(IAAC) Obj: M78 - Inst: Vixen 102M Achromatic Refractor

Observer: Luis Arguelles
Your skills: Beginner (< one year)
Date/time of observation: 01/27/1998 - 21:40-22:00 UT
Location of site: Oviedo - Spain (Lat 43, Elev 200m)
Site classification: Urban
Sky darkness: 3 <Limiting magnitude>
Seeing: 5 <1-10 Scale (10 best)>
Moon presence: None - moon not in sky
Instrument: Vixen 102M Achromatic Refractor
Magnification: 25x, 50x
Object(s): M78
Category: Reflection nebula
Constellation: Orion
Data: mag 8.0  size 8'x6'
Position: RA :  DEC :
After observing M42 for a while, I decide to make an scanning of the
Orion's belt area with the 40 mm. eyepiece, arriving to Alnitak (Zeta Orionis).
Then I decide to look for M78, exploring the Norwest region of the sky with
respec to to this star.

First I find a poor region in stars until I observe a group of 6 or 8 stars
forming a shape that reminds me a lot a caribbean island. Moving a bit towards
North I find something very faint even using averted vision, but playing with
the 40 and 20mm eyepieces I observe finally an oval shape with milky aspect
containing two faint stars that desappear when I observe directly to them.
In order to locate this object easily in future observations, I take note of
the number of 40mm "eyepieces" I need to arrive to M78 from Alnitak; almost
two eyepieces East from this star and then again almost two eyepieces North,
althought I take note also that the GP mount is not very well Polar aligned.
Anyway this object is very near to Alnitak and my "caribbean island" is a
very good reference.

Having in mind that I've observed M78 from the living room of my house in the
light poluted sky of a 250,000 hab. city, I find this observation with a 4"
refractor a remarkable one.
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