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John

The Horsehead Challenge for 2015/16

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One of my main observing challenges for this winter is to view the enigmatic object Barnard 33, also known as The Horsehead Nebula.

While the skies have been cloudy I've been doing some background reading on this topic and I came across this interesting and relatively recent piece on the Deep Sky Forum:

http://www.deepskyforum.com/showthread.php?674-Object-of-the-Week-January-4-2015-Conquering-the-Horsehead-A-study-on-the-Horsehead-s-visibility

While I'm still not convinced that a 3" scope is going to crack this one, this article does give me some grounds for optimism that my 12" dob armed with a suitable eyepiece and the H-Beta filter that I already own should put me in with a fighting chance.

This winter I've also got the possibility of using Bristol AS's observing site just a few miles from me which has less light pollution, a rural setting and a much better S horizion than I can muster from my back garden.

One interesting point that I took from the article is that the guidelines about keeping the surrounding brighter stars out of the view through the use of an eyepiece with a relatively narrow field might not be as critical as I'd previously thought.

I'm possibly also going to want to aim for closer to a 5mm exit pupil than my current "Horsehead eyepiece" the 20mm Tele Vue plossl gives me with my F/5.3 scope. Something around 26mm would be worth having in the eyepiece case I reckon ?.

Sounds a lot of trouble to glimpse a dark smudge against a barely lighter patch doesn't it ?. But seeing this object has been haunting me since I started in the hobby, fuelled by images like the one below from Sir Patrick Moore's "The Observers Book of Astronomy" :rolleyes2: Yes, I know it's not going to look anything like that visually, but still ........

Anyone else going to have a go at spotting this over the next few months ?  :smiley: 

post-118-0-70561800-1449016943.jpg

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Me! I'm going to be using a shoestring video astronomy setup. Skywatcher 130p on an EQ5 with AstroEQ. I'll be trying to view it with a Playstation Eye cam and Sharpcap.

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That sure sounds very encouraging, even my setup might have a chance in dark site, now where's the clear sky?

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I'm sure you will see the HH John, with the right eyepiece.With a 3" scope it must be just a dent in the line...I'll try the 90mm out for the heck of it. I'm not so sure widefields are the way to go on this either :embarrassed:

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I completely agree.. I too want to see this through the eye piece, i pretty much nearly mastered imaging this little gem, but now its time to see it live... so I'm planning on taking my 8" to the mountains on a moon less crisp night and through UHC, HBeata or OIII, I'm expecting to see something...

According to some articles, this object was glimpsed through 4" scopes in dark skies, so I think my 8" puts me in with a fighting chance.

My Plan is as follows... 8" F10 40mm LV Eyepiece with a f6.3 FR and Hbeata, UHC & OIII filters... that should give me a exit pupil of 6.3mm...

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Have always wanted to give it a go John, if I manage to hang onto my 16" I may try to get down to the South Downs on a good night (what are they?) and have a bash. I have a Lumicon Hb and a 25mm Zeiss 'ortho' which I intend to use.

With SIPS fitted, the exit pupil is 4.8mm, but might be worth trying without it at 5.5mm.

0a91eb3c4397425a3638ebb35eca377c.jpg

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Certainly took me lots of attempts before I saw it (with 12" dob and Lumicon UHC filter). It's one of those iconic objects you've just got to bag, though of course it's nothing like the photos - a black shape against an almost black background.

For an even bigger challenge try NGC 1990, which I suppose could be called the "Ghost of Alnilam". William and John Herschel saw it, it's in the second Herschel 400, and there are images of it online - but it almost certainly doesn't exist...

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It's my main target this year John.I bought a lumicon H-beta filter last year specificaly for the task and armed with the 20" dob I'm hoping I will crack it this year,the biggest challenge is getting a clear night on one of my days off.

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I have managed to see it (just!) from a very dark site in Austria, at around 800m above sea level using the C8 with H-beta filter. Very hard indeed. I spotted it in both the Nagler 31 mm and LVW 42mm (so UWA and SWA). I might try it again with simpler optics (to see if I can pick out more)

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I may only have a finder scope compared to most of you gentlemen. But, that won't stop me having a go.

The Flame is a favourite of mine. So a quick nudge down and a while spent scanning up and down the wall of the bright (wrong word really) background nebula is no hardship. Frustratingly the nice defined line seems to fade in the Horsehead vicinity.

I have a BCO 18mm and a Delos 17.3mm with exit pupils of 3.7 & 3.8 mm (no Parracor).

If I hear of others catching it with a vanilla 10" in the UK. Then I will invest in the obligatory H-Beta and get properly obsessive about the hunt. But, for me, for now, the HH in realms of mythology.

Paul

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John you will recall that I viewed the HH using Luke and Sarah's 16" Dob at the SGL star party at Lucksall a few years back. We used a 19mm Panoptic and an Astronomik H.Beta filter. As a guide to the field stars we used this map produced in Stellarium.

My home has a similar dark site to Lucksall but I have not been able to view the HH with a 10" Dob.

I would like to view the HH again and will certainly try if we ever get clear skies.

post-1628-0-50638900-1449049062_thumb.jp

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John I have had a play with the new version of Stellarium using your Orion scope plus a 25mm  plossl with 52 degree FOV. I attach the view you should get which might help locating the HH.

post-1628-0-57824900-1449051351.jpg

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Thanks very much for the encouraging replies folks and to Mark and Stu for the finder charts :smiley:

I've scanned the area that the HH sits in (it's stable ? :grin: ) a number of times and the star patterns that frame the object. I'm sure that I've been staring straight at the the thing on a few occasions last winter but from my back garden even seeing traces of the Flame Nebula is challenging so I'm not surprised that, as yet, the HH and it's backdrop IC 434 have eluded me.

Hopefully the opportunity to observe from a nearby darker site will do the trick :smiley:

Good luck to everyone else who tries for this :smiley:

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Having moved to a much, much darker location last spring, I aim to see it from our back garden.  Have seen it numerous times before through various large(ish) scopes from dark sites.

16" dob, Hbeta filter and 24mm Panoptic.

Good luck to all!

Paul

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I haven't even seen M42 this season yet, never mind the horsehead! :grin:

But we will most definitely be up for trying to track down this elusive beautiful target this season. Seeing it at SGL with Mark is something we'll never forget :laugh:

We've seen it a few times from home where skies are not as dark at Lucksall using 16 inch dob. It's possible you could be on the brink and can just about see it but are not sure until you get a clearer view and you'll then know that you did just about glimpse it. I have only had luck when the Flame was relatively easy see. If I can only barely make out the Flame then so far I have not managed to get a sniff of the horsey.

I want to try 2xbarlow and Delos again, as that seemed to work well last year from home.

Good luck!

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It's my main target this year John.I bought a lumicon H-beta filter last year specificaly for the task and armed with the 20" dob I'm hoping I will crack it this year,the biggest challenge is getting a clear night on one of my days off.

20" mirror???!!!! I'd say you will definitely spot it.

I have managed to see it (just!) from a very dark site in Austria, at around 800m above sea level using the C8 with H-beta filter. Very hard indeed. I spotted it in both the Nagler 31 mm and LVW 42mm (so UWA and SWA). I might try it again with simpler optics (to see if I can pick out more)

That makes me think that I have a chance....

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I've been able to detect the Horsehead on a few occasions with my 10".  My goal, for the last couple of years, has been to detect it with my 120mm f5 refractor.  I "felt" that I detected it last year, but "feeling" I've seen it is not good enough.  I want to know that I've seen it with the 120mm!

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Definitely a quest once more this Winter. I will be using TV plossl 25mm (no paracorr) 5.4mm exit pupil, which gave me a glimpse last year and TV 20mm plossl 4.3mm exit pupil in my 14" dob.  

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Think that I will stick to the 10" challenge!!!!

Good luck with doing it with 4"(ish).

What eyepiece / filter combination were you using for your successful 10" viewings?

Paul

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Will try at Elan next weekend,should be ok with the 21ethos more to do with the lack of cloud...

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@estwing

A group of us were in 'The Valley' last dark moon, a complete washout  :(

Hope you get clear skies!

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20" mirror???!!!! I'd say you will definitely spot it....

Well thats the interesting thing. From the reading I've done it looks as if a whole load of things need to come together to make this possible. Obviously large aperture helps but I've read plenty of reports of folks with really large scopes failing to spot the thing for one reason or another.

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I'm hoping to have a bash at the HH Nebula this winter if the clouds ever clear!

Damian

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