6th November 2020

Friday, 6:45 pm to 10:00 pm

Messier Hunt Day 1; M15, the Pegasus Cluster!

Observed Jupiter and Saturn at 67x under the clear sky. The view was much more stable and easy to move around now that I mounted the tabletop mount on top of the tripod. I was able to see more details on both Jupiter and Saturn at the higher magnification. The bands on Jupiter were slightly visible, although the planet was bright.

In the case of Saturn, the gap between the rings and the planet is more visible now. It is easier to make out the shape of ring and its position.

7:24 pm Tried to locate M29 in Cygnus and failed. I will try again tomorrow. M15 near the star Enif seemed like an easier target even though it was directly overhead and thus making it a little hard for me to aim the telescope directly up the zenith (The azimuth rotation keeps rotating around a center point and not point to the zenith exactly). I then replaced the 5x24 finderscope and was able to point the scope at Enif using the red dot finder.

Once I reached Enif, I was able to starhop to M15 by holding the star atlas upside down. It was challenging as well as fun with the number of stars in my field of view much higher than what is provided in the atlas. After a few hops I ended up with a "star with a fuzzy patch" around it, with three other stars nearby. As it wasn't legible from the atlas, I tried switching from 20x to 40x to 67x and the patch stayed more or less the same.

Then I googled pictures of M15 and saw the same pattern of stars (the three ones around the cluster). The feeling of finally confirming to yourself that you found the celestial object is exhilarating and was nostalgic of the time I had spotted M1 back in 2014.

Anyway I hopped back to Enif after taking down a few sketches and drew a detailed star hopping chart (as I like to call it) from the nearest naked eye star, Enif, to the cluster.

Later at night, at around 10 pm, I spotted the Andromeda Galaxy pretty easily. I observed for quite a few minutes, trying hard to spot the smaller M32 and M110 near to it through the scope, but I couldn't make it out. I would either have to try long exposure photography or try again at a more clearer night with lesser light pollution. I did sketch nearby stars for future spotting though