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Good Night, Mixed Bag, 12-13/11/2017

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A real mixed bag of objects this night, probably the best of the year so far. The sky was unusually transparent for my polluted site, giving a Visual Zenith Magnitude of 5.2, defined by the star 29 Per. The temperature was 2C and the humidity 77%. The observing session lasted from 1930 - 0250UT.

My telescope is a 12" Newtonian reflector.

Basel 14, Open cluster, Auriga
Dominated by three bright stars (mag 9) in a short, straight line. There are several other stars of about 11th to 12th magnitude. Behind these is what I suspect is the true cluster, a shimmering background of 12th to 14th magnitude stars. This cluster would probably be really nice in a larger telescope.

PNG 093.3-02.4 (M1-79), Planetary nebula, Cygnus, mag 13.2 
Quite difficult, coming and going with the seeing. It is larger than I expected and apparently oval in shape. The surface drightness appeared uniform and very dim. It was too faint for the OIII filter, through which I couldn't see it. Drawing made.

NGC 7772, Open cluster, Pegasus
A tiny little twist of stars. Maybe nine in total? The 5 mm eyepiece adds a couple of fainter ones. The faintest star shown on my drawing is magnitude 14.4. 

NGC 157, SAB Galaxy, Cetus, mag 10.4
Very dim. I think I was expecting too much of the night. A pale patch which comes and goes with the seeing. No structure. Elongation was suspected, but it was basically seen as round. No central brightening. Drawing made.

NGC 488, Spiral Galaxy, Pisces, mag 10.3
Small and apparently quite faint. Brighter towards the middle where there is a stellar core. Usually small and round but averted vision suggested a slight elongation roughly north-south. Drawing made.

NGC 779, Spiral Galaxy,  Cetus, mag 11.2
Not easy but fairly visible to direct vision. A very pale grey streak, very elongated and thin. No visible brightening in or towards the middle. Drawing made.

NGC 1022, Barred Spiral Galaxy, Cetus, mag 11.3
Very, very faint. Just a very pale, circular patch with no brightening and no structure at all. Drawing made.

NGC 272, Open cluster/Asterism, Andromeda
A tiny cluster or asterism. Maybe eight stars, mostly 11th to 13th magnitude. Moderately detached with some compression. Drawing made.

NGC 295, Barred Spiral Galaxy, Pisces, mag 12.6
Not easy. Visible to averted vision for about half the time. Faint and very elongated. No central brightening and no further structure. Drawing made.

NGC 305, Asterism?, Andromeda
Very small, just a tiny group of about eight stars of magnitudes 13 to 14. Not much to look at. Drawing made.

NGC 693, Spiral Galaxy, Pisces, mag 12.4
Very faint and difficult. Only visible to averted vision. Elongation fairly evident. No central brightening. 

NGC 676, Spiral galaxy, Pisces, mag 9.6
Fairly bright. A bright star (magnitude 10.5) is superimposed directly over the centre of this galaxy. Visible to direct vision at x150 when the star looked like it had faint wings. This is probably why Herschel placed it in his class IV. There is some suggestion of a brigher spot next to the star. Possibly this is the actual core, or just an illusion. Very elongated. Drawing made.

NGC 706, Spiral Galaxy, Pisces, mag 12.5
Very difficult. Extremely faint, just visible. Round with a uniform surface brightness and no elongation. Drawing made.

NGC 1985, Gaseous Nebula, Auriga
Fairly easy and visible to direct vision. Small. A bright spot with an almost triangular fan stretching away from it to the east. Nice little object. Pleasing after a previous failure to see it. Better without the UHC filter. Drawing made.

NGC 1684, Elliptical/Spiral Peculiar Galaxy, Orion, mag 11.7
Very dim and on the limit. Large and round with uniform surface brightness. No elongation seen, and no brightening. Drawing made.

NGC 1682, Spiral Galaxy, Orion, mag 11.8
In the same field as NGC 1684 and even fainter than its neighbour. Occasionally glimpsed with averted vision. Surprisingly bright when seen, then it disappears again. Small. Round. No brightening seen nor any structure. Drawing made.

NGC 1924, Barred Spiral Galaxy, Orion, mag 12.2
Pretty faint. Mostly only visible to averted vision but occasionally revealing itself to direct. Quite elongated. Gradually slightly brighter towards the middle, though no core was seen. Drawing made.

NGC 2022, Planetary nebula, Orion, mag 11.9
An old favourite. It's been over 20 years since I last made an observation of this planetary nebula, though I have visited it several times in between. It is pretty bright and elongated and clearly darker in the middle, giving the appearance of an elongated ring. There is a brighter spot in the nebulosity to the south of the ring. There is no sign of a central star, though as it shines at magnitude 14.9, this was hardly a surprise. Use of a UHC filter enhances the internal structure. Drawing made.

NGC 2039, Open cluster/Asterism, Orion
Fills the 36' field and a quick count gave 50 - 60 stars in the field. Much like many nearby fields. Not really obvious in any way. This is classed as an asterism, but proper motion vectors suggest that at least some of these stars are associated.

Sh2-257 & IC 2162, Emission nebulae, Orion
I've looked for this object on a couple of previous occasions, and the fact that I saw it at all attests to the better than average conditions. Pretty obvious, but very hard to define. It is brightest to the west, with ever fading regions spreading away to the east. Drawing made.

Ruprecht 1, Open cluster, Canis Major
The 5mm eyepiece was needed to see the fainter stars at this low altitude. About 9 - 10 stars of about equal magnitude (11 - 12). Slightly detached and slightly compressed.

Dolidze 26, Open cluster, Canis Minor
About two dozen fairly equal magnitude stars in a zigzag chain immediately south of 6 CMi (magnitude 4.5, probably foreground).

NGC 2355, Open cluster, Gemini
Also catalogued as NGC 2356. About 50 stars fill the 12' field. The brightest star is of magnitude 9.9 but the one that dominates is near the centre and appears to be a double, with magnitudes of 11.1 and 12.5. Very well detached and with strong compression. The stars are of similar magnitudes, all around 11th and 12th. Small, compact and obvious.

Edited by DeepSkyBagger
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Lovely report Patrick. You ticked off some pretty faint objects - and stars. Very well done on getting that Sharpless nebula, Sh2-257

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Nice report Patrick. Lots of detail in there and unusual objects. You did quite a bit of sky hopping 

The mob managed 7 hours at the eyepiece last night report to follow. 

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Lots of interesting targets there - nicely off the beaten track! Enjoyed the read! 


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