Arun Waves

May 14, 2011

What can you see with a 4.5″ telescope? – Ptolemy Cluster (M7)

Filed under: Astronomy — Arun @ 3:45 pm
Tags: , ,

Surprise surprise, I woke up at 3am to feed the baby and once I was done I decided to step outside with my 10*50 binocular and voila ……….. there was M7 in all its glory 🙂 I ran back in and got my telescope.

The exciting part was that it was not visible with naked eyes, the light pollution was surprisingly high even at such early hours – suburban skies, what more can I say :mad:. I saw something that looked like the Orion’s belt and in my zeal to view my favorite constellation (actually asterism) using my first telescope, I quickly concluded that it was the Orion’s belt. But a voice deep inside me kept on pointing to contrary evidence like the absence of Betelgeuse or why was Orion’s sword’s center star so bright?! While scanning the alleged Orion’s sword I went off track and chanced upon this high concentration of stars. Immediately I knew that it was a star cluster. Happy with my observation and eager to catch some sleep before the baby wakes up I went to bed. As soon as I got up I looked up the star chart and almost instantly realized my folly, Orion’s belt is not visible during early summer (May) 🙄 So what was it? luckily I remembered the approximate orientation, time and star layout, and it turned out to be …….. M7 – a beautiful open cluster, also known as Ptolemy Cluster. This is the essence of astronomy as a hobby, a chance discovery, seeing things that are not visible with naked eyes.

25mm EP (eyepiece) (36X with a Meade 4400) gave the best view where you could distinguish the cluster’s stars from the overall background stars. The 12.5 mm EP was way too zoomed in to appreciate the cluster and as usual the 4mm was absolutely useless.

As far as pics, I need to see what I can do, esp. since I do not have a tracking mount and anything other than the moon and planets are difficult to image without tracking.


1 Comment »

  1. I know these posts are a little old, but I just came across your site. Nice to see someone still using this scope, as it does a pretty good job. It’s amazing what is in reach of a little 4.5″ newtonian.

    Are you still using the .965″ eyepieces for it? 1.25″ plossl’s do a much better job. The views are much sharper and brighter. The 4400 doesn’t accept them as-is, but can be made to with one of these:

    Clear skies to you.

    Comment by Travis — January 31, 2013 @ 9:12 am | Reply

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