I Bagged My First DSO with a Pair of Binoculars

My Nikon 8×40 Action VII

Last night, I setup my Newt to look for M13, the Hercules globular cluster. My 4th attempt.

Earlier in the day, I had been in contact with another astronomer an hour away to the north. At night fall, he texted me and told me that he’s got M13 in his CPC 800 through 18mm and it was brilliant taking up a third of the frame. That prompted me to quickly setup my gear in the yard: collimated scope, eyepieces, Stellarium, eye patch, towel & coffee… check! Darkness was good (before the moon rose anyway), excellent transparency, good seeing, no wind, normal humidity, and mild temperatures.

After an hour, I still could not find M13. I know where it should be and what it looks like. I tried it with my binoculars and I still can’t find it. I brought out my 90mm refractor and I still cannot find it. I has been 2 hours and the moonlight has started to make the sky glow. So I packed up.

The last thing I brought back inside were my binoculars (Nikon 8×40 Action VII). But before I walked in, I thought of checking out Andromeda with my binos. I slewed towards Cassiopaea then scanned downwards diagonally to where it points. Then, there it was. I noticed a blurry dark grey patch at the corner of my eye. I slewed towards it, past it, back and forth. It was undeniable: that was the Andromeda Galaxy. My first DSO. The feeling was a mix of excitement and awkward fear. Excited because I finally bagged my first DSO ever. Awkward fear was because it was like unveiling a ghost that had been staring at me since birth and all I saw was a tiny portion of it.

My bino’s beat out my telescopes even on a sky with moonlight. I suspect the problem is with my eyepieces. Today, I will be receiving my first real eyepieces (Celestron X-Cel LX). The forecast tonight looks good and will give it another go at M13.

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