After the author with his Equipment came back from the Greek island of Antiparos which lies in the middle of the Aegean. After 1-2 hours of night adaptation:
M8 (Lagoon): Fantastic. Certainly
wider than M42, or so the author thought. He
was able to count at least 8-10 individual stars inside the Lagoon area
by direct vision, around 14-15 using averted vision. Object was huge in
field of vision. Larger in size than what the book describes.
M27 (Dumbbell): Quite bright but
not that impressive. The author was able to
discern the bowtie shape using averted vision or at least some opposite parts
seemed to be blinking on and off. Approximate size as in the book's
M51 (Whirlpool): The 11x80 Messier
Certificate lists this one as a tough one, but the author had no problem finding it. M51's nucleus was clearly visible, even under direct vision. Using averted vision, he easily glimpsed the core of the companion as well. No surface details whatsoever (of course). Size approximately the same as in the book.
M4 (next to Antares): Quite bright. Larger than what the book sketch
M81, M82: Holy cow! These were probably one of the best sights! The author could almost see dark lanes in M81. The elliptical shape was clearly visible
and with some effort the upper and lower arms could be seen. M82 was relatively easy. No features, but cigar shape was evident. The author couldn't see the star that the sketch has almost in contact with it. Both galaxies in the
same field of vision of course. Not to be missed!
M13: Fascinating! The core almost resolves with the 11x80!!! The author could almost count a couple of sparks inside the core! One of the best! Size approximately equal to that in the book's sketch.
M3: Fascinating! Almost equal in size to M13. This one's core almost
resolved as well at rare times. The author haven't had a chance to see this more
than once, cause it was exactly above him.
M57: This one really gave the author trouble.
He swept the area between Sheliak and Sulafat at least 6 times. In fact both fit nicely in his field of vision, but
for the life of him, he couldn't see a ring. After 2 hours of night vision (after
1 hour of looking between beta and gamma Lyrae), something approximately
around the middle of the line connecting the two stars (vertically) and
slightly off to the right eventually did show up, but it was very much
starlike. The author tried all possible tricks of vision he knew, but the only
thing he could see was something that "looked" like a faint star, which at
random times acquired a slightly nebulous nature. It wasn't quite a star, but
then again the author was not sure. Conclusion: The author probably saw it, but it was very much
starlike. The author suspects that 11x is not enough to resolve it into a ring.
M20 (Trifid), M21. M21, no problem. Quite beautiful and bright
aggregate of stars. M20 is listed as a challenge in the 11x80 Messier Certificate
lists. Indeed it was. The author observed it at least 4 times. 3 times standing
up and once sitting on a large director's chair around 2:30 am, after 2
hours of night vision. Yes! It's there and visible all right, but he'd
say it lingers on the verge of visibility of the 11x80. HN40 was visible and
the companion star was also visible with averted vision. The author saw the pink
part of the nebula as a little gray patch and at moments the rest of it
appeared, but the blue part kept blinking on and off. It's certainly
doable with 11x80, however. The book's sketch is slightly better than what
the author saw.
M22, M28: M22 is scary. It's huge! The author would say it resembles the
core of the Andromeda galaxy in brightness. He kept coming back for it time
after time. One of the best. Dark areas almost visible by averted vision. M28
was nice, but nowhere as bright as M22 although quite grainy. The author could
see the star the book sketch has.
M36, M37, M38: Three of the most beautiful. M36 looked like a sea
star with spikes projecting outwards. All three were easily resolvable with
at least a dozen stars inside each. The author saw them once, before
the Aurigae constellation set below the horizon.
M46, M47: Much better views than what the book shows. The book
states: "M46 is unimpressive by itself in a small telescope, but it's a nice
challenge. In a larger telescope, 6" or more, it's actually more impressive than
M47". Well, with the 11x80 it's certainly much more impressive
than M47. Huge patch of nebulosity was clearly visible and it resolved
at least a dozen individual stars inside. Don't miss it if you own 80's, but
the book probably is right for smaller objectives.
M93: One of the best and very bright. Smaller than M46, but brighter
and more stars seen inside it. Don't miss it.
M44: The beehive wasn't very impressive because Jupiter had so much
glare that it completely overshadowed it. The stars were visible, all
inside the field of vision, but Jupiter was blinding.
M53: The author only glimpsed this one once, because it was very high and
could not aim there. The core almost resolves with the 11x80.
M71: Much more impressive and brighter than what the book shows.
Doesn't quite resolve, but could be easily be picked up just by sweeping inside
the Sagitta constellation. The author picked this up trying to find the Dumbbell nebula. It's slightly
less bright than the dumbbell itself.
M80: Not as bright as M4, but the author swears he could resolve it in its
core. Maybe the author's eyes were playing tricks on him.
M19, M62: The author didn't see these more than once, but swept through the
area and later identified them. M62 is on the line to mu Scorpii, and it was
almost resolvable at the core.
M6, M7: The author swept through those as he was going towards the Sagittarius constellation.
Beautiful little star nests.
M65, M66: Ok. These were a little tough, but no problem locating M66.
It was almost visible under direct vision. No visible features (of course).
Elliptical shape was very evident, however. The time delay between locating M66
(the brighter one) and M65, was less than 3 seconds. M65 required some averted vision.
Picture identical to that of the book, with the brighter stars visible
as in the sketch.
M56: The author had a little trouble with that, because the area around there
was so rich, but he located it on the second try. Not as bright as in
the book. Probably one of the most overlooked objects in the area.
M87: The author really wanted to see this one (black hole jet anyone?) as it's one of the author's
favorites. The book doesn't have it, but the author had its coordinates (12,29,7
and 12,30), so using a very rough chart sketch he estimated it to be
approximately a little left of the middle between beta Leo and epsilon Virgo. The author
scanned the area at least 5 times. He did see a very faint nebulosity around
there, but he just wasn't sure if that was it, because he is not very familiar
with the Virgo constellation and there may be other things lurking in there. He thinks he saw
M24, M18, M17: These are wonderful. Just north of the Kaus Borealis constellation
arranged in an almost vertical line. One more beautiful than the other.
M67: Not to be missed. Quite bright, some stars are resolvable. Exactly
as shown in the book sketch, but slightly brighter.
As far as resolution goes, the author also checked a couple of stars: iota-1
Cancri was resolvable, as was 61 Cygni. Albireo was beautiful. The 11x80 pair's
limit of resolution is probably around 26-27 arc seconds. Saturn does show
rings, but they are really tiny.
This was a really elaborate Messier object test drive
of the author's 11x80 Chinon binoculars. The author's father bought these back in 1984 for the author. The author never had a
chance to drive them long enough and he was only stealing sweeping moments using short trips when he was younger.
The author only had trouble with M57 and this was probably because of the low
magnification. The rest of the objects were all easy targets.
To those wishing to buy binoculars for astronomy, the author's advice is to not settle for anything with an objective less
than 70-80 mm's. These things are incredible, but don't even try them without a heavy tripod. They continuously keep the author postponing buying a larger telescope. Even when the author does buy something larger, he will probably mount them along with the scope and use
them as a finder.
The author's advice to those wishing to buy large binoculars: Carrying large binoculars around in long trips to isolated islands and observing for longer periods at night, may cause several unwanted side effects, from weather disturbances to losing your girlfriend, the latter being especially upsetting when the house you managed all these observations from was the property of said girlfriend.
For comparisons, the author used the book Turn Left at Orion, by Guy Consolmagno, ISBN 0-521-34090-X.