Equipment Upgrade - M13 & M31 Sightings

Vixen Porta II To the Rescue

My Vixen Porta II Mount Head came in the mail today and I could not wait to try it out… was so excited I ended up all set up outside hardly 15 minutes past sunset. The mount works perfectly with the vixen dovetail on my AWB Onesky barrell and even is surprisingly supported well on the Promaster XC-M 525 tripod. Now people online did not have a lot of great things to say with the precision alt-azmuth knobs included with the Porta II, however I found they did their job quite well. With the understanding that lower power eyepieces are better for finding larger nebulas and the precision knobs, I easilly found the dumbbell nebula again.

Hercules Globular Cluster

Today I realized I had been a looking at the wrong group of stars. It turns out Hercules is a bit further above Vega than I originally thought. Once I got this down, and I was able to point my telescope at the “corner” star closest to M13, it just required a slow pan across the axis of the constellation and this yellow smudge appeared. I must say it was much cooler than the faint smudge that was M27. However, it left a lot to be desired (dark skys cannot come soon enough… light pollution kinda sucks).

Andromeda Galaxy

All it took to find this one was to start from the orangish Miroch star, pan a bit left, then travel up. M31 had a similar coloring/fuzziness as M13, however I do believe its shape was a bit different. Again, will need to hook up a camera and get out of the light pollution (there are literally multiple streetlights surrounding me during most of my Dublin observations) to really see the beauty of these DSO’s.

Jupiter Photography Attempt

I bought a telescope camera mount off of Amazon. Can’t say it is the best, but it gets the job done. End of the day, hooking up a DSLR is WAY better. However I was able to shoot this interesting shot of Jupiter. As you can see the lighting is quite weird, but at least we can see some of the moons. Do note today is the day after opposition, so Jupiter is fairly large in the sky (even more so than normal).

Jupiter

Conclusion

Pretty incredible day - starting to knock some of the easiest to spot nebulas, galaxies, clusters, etc. off my checklist. The precision knobs of the Vixen Porta II on top my Promaster tripod really made a big difference today. So too did moving to a lower power eyepiece. I really look forward to getting back to dark skies. I hope to be well practiced when I get there so I can really take advantage.