|Location||Santa Barbara, California|
Beginner astronomer, constant neck-ache, Admin of Astrochallenge.com
A very faint globular right between the SE corner of Ophiuchus and the top of Scorpius. I'm glad I found this one, it's helped me to get my bearings and confirm that I am indeed looking at the correct stars in Ophiuchus. It isn't the easiest constellation in the sky.
Another Saturday night and I'm up at the winery again with the Santa Cruz astronomy club, and it's looking like it's going to be a good night. Venus and Jupiter are already shining bright above the sunset in the west and despite the coast being covered in fog, at our elevation things look clear.
Tonight I will be hunting for globular clusters. To start things off I've observed M4: a bright globular in Scorpius that is popular and easy to find due to it's proximity to Antares (which I learned tonight means Mars' red rival). It's a good looking globular, but I'm excited to continue the hunt for some more elusive targets in Ophiuchus.
The fog started to move in on the Santa Cruz Astronomy Club meeting last night around 10:30. Luckily I had just finished my marathon observation of the Virgo cluster, and I was getting tired. We noticed Saturn had risen, and the head of the familiar summertime constellation Scorpius was poking her head above the horizon.
Out of curiosity, and because the area was nearly the only part of the sky no completely covered in fog, I pointed the scope at the Graffias (B-Scorpii) and lo and behold - optical double. A very nice one too.
All in all a great session in an amazing location: a winery patio high in the Santa Cruz Mountains surrounded by alpacas! Good company too. Thanks John Pierce for helping me collimate my Dob to perfection.
Other highlight was seeing Sirius dazzle the western horizon around sunset through John's enormous binoculars.
Thanks again to the Santa Cruz Astronomy Club for a great night. See you again soon.
This concludes my tour of the Virgo cluster starting at Vindemiatrix and ending somewhere along Leo's tail with M86 and M84. Never before have I seen so many galaxies in such a short amount of time. With confidence, I can say I counted 9 galaxies in total. That's one less than are in the Messier list for this cluster, but to be honest counting them was very difficult. Distinguishing them was even harder. One thing is for sure though: I observed a lot of galaxies.
M49 is one of the more prominent galaxies in the Virgo cluster that I found, but that could be because it is fairly removed from the others. It appears larger in angular size than many of the others. There is another galaxy M61 just barely visible in my FOV to the south.
|Orion 10'' SkyQuest dobsonian||53|
|Orion Scenix 10x50 Binoculars||2|
|Mead LX200 (Cabrillo Observatory)||4|
|LCOGT 1Meter Scope - Sinistro||8|