The weather has been pretty good since the BBQ last weekend and my last observing session. Lots of clear bright sunny days and warm with it. Summer has sprung with a vengeance, although I suspect this is more like ‘one last gasp’ before Autumn sets in.

Last night wasn’t too bad. The Moon was just starting to come up in the East, which was fine, as I wanted to try and view as may objects in Sagittarius before it sinks below the horizon for another year.
Objects observed were M26, M29, M39 and M73.

At 21:-4 UT, conditions were Clear, and seeing was Perfect. Here are the entries from my observing log from last night.


Best view through Meade Series 4000 SWA 18mm, 18.0mm, 111x, 34.0′

Four principle stars make up the core in a chair shaped asterism. The front leg is a blue white star SAO 142584 and the rear  an orange star J184516.1-092415. The shape of the chair reminds me of the traditional shape of Cassiopeia’s throne.

Stare long enough and I see an elephant head on, ears outstretched to to the North and East and the trunk curving out to the south west. I also got a hint of a Koala Bear. Isn’t the imagination a wonderful thing!!


Hardly detectable in the TMB. Just a light hazy cloud. Through the RC with Meade Series 4000 SWA 18mm, 18.0mm, 111x, 34.0′ components very easy to see.

The fact that this is all I wrote means I must have found this object particularly unimpressive.


Altair Astro 250mm R.C Meade Series 4000 40mm Plössl, 40.0mm, 50x, 51.6′ Too big for the 10 inch.

TMB 80mm F/6, Meade Series 4000 26mm Plössl, 18x Much nicer through the TMB. Skytools says it’s not visible through the 26mm under these conditions, but it was blindingly obvious – and stars as sharp as a pin. I love refractor views of stars.

Shape reminds me of a Star Trek comms badge, with the point of the top of the badge pointing East.


Meade Series 4000 SWA 18mm, 18.0mm, 111x, 34.0′

Two lobes of the planetary nebula easily visible. However, no structure as such could be made out and it certainly didn’t look like the DSS image here. For one the core wasn’t anywhere as prominent. Moon coming up. Rather disappointed with this object. Stared at this for 10 mins or so, but couldn’t eak out any more detail, no matter what eyepiece I tried.

Still getting to grips with Skytools 3, but have come across a number of things that Astroplanner does better. I think I need to use both side by side for a while why I become more familiar with both. I need to settle on using one piece of software as duplicating the log on both is time consuming at the moment.

The other thing that is becoming apparent is that I should stop trying to write my notes at the PC –  far too time consuming and it’s not capturing everything I see at the scope. So I need to find a dictaphone. At least with one of these I can rabbit on for as long as I’m observing and then write up the log later.