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  1. Date: Monday 7th January 2019. 2145-2330hrs & 0100-0230hrs Scope: Borg 107FL f5.6 (focal length 600mm). Night Vision: PVS-14 with Photonis 4g INTENS. Eyepieces: Plossl 55mm (f2.6 x11). Filters: Chroma 5nm Ha CCD. Moon: 0% Introduction. It was a windy night outside and there was no sign of any of the forecast clear sky as I kept a regular “peep” out of the window as I completed another episode of “Condor” (as I work through series 1!). Finally, sometime after 2100hrs I saw the first stars of the evening and I set about putting together the Borg 107FL ready to take outside. Once outside, it was a case of “dodge the passing clouds” and I managed to get an accurate alignment completed going West-East as a clear patch came past (in that direction). I sat and waited for more clear sky to arrive… At the arrival of the first clear patch, I wanted to see what the new Chroma 5nm Ha filter could do and headed for some quick easy targets, namely M42/43/Running Man, Rosette, Flame/Horsehead. A more settled sky then arrived and I worked through my “Session 1” targets (see below) until I felt some spots of rain on my face and looked up to see clouds and yes, it was lightly raining. First, I slewed the scope away from the west and waited… Then, the rain got a little harder and I quickly unplugged and carried the whole setup back indoors (from the patio). The setup is so light that its easy to throw around without the need for wasting time unplugging this and removing that! I watched TV for a while, then I noticed that it was clearing again. The patio seemed to have dried out (thanks to the wind) and I moved everything back outside once more… Session 2 then took place as I tackled the high numbered Sharpless positioned under Sirius. It became a bit of a battle with the sky conditions as the scope was pretty much horizontal pointing at these low targets. Finally, the sky beat me and targets were getting very hard to see at all. I packed up at this point. I managed to add six more Sharpless objects to my “seen” list and I am now up to 213 of 313 objects. I managed to confirm/fix more SAO numbers for these targets and have updated my Sharpless GOTO sheet for future reference this morning. Observing Session 1 (2145-2330hrs). Sh2-245 (Eridanus loop) – Goto SAO111579. The loop showed as a clear vertical band below. It moves up straight and curves under and around Nu Tauri. Sh2-240 (Spaghetti) – Goto SAO077322. This is a great object in the Dob and the Chroma 5nm seemed to allow me to see more detail than previously. I could see a line of stars on the LHS (left hand side). There was a clear black lane structure within. There were 2 central stars and more nebula to the RHS. I could see a “tentacle” with 3 stars coming out from the RHS. Sh2-229 (Flaming Star) – Goto IC405. The Chroma filter showed the full quotation mark shape of the flaming star. It was framed nicely within the fov. I could see the small “sparkly lines” within the head section. The whole nebula was very clear in direct vision. Below I could just see the shape of IC410. I slewed over and the central black hole of IC410 was steady and clear in direct vision (better than previous visits). Averted vision revealed more black sections within IC410 coming & going. THEN I noticed some NEW STRUCTURE above and right of the flaming star, so I slewed up there… Sh2-230 – This designation is given to the whole region that included IC405, IC410 & IC417. I confirmed the location of this new stuff by goto-ing NGC1907. The new patch was a curved streak leading to NGC1907. There was blackness to one side (sort of jug shaped) then another wisp of nebula on the other side. Checking images this morning, this is definitely part of sh2-230. Another win for the Chroma. Sh2-231/235/232 – Goto SAO058343. Three small Sharpless in a row. A large patch then a bright small patch then a similar sized faint patch. I do not see sh2-233 for the full house. Sh2-264 Angelfish. Goto SAO112921. This is a very large bright nebula (much larger than the fov!), it contains an uneven large dark patch near several bright stars. The outer edges are easily traceable. IC434 Horsehead & NGC2024 Flame. These two targets provided a lovely intricate view. The flame was showing its arms as fine black sleaks leaving the bold black trunk. Surrounding this was a very bright nebula patch that caught the attention of the eye straight away. Below was IC434 trailing down almost all the way to M42. Within IC434 was the black shape of the horsehead. I could see the snout shape pointing back up to Alnitak quite easily. This is the first time that I have seen the snout at only x11 magnification (Chroma 5nm Ha ?). M42/43/NGC1973 Running man. Down we go and into M42, I glance at the bright fish head and the sweeping wing structure behind but my mind says “can you see the Running Man?”. There is M43 looking bright and standing out nicely and yes, there is a clear nebula patch around 3 stars further on (part of the running man). I settle in for a good look. I can easily see a very black section between the 3 stars and M43. I can see a black section coming into the running man from the left too. I cannot see the legs of the running man or the nebula further out on the other side. But this is the best I have managed so far so I am happy with that. Sh2-273 Cone/Fox Fur - NGC2264. Wow, so much nebula that I don’t know where to start! I can see the brightest patch (where the Cone lives) but I do not see the tiny Cone. I can see horizontal swishes of nebula sweeping across the fov. It’s like a giant starfish has surrounded the Xmas tree cluster and there are lanes of nebula shooting in all directions of the compass. I slew around and the nebula just keeps coming in all directions. Eventually I bump into the Rosette (Puppy dog). I move around for some time, this really is like being “lost in nebula”. Rosette sh2-275. NGC2244. Wow, the Rosette is very bright and beautifully framed in the fov. It looks like a “puppy dog”. I play with the gain but can’t get any black vein details out to see. Sh2-254/255/257 – Goto IC2162. Three Sharpless in a row. One larger and two smaller. I cannot tease out the two further tiny companions though. Sh2-261 Lowers Nebula – I move down from sh2-254 and there is Lowers Nebula showing as a bright nebula patch with a wide top, black centre (with rounded underside) and a bright curved lower section (It looks like a front-on view of the starship USS Voyager). NGC1499 California – After my success with the California/Chroma/Dob combination the other night, then I had to re-try it with the Borg. Wow, it appears so much sharper than I have seen it previously with the Borg. Both long edges really stand out as extra bright. The tail section extends out a long way. I get hints of a section falling away lower left. The Whales eye is sharp and round (top centre) but can get lost in the “so bright” nebula that I need to turn the gain down to really see it. IC1805 Heart – After that success, it’s over to the Heart nebula. Probably past its best position but hey, who knows? Its lovely and bright, filling the fov with is “Cinderella Carriage” appearance. I slew around and notice that the arm that shoots out from the Heart seems to go much further and joins another curving arm that sweeps down to re-join the Heart near the “Mole head” (NGC896). I do not remember seeing this section before. IC1848 Soul – After the excitement of the Heart, the Soul was just the Soul. Lovely foetus shape! Sh2-296 Seagull. Goto IC2177. My first impression was one of a bit of disappointment, the seagull was not glowing and knocking my socks off. However, I settled in for a longer look and was able to get my reward. The Head (with mouth) were clear. Below was the long Wing section. I could see sh2-297 sitting brightly on the wing tip. With some averted I could see sh2-293 & 295 sitting off the wing (I did not manage these two with the Borg before). As a follow past the head and then round and down, I find that it just keeps on going! I see a small patch off to the side (sh2-294) then down LBN1036 and end up at Thor’s Helmet (NGC 2359). I repeat this several times as I am amazed at how much nebula there is in this area! Sh2-298 Thor’s Helmet. Goto NGC 2359. Appears as a medium sized bright patch. I am trying to get to see the detail when rain spots start landing on my face… Observing Session 2 (0100-0230hrs). Sh2-310 (New) – I centre on NGC2362 then left into a vertical faint nebula lane. I follow it up and it curves over to the right. Sh2-309 (New) – Goto SAO153062. I see 2 stars inside a black patch. It seems to be surrounded by faint nebula. The brightest patch is just above/side of one of these stars. Sh2-308 (New) – Difficult. 2 bright stars below a faint patch. May have a black curve within it. Sh2-303 (New) – Goto SAO 172588. Difficult. I see a horizontal patch with a sharp black edge running along above some bright stars. The nebula is very faint indeed. Sh2-304 (New) – Goto SAO 172273. It seems to run vertically all the way to M41 above. It runs down too. I see 3 stars in a small black patch at RHS edge then move down and it curves right. I see a faint black fuzzy patch LHS below base star. Sh2-274 Medusa (NGC 2395). Small bright backwards “C” shape. It seems to jump around and sometimes becomes a circle for an instant. It has a large black patch above it. Sh2-290 ARO135 – Goto SAO117301. 4 stars make a wide rectangular pattern (wider on one side). There is a decent sized faint patch inside this rectangle (off centre to one side). Sh2-311 (New) NGC2467 – I more left and up above to see 2 stars with a small patch around. Below there is a larger patch and it seems to have 1 bright star with black surround. Sh2-312 – Goto SAO176833. Appears as a bright 45 degree line of nebula. The sky is failing me now, so I try out a few SAO goto’s from my Excel sheet to confirm if they are present in the SynScan handset. Thoughts of the observer. This turned out to be another decent session in the end, I managed 6 new low horizon Sharpless targets at last and I am pleased with that. The Chroma 5nm Ha filter once again proved to improve results seen at the eyepiece. I also experienced that I needed to once again turn down the gain to get to the finer details (as experienced when using the DOB), the extra brightness of some features can hide other features. I also find that it can boost surrounding nebulosity which can make the fainted targets harder to distinguish so turning down the gain can help to pick up the actual target before then turning up the gain in steps to get the “best view”. I was pleased to finally bag some of the Running Man. I have had quite a few attempts and feel that I finally got more that the patch around the stars. Look forward to getting the DOB down onto this target with the new filter. The Horsehead snout was seen clearly for the first time at this tiny x11 magnification. It was definitely pointing back to Alnitak and an image confirmed that’s correct. I had a few surprise “extra” sections of nebula that I really enjoyed tracing and confirming with Sky Safari – See Flaming Star, Heart and Seagull above. Clear Skies, Alan
  2. Date: Tuesday 1st January 2019. 1845-2200hrs. Scope: 20” f3.6 Lukehurst Dob with Paracorr (fl = 2089mm & f4.1). Night Vision: PVS-14 with Photonis 4g INTENS. Eyepieces: Plossl 55mm (f2 x38). Filters: Chroma 5nm Ha CCD Filter. Moon: 0% Introduction. Seems like a long time since I saw a cloudless sky (because it is!). But last night was forecast clear and sure enough by 1830 the sky was clearing from the North via a light NE wind. I had repositioned the dob for some Milky Way action earlier in the day and I quickly got setup with my Ethos10 to complete the 2-star alignment for my Nexus wifi device connected to Sky Safari 5. I had a quick look at M33 to confirm the alignment and was pleased with the detail on offer, decent arms and several nebula patches showed within the galaxy at x200. The stars were pretty sharp too which is nice since the mirror still needed to cool to the outside temperature. I switched to Night Vision, I added my new Chroma 5nm Ha filter to the bottom of the Paracorr2, then inserted the 55mm Plossl (and added the eyepiece heater tape that would surely be needed later), then finally attached the PVS-14 Night Vision directly to the Plossl using the TNVC/Televue a-focal adapter. Observing report. The Milky Way had not quite cleared the shed roof so targets were limited to begin with, the California nebula was available so I started there! California nebula – WOW what a start! I was treated to my best ever views of NGC1499/sh2-220. Both long edges appeared 3D like real texture. There were occasional brighter sections along the edges. The “Whales Eye” seemed to have extra hollowness and depth. I discovered a new protruding section to one end that I have not noticed before. I found that I preferred the view with the gain down as more features were easily seen than with the gain on full which made things a little too bright for my observing eyeball. LBN749 – Barnard 3 and 4 – Not sure that I have ever observed this target before but it was nearby so rude not to. I saw a decent sized nebula patch around the star Atik. The nebula surrounding the cluster was easily seen in direct vision (Barnard 3). Averted revealed a line of nebula out (Barnard 4) to a single star the other side of Atik. It was hard to see any nebulosity near Atik itself as the star was so bright. Sh2-238 – Hinds Var neb – A challenging object. I was able to see a faint patch next to a star. I played with the gain but was unable to get much more from the target. Sh2-246 – I observed a long vertical patch. It had a curved bottom and the top left corner seemed to come to a point. The outer edges were easily seen and traceable. Many black sections had been cleared by stars incl. a nice multi star patch bottom left. Sh2-215 – A faint patch embedded in a star pattern. Tough one. Sh2-213 – Two double pairs of stars with a faint patch in-between them. The patch is nearer the left pair and there appears to be a star with black surrounding it within the patch. Sh2-216 – The nearest planetary closest to the sun. It was bigger than the fov of the Plossl! It seemed to be almost half moon shaped. The edges were clear. Sh2-221 – Large “Africa” shaped patch with clear edges. Upper section contains intricate black lanes within. Sh2-219 – Small bright patch with a central star (sits at the side of sh2-221) Sh2-217 – Medium sized patch easily seen. Central star in a small black central region. Sh2-212 – Very bright fuzzy patch of medium size. Two stars seen within the patch. Sh2-211 – Small bright patch easily seen. Sh2-210 – Large nebula patch with a black area inside it. It sits next to a very large area of nebula making it hard to separate which is sh2-210! Sh2-207 & sh2-208 – A medium size patch easily seen with a very small patch to the side (easy to miss). Sh2-209 – Patch with a central dark area (to the right hand side). A black elephants trunk is entering from the left hand side. Sh2-206 – Nice. A star appears almost entirely surrounded by nebula (just a tiny gap is there). A very bright section dominates the view. Turn the gain down to reveal a fainter section around the star. This one deserves a revisit with more magnification (but once the heater tapes/gloves are on then I cannot be bothered with changing eyepieces!) Sh2-218 – Sky Safari has this correctly located. It is large and is shaped like a “fat sausage”. The top section appear pretty empty of detail. Flaming star (sh2-229) – WOW! Almost 3D like appearance. Wonderful bright “line” details within and plenty of “bellowy clouds”. New detail (for me) seen as we enter the tail section. I can see a double corner section and tiered sides to the tail. This has always been a disappointing target for me but last night I appear to have broken my duck – it really was wonderful. I now need to revisit and see if I can tease more out of the surrounding area (sh2-230). IC410 – Another best ever view, so much more contrast on offer. The nebula is thick and lush. There are two black eyes peering out at me (one eye is actually made of three dark patches with averted). The left cheek is very bright as are the tadpoles. There is a horizontal line seen underneath (not noticed this before) that seems to underline IC410. Great. IC417 – Another nice target. With the gain turned down, I can see a beautiful spider (or maybe an octopus?) with two stars for eyes. Nice. Sh2-237/NGC1931 – “The fly”, small and very bright. Sh2-235 – bright, decent sized patch easily seen Sh2-231 – sitting next to 235. Larger patch but quite faint. Sh2-233 – sitting next to 231. Tiny patch. Faint, has a central star. Sh2-232 – sitting next to 235. Large faint patch. Seems to have two horizontal lines running through it! Sh2-241 – A triangular patch. I see a small black crescent inside. There is a small bright patch on the bottom corner. Sh2-242 – A bright patch. There is a bright star just off centre which has black surrounding it. Sh2-243 – FAIL. A triangle of stars seen but unable to get any nebula. M1 crab – Wonderful but small. I counted six elonged bubbles with bright edges within the overall patchy shape. Nice. Needs more magnification but I’m too lazy to change eyepieces. NGC2174/sh2-252 – The Monkeys Head was superb with new detail on offer to me. Firstly, there was a new bright circular section obvious at the lower/back of the “cheek”. There were two curved black lanes running from the forehead backwards and curving down “like hair line”. There were a number of brighter sections down the face “eyebrow, nose bridge, lips, bright dot near ear”. There was also a new fainter section below which seemed to “fall away” from the main face features. Great! Sh2-247 – Faint, decent sized patch easily seen. IC443/sh2-248 – Another great view of this SN remnant. The front “Jelly fish” was bright and clear in direct vision with texture and fine details seen within. The tendrils that fall back towards the bright star was clearer than I have seen them before with no averted needed. The Jelly fish seems to be pushing against two waves of nebula as you pan to the right. If you keep going then you come to a large patch of IC444 which was also easily seen. I had been noticing clouds building to the west and it was now that they were mostly all over, I had a play with the Rosette, Flame, Horse head and M42 through the clouds before I decided to call it a night and go watch the final of the Darts instead Thoughts of the observer. This was the first real run out for the Chroma 5nm Ha filter and it could be co-incidence that I had several “best ever” views of some targets that I have visited many times and am familiar with but I don’t think so. It seems this filter is a step up on the Astronomik 6nm Ha filter. The Chroma filter works well with very low gain without scintillation and this allows the user to get the gain down to remove some of the overly bright features that may be disguising fainter darker features around them – I like it. The Horse head really came out as a black horse once I got the gain down but I need to do more experimentation without the clouds. I really enjoyed finally getting some mileage out of the “Flaming Star” which has never really blown my socks off. It really had depth and a 3D feel to it! I look forward to exploring that whole area next time out… The Chroma filter really made IC410 better as the central black areas were just there in direct vision, previously I have needed some averted to get into the blackness. And the spider IC417 was just “in your face”. I thought I had seen as much as I could from the Monkeys Head but apparently there was more to be seen and it really was a joy to suddenly encounter several new features. Wishing you a happy 2019 & clear skies, Alan
  3. I finally managed to get my dual rig working thanks primarily to @Patrick Gilliland. This meant I could try out the Chroma 3nm filter in my Moravian G2-8300 camera attached to my Williams Optics Star 71. Mount is the Mesu 200. The target is the Eastern Veil. This is 19 x 1200s (= 6 hours 20 mins) - processed primarily in PI.
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