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Found 25 results

  1. This has been a bit of a project. Last year I worked out that my 200mm Canon F2.8 lens and ASI1600 would frame the whole of the Veil complex quite nicely. I captured Ha and OIII data for the east and west nebulae with a Tak FSQ 106 and added this into the widefield image. Although the Tak data had to be shrunk down it did add a bit of extra resolution where it was needed. The difficulty for me has been the processing. I have found it really difficult to tease out the faint wisps of detail and have tried the usual routines of micro contrast adjustments using curves along with Scott Rosen's Screen blend/mask inversion method but the results weren't great owing to the close proximity of faint and bright nebulosity. I'd heard about the PI process tool for removing stars, Starnet, so loaded this and had a rare foray into PI. This proved very helpful. It was a luminence created from Ha and OIII using the 200mm lens with the Tak data mixed in. Then the starless layer was added in PS with the screen blend mode at 50% opacity. The nebulosity detail was so well preserved I didn't need a mask. After blending I reduced the stars a bit more using the starless layer again and darken as the blend at 50%. I should really unleash some of the stars to add a bit of "punch" but I've wrestled with this data enough for now! I plan to use it further as I look deeper into the Gorgon that is PixInsight! Telescope: Tak 106 for E and W veils. Canon 200mmL lens Camera: ZWO ASI 1600 pro mono cmos, Gain 150, offset 50 Filters: Baader 7nm OIII and Ha E+W Veil 10x30 mins each channel for each nebula. Whole complex 50x5mins for each channel Captured with SGP, calibrated, aligned and combined with PI, processed mainly with PS but PI for Starnet. Ha mapped to red and OIII to both blue and green
  2. The animation below has 6 days of image stacks of the M82 supernova, (alas not concurrent nor evenly spaced days thanks to the appalling weather!). Each profile was scaled relative to a nearby star. It is sufficient to show the nova brightening up to the 2nd Feb and then dimming down. There are spectral changes too, especially between 500 to 550 nm. A high level summary of what's actually going on would be most welcome. Here is a non animation version Thanks for looking John
  3. Here's my quicky at M82 SN2014J, two nights ago and the only clear night for ages but quite gusty so the 200p what an excellent sail. 16 x 180s Lights10 x 180s Darks800iso200p HEQ5 Guided in phdProcessed in Nebulosity & CS6
  4. Somehow managed to get some shots of the supernova in M82 last night despite the best efforts of the clouds. Needed to use 2x2 binning as there was no opportunity for longer exposures. I know nothing of supernova spectra, apparently the big absorption dip is Silicon. Thanks for looking John
  5. After spending a couple of hours on bright galaxies and comets, I turned my attention to Supernova (as the Plough finally appeared from behind the shed roof). First up was SN2018hna in UGC7534 (mag 14.9) in Ursa Major. - I had observed this one already so I was on a "confirmation" mission. I soon located the oblong of stars (at the centre of the images), one corner of this oblong is the SN. I spent some time and noted another faint close-in star (to confirm on the image today) and everything matches up. - With the 55mm Plossl and Night Vision the core of UGC7534 really lights up and all you see of the galaxy disk is a smudge to the south of the core. Next up was a new SN for me. SN2019va in UGC8577 (mag 16.7!). Its located near the arm of the Plough. - With the 55mm Plossl, I soon matched the star patterns to my sketch (that I made from the images earlier). There was no sign of the galaxy but there are other visible UGCs in the fov (to add confusion). There was no sign of the SN. - I swapped in the Panoptic 35mm (x60 magnification) and the fainter stars got a little clearer. I was now sensing a disturbance in the centre of the fov which must have been the galaxy disk. A point of light blinked in and out three or four times. I noted the position based on the star pattern and was able to confirm the blinking dot in the correct location. Hopefully, SN2019va will get a little brighter by the time I get another shot. Alan
  6. Date: Tuesday 13th February 2045-0130am Scope: 20” f3.6 Lukehurst Dob with Paracorr (fl = 2089mm) [It was Pancake day, so I just had to add a Culinary spin to my nights observing] Get out the Ingredients (Earlier) 1.Create a new “observing list” in sky safari which contained the 5 SuperNova (SN) and 1 Nova targets. 2.Make “identification sketches” for each of the SN with galaxy and nearby star patterns on small pieces of paper based on before/after images from the web. 3.Consider Dob position in the shed = Big Dob was still positioned at the front of the shed aiming back north for Ursa Major & Polaris. Prepare the Pancake Mixture I headed outside at 2030pm with my eyepieces and SN sketches. I removed the AstroSystems Scopecoat from Big Dob, inserted the ParaCorr2 and set about collimating the scope using my Glatter tools, making a few small adjustments to get everything centred in the TuBlug. Time to roll back the roof... The final task was to perform a 2-star alignment to setup the Nexus “push-to”. Fuzzy Comet Pancakes As it was still quite early, I decided to begin with some Comets and using Sky Safari I worked my way through the brightest comets in the sky above. C/2016 N6 (Panstarrs) was out of range C/2010 U3 (Boattini) – I set about searching for the mag 15 comet. I centered up the push-to with the ethos13 (x150) inserted and then moved to ethos10 (x200). I could not find the comet for definite. There were two possible glimpses (1) I did spot a small fuzzy blob near a patch of stars but failed to re-find it (it did not tally with the Sky Safari location but it was close) (2) I thought I saw a tail cutting through the fov (this was the same experience that I had on Sunday when searching for the same object) but the scale of the tail seemed too long and wide to be true. I will keep trying but could probably do with some better conditions. Galaxy Ring Pancakes M81 – starting with M81. E10 (x200). It showed with a bright core with a large dusty area surrounding it. Black patches were seen to both sides and above (maybe some arms on a better night?). M82 – The view was pretty good (better than Sunday). The galaxy was very bright at x200 and stretched out over a decent width. The black dart intersecting the galaxy was clear in direct vision. Sauteed Supernova Pancakes UGC5049/SN2018pc – with the ethos8 (x250) inserted I centred up on UGC5049. The galaxy was a faint streak at the edge of the fov. Straight away there was a faint dot visible within the dusty streak! The star pattern matched my sketch and therefore I notched up a success. NGC2746/SN2018iq – The galaxy was easily found and centred. The SN is tight in but was coming and going as the galaxy drifted across the fov. I switched to the E10 (x200) and the galaxy got brighter, I could see the SN near the centre. NGC3941/SN2018pv – I had seen the SN on Sunday, so back for another visit. With the E10 the bright SN was hard to split from the bright core. With the E8 a clear separation was seen and so another success. My other supernova targets were out of range (due to the shed walls) so I went back to galaxy observing to pass some time while I waited for the earth to spin hoping that targets would come around into view later in the evening. Caramelized Ursa Major Galaxy Pancakes M108 – E10. The galaxy had a long broken shape with a bright patch off to the left. The core is not in the centre. M51 – The E10 revealed nice circling arms which could be traced with averted vision. The first arm curved out into space and the second arm curved around the top. The bridge was not obvious at all but with some concentration a faint wisp of arm could be followed out toward ngc5195. The core of 5195 seemed to be outshinging the core of M51. M106 – Looked good in the E10. Big and bright. No arms. 3990+3982+3972 – A nice triple galaxy in the fov. One big side on, one long thin edge on and a smaller side on made for a nice galaxy combo. 3898+3888 – Little and large side on galaxies. A nice pairing. 3913+3921 – Another pair of side on galaxies 2841 – nice bright side on galaxy More Sauteed Supernova Pancakes NGC3367/SN2018kp – NGC3367 was located under Leo and I had a short opportunity to get it over the shed wall (not with the whole mirror). I quickly matched the field stars to my sketch and saw a bright dot coming from within the area of the faint galaxy. I switched between the E10 and E8. At one point a saw two dots within the galaxy dust and tried to draw two lines showing the dot orientation compared to the field star orientation. These don’t seem to match the images when I check this morning. The core appears as a bright dot so it seems more likely that I was seeing the galaxy core rather than the SN. But checking an image from 10 Feb, the SN has brightened but I cant say I had success at this point. I will try again… One last Savoury Zenith Pancake Mix M101 – Initially a large dusty mist. After a few seconds it started to form into a meaningful structure. I could see the outer arms (containing bright NGC paches). The inner core filled the x200 fov. I could make out three swirling arms. I started to sketch them out on paper. If only the conditions could have been a bit better (Grrrr). Conditions seemed to take another dip as I watched the galaxy detail seemed to dip away. I decided to take a quick snap tour… Keenan system – As recommended by @mdstuart, I headed for NGC5216/5218 and was rewarded with two bright galaxies with dust halos. They looked like a pair of “eyes”. I will have to return on a better night… 4605 – lovely bright edge on galaxy. A clear M82 rival! Cor Caroli – A lovely bright double. One big white star and one small yellow star. I love this double as it seems to look a different colour depending on the aperture of the scope you are using or maybe depending on your aging eyes (I don’t know) but tonight it was white/yellow (for me). Whale – One of my favourite galaxies. It fills the fov at x200. Silver Needle – very long edge on galaxy. Quite dim. Cocoon galaxies – A nice “angular” pair with bright cores and dimmer halos. M3 – To finish a bright globular cluster. Plenty of resolved stars at x200. Lovely. Now I’m stuffed after all those pancakes... By now, the sky has brightened considerably. I had been watching the sky reflections gradually move up from the horizon towards the zenith. Its time to pack up for the night. Just two hours earlier I had seen M101 naked eye averted (with my glasses on) shows how things can change. Oh No! Time for the washing up I close the roof and switch on the light. Thermometer says -2 but my toes say that its colder than that! The UTA of the scope is covered in ice as is the upper shroud – I fetch a towel to wipe it down... After securing the roof and switching on the dehumidifier, I head back to the house and my favourite “hot water bottle”! I did manage three supernovas so you have to be pleased with that! Clear Skies, Alan
  7. DoctorD

    M82

    From the album: DoctorD's Photos

    Single Frame captured with Lodestar Live using C8 SCT and F3.3 reducer at F2.8 30 second exposure s viewed on screen during capture (no post processing) only levels and gamma adjustment available in Lodestar Live
  8. Date: Thursday 8th March 2018 2150-0210am Scope: 20” f3.6 Lukehurst Dob with Paracorr (fl = 2089mm) Waiting for a Sign! Signs were that I may get out for a session (after a two week barren spell). Skies were cloudy at 8pm and the cat came in a little on the damp side so I was a little disheartened. I got up and looked outside at 9-30pm and the sky was clearing so I started to get ready… Not a Good Start Once setup and aligned, I decided to start with some comets. Using Sky Safari I found three well placed comets overhead: C/2015 O1 PANSTARRS C/2010 U3 Boattini 74P/Smirnova-Chernykh I failed to locate any of them and so that was a depressing start. Time for a Nebula! I switched to planetary nebulas. Fitted the O3 filter and headed for the Eskimo in Gemini. Using both the Ethos6 (x348) and Ethos8 (x250) I could see the central star surrounded by a bright circular disk which was itself embedded in a dusty halo. The circle was bright with the E6 but harder with the E8. I headed over to the Medusa and was surprised by its size. I ended up with the Ethos13 (x150) where I could see the large curved leading edge. The actual finer detail was hard to tease out and I tried both the O3 and UHC to try to see more. I found the UHC best but this was a difficult target and I felt like I had not seen as much as I should have? Now onto the Owl. E13 unfiltered. A nice circular cloud was seen with the two big black eyes coming & going from view. I tried the UHC and it improved but I have seen it better. Six Supernova Anyone? Having spent some of my spare time (in the last two weeks) setting up a “supernova” observing list in Sky Safari. I asked the app to highlight my list and was presented with a clear galaxy hopping trail ready to be explored… I also made pre-prepared sketches of the SN galaxies and surrounding star patterns so I have something to refer to as I try to orientate myself with the sky region. NGC3158 & SN2018aaz – After checking my sketch, I quickly had the galaxy centred in the E8. It was a nice size but I could not see the three close in dots from my sketch. Switching to the E6 (x348) revealed more of the smaller stars and I matched the star pattern. Inside the galaxy halo I could see two dots. One of these could have been the SN? UGC5049 & SN2018pc – At my first attempt last month, I got this SN easily with the galaxy showing easily on that night. Two further attempts had failed to reveal even the edge-on galaxy! Tonight I could see the galaxy and sure enough there was the SN tucked nicely into the centre. SUCCESS NGC2746 & SN2018iq – With the E8 loaded, I quickly located the galaxy next to a star. There was no sign of the SN until I swapped in the E6. SUCCESS NGC3367 & SN2018kp – I have had a couple of goes at this SN already with no success. My shed wall was obscuring my view on those occasions but tonight I seemed to drop lucky and I could get a good view of it. I tried with E6, E8 & E10 eyepieces. The star pattern was easily matched and I had learned a lot from my previous attempts too. I think I finally did glimpse the SN but it was only brief glimpses of a “second dot” in the right place within the galaxy halo. The halo was showing particularly well last night (maybe the extra magnification of the E6?). SUCCESS NGC3384 & SN2018yn – I quickly located the host galaxy and then discovered that I had not made a sketch of what to look for! I made a star chart of what I could see ready for verification this morning instead. The galaxy was a good size and showed a nice halo. I managed to see a dot within the halo. Looking at the images this morning it seems more likely that I saw the core than the SN as the core is much brighter on the images. NGC3941 & SN2018pv – Onto the brightest of them all. I have seen the SN several times already and I must say that it was very hard to split it from the core last night (harder than on previous visits). Even with the E6, the centre looked more like a dual core. A “clear gap” was not seen. SUCCESS (almost) Oh well, four from six ain't too bad. Worthy of a Mention I spent the rest of my session taking in galaxies from Ursa Major down to Leo. Some targets worthy of a mention were... NGC3163+3159+3161+3150+3151 – Five galaxies in the FOV. All of them pretty easy to see. A group of three and a group of two. Ethos8 (x250). A very nice vista. NGC5350+5353+5354+5355+5358 – Another five galaxy view! This view had the bonus that two of them were interacting with each other. Great! M87+4478+4476 – A nice “curvy” trio of bright galaxies. Forever the Optimist Lets hope for a few more clear nights as the new moon approaches! Alan
  9. Just grabbed an hour out with big dob (20"). I had it positioned in the shed for Ursa Major ready for the SN attempt. Conditions were not the best, it was a bit windy and the sky had lost some of its early blackness. There were of course some early tube currents in the scope to contend with too. I started with the ethos10 (x200) and the galaxy appeared with an elongated core (due to the SN being in close to the centre), the galaxy had a small dust halo surrounding it. I dropped to the ethos8 (x250) and split the core from the SN with a clear gap. I dropped to the ethos6 (x350) and the split was easy! I could not split the core from the SN in the ethos21 (x100). Returning 30 minutes later, I did split the SN from the core with both the ethos10 (x200) and the ethos13 (x150) but they were pretty tight splits coming in & out. Should hopefully be easier on a better night. Good luck, Alan
  10. A shot of the Type II supernova in the Fireworks Galaxy (NGC 6946) discovered by amateur astronomer Patrick Wiggins on May 14. This animated gif shows two images; one taken on 21 July 2016 and the other taken with a different telescope on 22 May 2017. The difference in quality between the two images is due to the different focal lengths of the two scopes which makes the newer image significantly smaller. 53 x 75 second exposures at 400 ISO 40 x dark frames 79 x flat frames 21 x bias/offset frames (subtracted from flat frames only) Captured with APT Guided with PHD2 Processed in Nebulosity and Photoshop Equipment: Sky-Watcher Explorer-150PDS Celestron NexStar 127 SLT Skywatcher EQ5 Mount Orion 50mm Mini Guide Scope ZWO ASI120 MC imaging and guiding camera Canon 700D DSLR
  11. Not a great shot cause the wind was really whipping but i managed to catch the SuperNova in M82 tonight. It's huge. I can only wonder what the skies would be like living on a planet around another star near it. 15 seconds unguided at ISO 2000. 12 million years to get here at 186,000 miles a second. So hard to wrap one's head around!
  12. ok well my first use of a telescope for a long while ( about may last year) so tried out the little 130p heritage tonight with standard 25mm ,10mm e/p's and a 15mm tv plossl. apart from the focuser which is papp ! ( i know i can use some plumbers tape to stiffener it up but all the same ,its not nice to use) the 130p heritage is a very good little performer. the pointer works well and got me in the area within seconds. collimation seems to hold very well and the alt /az movements are smooth. plus the dovetail makes balancing a doddle. i scouted around and looked at m42 ,m35,jupiter,m44,m67,m81,m82. m44 was really to big for my current focal lengths , but every thing else come up trumps in this scope. the big thrill was m82 and seeing the s/n . very easily seen even with the 25mm standard issue. looking forward to using it again now. GOOD TO BACK IN THE GAME. clear skies...
  13. Conditions have improved allowing use of the slit spectrometer. Here's a comparison of the same target, same evening, taken with the sa100. The sodium dip is evident. Using a long transmission spectrometer without a flip mirror is a PITA on dim targets. If anyone has a spare 300 l/mm reflection grating then please let me know! The chart below shows 4 days worth of sa100 spectra. Again I have done a quick scaling adjustment relative to a nearby star to get a meaningful indication of how the supernova is brightening. The most recent profile has picked up the sodium dip. Thanks for looking John
  14. After being away from my telescope for weeks and inactive on this site for over a year, I was quite enthusiastic in finding the new supernova in M82 that some have already mentioned on this forum. It would not only be the first time I witness a recent supernova but it would also be my first glimpse of the Cigar Galaxy. I did the necessary collimation and headed outside. Since the weather network had called for a windchill warning of -43, I dressed for the occasion. Unfortunately, I was ill-prepared to also face a wall of humidity (81%). Now, upon a recent look at the forecast, the warning called for blowing snow. I guess the Cigar Galaxy will be for another day. I have a 10" Dobsonian, I'm assuming that it won't be too tricky to find right? Until then, I thought that this song would be quite fitting... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMr3KtYUCcI Isabelle
  15. Just managed 6 x 300 Lum on this in twilight before M66 disappeared behind the trees. My first supernova , and a nice fresh one at that. Esprit 100/ATIK460/AZEQ6
  16. mitchelln

    M82 Pre Supernova

    From the album: M82

    M82 pre and post supernova. Supernova shot taken 3 days after the event.

    © Neill MItchell

  17. A very nice story about an amateur astronomer `Víctor Buso` who captured the first light of a supernova in the spiral galaxy NGC 613 in the southern constellation of Sculptor. http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/amateur-astronomer-captures-supernovas-first-light/?k=y4N%2B7Xpou9gO841zPISU2Kf8qbB4G%2FInKW%2FwEYRUYlk%3D&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=sky-jma-nl-180223 I particularly like how the article concludes with his quotes: “Sometimes I wonder why I do this, why I put so many hours and so much passion into this . . . Now, I have found the answer.” More here: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-02331-4 https://www.nature.com/articles/nature25151 (scientific article about the following up dynamical model of supernova explosion and further analyses - this requires a subscription) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGC_613 : "On September 20, 2016, Argentinian amateur astronomer Victor Buso captured supernova SN 2016gkg in NGC 613, just as it was starting to erupt.[13][14] This was a type IIb supernova, a supernova that initially shows a hydrogen envelope like a type II supernova,[13] but later loses the hydrogen lines in its spectrum to appear like a type Ib supernova. It showed the double peak that is common to many type IIb supernovae, rising to around magnitude 15.5 shortly after discovery and then again about 20 days later. The progenitor star has been identified in Hubble Space Telescope images from before its collapse, and it is likely to have been a yellow supergiant." (NGC 613 frames from Víctor Buso) (NGC 613 image from the Paranal Observatory in Chile) (NGC 613 image from Hubble Space Telescope)
  18. Magnitude 12.7 supernova ( 2018pv ) found in NGC3941 2018pv (= AT2018pu), TNS discovered 2018/02/03.631 by Masaki Tsuboi Found in NGC 3941 at R.A. = 11h52m55s.700, Decl. = +36°59'11".60 Located 4".1 east and 0".8 north of the center of NGC 3941 (K. Itagaki image) (Giancarlo Cortini image) (K. Itagaki image) (Manfred Mrotzek image) (K. Itagaki image) Mag 12.7:2/9, Type Ia (z=0.003100) (References: ATEL 11278) data from http://www.rochesterastronomy.org/supernova.html#2018pv
  19. I took this image of the supernova in m82 on Sunday night when we had a window of clear skies in the evening. Taken while the nearby school's all terrain pitch floodlights were on! Never give up to light pollution! Just 9x 4 minute exposures 250PX tracking and guided / Canon 1000D Darks on the fly, No flats Thanks for looking :-)
  20. Hello, I had clear skies last night and so ventured outside to try and spot the supernova that has been seen in M82. I was able to find M82 without too much trouble with a 32mm EP but the light pollution made both very faint againt the background glow. When I switched to a 10mm EP I would like to think I managed to spot the supernova with averted vision. Anyway, to my question, I don't have any light pollution filters and so I was wondering if they might help. My road has has orange streetlamps but a more whitish glow seems to be coming up into the sky from the direction of the local shops. Any ideas? Thanks dag123
  21. http://www.rochesterastronomy.org/supernova.html#2017ahk unconfirmed at this time... pictures are not too clear just like M74 ! found some stuff on CN http://www.cloudynights.com/topic/566129-might-be-a-sn-in-m74/
  22. First stargazing trip of 2013 to the California foothills. As a matter of fact - first stargazing in WAY too long. The location was Cronan Ranchabout an hour from Sacramento, CA, at an elevation around 890' MSL. Skies were clear but moisture in the airmass brought seeing down to average if not slightly less than average. Stars boiled in the eyepiece all night when not overhead. Temps were near freezing...and despite gloves my hands froze. With skyglow from Sacramento on the SW horizon up to about 30-40 degrees I tried to limit my viewing from East to overhead...with a single target to the south (more on that later). The Milky Way was visible overhead...but really only overhead with direct vision. The night had three goals - observe objects in the Deep Sky section of the February issue of sky and Telescope, observe objects in the Deep Sky section from the January issue of S&T, and observe SN2012fr. Observing was done primarily with my 10mm EP for 120x but for some targets I added a 2x Barlow to go deeper...but I found that conditions did not favor the Barlow tonight. New finds. Old friends. Missed observations. While waiting for the sky to darken I spent some time with rising Jupiter. I was approached by a hiker while setting up and got the scope centered on Jupiter - unfortunately I let him look too soon because all he saw was a 'star-like' planet. Just after he left I collimated the scope and Jupiter and 4 moons jumped out of the EP. I felt bad because he realy would have liked the view. I'm pretty sure I saw the shadow of Io as it crossed in front of the king of the planets but good viewing was spotty due to less than perfect seeing. Additionally I viewed Albireo, the Ring Nebula (M57), and Andromeda (M31). With the scope pointed high overhead I opened my first observing list of the night: NGC 752 - And - OC - mag 6.6 - easily found, lots of stars, 'golf putter' asterism nearby IC 179 - And - Gx - mag 13.2 - tough find, just a small/faint haze about 2-3x bigger than the surrounding stars, averted only NGC 266 - Psc - Gx - mag 12.6 - easily found, very faint haze patch, no bar evident Lovro 2 - And - asterism - mag 10-11 - fairly easily found asterism that looks like double question marks (R.A.: 00h22m13.1s Dec.: +24°51'40" (2000) in Andromeda) Goal #1 - complete. Next I lowered the scope to the horizon and tried to pull faint Eridanus out of murky horizon. It took time with the finder scope, but I was able to ID enough stars to get in the neighborhood of SN2012fr - a 'kite-like' asterism of mag 6-7 stars in Formax that would serve as an easy go-to spot while searching for the SN. From the kite a short hop led to 3 stars mag 9.2-10.8 and then up to a pair of stars around mag 10.5 and on to a final, faint star at mag 11.1. Within the 110x EP view was the very faint (averted) glow of SN2012fr's host galaxy (NGC1365, mag 10.6)...but no star-like SN popped out. I spent many minutes trying to tease out the Sn's faint mag 12.x light...even tried more magnification with the Barlow but that just made things even more faint so i abandoned that quickly. Despite numerous attempts, SN2012fr never exposed itself to me. Goal #2 - fail (for the night). As my third goal covered a lot of clusters in/around Monoceros/Puppis and both constellations hadn't risen high enough for viewing I slewed the scope over to Gemini. A few gems graced the EP for the next 20-30 minutes. M 35 - Gem - OC - mag 5.6 - an old friend and very easy find due to size, too many stars to fit into the EP at 110x IC 2157 - Gem - OC - mag 9.1 - a small OC that looked like a bowtie at 110x with the left half being brighter and more filled in than the right half. NGC 2129 - Gem - OC - mag 7.0 - nice little cluster, a brightish anchor with slight haziness surrounding ... dozen+ stars clearly visible At this point my laptop battery said it was dead so my star charts were gone...Mon/Pup were still too low to see the target area so I called it a night and let my frozen body warm up. Goal #3 - epic fail (but I'll be back!) Not a complete loss I guess - 3 new galaxies barely seen, 2 new clusters and a few old friends. Happy Hunting!
  23. sn2017gxq was discovered in ngc 4964 by the Gaia satellite on 17th September but not announced until 28th. I classified it as type 1a using spectroscopy on 30th. Details and the spectrum are on the Transient Name Server website https://wis-tns.weizmann.ac.il/object/2017gxq It is currently close to maximum at about mag 14 so is probably the brightest supernova in the sky at the moment but there are no observations or images currently in David Bishop's famous "bright supernovae" website. http://www.rochesterastronomy.org/snimages/ Robin
  24. I often love to play youtube lectures in the background as i work on my home improvement projects, only problem with that is many times my attention gets so focussed on the computer screen that i fail to see paint dripping from my brush onto the carpet, that did happen!. Anyway, here's a great lecture from the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics which is just a couple hours drive from my home about the weirdest stars known, some fascinating facts here with a dose of humour.
  25. After several weeks of not pulling out the scope I was pleased to finally have a chance to hit a clear, dark sky location. Red Rock State Park in California was the location du jour - a Bortle 2 location I hit when ever in this part of the country on business. Conditions were great with temperatures in the low 80s (F) and negligible winds. A light haze lingered on the horizon due to stronger winds earlier in the day. After judging conditions were OK when M65, M66, and NGC 3628 were all visible a great night began. I had wanted to do some deep deep observing so I searched SkyTools3 for quasars within the ability of my scope - the listed came up with a couple that I hadn't heard of before so i got excited. First up was HE 1106-2321 in Crater - listed as a mag 13.7 quasar. Despite not having star hopped in several weeks I found it easiest to hop down from Beta Crt to a mag 8.9 star that served as a base. From there a line of three stars led away to a strong L asterism. The quasar was between the first two in the line...but was FAINT. I had to move magnification up to 240x to pull out the faint photons in averted vision. I was able to get a clear view twice while the scope was slowly moving but upon only viewed faintly a few other times. A mag 13.2 star was more easily visible in the proximity. Next up was moving up to Virgo for SN2012cg. Hopping through several galaxies I was able to find the supernova glowing brightly (may have been a touch brighter than the listed mag 12.0). It overpowered it's host galaxy NGC 4424...with the galaxy's glow only possible with averted vision away from the supernova. The nova is very close to the galactic core. Also in the area NGC 4417 and NGC 4445 were faintly observed - just faint fuzzies. I swung the scope over to UMa and star hopped over to MKN 421 which was supposed to be rather difficult to find because not much is in the local area. But I found a double kite (or diamond) asterism that made locating the quasar pretty easy. The mag 6 stars nearby nearly overpowered the quasar but it was visible with averted vision - not that it was too faint...but the other stars just overpowered it. Taking a break from the ultra deep observing I moved over to Antares and observed M 4 and NGC 6144. M 4 was stunning at 120x looking like the many legs of a spider streaming away from the center point. NGC 6144 is a faint GC that wasn't much more than a grainy cotton ball - I imagine upping the magnification may have given a better view...but I was off again. Next up was the naked eye Lagoon Nebula which glowed very nicely at 120x and 240x. I went with and without UHC filter and was pleased with both views. The dark vein running through the nebula stood out best at 240x but was still visible at 120x. In the vicinity observations included the Omega Nebula (very nice with and without UHC filter), a few open clusters, and even the Ring Nebula which I like best without the filter as I get more color). I split the Double Double while around Vega. The final joy of the night was observing both the east and west parts of the Veil Nebula - just a whisper was visible with an unfiltered view but the UHC filter made it stand out very nicely. I had no idea that this nebula was soo big. Had to go with 46x to see it on any scale. A pretty good night - 2 new quasars, 1 new supernova, and a handful of nebula and faint galaxies. Today I'm off to Las Vegas and if i don't melt in the 100+ (F) heat I hope to put in some Bortle 1 viewing in the desert on Thursday and Friday. My scope has been begging for an even darker location. Could be fun! Happy hunting!
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