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About mdstuart

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  1. Good afternoon So after storm Dorris cleared through we had some sparkly seeing so I had a go at the two groups. NGC 3947 was not too hard to see but required averted vision. It is just next to two field stars, one of which is mag 14.7. So a good start. I realised I use my 7mm for pulling faint galaxies so this lot were more of a group of galaxies near to each other rather than five galaxies in one view! Anyway on to NGC 3947 & 54 which were in the same FOV. NGC 3954 m14.4 was very small but easy enough to spot with averted vision within a triangle of stars. NGC 3947 was much harder despite the m13.9 figure. Very low surface brightness oval shape. Finally NGC 3940/43. NGC 3940 was small and relatively easy to spot with averted vision. NGC 3943 was not possible despite a good clear sky and an elevation of just over 50 degrees az.. So 4/5 This group was more compressed so I was able to get a view with three galaxies at once. NGC 4005 was the brightest but still was an averted vision oval object next to a field star. I managed to see NGC 3997 at m14.4 but it was small and tough. I also managed NGC 3987 but it was a very low surface brightness slither. I failed to see NGC 3993 and NGC 4000 which are m14.5 and m15.1. I then moved a bit and picked out NGC 4015 which was on its own away from any field stars which made it harder to find. Finally I found the small faint NGC 4022 but could not pick up the edge on NGC 4018 or NGC 4023. So 5/9 this time. I need a bigger scope or darker skies! Hickson 56 (the little group to the right in this image - yes stop looking at the monster galaxy!) I also looked at a number of other objects, must make the most of the rare good seeing. I was quite surprised to just spot the fuzzy line that is Hickson 56. Really pleased with this observation! So let me know how you get on with the NGC 3947 and NGC 4005 groups. Mark
  2. So the targets are double stars, galaxies and this rock. Its at the southern end of the walk. Mark
  3. Yes you are right looking again at the link..perhaps turn right along the river Dove to cut off about an hour of the walk above. We might all be too tired anyway after the night of double stars! Mark
  4. Guys It's between 4 and 5 miles. We leave at 9.30 after a full English breakfast and we will be back by 12 ish for lunch and solar viewing. Mark
  5. I plan to go and walk to Dove Dale on the Saturday if anyone would like to join me. Perhaps this one.
  6. Glad my post looks like it's inspiring some observing. Make sure you report back with drawings or notes.. The hunt begins...just need a clear night. Mark
  7. Evening Despite many years of observing I keep finding promising new targets. I have identified two groups of galaxies that should be very possible in my 16 inch scope. NGC 3947 and four friends. I think I have a fighting chance of seeing NGC 3937/40/43/47/54 all in the same FOV of my 16mm UWA lens. I have not seen any of these galaxies before so its a new area for me. NGC 4005 and friends. I have seen 4005 before but missed the rest. Should be able to pick up 3987/93/97 and 4015/18/22/23 and maybe 4000. So the next clear night I plan to try this lot and report back. Do join me and see what you can make out and then we can compare notes. Enjoy Mark
  8. Nick I will bring your old 130mm heritage scope so you can see how it's doing. I will also bring some books! Mark
  9. I have just booked a tent with an electric hook up for Friday and Saturday. Please can I look through some big dobs at hickson and arp objects Mark
  10. Paul Try the 3202 Trio with averted vision as they are a bit easier. Only very hard with a 16 inch scope in rural England. The 2990 lot were very tough. I could not see them at all with the 7mm eyepiece in. It was only when I notched up the power which gives me a few more tenths of a magnitude did they become possible. In a few days time some more clear dry air is on its way from the North so you can have another go. Mark
  11. It was really clear in Bristol. The humidity dipped below 90% in the arctic air. Transparency was VERY good. Mark I got the 16 inch out rather than your old 130mm Heritage dob Nick
  12. Morning everyone It was one of those nights last night. Mid Winter, clearly blacker skies courtesy of the dry artic air arriving after cold front and the wife out on a night shift. So a good night to get out the 16 inch dob. Boy that wind is cold! The dark skies were confirmed later by the observations. A 15.3 mag star was spotted at an altitude of 49 degrees. I even noted a mag 15.1 star and called it faint rather than very faint. A mag 14.2 galaxy was nearly held with direct vision as well. The naked eye limiting magnitude was just around 5.4 based on seeing one star in the Plough bowl. Highlights included the NGC 2290 group in Gemini. I had been reading about it in this selected small groups document. In the Feb 2015 Webb society galaxy of the month article, Owen notes "The group of galaxies around NGC 2290 will also make a nice target but will be a challenge for large telescope owners as these galaxies are much fainter." Well I managed to spot NGC 2289 first. Very tough even with averted vision. However with my 4.7mm eyepiece in my 16 inch scope it was constantly held with averted vision. Next up was NGC 2290. This was actually a bit bigger and a little easier. It still needed averted vision and patience. NGC 2294 was much harder. It is an edge on slither and was one of those, can I see it, yes , no its gone, no there it is again objects. Finally NGC 2291 was found. This was a lower surface brightness than the others and so just looked like a brighter area under a little triangle of stars. Very tough again. I could not see NGC 2288 despite trying hard. The FOV is splendid with a sprinkling of stars like dust across the FOV. So this is a "group" in the eyepiece but they are all so faint you can only see one at a time! Here is an image for you from SDSS so you can see what I was looking at. Highlight 2 - NGC 3202 Triplet - Ursa Major This was a fine triplet. I enjoyed it more than the above group as I could hold all three little ovals with averted vision at the same time. Here we have NGC 3202 / NGC 3203 and NGC 3207 all at a red shift of 7000 (310MLY) so further away than the above group which has a red shift of 5000 (220 MLY). I also observed a selection of galaxies in Cancer. I came in at 1am after another night to remember. I feel so blessed to be able to see such things with my own eyes. Mark Stuart
  13. PeterW. Yes I have that as well but I am not yet very good with it! Mark
  14. All this talk about the HH. The amazing observation for me is M33 naked eye Mark
  15. So I had a look at Hickson 37 the other night in my 16 inch scope. It is in Cancer and is rising well after 10pm at the moment. Its a nice little group but quite faint. NGC 2783 is the brightest at mag 13.6. This galaxy was a fairly easy spot for me with averted vision. However I could not see IC 2449, the lovely edge on galaxy which is mag 14.3 despite my best efforts. This gets me thinking. Could I use a standard DSS photo to see how intense the light from galaxies are to identify which ones I am likely to be able to see. After lots of trial and error I stumbled across ImageJ which is some free nice image software. Anyway I thought you would like to see my efforts with it. This 3D image shows the pixel brightness. You can see how much lower the IC 2449 peak is compared with NGC 2783. I appreciate this is not scientific but it was an interesting exercise. The software also has plug ins which allow you to draw those lines of equal brightness which might come in handy if I want to write one of those scientific papers that seem to always have loads of isophotes in them! Enjoy Mark