Jump to content

740427863_Terminatorchallenge.jpg.2f4cb93182b2ce715fac5aa75b0503c8.jpg

Beehive but no Crab


Recommended Posts

I felt very proud of myself last night after sighting M44, the Beehive Cluster, which I struggled to find on my previous outing as Cancer just seems such a dim constellation. It still looked quite faded in the finderscope, but nice and sparkley in my 40mm EP, despite the slight aberrations at the edge of my vision as this magnification is just slightly too low for my OTA.

Spurred on by my new found expertise I thought I'd have a look for M1, the Crab Nebula, as I was in the neighbourhood checking out the awesome wonder of Jupiter and her moons.

I'm pretty sure I was looking in the right place, very slightly NE of Zeta Tauri, but couldn't see anything like a nebula, even with the UHC filter. Has anyone else noticed it recently, and if not who should I phone if it's gone missing?

I was observing from my back garden so I might have more luck from one of my 'countryside' sites!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have found the Crab be a bit tricky at times. You really need anice dark site.

I have failed with the scope before then had better luck finding it with a pair of Binoculars and then moving back to the scope and after a bit of time it suddenly pops out.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, I failed the crab with my bins from my local site but got her right away with an semi cooled 6" at the clubs real dark site observatory. However the beehive is a marvel isn't she?

If you want some resonably easy messsiers in the same region, you should go for the clusters M67 and M35,36,37 and 38.

Edited by VigdisVZ
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Crab is quite difficult without a darkish sky.

The winter sky does have a lot of open clusters worth viewing (as mentioned by VigdisVZ).

I would add M34 and the Double cluster in Perseus.

Casseopeia has an abundance of nice objects too.

If you fancy trying to spot a galaxy or two (and have seen M31 in Andromeda), have a go at M81 and M82 in the same field of view in Ursa Major slightly later in the night. the first is almost face on, the second very much edge on.

Happy hunting!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unless you have horrendous light pollution where you are, you should find it in an 8". I think it's about a degree away from Zeta Tauri ( to the NE, as you say)

Try something like a 25mm eyepiece or one with a bit more magnification. You sometimes need just enough magnification to darken the background sky to improve contrast and pick out the object. It looks like a very faint oval smudge. Getting back to the Beehive, there are also quite a few double stars in Cancer but not very spectacular on account of being quite faint.

Good luck.

Dave

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's not a WOW ! Object from polluted skies. Best I've seen is elongation with brightness at one end. When you read about it's history and what's happening up there, it is more "WOW.

There's plenty brighter objects that will repay searching and some magnification.

In Ursa Major the galaxy NGC2841 looked very bright this morning up to x100. M51 showed dark lanes and the globular clusters M13,M53 and M3 shone with compact cores and a glittering array of stars. Both galaxy groups I and II in Leo were clear this morning,

neat,

Nick.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I manged to find M1 from my back garden in a semi rural area. It appears as an approximately oval patch of light. We have a relatively dark sky here, though the LP can be pretty bad if the sky isn't perfectly clear. It is a tricky object to find and it helps to have seen similar faint fuzzies to get your eye in to what to expect to see.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agree with the above , its a faint oval smudge most of the time and needs a good dark sky to see well. Don't forget to avert gaze to make finding it easier, i call it the eye flick, and with practice this will help find the really faints up there.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for your advice guys - with your encouragement I have now added the Crab Nebula to my meagre list of astronomical accomplishments!

There was a good break in the clouds last night so took the trouble to try out a new spot out in the countryside. Got the focuser lined up just above Zeta Tauri and popped in my 25mm EP. Amazingly the wee oval smudge was there, just at the edge of the image (this hardly ever happens!). As pointed out above it's not the most spectacular object in the night sky, but seeing the remnants of the 1054 supernova made it special, and even more so as this was the one that started Messier off! The view through my 10mm was even better, but not really enhanced by my UHC filter. I guess it's a planetary nebula so maybe that was to be expected.

An added bonus was a fantastic image of Jupiter - so much so that I saw the great red spot for the first time (checked with stellarium to make doubly sure when I got home). The seeing was good enough bring my 6.4mm EP into play, which usually reveals nothing more that a fuzzy burr in comparison to the 10mm. I was just reaching for my filter box (for EP's not little ciggies) when the clouds rolled in.

After packing up I realized I'd underestimated the boggy slipperiness of the terrain and had to give the Xsara Picasso a few runs at the wee slope out the 'site', front wheels spinning like mad. Once they gripped tar I nearly shot through the fence on the other side of the lane, so I'll give that spot a miss next time!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can just about detect it in 15x70s and my 6" scopes at home (9 miles from Manchester) but it's better in my bigger scope and in my big dob from a darker but not great site, I could see knotty detail in the central areas with persistent staring/averted vision.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great that you found it! :smiley:

The Crab is just one of those famous night sky objects that you want to see with your own eyes. It's quite small and dim now, but it's been getting bigger (and hence dimmer) for nearly a thousand years. It's reckoned that it would have been nearly twice as bright when Messier saw it.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The crab is one of those that is certainly found easier under darker skies, that said it is reasonably easy with averted vision on my 10" under suburban Hull skies (moonless mind)

My recommendation would be for a stab at some of the Galaxies mentioned, certainly M81 and M82 which should be in the same EP view. You could also try M101 and M51 as well.

The star clusters mentioned earlier will be wonderful in dark skies, I love the double cluster in Perseus.

Good luck and may dark clear skies bless your observing!!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Crab is quite difficult without a darkish sky. ......Happy hunting!

Indeed but as an aid there are two mag 6.7 stars 'above' zeta Tau that form a fair equalateral triangle with zeta about a degree across - M1 is a little below a line through the two stars to the right [west] at 2/3rd their separation. Good luck :cool:

For those with equat mounts centre on M42 in Orion and pan straight upwards to zeta Taurus with M1 nearby as above.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I must of looked for M1 4 or 5 times without success, even from a darkish site. Then one night from home, i lined up again, and spotted it straight away, right in the centre of view. I recently found M44, like most clusters it was beautiful. They are easily now my favourite thing to look at.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.