When I arrived at Long Sault Conservation Area, there were parts of the sky where it was very clear. The eastern part of the Milky Way was easily viewable but from zenith westward, it was washed out with clouds and light pollution. I printed off “The Evening Sky Map” ahead of time and planned on taking M2, M39, and M92 by highlighting them with pink highlighter before driving. But I could not tell which ones I highlighted through the red flashlight! Also, I installed my new dew shield on my finder scope but I threw it out of alignment. I was too lazy to line it up and instead picked M81 and M82 from the Sky Map by rough aligning and panning… and I found it within 2 minutes without the finder scope! I was at awe to see 2 distant galaxies in 1 eyepiece! They appeared very similar length wise, but one is flatter. By the time I finished with the sketch, the clouds have taken over 30% of the sky. I was so satisfied with tonight’s short but sweet session, so I packed it in.
Objects #6, #7: M81, M82
Location: Clarington, ON
Date/Time: Sep. 25, 2013 10:00 PM
Constellation: Ursa Major
Seeing: Below average with cloud patches
Telescope: D=305 mm F=1500 mm
Magnification: 62 x @ 82° AFOV
Notes: Two patches of very dim smudges. One looks like a galaxy that is flat and edge on. The other more oval. Found it difficult to reach focus. Very low in the horizon.
On September 17, 2013, I officially started the pursuit of my Messier 30 certificate. It is an exciting awards program for astronomy club members and a way for amateur astronomers to keep track of their observations. The Messier 30 is the first milestone in AstronomyForum.net‘s certificate program. The Durham Region Astronomy Association also has one.