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Sunday, June 26th, 2005
I went out viewing at the darkest time of the night tonight. Between Midnight and 1 am. I set my scope out a few hours earlier so that when I was ready to view, the mirror was acclimated to the temperature. Unfortunately, there was quite a bit of atmospheric disturbance so viewing wasn't as good as it could have been.
 
Even with the conditions as mediocre as they were, I didn't actually look at very many objects because I got fascinated right away and started experimenting which made tonight very interesting. I took a slightly different approach to viewing globular clusters: High power. Looking back in my journal, I've never looked at M92, M3 or M5 at 300 power. Tonight I did and it was spectacular.

Though the clouds were slowly whisping in I was able to catch 5 of them to try high power views on.
 
M3
Though B??otes was beginning his descent, and for me that means passing through the far edge of the Portland light bubble, when looking at the cluster at 300 power I could see stars resolving right into the core. The GC also looked much larger (duh) than I'm used to seeing it. I was very pleaseed with this view.
 
M5
Holy macarel. I've never seen M5 look like this. Again, stars to the core. Fantastic. I was surprised to see many stars surrounding the main core of the cluster. There were more stars loosley and faintly surrounding the core than the other clusters. This gave it a real peppered look to it. In total it was almost as big as M13, though not as bright, literally filling my field of view in the 5.1mm eyepiece.
 
M13
M13 was nearly straight up in the darkest part of the sky. As I looked at it at 300x I recalled how last summer my favorite view was at about 90 power with my 16mm EP (2" 32mm with a 2x Barlow). I didn't push it any more because I liked the way it was framed at the lower power. Pushing it to 300x tonight really made it look like a spider. The curved lines of stars were clearly reaching out from the nucleus in several directions and the clear white stars were resolving nicely.
 
M53
I could barely see the stars in Come Bernices. Only with averted vision did I find the pointer star. This one was by far the most disappointing. A grey splotch in the soup of turbulent atmosphere only about 25 degrees off of the horizon. I was amazed that I resolved anything at all, but sure enough, like the others, there was more resolution than I was expecting to see. There was a tiny bit of contrast between a few brighter white stars and the greyish massat the nucleus.
 
M92
Also nearly straight up in the darkest part of the sky, I've never seen this cluster look like this. The high power makes a significant difference in looking at this object. Like M5, it also nearly filled the field of view. Spectacular.
 
*NGC 6712 - Globular Cluster
I stumbled across this one. I've never seen it before, but found it looking for M11. It's an 8.1 mag GC, but I couldn't really get it to resolve much. I pounced on it at 300x, but it nearly dissappeared with the light loss. I'll add this one to the list for my dark sky outing to Indian Trail Spring in two weeks.
 
 
I looked at a few other things, but this was the bulk of my hour. Very satisfying in light of the limited viewing opportunities we've had here in the Northwest this year.






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