Messier 42

Astro Log: December 30th, 2015

Equipment: Orion Skyview 6 Deluxe EQ, Nikon 10x50 binoculars (new item), 32mm TeleVue Plössl eyepiece (new item), 9mm Planetary eyepiece. Previously viewed objects: Messier 42, Messier 45, Messier 31 Not much of a night out, but I did get to try out the TeleVue 32mm Plössl eyepiece I picked up a couple of months ago finally, along with the 10x50 binoculars I got for Christmas. Both were very nice, but while it was a reasonably clear night it was awfully humid.

Astro Log: December 14th, 2014

Equipment: 102mm Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope, 32mm, 25mm, 15mm, 12.4mm eyepieces, tabletop mount, AstroMaster 76’s mount. New objects observed: none Previously viewed objects: Messier 44, Messier 45, Messier 42, NGC 1981, Jupiter, Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, Trapezium New equipment! A 102mm Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope from Orion with a tabletop mount, suitable for packing in one’s luggage and taking on a trip.

Astro log: Catching up, late 2010-May 2012

I've fairly diligently kept up keeping records of what I've been observing, either by tweeting about it or noting it in the notes on my iPhone or in SkySafari (also on my iPhone). It's been a pretty brutal last year and a half or so, weatherwise, so I had surprisingly few chances to even get out and observe anything. Plus, once you've fallen behind a bit it's hard to pick yourself up and get caught up.

Astro log: November 10th, 2010

Equipment: Orion Skyview 6 Deluxe EQ, 32mm, 15mm, 12.4mm eyepieces. OIII filter. New objects observed: Messier 1, Messier 35, Messier 37, Messier 38, NGC 1981, Trapezium Previous objects observed: Messier 42, Messier 36 Notes: Productive, although freezing and dewy sort of night. Started off going  M42, but Orion was at a place in the sky that it was really hard to aim my telescope at and still be able to look into it without leaning way way over it while standing on a stool, so I moved on until it came around to a better spot.

Astro log: Dec. 12th, 2009

Equipment: Orion Skyview 6 Deluxe EQ, using the 32, 15, 6, and 4 mm eyepieces.

New object observed: Mars

Previous objects observed: M42, M81, M82

Possibly glimpsed: NGC 3077 or NGC 2976


It was still a cold night, but not quite as brutal as the last night out. It was a fairly short session as well, since the sky clouded up, but after using the eyepatch before I went out I was able to see both M81 and M82 again (also, I looked in the right place for M82 this time -- d'oh!). I may have also seen one of the nearby NGC galaxies, either NGC 3077 or NGC 2976, but I ended up not being able to find it again so I'm not claiming it as seen at this point.

Other than that, I looked at the always lovely Orion Nebula, and just as the clouds were starting to come in I moved the telescope and looked at Mars briefly. Unfortunately between the transparency issues that night, the clouds that were showing up, and poor seeing, I couldn't get much out of it.

Using the hair dryer for the purposes of defogging worked pretty well though this night, though. That was nice.

Astro log: Dec. 9th, 2009

Equipment: Orion Skyview 6 Deluxe EQ, using the 32, 15, 6, and 4 mm eyepieces and the ultrablock & OIII filters.

New object observed: NGC 2392 (Eskimo Nebula)

Previous objects observed: M42, M81, M45


It was a brutally cold night, at about 12°F, but I was able to stay out for about an hour or so until my feet were too cold to go on. It turns out that at that temperature, extension cords (for hair dryers) are extremely stiff, and my stool that I sit on was frozen stiff. Couldn't turn it or make it go up and down.

At the beginning of my observing session, I was able to find M81, but not M82. I think, in the future, when I try to find them I'm going to need to make sure that I put my eyepatch on ahead of time to give myself a fighting chance of seeing them better. I would have gone back to it later, but didn't find the time before I was freezing too much.

The big find of the night, and an appropriate one given the weather conditions, was seeing the Eskimo Nebula. While the OIII filter didn't help with it at all (not sure because of conditions or what), the ultrablock did some. They weren't really very necessary, though; just looking at it with the naked eye, though, was enough, and I was even able to discern some detail from it, in that I could see the center being brighter than the dimmer outside. It didn't look like the pictures, of course, but I could see how it looks like that from what I saw. Not too bad.

The Pleiades and Orion Nebula were, as usual, stunning. Mars was not quite far enough over the house to look at last night; by the time it was high enough that I could see it standing up but still too low to get with the telescope, I was having to defog my eyepieces with the hair dryer (which worked nicely) and the oddly frozen extension cord, and I couldn't feel my toes anymore. At that point, I elected to go back in.

Astro log: Nov. 13th, 2009

Equipment: Orion Skyview 6 Deluxe EQ and Celestron Astromaster 76 EQ, using the 32, 25, 15, and 9 mm eyepieces and the ultrablock filter.

New objects observed: dew

Previously observed objects: M31, M32, M42


I had had great hopes for this night - the sky was going to be clear for a long time for the first time in ages, with halfway decent transparency to boot. I went and set up my shelter and scope early in the night, but found that there wasn't a whole lot out that I could look at early on, so I went back inside, leaving my stuff out for later.

When I came back out, I was a bit surprised to find that massive amounts of dew had settled on everything. Still, it wasn't the end of the world. I started looking around, but found that I was having a really hard time finding anything in my finder scope. Then I noticed that I was having a tough time seeing anything at all. Finally I shined my red flashlight on my eyepiece, and saw that it was fogged up. Oh no!

I tried swapping other eyepieces in, but that didn't help. The primary mirror was fine, at least, but I still couldn't see anything. Eventually I noticed that the secondary mirror was fogged up, so I packed everything up and took it back into the garage. I pointed the 6" upside down to dry out and left the lens case open so that could fully dry out as well. I took the 3" out for a spin for a while and was able to see M31 (but not M32) and M42, but not with the same detail as with the 6" of course. I am not, however, sure how much of the difference was from the size of the mirrors and how much was from any dewing on the 3".

After a while, I brought the 6" back out and was able to observe M31, M32, and M42 briefly, but it dewed up again within a few minutes and I gave up. I have begun researching anti-dewing solutions and will try them out next time the weather permits observation.

Astro log: Nov. 8th, 2009

Equipment: Orion Skyview 6 Deluxe EQ, using the 32, 15, and 10 mm eyepieces and the broadband,  ultrablock, and OIII filters. New objects observed: M42, Betelgeuse Previous objects observed: M81, M82, M31, M32 Notes: The Moon was not out, and the clouds parted, for the first time in weeks, so I went out for a brief unplanned session with the telescope. Unfortunately transparency wasn't real great and skyglow was fairly bad, so it wasn't the best night.