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About mdstuart

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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. PeterW. Yes I have that as well but I am not yet very good with it! Mark
  5. All this talk about the HH. The amazing observation for me is M33 naked eye Mark
  6. 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
  7. Mine is to upgrade my mirror to 1/10th wave..
  8. Don't forget to go down to Cancer and look art the Beehive and M67. Mark
  9. Nice. Not one I have seen. Cetus is often in the murk here. Thanks for sharing. Mark
  10. Good afternoon I was out again last night trawling for galaxies. Amongst the catches of the night was the NGC 2684 group. This is in UMA near the border with Lynx. Its about 50 degrees up by 11pm so nicely placed. NGC 2684 itself was not too hard with averted vision in my 16 inch scope. Now there were two other galaxies noted on my chart but I expected them to be beyond me, NGC2686 and NGC 2687 sometimes referred to as NGC2686A and 2687A. Well I put in my 4.7mm eyepiece to give me x390. To my amazement I could see the core of NGC 2686. That cannot be right I thought, its a mag 15 galaxy. Anyway it turns out its surface brightness is mag 13 so that makes sense now. I could not pull the fainter NGC 2687 last night. I see that Gotleib with his 17.5 inch in dark skies gets 2687 and a few others. Maybe a group for Owen to add to the Web society galaxy of the month? Turns out the red shifts of 2686 and 7 are around 16000 so about 700 million light years out. So if that's all right it is my furthest galaxy spotted to date.. When this high pressure comes in after Christmas give it a go. Mark
  11. Mark Happy Christmas. I was out for a few hours here. It went clear and then eventually misty but I managed to bag six galaxies in the clear slot. NGC 1530 was fun but I could not see the arms. I really need a 1/10th wave mirror. Mark
  12. NGC 2419 that intergalactic wanderer has come out well. They might be up for an APOD entry Mark
  13. JOC Estimating magnitudes and degrees etc comes with experience. Have a look at this link. It is possible with suitable photography kit to get a magnitude reading. You can work out your field of view for your 32mm plossl here: Mark
  14. Awesome new resource this PanSTARRS image database. Tried a few galaxies and I love this one. NGC 3521. It does not seem to centre the galaxies but shows a patch of sky, is there a better way to download it using RA and DEC yet? Anyway it is really awesome. Much deeper than SDSS. Mark
  15. Dave No I did not pick up on Johnson in time so I did not have a chart printed out. I would certainly not have picked up Neowise without a chart! After Neo I took the opportunity to look at a few distant Coma galaxies, NGC 4789 / 4839 / 4853 / 4827 / 4816 - All pretty faint and small.. Mark