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Date: 02:01:2017

Location: 55' 25N Northumberland (45 min journey time)

Ave SQM reading: 21.34

Instrument: 350mm F4.6 Dobsonian

Transparency: Very good

I had considered taking along my 76mm refractor, to assist with larger diffuse nebula, the forecast though was uncertain, indicating cloud - there was not a cloud in sight. A little further north of my dark sky niche and you will arrive at a turn into the lovely Ingram Valley, one of the gateways to the Cheviot hills, there are good places for stargazing and the sky will be very dark indeed. However concerned about ice on the back roads my journey from North Newcastle was long enough and the sky quality looked superb.

M45 The Pleiades, the Merope nebula and surrounding nebulosity with my 31mmT5 nagler was apparent.

The Rosette nebula was very dynamic with an OIII filter, the vibrant cluster and integrated immense and in places compacted gas cloud was bright, structured and almost 3D like, an awesome sight and reminded me of the North America.

Into Auriga, IC 410 was bright and responded to the OIII filter, whilst IC 417 and I believe Sh2-230 along with aspects of IC 410 (flaming star) were easy to observe with a H-beta filter, 21mm Ethos and 31T5.

Later, a highly elevated California nebula in Perseus was bright and two segments defining the whole could be observed, on previous occasions the nebula is seen as a dim grey strand, not tonight in my Lumicon H beta filter and 31T5. 

The Flame in Orion - I get it, hook line and sinker, the dark division and track like features were apparent as I had not seen before, still faint but very much there in my Lumicon UHC filter and 13 Ethos.

Barnards Loop, well I made my way up to M78 which is quite distinct even in a H beta filter, I also encountered another slightly fainter reflection nebula perhaps NGC 2071, I could detect a slight grey dimming and a strong signal that the nebula was there, it was not a eureka moment - they would come later.

I could not be sure that I detected the Jellyfish in Gemini or Lowers nebula in Orion, I will keep trying for these. I also forgot to look for Sh2 280 close by whilst I was observing the Rosette.

The Monkey Head nebula in Orion responded brightly to an OIII filter as did - a first time observation, Thors Helmet NGC 2359 just 8' north east of Sirius, large, bright and shapely - a definite eureka moment. It was located drifting down from M50, the Seagull nebula in the vicinity I could not be so sure of, but it was Thors Helmet that was the prize.

Then followed my second eureka moment as I located the Medusa nebula in Gemini. It emitted a faint glow and man it was faint, yet the VX14 picked it up and with slight averted vision and a gentle jiggle of the scope it was observable.

The Orion nebula was immense so much nebulosity that I had to gently nudged the 21 Ethos to take it all in, so much going on and whats more, I saw colour, not just a tint of green but, to my eye, traces of burnt orange, incredible, I was aware of accounts of hints of red and pink and yet here it was - so much going on.

The Horse Head Nebula

As my sub-title implies, the Horse Head nebula was a primary target tonight. I revisited it three times during the course of the night. I was using a H-beta filter and two eyepieces, my dependable 20mm TV plossl and yes a 13mm ethos. For observing this object, the mystic has been unlocked, it has become an object among many to visit and observe. For tonight and as Orion arched slowly around towards the West, the image became more pronounced, I could relax my averted vision and glance briefly directly yes face to face with the horse head, the profile was becoming more shapely and less than just a dark notch. As for the eyepieces, well as members of the dob mob have advocated, the 13mm ethos does respond to the horse head, no doubt and there is good contrast. However I would still advise to start out with an eyepiece with the recommended exit pupil formula and become familiar, grow accustomed to looking for and at this object. In the words of the late actor Andrew Sachs, Manuel in Fawlty Towers;  ''is no problem Mr Fawlty''.

Eureka moment number three

The night was getting on, some cloud form the north was threatening, I therefore decided to go touring around the clusters with my 31T5. The double Cluster, The Pleiades once more, M35 and the delicate NGC  2158, the Beehive and The Hyades. Each amazing and refreshing, particularly following on from fainter observations. Yet the sky cleared once more, occasional meteors flashed and whizzed by. There was one other target I wanted to go for and I could see precisely where it was positioned. NGC 1501 a Planetary nebula in Camelopardalis - the Oyster nebula. Bright and around the same scale as the Eskimo and if you haven't seen this before, is very much worth a visit and became a fitting end to the session.  

Thanks for reading,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great report Iain :thumbright:

I'm going to have to visit a darker sky to get the HH neb but I did manage some of your other targets last night.

The Oyster Neb sounds a good one :icon_biggrin:

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Great read Iain. As you stated in my thread you and I must have had similar thoughts on DSOs last night.

PS - the VX14 looks brilliant.

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That's a belter of a report. Inspirational to read about your success and tips with those tricky targets and especially in the colours you saw in the Orion Nebula and the (maybe slightly unconventional) use of a medium mag EP for the horse head.

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That's a super report Ian, congrats on NGC1501, I can find the more famous Kemble's Cascade and NGC1502, but not the Oyster; might need to ask my friend with her Big Dob for a look ;-).

Chris

 

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Excellent report Iain and with a part of Barnards Loop seen! That is a big accomplishment in itself and combined with all the other sights seen you had a great session. Congrats :thumbsup:

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Anothe very nice report from you Iain, I am hoping to get out soon myself, it is not due to lack of clear skies just too much snow which has frozen solid and I can't set up. Sadly the forecast is for a lot more snow and polar temperatures after, forcasting a daytime high of minus 11.

Alan

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Those are certainly challenging conditions Alan. There has been little, in the UK, really in the way of wintry conditions, expect for North East Scotland notably the Cairngorms. Over the holiday period I went on a hill walk and fittingly on the summit of a small hill, Cold Law a blizzard swept across, otherwise just some hard frost and icy patches. I hope that conditions ease and look forward to your winter reports.

Thanks for all the comments and good luck for observing the Oyster Nebula.

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Good collection of objects, Iain. Thanks for sharing your excellent report with us. I agree that Medusa was faint that night, at least in my 10". I am just comparing my previous observations when it can be bright and structured. Jellyfish was outstanding though and few other nebulae nearby. Thanks to good transparency and seeing. Carry on inspiring us! 

 

 

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Thanks Tatyana for that account and I look forward to more of your reports.

I was expecting that the Medusa would be a bit tough, it was perhaps a little fainter than I was anticipating and thinking back there just might have been a period of haze or thin cloud in the east over that part of the sky at the time I was observing. The Jellyfish, I was not perhaps fully clear as to what characteristics to look for, anticipating a thin grey profile that would determine the brighter part of this nebula. Searching with my OIII filter, I detected but could not entirely comprehend, a trace of what could have been a feature of the nebula and scanned the area several times during the course of the five hour long session. However I also looked, unintentionally as I had forgot which filter I had in at the time (a lot of alternating) with my H-beta and I saw in this location what I thought could be the jellyfish, best I can describe as a little in profile like the Crescent. Only when I realised that I had the 'wrong' filter in did I consider that it perhaps wasn't. However I am left feeling a bit puzzled and it was not mistakenly a cluster, definitely in the right location. This was also much later on when Gemini had risen towards culminating, transparency at this time was very good. So quite intriguing and It will be an object to investigate again.

At the location I used, there was a trace of sky glow to the south east, the south west, due west and northern aspects were, in particular unhindered. A trip further north such as into the valley I had mentioned at the start of my report, or to places heading west into mid Northumberland are all yet darker places.

It would be interesting to hear of any accounts concerning NGC 1501, Oyster nebula, for observing the central star, I did not push the magnification to far on my outing, I believe that seeing the star is quite achievable at high magnification. 

 

 

Edited by scarp15
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I do not want too be too clever, if honest, but cannot stay away ?

PN, SNR, all sorts of nebulae are my favourite objects to observe. Just to mention Oyster. Beautiful PN and the central star is around 14 mag so it should be visible in your 12" but try it without filter for the central and you can catch the glimpse of it quiet nicely. Just personal opinion. It was seen in 10".

And Jellyfish in my 10" shows 2 cresent parts with UHC/Oiii and 20 XW and even some extensions. I think you may saw one of those. The fainter cresent is near η Geminai  on the Eside and brighter cresent is on the W. I can spot some filaments and irregularities. But I am not surprised that some observers can be lost there. There is IC 444, large and extended Nebula with plenty of structure. Both nebulae linked together and so easy to sidetrack. Once you are around ηGem it is getting easier to decipher what is what. I personally prefer UHC. It brings some nebulosity out and does not dim the background as OIII.

 

 

 

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Nice report Scarp I enjoyed reading especially the eureka moments.

I had looked for the Medusa neb before although it just seemed to pop with the OIII.

The hh was detectable with a UHC the last time out but not sure what eyepiece Mike was using. The reason we used the 13E is because I'm the only one with an Hbeta and that is 1.25" so the use of 2" was out of the question. I can say I have tried the 13E with a 2" h beta of the same make and the results were very different in a much brighter contrast and more visible definition to the nebulosity . Exit pupil on my scope works out at 3.8mm btw with the 13E.

The oyster I shall have to seek out as I don't think I've looked for it before :wink:

 

Edited by mapstar
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