Images from 06-07 September 2015
NGC 6946, M76, M74
8" f/10 SCT+focal reducer+PD camera
Tried to find NGC 6946 in Cepheus but failed miserably (as usual).
Consoled myself by going to M76, the "Little Dumbbell" in Perseus (M76_Samworth_060915.jpg). Quite pleased with this. Probably better than last year's image.
Went back to look for NGC 6946 but failed again, but did stumble across NGC 6939, an open cluster nearby. Could just see a hint of this visually. (NGC6939_Samworth_070915.jpg)
Then went off to track down M74 in Pisces. This one is one of the more elusive objects in the Messier catalogue. To quote Stephen James O'Meara in his splendid "Deep Sky Companions - the Messier Objects" book:
"No object in the Messier catalogue has proved more troublesome, more elusive, more provocative to amateur astronomers than this giant spiral"
"I searched for M74 many nights with the Harvard Observatory's 9-inch refractor without success. The fact is, so large an aperture under less-than-perfect skies doomed my quest before it even started"
I have to say, I could just see it visually, even though it was not that clear last night, but after a bit of work with GIMP, the image shows spiral arms. (M74_Samworth_070915.jpg)