long axis oriented NW/SE. A 5th mag 12 star creates a triangle wit the two southernmost stars. At 283x, the brightest galaxy, IC 4765, was relatively easy to see, as a small, slightly elongted (E-W) blob of light. Just to the south of IC4765, and adjacent to the north of the star TYC 9073-467-1, is the small high SB elliptical PGC 62408. This GX was actually fairly easy to spot, owing to it's high SB, and was actually the second brightest of all cluster members observed. Also visible on the northern edge of PGC 62408 was the MAG 15.9 star USNAO2-0225-29565747!!! To the SE of IC4765 is the elliptical GX PGC 62393. This galaxy is located on the northern edge of a small quadralateral of mag 12-14 stars. This GX was extremely faint, at the absolute limit of vision. Located roughly midway between IC4765 and the mag 11 star TYC9703-1126-1 to the east is PGC 62391. Another very difficult object, virtually at the limit of detection, although it was slightly easier to spot than PGC62393. To the northwest of IC4765 is the edge on spiral IC 4766. This GX was also extremely faint, but it's NW/SE elongation was visible in momentary glimpses. I'd rate it as difficult as the above PGC members despite its larger size, owing to it's low surface brightness. The 4th confirmed hit was another edge on spiral, IC 4767, located SSE of IC 4765 on the outer SSE of the cluster. This galaxy appears to be the second-largest of the group on DSS images, but has an extremely low SB. It was incredibly difficult to spot, and when I did manage to see it, it was only in momentary glimpses. After several minutes of intent observation, it's NE/SW elongation was glimpsed. I'd rate this GX as the most difficult of the lot. To find it, I used an isoceles triangle of mag 14-15 stars for reference with the point aiming NE, with the galaxy just off southeast edge and in the same orientation. About 2 high-power eyepiece fields north/northeast of this complex is a chain of 6 very faint galaxies, dominated by the spiral IC 4769. This GX was not particularly difficult, owing to its relatively high SB core. It was easy to find by using two mag 15+ stars (and a third 14.3 mag star) framing its southern end. The other 5 galaxies are extremely small, faint and escaped my grasp. ---------------- Abell S 912 Galaxy cluster in Microscopium. Initially I used a mag of 283x, and after much searching, finally found the main cluster member, the large elliptical NGC 7012. The galaxy is accompanied by a mag 12.1 star on its SSW edge, which provided a good waypoint. 7012 was relatively bright, and I do mean relatively! Simply appeared as a small hazy blob, with perhaps a slight E-W elongation visible. Only one other cluster member was seen with certainty, and that is PGC 66118, located just to the SE of 7012. This GX appeared almost as bright as 7012, thanks to its compact high SB profile. DSS images show 2 very small galaxies located in the small gap between 7012 and pgc66118, so I attempted to hunt these down. Increasing power to 353x, and upon careful scrutiny of the field, to my surprise I managed to catch glimpses of the tiny galaxy located in this gap. (Don't know what the catalogue number is). I've attached an image of this cluster with the GX in question arrowed. ------------------- To finish off the session I had one last look at Jupiter. I was surprised by how sharp it was, at 272x I could see festoons and swirls in the NEB and SEB, including a nice big rift in the NEB. The main belts were wonderfully detailed, infact haven't seen the planet so sharp and well resolved before! What a nice way to end a great session
  10. Northern Vs Southern Hemisphere.

    Southern hemisphere would be the champ here.... The North has it's own showpieces, but most of those are visible from even southern Australia, whereas our best stuff are completely invisble from similar northern latitudes. At 35ºS for example, we can see M13, M57, M27, M45, the Viel Nebula, and All of the Virgo/Coma galaxy complex. From 35ºN, the LMC, SMC, 47 Tuc, NGC 6752 (third best globular) and Eta Carina are totally invisible, and Omega Centauri is hopelessly low on the horizon. We only really miss out on M51, M81/82 but then again we have NGC 253, NGC 55 and M83 Infact, M13 is 10 degrees closer to the celestial equator than Omega, so any latitude in the south has better access to M13 than a corressponding northern lat does to Omega. Ofcourse, having the center of the galaxy overhead is another big plus. Someone on Cloudynights likened this to comparing a Toyota Yaris to a Ferrari
  11. absolute shocker of a summer here in melbourne been more or less cloudy and in high TEENS and low 20's everyday since about mid November :I_ANGR~14: No respite in the forecast either :crazy:
  12. thanks Lismore bloke I think I'll have to download Cartes sounds like an awesome program. I see that PGC 62412 has a mag in the 15.3 range, blimey I'm stunned! Hard to believe that I actually went that deep from my outer suburban backyard with a 12" cheers
  13. ^^ that is a really cool setup! :bow: Here's my 12" dob. Got the scope + 32mm TV plossl + Telrad + 50mm finder + 3x TV barlow + a couple of filters + Sky Atlas 2000 + Nortons 2000 book for $600. It has hand figured optics and she really does pull in those faint fuzzies. After a recent session, I have glimpsed a mag 15.95 star (if the database I pulled the mag from is to be believed)! I've also picked up a couple of PGC galaxies in Abell S 805 these being my first PGC objects - exciting :woot:
  14. After the worst Autumn and winter on record, with constant freaking Melbourne cloud, it was, by a MIRACLE, clear! This was completely surprising, as Melbourne has a pathetic climate. Move over Britain :crazy: I removed several kilos of dust from the 12" truss dob, collimated it and hauled it outside. Left it for 3 hours, then I got KFC to solve my hunger issues for the night and to satisfy my KFC addiction. I'm happy to say, there is alot of left-over KFC, but no toilet paper Got started at about 9.30pm. There was a bit of wind which kept dew at bay so that was good. Seeing was poor (Melbourne-style), transparency seemed ordinary (lots of haze on the horizon during sunset). Despite this, it would prove to be a stunning night. I did the obligatory dusting of the primary mirror and found it was covered with cat hairs! I was like z0MG WTF!?! It was scary sight, but it blew off easily. Well that's what happens when there's 4 cats in the house. Scope: 12" F/4.6 truss dob Time: 9.30pm - 1am Seeing: 3-4/10 Transparency: 3/5 Jupiter I was quite impressed with the view at 176x and 208x. Despite seeing, I could see a series of ovals in the STeB and a series of streamers in the SEB. During one moment of good seeing it started to take on a semi-photographic appearance. Also spotted a couple of white ovals in the area adjecent the southern edge of the NEB, while the NEB itself was interesting, appearing like a dark brown streak set ontop of a wider paler band. Hints of festoons in good seeing. M27 Dumbell Nebula The Nob Head next door decided it would be fun to turn his lights on and off, so I was just brainstorming ways to kick his butt and nuke his light while observing the Dumbell for the first time with this scope. Luckily, his light is hidden behind my house, but the darned thing floods my backyard... At 108x, it was bright, apple core shape with a brighter blob on its southern edge. I tried it with the OIII filter and stuff me the thing was just blazing! The whole football shaped literally glowed a flourescent blue-green and just shone out of the eyepiece. Infact, I closed my eyes, and I could still see it....next time i'll have to double stack the OIII with the moon filter lol NGC 6572 Stumbled across the sky's 3rd best globular while hunting a galaxy cluster in Pavo. Pretty much resolved at 44x. Bumped it up to 217x and I could see a tiny, strange bar spiking out of the core in a southwesterly direction. It was tiny, didn't extend beyond the core area but anyone out there know what this is? Alignment of stars perhaps? NGC 6744 Big face-on spiral galaxy in Pavo. All I saw was a tiny fuzzy core at 83x. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Abell S 805 Now this is a galaxy cluster in Pavo. I printed out an iamge so I can use it to find the galaxies. The main galaxy is IC 4765 which was easy to spot as a formless glow at 217x. I spent about an hour picking off objects in this cluster. The other objects I spotted:- PGC 62408 Tiny elliptical galaxy adjacent a 10th mag star, whose glare made it difficult to observe this galaxy. That aside, the galaxy wasn't too difficult. I can't find magnitudes for this object anywhere. Anyone can help me out? IC 4766 Located east of 12th mag star USNAO0225-29566556, I did managed spot this galaxy intermittently, it was very faint and difficult to observe. Magnitude??? PGC 62412 I got rare glimpses of this galaxy, but it was extremely difficult to see, excessively faint and only manged to spot it maybe 25% of the time. Located about midway between IC4765 and 12th mag star USNAO0225-29566556. Any got the mag for this one? PGC 62391 Located midway between IC4765 and 11th mag star TYC9073-1126-1, I could only detect hints of this object, I may have seen it but not sure. Now for some observations of a few stars in this area which astounded me: USNOA2 0225-29556543 This star is located just north of a 12th mag pair. I could *just* detect this star, and so I jotted it down in my notes. I did a bit of sluething this morning was almost fell off my chair when I found it is magnitude 15.95!!!!!! IS THIS POSSIBLE!!?! I also definately saw the stars USNAO2 0225-29553970 and USNAO2 0225-29551360, but are they really mag 15.75 and 15.5 respectively FYI, all these observations were done at 217x. Here's a image of the galaxy cluster and the aforementioned stars: If anyone can help me out with the mags of these galaxies and stars that would be great. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Grus Quartet I only ever saw 3 of these 4 galaxies in my 4.5" and was totally stunned how easy they were in the 12". NGC 7552 was a somewhat circular orb with a stellar core at both 83x and 176x. NGC 7582 is the largest of the lot, a lovely spindle of light with a bright core at 83x while increasing mag to 176x bought out a tiny stellar core. NGC 7590 appeared as a bright, small sliver of light at 83x while a mag of 176x gave it a fatter, more diffuse appearance. NGC 7599 was larger and much more diffuse than NGC 7590, hence it appeared much fainter and infact was the faintest of all the Grus Quartet. At 176x I could see a tiny starlinke object just offset from the center of the galaxy towards the northeast. The core? Or a faint foreground star? All in all these 4 galaxies are very pretty in the 12" Helix Nebula Visible as a large round glow at 44x, hint of a brighter ring with fainter inner region. Dropped in the 17mm LVW for 83x and the OIII filter and wow there was a HUGE bright ring looming infront of me! The shape was defintely recognisable from photos and I could see that the north and south sides of the ring were brighter than the east-west. The central region was distinctly fainter than the outer ring but definately brighter than the background sky. Saw about 4-5 faint stars superimposed on the nebula (with OIII in place). Saturn Nebula Seeing was poor and this being a small object with detail, it would probably be not as good as it could be. At 217x I could see a greenish eye shaped ring bathed in a diffuse glow. I increased the power to 353x, defying the seeing and I could actually glimpse the 2 extensions which give the nebula its name!!! It took averted vision and concentration, but they were there! NGC 253 One of the highlights of the night for sure. At 108x, i could suspect mottling, and the core that's visible on photos was seen and I could even hint at a dust lane just to the northwest of the core. I increased mag to 176x and despite everything else, the galaxy was clearly mottled and uneven! The texture visible on photos was becoming apparent! NGC 247 Just a fat, stubby streak at 83x, framed by 3 11th mag stars. NGC 55 NGC 253's sister IMO! At 176x, it started to take on a mottled, knotted appearance. 3 tiny clumps of brightness were visible towards the western end, while another less conspicious blob was seen just east of the main bunch. Like ngc253, would be a stunner from dark skies! NGC 134 Lovely bright streak of light at 217x. I got the impression that the northwestern edge of the galaxy was obscured by a dust lane. A 13.5 mag star lies just to the northeast of the core with another 13.5 mag star a bit further away on the opposite side. I was going to go for the Pegasus cluster but ran out of steam. Packed it in at about 1am and topped it off with a hot chocolate. A fantastic comeback to observing!