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Nine Year Itch


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On June the 4th 2024 it was exactly nine years since I managed to set-up my Sky-Watcher Explorer 130M aka the ‘Bazooka’ for the first time since surviving several crippling strokes leaving me permanently disabled. I had managed to set-up the 130M OTA indoors several times. However, on that blisteringly hot day in 2015 I wanted to see if I could transport the ‘Bazooka’ and its mount down my rather long garden. This was a bit of a feat in itself (don’t get me started about the sunburn lol). Initially I set-up the OTA as a practice run. Venus and Jupiter were quite visible setting in the early twilight. Inevitably I left the telescope in situ and viewed Venus and Jupiter. Venus was literally a day or two off dichotomy. Later I caught a transit Saturn at around midnight. I was too fatigued to wait for the Moon and packed up. I recall looking up at a fairly clear sky and thinking of all the future observing possibilities. 




Fast forward to the same day in 2024 that was a little less heatwave and more of a clammy cloudwave (at least no sunburn!). Also definitely no planets. I decided to set-up my 72mm Sky-Watcher Evostar ED doublet anyway. I took the Nagler 3-6mm zoom, 9mm Nagler T6 and a 19mm Panoptic. The conditions weren’t brilliant (bad jet stream vibes) but at least there was no cloud. Although I did take a scary fall off the garden path into my sunken garden, miraculously not injuring myself on the low wall between the two. The stargazing elves must have been in a good mood. At about 23:30 I observed Eta and Zeta Bootis. Next up were both Double Doubles. Cassiopeia was very low but I could actually see Iota Cass with the naked eye (just). 




Antares (the rival to Mars) in Scorpio was nicely red low in the south. I decided to try the Astronomik OIII with the 19mm Panoptic (3mm exit pupil). I found M27 fairly easily with the 19mm and the OIII. I then found it again at 47x with the Nagler and no filter. Oddly, it was more defined with the OIII at 22x. The Ring Nebula was also fairly easily found both at 70x and 47x. I observed a fair few open clusters at lower powers including the ‘Owl’ in Cassiopeia and I’m pretty sure I caught IC 4665 aka ‘The Summer Beehive’ low in the south (Ophiuchus).




Apparently Messier missed this one, although it is a loose cluster and requires quite a low power to view successfully. It seems to be predominantly made up of blue stars and is roughly 1400 light years away. I found both Hercules clusters easily enough. Eventually after a good two and a half hours I was a bit tired and my finder was dewing, so I called it a night. I pondered on waiting for an early morning twilight Saturn, but decided against it. I’ve learned a lot over the past nine years. Mainly, I should have bought a small ED doublet earlier lol. 


I lost my mobility to high blood pressure, but my heart to the stars. 

Edited by Nightspore
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