Began: 2/6/13 8:14 PM
Finished: 2/7/13 12:35 AM
Seeing: III. Somewhat stable
Transparency: Clear
Site: Norton, Johnson Rd Farm

Learning my new Celestron AVX mount. Bryan was also over and was showing some things off to him.

This session was interupted for an hour or so by clouds moving through. I took that opportunity to drive a bit SW to a yellow sky zone that didn’t have clouds at the time to do a quick compare of the sky there vs. my house. A change, but not as much as I would have thought. I took my UltraView 10x50’s and observed Jupiter, Pleiades, Orion Nebula and the Andromeda Galaxy.

My mount worked great. I did learn very quickly, though, that I need something more than a planisphere to identify the stars that the AVX wants to align with. For my first alignment, pointed the best I could to Polaris, then just centered Polaris through the bore of the mount. I then did a 2-star align plus an additional 2 stars. Some of my GOTO objects were in the center, others were not exactly there but all were within the FOV of my 18mm Gary Russel 2” EP. I have on order an illuminated reticle EP by Celestron that I am sure will help out, in addition to doing a full 2+4. I was just too anxious to give GOTO a try, being my first GOTO mount/scope.

  1. M31 a Galaxy in the Andromeda constellation (also named Andromeda Galaxy, NGC224, UGC454,Andromeda A,Andromeda Galaxy) observed at 8:28 PM - with my C8/VX (GR 18mm)
  2. Jupiter a Planet in the Taurus constellation observed at 8:36 PM - with my C8/VX (GR 12mm), C8/VX (GR 18mm and a 2X Barlow)
  3. M42 a Open+D Neb in the Orion constellation (also named Great Orion Nebula, Orion A, NGC1976,Trapezium) observed at 8:14 PM - with my C8/VX (GR 18mm)
  4. M78 a D Neb in the Orion constellation (also named NGC2068) observed at 9:32 PM - Some but not much nebulocity seen. Identified by two brighter stars at either end of the nebula. - with my C8/VX (GR 18mm)
  5. M79 a Globular in the Lepus constellation (also named NGC1904) observed at 11:21 PM - Looked more like a nebula even with my GR 12. - with my C8/VX (Z 30mm), C8/VX (GR 18mm), C8/VX (GR 12mm)
  6. M43 a D Neb in the Orion constellation (also named De Mairan’s Nebula (Orion Nebula Extension), NGC1982) observed at 11:53 PM - Observed many times, I just didn’t realize it had its own Messier catalog number. - with my C8/VX (GR 18mm)
  7. HR219 a Mult in the Cassiopeia constellation (also named η Cas, 24 Cas, SAO21732, HD4614) observed at 12:05 AM - Before closing up shop, I decided to try a few of my AVX’s “Night Sky Tour” features, picked this object on a whim and when I saw how low in the horizon it was, I almost just moved to the next object with out looking, but wow, there it was! It was pretty fun to look, it was my multiple star of any kind (binary, triple or more). I was able to see easily two stars but did not get crisp star points being so low on the horizon, but very enjoyable. Once I log a few more Messier objects, I am certainly going to start exploring star systems, what a cool find! - with my C8/VX (GR 18mm)
  8. NGC1664 a Open in the Auriga constellation observed at 12:20 AM - This was also from my Sky Tour Feature. To be honest, I had my gloves off for the last few minutes fidgiting with various EPs on my last observation and my hands were about numb. I saw it was an open cluster and packed things up. I almost didn’t log it because I didn’t spend any time with it, but I’ll visit it again! - with my C8/VX (GR 18mm)