Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

sgl_imaging_challenge_banner_terminator_challenge.thumb.jpg.b7f10f594317507d0f40662231b0d9a8.jpg

m_j_lyons

January 8, 2013 - Clear/Dark skies

Recommended Posts

Second stargazing trip of 2013 logged while in on business in Las Vegas, USA. Location was the Pahranagat Wildlife Area about 70 miles north of Las Vegas - a good Bortle 2 location! Arriving just after sunset the Milky Way was dominant overhead and was SO bright as twilight faded. To my surprise accompanying the Milky Way were the Zodiac Lights...which nearly rivaled the Milky Way forming the southern arm of a V with the MW forming the northern arm. The lights were bright for about a good 90 minutes after sunset...and extended nearly to zenith. I've previously never seen the Zodiac Lights so this was an unexpected treat! Temps dropped quickly from the high 50s (F) to the low 40s (F) so I donned my heavy winter clothes to get ahead of the chills - I was prepped for skiing as much as stargazing - and with a cloudless sky I was eager for true darkness to fall.

While waiting for conditions to get dark enough to start deep observing I hit old friends that I could find without the use of my laptop - my attempt to keep the battery up for as long as possible.

During this time I spent some time with Jupiter at 120x and 240x - Io was crossing in front of the planet and seeing was pretty good so I was easily able to pick out the shadow of Io about 4/5 of the way across the planet...it stood out so well I was truly shocked. Rare is the day I can see the planets that clearly. Still missed the Great Red Spot as it didn't rise during my time out (hopefully later this week!).

New finds Old friends Missed targets

Other old friends I checked in on -

M1 - 120x/240x - UHC filter on and off - best views at 120x ...and just a hint of structure visible with the filter

M31/M32/M110 - stood out naked eye and was BIG in the finder scope

M42/M43 - stunning at 120x...as usual...trapezium popped out

NGC2024 (flame nebula) - stood out nicely at 120x

M35/NGC2158 - such a pretty contrast of clusters...big/small...bright/dim

M36/M37/M38 - easily found in the finder scope...all nice views at 120x - M37 is my favorite

M81/M82 - both were beautiful views...just a hint of a spiral arm on M81...and what appeared to be a faint dark lane in the heart of M82

After this the sky had sufficiently darkened to allow the laptop to be fired up...so the goals for the night were set:

#1 - observe SN2012fr

#2 - observe the CAS clusters described in Star & Telescope a few months ago

#3 - observe the MON objects described recently in S&T

off I went...

SN2012fr is located in NGC 1365 located in the southern part of FOR. The star hop is not too tough if you can see ERI. This night my guide stars stood out just above the distant light dome of Las Vegas and the hop was very easy. Low and behold NGC1365 was very easily seen as a faint fuzzy not far from a mag 11 guide star...and SN2012fr was easily seen glowing just south of the brighter core of NGC1365. The Sn is still listed at mag 12.8 but I'd argue that it's fallen below that as it was very dim and numerous mag 12.5 stars in the vicinity were much easier to see. I could pick out mag 13.x stars in the vicinity as well...so I think the SN is in the mag 13.2(ish) range now. Yeah...another SN notch added to the belt! That's #7! :grin:

On to task #2 - CAS clusters

I was suprised how easily many of the clusters stood out in the dark skies despite the bulk of the Milky Way passing around Casseopia. Here's my collection for in CAS this night (not in order of observing):

NGC 609 - OC - mag 12.7 - This was a FAINT OC. Just a haze patch in the FOV of 2 mag 9 stars...mag 12 nearby stars stood out much brighter than this OC. The haze had a hint of graininess...like an GC does under good skies and magnification.

NGC 637 - OC - mag 7.3 - Intersection of a lazy X of star streams...had the impression of a person swiimming when i saw it. Body + two arms stroking + two legs kicking. Odd observation...I know.

NGC 559 - OC - mag 7.4 - A lot of faint stars visible...arcs of stars...i could even pull out a smiley face in the cluster.

NGC 654 - OC - mag 8.2 - A pretty little cluster - like a 'hat' on top of the mag 7 anchor star...mag 11 stars outline the hat and mag 12-13 stars fill it in. MANY stars visilbe. Hat could also be the Android mascot's head...with the little antenae sticking up.

IC 166 - OC - mag 11.7 - I think i saw this...despite what the finder charts say. a VERY faint hazy background cluster...maybe in a triangle...or sail shape. Not far from HD11162 a hazy patch is visible...averted only. A lot of very faint (but brighter than the haze) stars are visible in the proximity of where teh charts shows IC166 to be...I'm assuming I'm seeing the OC and then some more. Neeed to look at a DSS image of this area. ** after checking the DSS image - yes, i was indead seeing IC166 - very faint stars make up this cluster deeper than the charts show.

Czernik 4 - OC - mag ?? - Not sure what this cluster is supposed to look like...but I was there at 120x and 240x. Looks like a tree with three branches joining there. Mag 14.x stars clearly visible...no nebulosity and no faint fuzzy background stars. ** after rereading the S&T section...there wasn't more to see...it's just an intersection of a few stars (boring).

Trumpler 1 - OC - mag 8.9 - Looked to be about 7-8 stars...not overly bright but stood out from the background pretty well. Sort of looked like a big fish mouth opening to the W in my EP. Open mouth area must have been the dark nebula showing on the charts.

NGC 663 - OC - mag 6.4 - A very pretty cluster...looked like a V with LOTS of stars visible.

NGC 659 - OC - mag 7.2 - Nice little cluster ... about 8-12 mag 10.x stars with many fainter stars fleshing out the cluster.

M 103 - OC - mag 6.9 - A most UNimpressive messier object at first. Bright-ish top and bottom anchor stars...but well in the middle of the EP at 120x. Sort of light a K or a fountain with the bright stars being the base.

That completed goal #2...and it took a while.

On to #3...or would have been if something hadn't triggered my fight/flight response :eek: ... real or imagined ... I thought I head something walking in the sand not far away that I couldn't see...I started talking more and whistling But my 'mood' had been broken and I ended up packing up and calling it a night. I don't know about the rest of you - but after a few hours in the dark and as the brain starts to get tired I get easily startled and lose the desire to be alone in the pitch black. I'm sure the noise was just a deer...but I was only about 70 miles from "Area 51" so you never know what's sneaking around in the dark. :shocked:

So I never attempted goal #3...nor the Horsehead Nebula...nor the Great Red spots return.

Oh well - later this week I'll be spending the night in one of North America's darkest locations - a true Bortle 1 location! I just hope the clouds cooperate. :embarrassed:

Happy hunting!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

so far not so good...arrived in town but the skies are mostly cloudy...may be clearing around midnight...so this may turn into a EARLY morning session.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That was a huge session! Excellent report. Thanks for sharing and glad there is some break in the clouds somewhere. We're socked in with snow and it is literally the dead of winter here. Agree about M37, but my last project before the weather went south was in the area of M38. There are some interesting objects there which includes Mel 31, Stock 8, and Sharpless 2-237, but have concluded they are beyond my reach from the back yard, which is a Bortle 6 at best (probably more of a 7). I simply cannot make out the nebulosity and need to go somewhere darker. Was driving back from a client last week and there is a large stretch of the M4 east of Bristol where there are no lights. Left the motorway and pulled off at a rest stop and boy was it dark!! I'd say it was a Bortle 3 and a very welcome sight indeed. Note to self to find a better place to pull off and to keep the little travel bins in the glovebox.

I used to live in Roseville about 26 years ago! Must get some light pollution locally in Sac area but I would think you can escape it going a short distance north. Of course that Nevada desert at night is ideal and the Sierras must have a lot to offer. Grandma lived in Gold Run and it was pitch black out there!

Is it Star and Telescope in the US? Mag here in UK is Sky and Telescope but there is a publication of the same name in the US.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I used to live in Roseville about 26 years ago! Must get some light pollution locally in Sac area but I would think you can escape it going a short distance north. Of course that Nevada desert at night is ideal and the Sierras must have a lot to offer. Grandma lived in Gold Run and it was pitch black out there!

Is it Star and Telescope in the US? Mag here in UK is Sky and Telescope but there is a publication of the same name in the US.

Wow, what a small world. Roseville has grown immensely over the past dozen or so years...100K+ residents, more light pollution than you can shine a flashlight at, and the sprawl now continues a solid 20 miles north of downtown (as it has merged into Lincoln). I have a semi-dark location about 30 minutes north...or I drive 65 minutes into the Sierra mountains (Blue Canyon airport). Spell checker "corrected" my spelling and messed up the name...it's Sky & Telescope on both sides of the pond.

Cheers...and happy hunting.

Sent from my Xoom using Tapatalk 2

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You must get a lot of heat shimmer in the atmospherics too: when I passed through Sac and Rocklin last June it was over 100 F as usual! Blue Canyon is way up there. That must be great too. That sure is a nice setup you've got there, enjoy!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Hughsie
      As open clusters go NGC 2281 doesn't have much to shout about when comparing it to the Beehive Cluster or Pleaides and appears not to be a common target for Astrophotographers. However, what it does have is a name which accurately depicts what you see.
      It's a bit of a magic eye moment, but stare at the bright star in the centre of the frame. This is the 'point' of the heart which sits above it.
      20 light frames of 100 s each.
      15 dark frames,
      25 flat and bias frames.
      Taken with a William Optics Z61, ZWO ASI294MC Pro Cooled set at -15 degrees and unity gain all atop a Celestron AVX mount.
      Thank you for dropping by.
       
      John

    • By Lead_weight
      Spent the last three nights imaging these three objects. Managed to get them all in the same frame of my ES 102mm FCD100 scope. Pretty happy with how it turned out. I would have liked to have grabbed a little more SII data. When I originally captured it, I thought I might only have two clear nights, so I imaged it as HA/OIII. Turns out there's almost no OIII. On the third night, clouds were supposed to roll in about 4am, cutting the imaging session short, but it stayed clear the whole night, and I got a full night of data with the exception that I got a late start due to technical issues when I first started imaging.
      The ASI1600's halos are rearing their ugly heads on the two brightest stars. I tried to tone them down some by desaturating the colors around both stars...it worked a bit.
      Another 15 hours and I could probably get rid of any remaining grain, but just don't have the clear nights to get it done. 15.8 hours total imaging time.
      Equipment:
      Celestron CGX Explore Scientific 102mm FCD100 ZWO ASI1600MM-C ZWO Filter Wheel with Astrodon 5nm filters ZWO ASI290MM Mini guide camera  Stellarvue F50G guide scope
    • By Toxophilus
      I finally got round to testing my new configuration using a Pegaus Ultimate Power Box. So now only 2 cables going to the mount for everything instead of a tangled spiders web. I'm pleased with the results so far, just have a few minor things to change but I just randomly picked a target of Messier 39 to test it all with and was not expecting much. But I was delighted with the result for something that was only going to be a basic test.

    • By MeyGray3833
      Howdy.
      I got out of my depth on this one, surprisingly hard to process and the colour data was rubbish, not to mention all the other stuff that is wrong with the image! We are our own worst critics!
      Anyway, the image is loosely centered on open cluster Pismis 4 backed by part of the Vela Supernova Remnant.

      Telescope: William Optics FLT132
      Guide Scope: QHY OAG
      Camera: QHY9 Mono @ -20c
      Filter Wheel: QHY 7 position Ultra Slim
      Filters: QHY 36mm unmounted L R G B HA OIII SII
      Guide Camera: QHY5L-II
      Mount: AZ-EQ6
      Mount Control: EQASCOM
      Focusing: SharpSky Pro and Sequence Generator Pro 3 (automated)
      Bahtinov Mask: Yes (initial focus)
      Capture Software: Sequence Generator Pro 3
      Guiding Software: PHD2
      Calibration and Stacking Software: PixInsight
      Processing Software: PixInsight
      Number and Type of Data Frames: L= 18X10 min, R= 6x7 min, G= 6x7 min, B= 6x7 min
      Ha= x , SII= x , OIII= x .
      Binning: 1x1
      Total Image Time: 306 minutes
      Location: Lockleys Observatory B, Tanunda, Sth Australia
      Light Box by Exfso
       
      Thanks for looking.
       
       
       
    • By MeyGray3833
      This is open cluster Pismis 4 in the Vela constellation and backed by part of the Vela supernova remnant. Some information regarding Paris Pismis and her catalogue can be found on this link.
      http://sandandstars.co.za/2018/01/25/paris-pismis-and-her-catalogue-of-open-clusters/

      Telescope: William Optics FLT132
      Guide Scope: QHY OAG
      Camera: QHY9 Mono @ -20c
      Filter Wheel: QHY 7 position Ultra Slim
      Filters: QHY 36mm unmounted L R G B
      Guide Camera: QHY5L-II
      Mount: AZ-EQ6
      Mount Control: EQASCOM
      Focusing: SharpSky Pro and Sequence Generator Pro 3 (automated)
      Capture Software: Sequence Generator Pro 3
      Guiding Software: PHD2
      Calibration and Stacking Software: PixInsight
      Processing Software: PixInsight
      Number and Type of Data Frames: L= 18X10 min, R= 6x7 min, G= 6x7 min, B= 6x7 min
      Binning: 1x1
      Total Image Time: 306 minutes
      Location: Lockleys Observatory B, Tanunda, Sth Australia
      Light Box by Exfso
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.