Had a lovely night at the observatory tonight.
The Messier highlight was a first cataloguing of M93, an open cluster in Puppis. This brings the Planet and Deep Sky Object object observatory catalogue to over 70 objects. This was a lovely cluster, quite bright considering its low altitude, (right on the cusp of the slight hill to the south of the observatory). I found it with the go-to device, which isn’t taking me directly to the objects I’m dialling in, and I think this is due to the scope not being level.
Messier described this as being in ‘Argo Navis’, which is something to do with Jason and the Argonaughts, and a lot cooler sounding than ‘Puppis’. I feel cheated.
I also tried some photography through the 8″ and got a very very crude shot of the ‘top’ of M42 and the ‘coma’ of nebulousness that is M43. This shot would make a true astro-photographer recoil in horror, but I was chuffed to see I’d captured some of the billowing-smokey gas clouds surrounding Bond’s star – for it is that star that illuminates the gas, so I’ve read.