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Everything posted by SAB

  1. Had a nice clear night on the weekend of 20-21 January. Seeing was poor as has been the case pretty much every time I've been out over the last few months. The transparency after moon set was pretty good though, the murky light pollution across the NW and W sky was less obvious than normal, a good sign. The night was cold, felt like July infact and there was even some dew aswell. The Telescope's onboard thermometer was reading 9C at about 3.30am, well short of the average Jan overnight low of 15C at my location. This was my second major session with my 12" SDM dob, which has a Zambuto primary and an Antares 1/30 wave secondary. Scope: 12" F/4.4 truss dob Time: 12.30am-5am Seeing: 4/10 transparency: 4/5 Dew: light Started off with a few galaxies.... NGC 2207 / IC 2163 NGC2207: GX, RA 6 16 22, Dec -21 22 24, Size= 4.3x2.8' , Mag V= 11.0 IC 2163: GX, RA 6 16 28, Dec -21 22 33, Size= 3.4x1.0' , Mag B= 12.5 This is a fairly bright interacting pair in Canis Major. At 166x, NGC 2207 appeared brighter and larger than its neighbour with two stellarings in the centre of the diffuse elongated core region. The two stellarings are aligned east-west with the eastern somewhat more diffuse, which suggests that this is the nucleus. The UCAC3 catalog I use with CDC shows the western stellaring as a mag 14.7 star, although Steve Gottlieb's notes on NGC IC project suggest that it is a "double nucleus". The core of NGC2207 forms an equilateral triangle with a mag 12.3 and 13.8 star 1' NW and SW. IC 2163 was seen as a faint diffuse extension of 2207 stretching out to the east and its core is not as condensed as that of its brighter sibling. NGC 2936 / 2937 NGC 2936: GX, Hydra, RA 9 37 44, Dec +2 45 40, Size= 1.3x1.1' , Mag V= 12.9 , SB= 12.5 NGC 2937: GX, Hydra, RA 9 37 45, Dec +2 44 51, Size= 2.1x0.7' , Mag V= 13.6 , SB= 12.9 This is an interacting pair of galaxies 321 million light years away. The system appeared faint at 266x. NGC 2936 was more diffuse and visually fainter than NGC 2937, despite its brighter magnitude and surface brightness. DSS images show a strange object with a "L" shape, with the brightest regions making up the foot of the "L" with a stream of material bending 90 degrees seemingly cradling NGC 2937. At the eyepiece though only a faint diffuse non-descript smudge was seen. NGC 2937 appeared brighter, with a condensed core and slight elongation in a NE/SW direction. A pair of mag 13.8 and 15.3 stars lie 1' NNW and a 14th mag pair 1'40" to the N. NGC 2881 GX, Hydra, RA 9 25 55, Dec -11 59 47, Size= 1.1x0.9' , Mag V= 13.1 , SB= 13.3 This is actually a double system approx 231 million light years distant. Just appeared as a very faint diffuse smudge at 266x. A mag 14.6 star lies 1' SE and another mag 14.4 star sits 44" NE. NGC 3280B (IC 617) GX, Hydra, RA 10 32 45, Dec -12 38 14, Size= 0.7x0.5 , Mag V= 14.1 , SB= 13.6 This is a triple system some 397 million light years distant. At the eyepiece at 266x, only an extremely faint non-descript smudge was seen. NGC 3296 GX, Hydra, RA 10 32 45, Dec -12 43 02, Size= 0.7x0.7' , Mag V= 13.9 , SB 13.2 Small, round and brightens toward core at 266x. Located 5' S of the NGC 3280 trio. A mag 14.6 star is located 1' north. HICKSON 42 NGC 3901 GX, Hydra, RA 10 00 14, Dec -19 38 11, Size= 3.0x1.9' , Mag V= 11.3 , SB= 13.1 NGC 3096 GX, Hydra, RA 10 00 33, Dec -19 39 44, Size= 1.0x0.8' , Mag V= 13.4 , SB= 12.9 MCG-03-26-006 GX, Hydra, RA 10 00 10, Dec -19 37 19, Size= 0.9x0.8' , Mag B= 14.2 NGC 3091 is by far the largest and brightest member of this group. Appeared bright with a tight, condensed core at 266x and elongated 2:1 SE-NW. A faint "star" 1'15" NW of 3091 is actually the tiny galaxy MCG-03-26-006, which was almost starlike at 266x and indeed could be mistaken for a star, but it is slightly more "fuzzy" than an actual stellar object. NGC 3096 sits about 4'45" ESE of NFC 3091 and was small, faint but brightens slightly toward the core at 266x. A magnification of 379x revealed slight elongation in an E-W direction. ----------------------------------------------------- Now for something I haven't attempted before.... Quasars! I hand picked a few QSO's from the Millennium Star Atlas and printed off finder charts. To my surprise, I bagged 3 of these objects during the night. HE 1115-1735 QSO, Crater, RA 11 18 11, Dec -17 51 59, Mag B= 16.1 Very faint, but picked up without too much difficulty at 379x. NED gives a redshift value of 0.216486, which translates to 2.98 Billion light years! The host galaxy according to the PGC 2009 catalog is PGC 3768789. Forms a triangle with a mag 15.3 star and a mag 13.8 star 1.5' to the NW and W respectively. HE 1106-2321 QSO, Crater, RA 11 08 53, Dec -23 38 11, Mag V= 14.8 Most sources seem to place 3C 273 as the nearest quasar at approx 2.2 billion light years, but this object, according to NED is a QSO and is given a redshift of 0.081893, translating to roughly 1.2 billion light years. This object was picked up easily at 266x, and is easy to find located roughly halfway between a pair of mag 10.5 and 11.7 stars located NE and SW of the of object. The host galaxy as listed in the PGC catalog is PGC 3766594. HE 1015-1618 QSO, Hydra, RA 10 18 16, Dec -16 33 07, Mag V= 15.7 Extremely faint, intermittently flickering in and out of view at 379x with the seeing. Spent about 15-20 minutes at the eyepiece with this one confirming the sighting. NED gives a redshift of 0.247, which is a staggering 3.4 billion light years! Clear skies! below is a field sketch I did at the eyepiece of these QSOs.
  2. Well I managed to pull a rare observing session out of my hat just as the year was drawing to a close. After a record cloudy year, it was kind of ironic to get a clear night. The plan was to hunt some galaxies, then turn my attention to some morning planetaries in Carina. However, the seeing was an absolute basket case, but still had a successful night with a few nice galaxies under the belt. My plan to observe the managerie of tiny, bright high surface brightness planetaries in Carina was a bust though. Used the 12" dob for this session. Scope: 12" F/4.4 dob Time: 10:30pm-2:30am Seeing: 3/10 Transparency: 4/5 Dew: very light Temp: 14°C First port of call was NGC 1587/88/89 in Taurus. This is a lovely trio of galaxies with 1587/88 forming a nice tight pair, with NGC 1589 12' due north. All 3 were nicely framed in the 13mm lvw at 102x. NGC 1587 GX, Taurus, RA 04 30 40, Dec +00 39 42, Size= 2x1.9' , Mag V = 12.8 NGC 1588 GX, Taurus, RA 04 30 43, Dec +00 39 53, Size= 1.8x1.0' , Mag V = 12.9 NGC 1589 GX, Taurus, RA 04 30 45, Dec +00 51 49, Size= 3.1x1.2' , Mag V = 12.8 Fairly bright at 167x, with a high surface brightness and a tight, dense core. Round. Increasing mag to 267x the core appeared nearly stellar and the galaxy slightly elongated NE/SW. Forms a pair with NGC 1588 1' E. NGC 1588 is fainter than 57, featureless with a nearly stellar core at 167x but at 267x a slight condensation toward the core was seen. NGC 1589 is located 12' N of the pair, with a Mag 13 star 50" ENE of the core and a fainter 14.5 mag star about 1' SW. Stellaring in core, elongated with faint extensions at 167x. ************ UGC 3214 GX, Orion, RA 04 57 56, Dec -00 07 33, Size= 4x0.6' , Mag B = 14.0 A very nice needle-like edge on spiral in DSS photos, so was keen to track this one down. Faint, but picked up fairly easily at 167x, basically appeared as a stubby spindle aligned NE/SW. Upping the power to 267x suggested a mild concentration around the core. A pair of 10th mag stars roughly 7' ENE and 5' W, and a triangle of faint 14-15th mag stars 1.5' NW of the core make the galaxy easy to locate. ************ MCG+00-12-54 GX, Eridanus, RA 04 36 30, Dec -02 52 00 , Size= 0.5x0.2' , mag B = 14.2 MCG+00-12-51 GX, Eridanus, RA 04 36 19, Dec -02 49 55 , Size= 0.6x0.3' , Mag B = 13.7 These two are the brightest of a group of 4 galaxies. The group is easy to find only 40' N of 4th Nu Eridani. Both objects were picked up with the 8mm LVW at 167x, with -54 being the easier of the two despite its smaller size and lower magnitude. -54 has High surface brightness and slightly brightens toward the core. Slight NE/SW elongation evident at 267x. Easy to find located about 1.2' due north of a mag 12.4 star. -51 is a face on barred spiral and has lower surface brightness than -54 and as such appeared fainter than its neighbour. Basically visible as a faint, nondescript smuch. A mag 11 star lies just 40" SE of galaxy. The other two members of this group are far too faint to see. ************ Next stop is a fantastic group of four galaxies with NGC 1721/1725/1728 forming a lovely tight trio with 4th member NGC 1723 located 10' N. This group is conveniently located in a fairly populated starfield with abundant reference stars, including mag 5.4 63 Eridani located only 1' N, which makes a good starting point for your starhop. NGC 1721 GX, Eridanus, RA 04 59 17 , Dec -11 07 08, Size= 2.2x1.1' , Mag V = 12.8 NGC 1725 GX, Eridanus, RA 04 59 23, Dec -11 07 57, Size= 1.9x1.2' , Mag V = 12.8 NGC 1728 GX, Eridanus, RA 04 59 28, Dec -11 07 26, Size= 2x0.7' , Mag V = 12.9 NGC 1723 GX, Eridanus, RA 04 59 26, Dec -10 58 52, Size= 3.7x2.3' , Mag V = 11.7 The 5mm LVW at 267x ecompasses the trio of NGC 1721/25/28. A triangle of mag 12-12.5 stars nicely frames the group, making it easy to find. NGC 1728 is the brightest of the three, and appeared strongly elongated N/S with a high surface brightness. NGC 1721 is the second brightest of the three, with a small, tight core and a NW/SE elongation. A mag ~14.5 star lies 50" NE of the core. NGC 1725 lies midway between 1728 and 1721 and has lower surface brightness than the other two in the eyepiece, with a less condesned core. NGC 1723 showed a tight round core with no other structure seen. Two mag 10 stars lie 2' N and 3' E with a 3rd 11th mag star 1.2' to the south. A mag 15 star was seen just outside the northern edge of the halo. *********** NGC 2346 Monoceros, RA 07 09 22, Dec -00 48 24, Size= 60x50" , Mag V = 11.6 DSS images show a wonderful butterfly-shaped planetary, but this figure was not evident at the eyepiece. At 167x is appears as an oval haze around its 11th mag central star, orientated E-W. The view is reminiscent of what a star looks like thru a fogged over eyepiece. An OIII filter increases the definition of the oval haze. Increasing magnification to 267x brings no real improvement. When viewing this object, I couldn't help but replay the phrase "this is nothing like in the brochure" over and over in my head NGC 2442 GX, Volans, RA 07 36 23, Dec -69 31 52, Size= 6x5.5' , Mag V = 10.5 Just as I was preparing to pack up, the sight of Carina high overhead prompted me to have a look at the so-called "Meathook" galaxy. One of the brighter barred spirals, I was keen to see if I could see any detail. At 167x, It presented a tiny, stellar nucleaus amongst a low surface brightness haze, however I could see hints of a bar extending in a NE/SW direction. That already makes the meathook more "impressive" than NGC 1365 from my location! ESO 059-G011 GX, Volans, RA 07 38 12, Dec -69 28 27, Size= 1.9x1.1' , Mag B = 13.5 This galaxy is located only 10' NE of NGC 2442. Appearing small, elongated NW/SE with a starlike nucleaus at 167x. A 14th mag star 35" to the SW forms a "double" with the nucleus. However, upon inspection at higher power, this supposed "nucleus" turned out to be a 15th mag star superimposed right on the SW edge of the galaxy, not more than 15" from the centre. The galaxy increases very slightly in brightness towards the core. NGC 2434 GX, Volans, RA 07 34 51, Dec -69 17 06, Size= 1.6x1.5', Mag V = 11.5 This is a lovely bright elliptical located only 17' NNW of the meathook NGC 2442. Nicely compact, round with high surface brightness at 167x and a near-stellar nucleus. 267x revealed a bright, tight core with a fainter halo. The galaxy is set in a nice field on the edge of an iscoceles triangle bounded by a mag 11 and 12 star to the north and a mag 11.5 star to the SSE. A 4th mag 11.5 star lies only 2' NNW of the galaxy. This galaxy has a much higher surface brightness than NGC 2442, and consequently much easier to pick up and makes a nice target for small scopes set in its nice starfield. ***************** IC 434/ B33 Horsehead Nebula The main objective for the evening was to finally attempt the Horsehead Neb. To gauge visibility, I first turned to the Flame Neb, which was quite easy, so the horsehead is in with a shot. Well, with the 17mm LVW (102x) and the H-beta filter in place, I'm glad to say I did see it! IC 434 was almost immediately picked up as a ghostly ribbon of mist. I could even see a slightly brighter strip of light in IC 434's southern end, just south of the Horsehead. The HH itself was just barely there, visible as a dark bay. The distinctive shape obviously was nowhere to be seen, but it was a thrill to actually see this thing from my backyard! It's neighbouring reflection nebula NGC 2023 was plainly visible surrounding its 8th magnitude star. below is a sketch of the horsehead:
  3. SAB

    New Toy

    thanks. It's an F/6, so same F/L as but the mirrors have been placed well inside of the tube ends to avoid dewing, hence the long tube. The mirrors are pristine, and are hand figured and very high quality as I've been told, one gentleman (other than the owner) stated that the views were "staggeringly sharp". Looking forward to trying this puppy out
  4. Already done my Christmas shopping and in the process may have condemned Melbourne and co to years of nonstop cloud. (oh wait, that's our average climatic normals already) Picked up this 8" dob on the weekend secondhand, but to be honest I had no less than 2 opportunities to try it since then, but 2am finishes at work put that idea in the coffin. Custom built, hand figured mirrors, fully flocked (it is super pitch black in that tube!), ready to go....but not before christmas Got it basically to fill the middle ground between my 120st and the 12" dob, with the aim of having something that's easy to set up, doesn't weigh much but still large enough to haul in the faint fuzzies during those times when I don't feel like or is impractical to set up the 12 incher.
  5. Thanks for your comments guys! Ganymede's true colour is actually a rusty golden-brown, it's Callisto that seems to have a subdued greyish colour. I got a nice contrast between the two as they were next to each other. The disk is very small even at 534x but still clearly a disk. To put a perspective on it, it's about half the angular diameter of Uranus. A 10 inch at 480x could well pick up the dusky shading on Ganymede, but seeing has to be *dead steady*, otherwise the tiny disk just blurs and jumps around in the turbulance making observation impossible. That's not possible. Thanks Doc! Yep it was a rare night, also looked at other targets to gauge the seeing. Uranus was a nice crisp ball at 534x (as opposed to unresolved blurry blob) and 47 Tuc was incredibly crisp at 334x, even at 762x stars snapped thru focus rather than just mush through it. Jupiter itself was sharp at 334x, but dropped off once you got into the high 300's, he's not very tolerant of magnification!
  6. Sounds like you got some excellent seeing there!
  7. After having surgery on my toe, I thus had no work last night (Friday 19 Nov) so took advantage of the clear skies. 7timer predicted good seeing until midnight and skippy sky was showing 9/10 for the whole night. Seeing was very good from after sunset until about 12:30-1am, when it deteriorated slightly. Time: sunset-3am Scope: 12" F/4.4 truss dob Seeing: 7/10 dropping to 6/10 Transparency: 0/5 (nearly full moon) Spent the first half of the night largely on Jupiter and Uranus. Jupiter At 267x, I caught the GRS just as it was dissappearing over the planet's eastern limb. The spot is pale and a light pinkish colour. The outer rim appeared slightly darker than the interior. As the evening progressed, seeing continued to improve, and at 334x at 10:52UT (9:52pm local DST) I could see some interesting features coming into view in the SEB. Three white ovals, with the preceeding one the largest and the following two decreasing in size were seen, along with a darkish cloud feature that appeared intertwined between the ovals. The most obvious part of this feature stretched between the large preceeding oval and the second oval, looping over the preceeding oval appearing similar to the classic side-on view drawing of a breaking wave. Ganymede Seeing was good enough to view the Galilean moons as disks, each with obvious difference in size. At 534x, in moments of good seeing, I caught some surface markings on Ganymede. In the northern hemisphere a dark wedge shaped feature could be seen, while the northern polar regions appeared lighter and whitish compared to the orange-yellow hue of the rest of the moon. Seeing was still blurring the image, but it also settled enough to get a crisp view of the disk momentarily. I also noted Ganymede's orange-yellow colour contrasting with Callisto's Ice-blue, which was a neat sight. Uranus Uranus was the clearest I've ever seen it, even at 534x, the disk was pretty crisp, and at 334x it was text-book perfect! On a typical night at 250x things start to go south. So, at 534x I got a nice pale blue ball, and despite moonlight, Titania was spotted. I attempted to see albedo features that some other observers had noted, and I suspected the polar region to be slightly lighter tone, but could not be certain. Ganymede Sketch:
  8. After playing with my secondary mirror trying to fine tune alignment for a few hours today it was pure luck it was clear to some extent tonight. I was planning mostly a planetary session as the satpic showed clouds enroaching, so probably would not have time for much deepsky viewing. Time: 8:00pm-11pm Scope: 12" F/4.4 truss dob Seeing: variable from 2/10 to 6/10 No dew tonight, which was a relief after several frigid sodding wet nights this year. Spent most of the night on Jupiter. At 8:10pm I caught the ingress of Io's shadow transit, with the moon itself visible as a dusky spot against the bright cloud tops of Jupiter. It seems whenever I turn the scope on Jupiter this season, I get treated to a shadow transit! Seeing was variable, ranging from terrifying to a short period of good seeing. During this time, I got some of the crispest views of the planet I've seen. At 256x, Lots of detail was seen in the NEB, but what surprised me was the SEB, which seems to be more obvious then in recent times. It appeared dull, dusky and even showed ruffling. The EQ zone of the planet seemed to be laced with faint, dusky streamers and several white ovals and zones. Spent a while on Jupiter, eventually seeing Io emerge from the transit followed by its shadow. Saw the GRS coming over the limb at about 11pm, but by then the seeing turned to absolute custard and was limited to under 200x. I made use of this period of good seeing to check out Uranus. A nice crisp ball at 256x, infact I still got a nice well defined disk at 417x although it was blurring often due to seeing. I could see the moons Titania and Oberon. Best view of the moons was at high magnification. I took a peek at 47 Tuc and NGC 362, both excellent at 417x, infact surprisingly crisp considering the variable seeing. NGC 362 was probably the best I've seen it, it just seemed more resolved than usual. Also checked out M15, which, well was quite dissappointing, even compared to NGC 362! Damn, we are spoilt here in the southern hemisphere! At 166x, the outer 2/3rds was well resolved, but was faint compared to NGC 362. What surprised me, was that the view at 417x was superior to the 166x view....in this non-spectacular seeing. At this high mag, dozens of stars were resolved, all tightly packed condensing down to the hazy core. Eventually the seeing turned to trash as some high cloud moved in at around 11pm, so called it quits. Was enthused to see stars focus down to pinpoints at 256x and still nice and tight at 400x+ while the seeing allowed. Looks like my secondary job paid off
  9. Thanks Darkersky! These sessions are all too rare thanks to Melbourne's poxy butthole climate This particular scope is no slouch when it comes to reeling in the faint ones, it's performance has really improved since I had it upgraded.
  10. Headed out last night after work for a quick session with my skywatcher 120 st refractor. Made this sketch of Orion's sword, using a 22mm vixen LVW eyepiece at 27x.
  11. Excellent sketches! I'm going to have to keep an eye out for your reports
  12. Excellent! YOur perseverance has really paid off. Nice sketch aswelll!
  13. Had some unprecedented clear sky activity in Melbourne on Friday Oct 1 and Saturday Oct 2. That particular weekend saw 3 clear nights in a row, which is a new world record for the 4.5 billion year history of Melbourne. Seeing was exceptionally poor both nights transparency was better on the Friday. Saturday started off a bit hazy, but seemed to improve in the early hours. This report combines the observations from both days. Scope: 12" F/4.4 dob FRIDAY 1/10 Time: 8pm-1am Seeing: 2/10 Transparency: 4/5 Dew: Light SATURDAY 2/10 Time: 9pm-3:30am Seeing: 2/10 Transparency: 3/5 Dew: Light IC 5181 Grus, GX, RA 22 13 21 , DEC -46 01 07, Size= 2.8x1' , Mag V= 11.5 267x - Strongly brightens toward center with a quasi-stellar nucleus. Bright, strongly elongated ENE/SSW with fainter extensions stretching out from the core. -------------- NGC 7232 Grus, GX, RA 22 15 37 , Dec -45 51 03 , Size= 3x1' , Mag B= 12.6 NGC 7233 Grus, GX, RA 22 15 49 , Dec -45 50 49 , Size= 1.8x1.6' , Mag B=12.9 Nice pair of galaxies located 2' SE of a pair of 9th mag stars. NGC 7233 forms an equilateral triangle with the pair. 267x - 7232 brighter of the two galaxies, elongated E-W. 7233 fainter, rounder although a slight E-W elongation was noted. DSS images show the bright core slighted elong E-W, so this confirms my obs. A stellar core was noted. A 3rd galaxy, NGC 7232B lies 4' NNE of the pair but much too faint to see visually. ----------- NGC 7793 Sculptor, GX, RA 23 57 49 , Dec -32 35 32 , Size= 9.1x6.6' , Mag V= 9.1 102x - Fairly large hazy smudge, roughly circular. No details seen. Brightens toward core, with the core itself hinting at a stellaring. A mag 12.4 star lies near the galaxy's northern edge. NGC 7462 Grus, GX , RA 23 02 46 , Dec -40 50 10 , Size= 3.7x0.6' , Mag V= 11.9 102x - A thin streak of light, fairly faint. Elongated E-W, a mag 11 star is located at the western end of the galaxy. Set in a relatively rich star field. NGC 7410 Grus, GX, RA 22 55 01 , Dec -39 39 46 , Size= 5.5x2.0' , Mag V= 10.6 41x - Bright, elongated NE-SW. A mag 12 star lies adjacent north of the galaxy's NE end. At 166x the galaxy is seen as a wide streak of light, brightest in the core. SW end appeared slightly brighter than the NE end. IC 5096 Pavo, GX , RA 21 18 22 , Dec -63 45 42 , Size 3.4x05' , Mag B= 13.3 267x - A small, faint stubby streak elongated NW-SE. Forms an equilateral triangle with a mag 10 and mag 12 stars 4' to the NE and NW. Hint of stellaring in core at 381x. Striking edge on galaxy on DSS images -smaller and fainter version of NGC 891. IC 5052 Pavo, GX , RA 20 52 07 , Dec -69 12 21 , Size 6.5x1.2' , Mag V= 11.2 166x - A faint, narrow streak of light, much fainter visually than the V mag would suggest, due to low surface brightness. --------------- IC 5250A Tucana, GX , RA 22 47 17 , Dec -65 03 40 , Size 3.1x3.0' , Mag B= 12.1 IC 5250B Tucana, GX , RA 22 47 22 , Dec -65 03 33 , Size 3.0x2.9' , Mag B= 12.2 381x - An excellent very compact pair, accidently swept up while looking for another nearby galaxy! Both galaxies are high surface brightness and were very easy to spot. Visually, the B component is the brightest and largest of the two. It appeared slightly elongated roughly NW-SE, with a mag 12.9 star superimposed on the SE edge of the halo. An elongated bright patch could be seen in the centre. The A component lies approx 1' W of B and is slightly smaller and fainter. The A component is round, with stellar nucleaus. It doesn't show the bright central region that B does, but still features fairly high overall surface brightness. Visually both galaxies are much smaller than the quoted 3' sizes, as those values include tidal streamers that are much too faint to see visually. At the eyepiece the apparent size for both components is about 30". --------------- ABELL S 585 NGC 2235 Dorado , GX, RA 06 22 22 , Dec -64 56 06 , Size 1.3x1' , Mag V= 13.1 NGC 2230 Dorado , GX , RA 06 21 28 , Dec -64 59 35 , Size 1.1x0.9' , Mag V= 13.2 NGC 2229 Dorado , GX , RA 06 21 24 , Dec -64 57 26 , Size 1.4x0.4' , Mag V= 13.6 NGC 2233 Dorado , GX , RA 06 21 40 , Dec -65 02 01 , Size 0.8x0.2' , Mag V= 13.9 267x - Four brightest members of rich galaxy cluster Abell S 585 all seen. NGC 2235 is the brightest of the four, is located approx 40' SSW of an 11th mag star. Small, faint and round, with a slight brightening towards the core. NGC 2230 slightly fainter, small and round. 2' to the N lies NGC 2229 which has a higher surface brightness than 2230 and appeared slightly elongated SE-NW. NGC 2233 is the faintest of the four, and was small and faint in the eyepiece with no obvious features. ----------------- ABELL S 463 IC 2082 Dorado , GX , RA 04 29 08 , Dec -53 49 12 , Size 1.5x1.0 , Mag V= 13.2 PGC 15255 Dorado , GX , RA 04 29 36 , Dec -53 47 14 , Size 0.8x0.7' , Mag B= 15.7 ESO 157-G036 Dorado , GX , RA 04 29 49 , Dec -53 48 52 , Size 1x0.2' , Mag B= 15.0 IC 2079 Dorado , GX , RA 04 28 31 , Dec -53 44 19 , Size 1.5'x0.5' , Mag B= 14.76 All observed at 381x - This galaxy cluster is located some 580 million light years away! The largest and brightest member, IC 2082 was easily spotted at 166x. At 381x it appeared moderately faint, not hard to see though. This is actually a binary galaxy, the 2nd member is much to close to resolve visually. PGC 15255 is located about 2.5' E of IC2082 and I caught fleeting glimpses of it at 381x, extremely faint and featureless dust mote. Despite this, it was not too difficult to catch it, due to its high surface brightness. Another 5' to the east lies ESO 157-G036, which, although very faint, showed clear elongation. About 10' NW of IC 2082 is IC 2079, which at 381x was extremely faint and only glimpsed intermittently. This galaxy lies 494 million light years away, so it may infact be a chance foreground object. ---------------------- ABELL 151 IC 80 Cetus, GX, RA 01 08 48 , Dec -15 24 35 , Size 0.5x0.5' , Mag B = 14.4 267x - The only member of Abell 151 visible. Located 731 million light years away!! Very faint, nothing but a tiny gossamer of light. --------------------- ABELL S 921 NGC 7012 Microscopium , GX , RA 21 06 45 , Dec -44 48 54 , Size 1.5x1.0' , Mag V= 12.8 ESO 286-IG052 Microscopium , GX , RA 21 06 51 , Dec -44 49 07 , Size 1.3x0.9' , Mag B= 13.8 267x - NGC 7012 was spotted with relative ease, although fairly faint it does have high surface brightness. It is the brightest member of this cluster. It is located 1' ENE of a mag 12.1 star. Visually it measures about 30" across, much smaller than the size quoted as alot of this is actually the very faint outer halo. ESO 286-IG052 is located 2' ESE of 7012 and appeared smaller, more diffuse with lower surface brightness than it's neighbour. A mag 15.1 star located about 30" ESE of 7012 was seen. -------------------- ABELL S 301 IC 1860 Fornax, GX , RA 02 49 34 , Dec -31 11 20 , Size 2.3x1.7' , Mag V= 12.7 6dFGS gJ042919.4-534859 Fornax , GX , RA 02 49 45 , Dec -31 09 31 , Size - , Mag B= 15.69 IC 1859 Fornax , GX, RA 02 49 04 , Dec -31 10 21 , Size 1.5x1.0 , Mag B= 14.2 IC 1858 Fornax , GX , RA 02 49 08 , Dec -31 17 24 , Size 2.5x0.7' , Mag B= 14.1 267x - IC 1860 is the brightest and largest member of Abell S 301.Slightly elongated N-S at 267x with a condensed core. About 3' NE is 2dFGRS S467Z714, which at 381x appeared extremely faint, small and round. Approx 7' W of IC1860 is IC 1859, which at 267x was very faint, but a slight N-S elongation could be seen. Further afield about 7' S of 1859 is IC 1858, which visually appeared to be the second brightest after IC 1860 and at 267x I noted it as small, faint but it brightens towards the core. ------------------------ I also observed M42 at the end of the Saturday session and blumming hell it was AMAZING! I never seen such detail in it before, and it was just so bright. Several faint stars were seen around the central region, which last time I observed it back last year were spotted with only some difficulty, but now they were as plain as day! All 6 trap stars were clearly seen at low magnification, despite the poor seeing, and the central bright area was nothing short of spectacular, detail I don't think I've seen before. Just the vividness of the entire object was quite extraordinary. ---------------------- that's it, back to clouds now... Cheers ---------------------- attached is a sketch of NGC 253 and IC 5250a/b.
  14. After 9 million consequetive cloudy milleniums, it finally cleared on what looked like a very unlikely day. Late a'noon around sunset, some storm clouds rolled in and to the non-initiated, it would have been a write off. But checking the satpic loops it showed that it would clear. So I set up the scope for a Jupiter and Youranus session. After the massive absence, I've learned a few things: A. I forgot how to use the scope B. A cable which connects the jumpstarter to the scope is apparently no longer in this universe, hence I was unable to run the fans and heaters. After trouble shooting point A, I was on me way. Collimation was atleast striaght forward and was done in 2 miutes. One of the strongest features of an SDM imo is how easy collimation is. After years of messing around with tools and non-intiuative designs, it's like walking out of a Darwin summer into an air conditioned room. Time: 8pm-1045pm Scope: 12" F/4.4 dob Seeing: 1/10-5/10 Transparency: 2/5 Dew: Light JUPITER About 8:30pm, caught a shadow transit of Ganymede. Seeing terrible, boiling at 166x so not much detail could be seen. I also had no fans running, so the delta temp was up to 4C, and defocusing the planet your could see the thermals on the mirror. For the next several minutes Ganymede itself was emerging from the preceeding limb of Jupiter, it was cool seeing half of the moon infront of the planet and the other half beyond it. The disk appeared white against the planet. Over the next hour or so, I could gradually increase the mag as the mirror and air temps ever so slowly closed the gap, eventually topping out at 256x. However the view at 204x was pretty nice. Lots of detail seen. Two thread-like dark barges were spotted in the nothern temperate belt, as was an elongated white feature in the northern temperate zone. A long dark filament was seen hanging from the NEB into the EQ zone. THe SEB was faintly visible, moreso than the last time I saw it. I was going to sketch Jupiter but was clouded out half way through, only for it to clear right after I packed everything in. URANUS Not much to see really, at times I could get a fairly sharp focus at 308x. I could see that the planet is not a perfect sphere, but oblate....otherwise nothing of note. I was hoping to catch some albedo features as some other observers have, but seeing was too unstable. ------------------ Some passing clouds also provided an opportunity to test a long running theory of whether or not thin clouds improve seeing and details seen on an object. It seems to me, on this night anyway, that clouds actually destablise seeing, but can act as a natural filter cutting glare. This has the illusion of cleaning up the image, but you don't actually see any addtional detail. The reduced glare simply means that imperfections or light scattering in your eye/optics etc are far less obvious.
  15. SAB


    Geez, that is unreal. And with fairly modest aperture and magnification to boot. I suspect seeing has to be really good though, so a rare capture I'd imagine. I'll definately be looking at Uranus more closely now.
  16. fantastic! Nice job with the colours. Do you do it in colour at the eyepiece or just a black n white field sketch and fill in the colours later?
  17. Very nice sketches Doc, how did you get that really detail effect happening?
  18. What you do is, stick the 80 ontop and counterbalance it with a 150mm ST on the bottom
  19. Detail on Uranus wow! Excellent work. Knowing that details can be within amatuer reach will have me looking harder next time!
  20. Fantastic sketch! Been about 2 months since I saw Jupiter, strange seeing it without the SEB.
  21. Great Report Andrew. The F/5 Vixen and 33mm EP sound like a great combo for Milky way cruising. Put it on your dob and do double duty as a super finder
  22. That's quite fascinating, I never realised that Rima Birt is actually made of craters I'll have to check it out next time I never really appreciated the moon until now, I actually havent viewed it in perhaps a good year year atleast. It's a very rewarding target, so much to see and ponder that amazing landscape, and will now be dragging the 12" out for lunar observations!
  23. Thanks guys! Doc, I missed F as it was in the shadow of the eastern rim. Apparently, the central rille of the Alpine Valley is only 750m wide. How's that for amazing!? Jahmanson, that's a nice result with your 6 inch...I reckon you could catch G and H aswell with the resolution you're getting. The floor of Copernicus on this particular night at 534x looked like a bowl of caviar, and those intricate terraced walls, spectacular. The Straight Wall looked virtually identical to this pic at 534x on this particular night.
  24. Nice Report! Lots of eyecandy there. M17 is a spectacular object, try viewing it at high power, say around 200x with a UHC or OIII filter. Take my word for it, you won't be dissappointed!
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