Monday, September 28, 2009

M2, M15, M27, M29

Sometime last week I decided to try to bag some M's. I sat at the computer going through Stellarium to see which Messier objects I could get to at that time, which must have been about 11:00pm or so, I can't remember exactly (I slacked on the blog, yes). Having taken my MacBook Pro outside, with my binoculars on the tripod, I went through a repeated manual search of Messier objects in Stellarium, one by one, starting with M1.

What I found was that M2 was available to me, near Jupiter, as well as M27, M29, and back to M15 at the end. So I started hunting for M2. this was possibly the hardest one, because what I was seeing on Sellarium was getting hard to match up in the live night sky. But after about 20 minutes of going from my computer screen, to my binoculars, and trying to match up asterisms, I was finally able to bag M2. Yes!

So I went onto M27 and M29, because I was looking at the summer triangle and happened to turn on a feature in Stellarium where the labeling for nebulas and globular clusters were turned on, and I saw that M27 and M29 were very near to Deneb. Using the asterisms starting from Deneb and its closest stars I starhopped myself to these two Messier objects in no time at all. The faint fuzzies in my binocs were able to be seen, but of course not as clearly as M31 that first night. I had to use averted vision to make sure that I was seeing the right objects and not imagining things.

After these two I realized that M15 was available to me as well, and swiftly went after that and spied it too.

By the time I was done, I had realized that it was about 12:45 and that I really needed to get to bed. So I packed it all up, with a big feeling of satisfaction and had a good night's sleep.

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