As some of y'all know, I bought a used Zhumell Z10 for $300 on May 20th. As is expected, getting this kind of deal on that size scope leads to clouds. I didn't know just how many cloudy nights this would usher in, as we all know how horrible the skies have been for the last three month which hasn't allowed me to really put it to work. It admittedly has provided me with some nice views of Jupiter a few times when I've woken up early to observe from my Bortle 7 house, but the summer Milky Way targets remained unobserved... until last night!
I drove out to my in-law's house in south Ponte Vedra where their house sits on the Guana River since it has a really good western sightline over the marsh which would allow me to observe the lunar occultation of Antares. When I first got my 130mm scope, this was my primary observing spot before I started going to the SJC Fairgrounds as it is pretty dark, particularly in the east over the ocean. I intended to just observe the occultation and then go home. Skies were clear and Seeing was good and Transparency was decent, and the whole event took about 13 minutes as Antares suddenly disappeared behind the dark side of the moon around 23:17 and reappeared around 23:30. Before packing up I decided to try to check some brighter targets since the half moon was washing out the sky and it didn't seem worth the effort to do any serious observing. Well, the moon was close to setting and one thing led to another and next thing I knew it was 01:30 when I was packing up! I added 13 Messier objects to my list which gets me over the halfway mark as I now sit at 56 objects observed after starting in late February.
The most impressive targets I observed were Lagoon Nebula, Sagittarius Star Cloud, Swan Nebula, and the Wild Duck Cluster. That last one in particular was incredibly cool, as it looked like a Globular in my Finder and Binoculars but is actually a fully resolved open cluster at higher power. Speaking of binoculars, they were incredibly fun to use in the heart of the Milky Way as it was easy to zip around between targets and appreciate how many stars there are in the wider FOV and lower power than what you can achieve in a scope. It was also my first time really used the Baader Hyperion Zoom to observe and I found it to be an absolute pleasure to use. Being able to easily swap between magnifications to find the sweet spot without needing to change eyepieces was incredibly convenient. I used either my finderscope or my 2" 30mm eyepiece to get to the right spot and then would use the BHZ to observe.
Moon: 58% illuminated (set at 00:30)
Equipment: Zhumell Z10, Bushnell 10x50 Binoculars
Observed lunar occultation of Antares
M7 - Ptolemy’s Cluster - 30mm (42x)
M22 - Globular Cluster in Sagittarius - 8mm (156x)
M8 - Lagoon Nebula - 8mm (156x)
M21 - Open Cluster in Sagittarius - 12mm (104x)
M20 - Trifid Nebula - 16mm (78x)
M24 - Sagittarius Star Cloud - 30mm (42x)
M17 - Omega/Swan Nebula - 16mm (78x)
M16 - Eagle Nebula - 30mm (42x)
M25 - Open Cluster in Sagittarius - 8mm (156x)
M11 - Wild Duck Cluster - 8mm (156x)
M26 - Open Cluster in Scutum - 12mm (104x)
M71 - Globular Cluster in Sagitta - 8mm (156x)
M27 - Dumbbell Nebula - 16mm (78x)
Saturn - maxed out around 250x. Transparency was starting to degrade more