Friday night was easily the worst night I've ever had with a telescope. I spent ages getting everything set up out of town at what I thought was a dark sky area, but the light pollution was awful. Then the fine mist rolled in followed by cloud. I got home cold and tired after 3 and a half hours without managing any observing at all.
Then last night I just dragged the scope out into the back garden for a quick look and ended up having the best session of my life! I saw 10 deep sky objects, including 6 I'd never managed to find before. I'll post the best of them over the next few days starting with this:
This is M33 taken by Ray Grover and is a good approximation of what I could actually see last night.
A lot of astronomy is visually mindblowing; seeing mountains on the Moon or the rings of Saturn takes your breath away. Then there are the subtle pleasures of seeing something like this that just looks like a smudge of light. The sense of wonder only comes when you realise what you are looking at; It's a spiral galaxy, and lies 3 million light years away, which is the furthest I've seen into space so far.It is 700,000 light years in diameter - half that of the milky way.