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pipnina

Is the Flame nebula easier to see than the Orion nebula?

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While not always trusted, I tend to use Wikipedia for a lot of otherwise hard-to-find information. Today, in preparation for a possible observing session on saturday (Weather dependant) I've been looking for bright DSOs I might be able to observe.

I had the orion nebula and andromeda on my list from the get-go. But that's a very narrow list of things to stare at. I First came up with this so far:

    Eagle nebula (Ruled out because I'd need to be up at 5AM to see it)

    M51 (Probably too dark)

    Flame nebulae

I don't know where the flame nebulae is (Apart from in orion somewhere) But based off its size (30x30 arcmins) and its apparent magnitude (2.0) compared to orion's 65x60 and 4.0 it sounds like it would be easier to spot... That is if smaller + lower apparent magnitude = brighter.

And there is the essence of my question... Does smaller + lower apparent magnitude = brighter? (Also, any other suggestions for cool objects to look at)

Ty!

    ~a curious pipnina

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I think that measure of 2 for the flame nebula is its absolute magnitude, it's visual magnitude is 10. I don't know its surface brightness but I'd guess it's much higher. M42 is easy to see in most scopes, I'm not sure what scope and conditions would be ideal for the flame nebula but it's much more difficult, I've never seen it.

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I would have thought the same as you have and that it should be "easier".

The apparent fact that it is mentioned less, is not a Messier but an NGC would make me think otherwise.

Curious is the best I can say at this time, trying to work out where it falls down but presently cannot come up with one. :confused: :confused: :confused:

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No.

The Orion Nebula is one of the brightest DSO in the sky. The flame is supposedly easy enough under really dark sky, but hard with even fairly mild light pollution.

Re the numbers. The Orion Nebula is big. Far bigger than we can see using big amature visual scopes. HOWEVER, it has a very bright central section. So the sum should be applied to a much smaller arae with only a nominal drop in brightness. The flame is more uniform in luminescence so is, in fact harder to see.

Hope that this makes sense.

Paul

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What scope are you using?

I think that measure of 2 for the flame nebula is its absolute magnitude, it's visual magnitude is 10. I don't know its surface brightness but I'd guess it's much higher. M42 is easy to see in most scopes, I'm not sure what scope and conditions would be ideal for the flame nebula but it's much more difficult, I've never seen it.

No.

The Orion Nebula is one of the brightest DSO in the sky. The flame is supposedly easy enough under really dark sky, but hard with even fairly mild light pollution.

Re the numbers. The Orion Nebula is big. Far bigger than we can see using big amature visual scopes. HOWEVER, it has a very bright central section. So the sum should be applied to a much smaller arae with only a nominal drop in brightness. The flame is more uniform in luminescence so is, in fact harder to see.

Hope that this makes sense.

Paul

I would have thought the same as you have and that it should be "easier".

The apparent fact that it is mentioned less, is not a Messier but an NGC would make me think otherwise.

Curious is the best I can say at this time, trying to work out where it falls down but presently cannot come up with one. :confused: :confused: :confused:

Thanks for the responses guys. Esp to Scooot and Paul73 for the information.

I'm going to try and look for it anyway. But if even small ammounts of light pollution can render it invisible I might be wasting my time :)

P.s. using a skywatcher 130 (900mm version)

    ~A slightly less curious pipnina

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I agree with Paul. I've glimpsed the Flame with my 12" scope but it seems to be a very challenging object under anything other than very dark skies. M42 on the other hand is visible to the naked eye and blazes out with my 12" scope.

M51 (which is a galaxy of course) should be visible in your scope though. It's not spectacular, resembling a pair of small fuzzy patches close together with my 4" refractor, but worth looking out for when it's high in the sky and there is no moonlight around.

The magnitude figures given for objects can be misleading as they often represent the integrated magnitiude of the object wheras with an extended object the light is spread out over quite a large area, the average brightness of which is substantially lower than the quoted integrated value.

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Yes, the Flame Nebula has a collective "brightness" of magnitude 2ish, but it's diffuse and harder to see as it rather blends in with the background. A narrow-band filter can tease out contrast and make it more visible. Here's an entry on this from the works available from the Prairie Astronomy Club:

NGC 2024 “FLAME NEBULA” (diffuse emission/reflection nebula in Orion)
(10 inch f/5.6, 52x)
DEEP-SKY: (3) Noticeably improves the contrast with the dark lane-like detail visible.
UHC: (3) Darker than in Deep-sky but with only a slight increase in contrast.
OIII: (2) Darker than in UHC, with less detail than in UHC.
H-BETA: (1) Darkest of all three filters, but the nebula remains visible with detail similar to that of OIII.
RECOMMENDATION FOR NGC 2024: DEEP-SKY/UHC (near tie).
 

And here's the link to all of their articles on filter use for DSO's:

http://www.prairieastronomyclub.org/?s=Filter

Clear & Dark Skies - Help,

Dave

Edited by Dave In Vermont

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Pipnina

Please Stay Curious. Without that, this would be a really boring hobby and our knowledge of the universe would be a shadow of the vast amounts of very little that we know now. (Not sure that that makes much sense - but you probably get my gist).

If you have anything approaching dark sky, give it a go anyway. There is plenty to see in that part of the sky anyway.

<<<<<< Try the Owl cluster in Cassiopia. Or the Eskimo nebula in Gemini.

Paul

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Pipnina

Please Stay Curious. Without that, this would be a really boring hobby and our knowledge of the universe would be a shadow of the vast amounts of very little that we know now. (Not sure that that makes much sense - but you probably get my gist).

If you have anything approaching dark sky, give it a go anyway. There is plenty to see in that part of the sky anyway.

<<<<<< Try the Owl cluster in Cassiopia. Or the Eskimo nebula in Gemini.

Paul

I did say "Slightly" ;)

As you get to know more about something, you become less curious about it. One is hardly curious about a remote control once they have disassembled one, reads about IR light and observes the bulb through a cheap camera.

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Hello,

 I see the Flame Nebula in 20x100 binoculars from a dark sky( but not very dark) perfect and clear image.

regards

Paul

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I looked at the Flame two nights ago in the 20 inch. It was easy enough, even with Alnitak in the field, but it isn't bright. By comparison the Great Nebula is naked eye. They can't be compared, really.

Olly

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Try "the observers Sky atlas" for a good guide to small scopes. Start with star clusters and globular clusters. As galaxies and other nebulae are spread out only the ones with high surface brightness will be easily visible. You will see lots of nice pictures of nebulae, but these tend to be ones that cameras are significantly more sensitive to than the eye....

Cheers

Peter

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Pipnina has a good point, the Flame Nebula is recorded as brighter mag 2 as opposed to mag 4, so more light comng off of it, and it is recorded as smaller in size, about 1/4 the area. In effect it should be more intense, and significantly more intense.

I do not argue that it is more difficult but from the data it shouldn't be.

Both magnitudes are supplied as Apparent magnitude so the same measure.

Cannot recall how magnitude goes but just saying it is twice as much light from the Flame Neb then as the area is 1/4 the surface brightness should be about 8x that of Orion - which I agree does not match what you see when looking up. Very sure if that were the case Messier et al would have noted it. He managed to record M1 the Crab and that is really dim.

To be honest spotting this is a interesting and all I can think is that the data is incorrect, especially as I can find almost nothing on the Flame Nebula in terms of data - is it supposed to be Mag 12 and there has been a typo ?. Shouting "No" is not really the point, the question appears to be Why. I still suspect incorrect data.

EDIT:

Just found one site that says Mag 7.2.

That would make it a lot dimmer overall.

Bit more digging and it looks like people are giving the magnitude of Zeta Orion, Alnitik, for the magnitude not the magnitude of the nebula itself. Alnitik is on the Eastern edge and seems to be "included", and Alnitik is defined as Mag 2. So Mag 2 for The Flame and ONLY the Flame is incorrect.

So Pipnina the answer seems to be that the quoted magnitude for some incorrect reason includes the brigh star Alnitik, so giving an incorrect magnitude to the Flame nebula itself. It being I guess down at Mag 7 or a bit less.

Edited by ronin

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See if you can find surface brightness figures for objects before looking. M33 is listed as bright, but it is so big it vanishes u less your skies are very dark. Dont give up, the more stuff you go after, the more stuff you will find!

Cheers

Peter

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The Flame nebula is a good test of sky conditions as is the Crescent nebula. To try the Flame point your scope at Alinitak, its right off the side of it- very easy to find, not that easy to see and using the right mag eyepiece (lower) and one with low scatter helps.

Here are 2 charts, one lists the California as mag 5 and the other mag 24, which gives an idea about the misconceptions about surface brightness. Unfortunately Clark does not list the Flame mag.

http://www.skyhound.com/observing/archives/dec/NGC_1499.html

http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/visastro/appendix-e.html

Edited by jetstream

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My recent observation of the Flame had it looking about like this...

Olly

post-2393-0-26321400-1424460531.jpg

Edited by ollypenrice
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Pipnina has a good point, the Flame Nebula is recorded as brighter mag 2 as opposed to mag 4, so more light comng off of it, and it is recorded as smaller in size, about 1/4 the area. In effect it should be more intense, and significantly more intense.

I do not argue that it is more difficult but from the data it shouldn't be.

Both magnitudes are supplied as Apparent magnitude so the same measure.

Cannot recall how magnitude goes but just saying it is twice as much light from the Flame Neb then as the area is 1/4 the surface brightness should be about 8x that of Orion - which I agree does not match what you see when looking up. Very sure if that were the case Messier et al would have noted it. He managed to record M1 the Crab and that is really dim.

To be honest spotting this is a interesting and all I can think is that the data is incorrect, especially as I can find almost nothing on the Flame Nebula in terms of data - is it supposed to be Mag 12 and there has been a typo ?. Shouting "No" is not really the point, the question appears to be Why. I still suspect incorrect data.

EDIT:

Just found one site that says Mag 7.2.

That would make it a lot dimmer overall.

Bit more digging and it looks like people are giving the magnitude of Zeta Orion, Alnitik, for the magnitude not the magnitude of the nebula itself. Alnitik is on the Eastern edge and seems to be "included", and Alnitik is defined as Mag 2. So Mag 2 for The Flame and ONLY the Flame is incorrect.

So Pipnina the answer seems to be that the quoted magnitude for some incorrect reason includes the brigh star Alnitik, so giving an incorrect magnitude to the Flame nebula itself. It being I guess down at Mag 7 or a bit less.

Here's a screen shot of sky safari giving the visual mag of 10. I don't know where they get it from but it seems to make more sense to me.

post-20507-0-87643600-1424461325_thumb.j

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Hi. I wouldn't rule out M51 (the Whirlpool galaxy) so quickly. So long as your sky isn't too washed out and depending on what you are using, it is one of the easiest galaxies to view.

If you can find them, M81 and M82 make a nice pair of galaxies and are brighter than the above.

I have never seen the flame nebula. There are many nebulae that are easier IMO, including M1 (the Crab).

To pick targets, I use a combination of magnitude and surface brightness (all laid out in a gigantic spread-sheet) but this is only indicative as 'fuzzies' are not consistently bright. For example, galaxies tend to have brighter cores. Many is the time when I have been pleasantly surprised by being able to pick up objects I thought were beyond me.

Good luck with whatever you try to find!

Edited by Double Kick Drum
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My recent observation of the Flame had it looking about like this...

Olly

 I see the Flame not as structured as this, but with a couple of detached patches, which is nice.The orientation is different in my dob too.

I must get a bigger telescope! Nice image Olly, thanks

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I go to a dark site when I can. If transparency is excellent the flame is an easy spot in my scope. however, when there is any mist/moisture in the air I can't see it all. M42 is impressive even from my very badly light polluted back garden.

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 I see the Flame not as structured as this, but with a couple of detached patches, which is nice.The orientation is different in my dob too.

I must get a bigger telescope! Nice image Olly, thanks

My orientation in a Dob was a quarter turn anticlock.

Olly

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Bish, transparency is key. Have a few nebulae to check. Sometimes those clear dark nights are not as transparent as they seem and vice versa.

Cheers

PEterW

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While not always trusted, I tend to use Wikipedia for a lot of otherwise hard-to-find information. Today, in preparation for a possible observing session on saturday (Weather dependant) I've been looking for bright DSOs I might be able to observe.

I had the orion nebula and andromeda on my list from the get-go. But that's a very narrow list of things to stare at. I First came up with this so far:

    Eagle nebula (Ruled out because I'd need to be up at 5AM to see it)

    M51 (Probably too dark)

    Flame nebulae

I don't know where the flame nebulae is (Apart from in orion somewhere) But based off its size (30x30 arcmins) and its apparent magnitude (2.0) compared to orion's 65x60 and 4.0 it sounds like it would be easier to spot... That is if smaller + lower apparent magnitude = brighter.

And there is the essence of my question... Does smaller + lower apparent magnitude = brighter? (Also, any other suggestions for cool objects to look at)

Ty!

    ~a curious pipnina

I'm looking forward to a nice session tonight too! Your 130mm scope can see a lot fainter than the Orion Neb and Andromeda Galaxy - the Messier list is a good place to look for ideas as it is broadly a list of the brighter DSO in the sky. The flame is in fact quite faint and hard as others have said. But as well as the orion Neb and andromeda, consider the open clusters North of orion, M35, M37, M36, and M38. Also the galaxies just North of the Plough M81 and M82, which are a bright pair in the same field of view. The Double cluster is always worth a look too. M51 is an excellent target, but a bit low in the sky at the moment. Have fun tonight!

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My recent observation of the Flame had it looking about like this...

Olly

show off ;)

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