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This one of M35 uses 6 different live photos, and three masks to fool around with exposure at different locations. The additional photo layers really helped to calm the blue noise.
January 13, 2018
Memphis, Tennessee, USA
Bluetooth shutter remote
Photoshop Mix iOS app
By Double Kick Drum
So, with the Moon not rising until just after 10pm and the littl'un in bed soon after 7pm, a window of opportunity. I was ready with cooled scope soon after 8pm and began the evening with M1 (The Crab Nebula). A fine sight in the 15mm eyepiece. Quite a large nebula, which appeared rectangular and slightly grainy when UHC filtered. This was the first time I had seen it for over two years.
M35 was a lovely sight, with companion NGC 2158 a misty patch to the South of a group of stars South West of the main group. The use of averted vision was not necessary for this but was needed for IC 2157, a slightly more diffuse cluster further West again.
Next up was 8 - Flora, an Asteroid well placed in Leo. At magnitude 9.1, it was quite easy to locate nearby to Eta Leonis.
Another constellation rising quite high by this time is the magnificent Ursa Major. I managed to identify two more moderately diffuse galaxies which were in close proximity to Gamma Ursae Majoris; M109 and NGC 3953. Both of these required gentle movement of the scope to pick up.
Observing Session: Sunday 8th February 2015, 20:10hrs to 21:40 hrs GMT
VLM at Zenith: 5.0 - 5.1
Monday the 9th started with another clear sky and I was back out there by 8pm. I started with a quick re-alignment of my finderscope after I inadvertently loosened the wrong screws when disconnecting the night before (doh!).
I began by going back to check the movement of 8 - Flora from yesterday.
Before some light cloud rolled across Ursa Major / Leo, I also managed to locate NGC 2841, a bright and quite condensed galaxy near to the double star 37 Ursae Majoris which sort of makes a pair with the magnitude 8.5 star HD 80566. This is quite an easy find from the signpost stars Theta and 26 Ursae Majoris and is more prominent than a number of Messier objects.
With cloud parked across half the sky, I finished the night with the camera trained on Orion for a few wide-angle snaps.
I cannot remember the last time I had two nights running under the stars but it is nice to be back in the game. The Asteroid collection is into double figures and is ever growing;
1 - Ceres
3 - Juno
4 - Vesta
6 - Hebe
8 - Flora
9 - Metis
10 - Hygeia
12 - Victoria
13 - Egeria
15 - Eunomia (my first)
Observing Session: Monday 9th February 2015, 20:00 hrs to 20:35 hrs GMT
VLM at Zenith: 4.9 - 5.0 deteriorating as wispy cloud rolled in.
New - Revisited - Failed
Yesterday after salsa dancing lessons, I noticed some very clear patches in an otherwise mediocre sky filled with thin wispy clouds, I hooked out the Helios 15x70s and had a quick look at the Rosette. Lo and behold, a faint milky patch showed around the central cluster (should be better from a darker site). I also checked up on Ceres and Vesta, and they had moved quite a bit since last Saturday. They were only visible through a thick haze, near Zenith. After a quick look at M35 I packed the bins up.
All (more-or-less) old friends, but I was happy with the quick session
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.