Observing the deep sky at high power


Kent Blackwell
 

I had a most incredible view of Mars last night at 1:00 am. It's really getting large in angular size. The southern polar cap was bright white but tiny.
 
Equally incredible was a view of NGC 7009, the Saturn Nebula, nicknamed because of it's squashed shape resembling the planet Saturn. I have never seen it like that, using a 3.4mm VIxen HR eyepiece yielding a whopping 933x! I tried that eyepiece on M57, The Ring Nebula. It nearly filled the entire field of view. I could not, however see the central star. Stepping down in power to ~only~ 630x I occasionally saw it with averted vision.

I also revisited Pease 1, a planetary nebula embedded within the glorious globular cluster, M 15 in Pegasus. It's a challenge to see. I normally don't like using nebula filters when the eyepiece exit pupil is smaller than 2 or 3mm but in this case I had to up the power to 500x. With that power as I blinked the Lumicon OIII filter the illusive stellar planetary popped into view. I was excited. Shall I shout it was the best I've ever seen it?

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