|A decent night for viewing. Though the moon is a waning half moon, it didn't rise (over my trees anyway) until around 1 am. So I got a few good hours in.
Over the last 3 wqeeks I have not had much of a chance to observe. So last night was a real treat. The sky is looking different to me. I'm not used to seeing Perseus, Andromeda and Pegasus so high. So I spent a couple of hours learning the September easter/southeastern sky.
Perseus, Andromeda, Pegasus, Equuleus, Triangulum, Pisces, Aries, Camelepardalis, Auriga, Taurus, Cetus, Aquarius and Capricorn are new for me. From my backyard, I was able to do some memorization of these constellations as well as some observing within them.
Tonight I only pointed my binoculars to M31. The moon It was still low enough to show me about 2 or so degreees of it. This is always a fascinating object.
NGC7662 - Blue Snowball
The objective in locating this object was just to make sure I still knew where it was since it has been some time since I last looked at it. Sure enough, there is was. Though at low power it does not look much different than the stars around it, it is definitely distinct enough to recognize you have the Blue Snowball.
*NGC 752 - Open Cluster
Very nice, large open cluster. This is a new object for me. It takes up over half a degree with many bright stars. I'm suprised this is not in the Messier list.
M76 - Little Dumbbell - Planetary Nebula
Not really engaging with objects tonight, I'm more after learning and memorizing the location. I see that M76 is relatively bright, and just north-west of Phi Persei. Left it and came back a few times just to make sure I had it.
M34 - Spiral Cluster - Open Cluster
Very nice open cluster. Last time I found this object I was looking for new objects. Now I know exactly where to look to find it.
M33 - Triangulum Galaxy - Spiral Galaxy
Next to Andromeda, I think this is the second largest galaxy I've seen. It's large and bright. Even as the moon was rising I could easily see this one. There were no dust lanes or detail of any sort, but definitely there.
M74 - Phantom Galaxy - Spiral Galaxy
Boy was this one hard. I got to the point where I had to move field by field from Eta Piscium. Once I knew I was looking right at it... I stared hard... squinted... used my imagination alot.. and presto! Seriously though, it was very very faint. Somewhat large too. I'd say it was about as big as M101. But even dimmer.
*M77 - Cetus A - Spiral Galaxy
What a a treat! M77 is in my list of M objects yet to see. Coming up slowly between the trees, I wondered if I was looking in the right spot. Bang! There it was. 9.7 magnitude, but with a bright enough nucleus I could see it even so low on the horizon and with Portland not too far off. I didn't study this object tonight as I want to move on to other things. I plan on completing my Messier list next weekend (Lord willing!) at an all night observation session (3 nights actually!) at Indian Trail Spring - some of the highest, darkest sky in the Northwest - with 360 degree horizon to boot!
If it's still clear tomorrow, I'll come out and solidify the various object's I memorized tonight.