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scarp15

Observing the Witch Head Nebula

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There are currently some great and large nebula to observe, each perhaps requiring a wide field to fully appreciate, The Orion Nebula and Rosette and for more of a challenge, the California (which you can coast along the rim at low power).

Yet has anyone attempted to observe IC 2118, the Witch Head? I appreciate that this large reflection nebula would be a difficult and challenging subject visually and perhaps the best chance to see it would be at very low power with a wide field frac, Newt or binoculars. Dark skies and excellent transparency are a must and a filter I expect would be useful. 

Does anyone have this on their list or has tried and failed or succeeded, of course I do not expect it will look anything like as impressive as the images, but what can be expected in visual terms?

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I've never tried, Iain but I imagine the Witch's Head is enormous and really quite faint, so you'll probably need very dark skies and the widest field of view you have. Even then I'm not too sure what you'll pick out, perhaps a whispering hint of nebulosity, a tiny reduction of stars. Anyway, I think it would be fun trying to see what is possible and whether successful or not, it would be great to hear your report :smiley:.

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Off my list... i much prefer emission nebs as you can filter them harder...that and blue is not so visible with my kit.

For faint stuff go for the abell planetary neb catalogue and my favourite the Sharpless catalogue of hydrogen emission nebulae.... How many are eyeball targets rather than only for imagers??

Cheers

PEterW

Ps you missed the seagul, meissa, barnards loop, monkey head. One that continues to evade me is Simeis147... But that's not a great surprise!

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Thanks, yes the Monekyhead is easier, I manage this with an OIII fliter. The Seagull is on my list, I think that the Witch Head nebula will require a trip to Kielder and a wide field scope and yep will be fun to try.

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Jelly fish.... The Milky Way has lots.,, autumn is the best season!

Good hunting

Peter

Edited by PeterW

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Visually the Witch Head must be quite a challenge- I struggle to image this object with 10 minute subs from a pristine dark sky site and hyperfast scope!

Witch Head Nebula 1380s exposure at  ISO2000 with 150mm F2.9 Newtonian

DSIR0162A_stack_flat_chanels_psp_noels_p

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Splendid pic.

Now I can actually see a face in that, that could be called a witch's, some of the names just bemuse me.

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Tough target but on my list. No chance from home location unfortunately. I'd love to see this and have tried a few times out of curiosity.

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Hi

I've observed it several times from up in the caldera on Tenerife, but only once from the Elan Valley, Wales.

This was through a 92mm TMB APO at very low mag ~x16, using a 31 mm Nagler.  Filters do not help.

This gives about 5 degree fov.

Appears as the palest white stain.

Obviously, the clearest and darkest skies are a must...

...good luck.

Paul

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Visually the Witch Head must be quite a challenge- I struggle to image this object with 10 minute subs from a pristine dark sky site and hyperfast scope!

Witch Head Nebula 1380s exposure at  ISO2000 with 150mm F2.9 Newtonian

Fantastic pic, clearly a Witch's head.

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Never tried the Witch's head. Low in the sky, and reflection nebula make this terribly difficult. Might give it a brief shot from the Alps in February.

Look forward to reading how you get on Michael. Hopefully have a bash from Wales myself in February......the race is on :)

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It might be possible with a big Dob from an uber dark sky site. Use a very low power eyepiece as it is a big object.

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It might be possible with a big Dob from an uber dark sky site. Use a very low power eyepiece as it is a big object.

I was figuring a RFT not the dob.

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Nice. :)

I can only use 1.25" eyepieces in my RFT. Maybe a new Focuser is on the cards for it's birthday.

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Nice. :)

I can only use 1.25" eyepieces in my RFT. Maybe a new Focuser is on the cards for it's birthday.

Is that 4.5" RFT similar to my kids' 4.5" f=500mm mini-Dob, optically? There are not that many 4.5" designs out there, and only one I know would classify as an RFT. I should give it a go with my MV 24mm 68 deg EP. That should give 3.26 deg FOV. Not bad for such a big aperture. Upgrading the focuser might not be enough to expand the FOV: the secondary might also need replacement.

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Frustrating as it is at a nice height at this time but so faint making it hard to see.  I reckon if you point the scope at it you are actually seeing it, but getting the eye to detect a difference with the background causes us not to 'see.'   Small scope with max FOV seems the best to avoid looking right through the thing, but is it a Catch 22, whereby a larger aperture would be able to gather more light?  In any case, it's a tough target, though in a Sue French article, she mentions seeing it from Florida.  Here's an interesting article on the subject with some observer's highlights and methods:

http://freescruz.com/~4cygni/astro-app/essays/IC2118-update.htm

This is high on my list of things to see, but certainly in the difficult box.   Good luck, Michael, be sure to let us know if you spot it with the Panzerfaust!  :laugh:

Edited by Special K

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I tried last night under good conditions using my 30mm ES/Baader Neo which gives around 2 deg TFOV. I didn't see it for sure, no edges caught and no shadows found. I also tried various EP's, no filters, nothing. My sky was 21.2 mag, VG transparency. The snow ( and whatever) is causing brighter local skies ATM, by about 1/2 mag, so I hope to get a try in if the site goes back to 21.6 mag or so, this could make a difference.

I don't have an appropriate EP for my f7/7.5 refractors yet, exit pupil wise..... a 40mm something EP would be nice.

Edited by jetstream

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I posted a year or two back that I'd strongly suspected it in good, very contrasty, 8x42 bins. I was well adapted and the sky was pristine with Orion bang in the south. I can't say I was dead certain but it was enough to feel excited.

It's a devil to image, what with pernicious sat trails, flares from Rigel, its vast size and its faintness. Apart from that... easy!

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice

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I posted a year or two back that I'd strongly suspected it in good, very contrasty, 8x42 bins. I was well adapted and the sky was pristine with Orion bang in the south. I can't say I was dead certain but it was enough to feel excited.

It's a devil to image, what with pernicious sat trails, flares from Rigel, its vast size and its faintness. Apart from that... easy!

Olly

Hey, that sounds encouraging, it might not be a complete wild goose chase

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Hey, that sounds encouraging, it might not be a complete wild goose chase

Shouldn't that be a witch hunt ;):D

I'll get my coat.

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It will probably need a good spell of observing to locate it :D

Sorry. I'm going now, I promise. :D

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I have just bought the new Deep Sky Atlas from Cambridge Press, it gives it as visible in an 8 inch scope, 8 inch bino's should be a sight to behold. It is a fairly large object but from the right place I would have though viewable in say an F4 12 inch, it's the FOV that will be the killer.

Alan 

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