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First Light of the Veil Nebula!


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I made it out to my dark site on Friday evening, a few high wispy clouds in the sky but for the most part it was quite nice out.  The moon was already low and near setting, and I had just received my new Astronomik OIII filter, so I decided to try and find a few objects that have given me fits from the get-go.  I started the night taking a long hard look at the double cluster, something I only recently discovered, and then swung the scope around to Albireo, another newer sight for me. 

 

After getting my eyes full of stars, I affixed the filter to my ES 30MM 82° eyepiece.  I swung the scope over to the Eastern Veil and WHOA!!!!!!  There it was, in all its glory.  A little too big to fit the whole thing in the EP at once, I kept swinging the scope back and forth over the length of the nebula, totally blown away with how clear it suddenly was.  I had been wanting to see this object from day 1, and have read about people's reactions when they first saw it.  I was no different.  I don't even know how long I spent swinging the scope back and forth, just taking it all in as if it would disappear at any second.  As my first light adrenaline calmed down, I swung the scope down and found the Western Veil as well, another stunning site with 52 Cyg bisecting it and lighting it up so brightly!  Just amazing! 

 

I never tired of looking at the veil, but eventually wanted to try to bag a couple more objects.  I panned all of the way around to the Rosette Nebula.  I found the telltale cluster that lies in the middle of the nebula, and was soon admiring the light ring of smoke surrounding the cluster.  With a little time and effort, I was able to tease out enough detail to really see what the Rosette was all about, and once again, I was not disappointed.  Next came the Helix Nebula, another object I've tried and failed to find in the past.  This night I was successful, though after seeing the prior 2 targets the Helix was more of just a passing find for the checklist.

 

I scoped out M42 with the OIII filter and was able to make out some details I hadn't previously seen.  Since I was already there, I switched to a smaller EP and got some magnification going so I could observe the trapezium, once again managing to see the "e" star but no "f".

 

I still missed some of the major objects on my list.  I have yet to see the Heart or Soul Nebulas and couldn't find them on this night.  I have yet to get any substantial views of the North America Nebula.  I missed the Witch Head and Cocoon as well.  

 

I took the filters off and surfed around the Universe bagging a few beautiful galaxies, including Stephan's Quintet and the Deerlick Cluster.  I scoped out NGC 777 in Triangulum, always a cool object to tease out of the dark skies.  I saw NGC 253, the Sculptor Galaxy, for my first time.  This is a cool target to which I need to return.   A few globulars and open clusters later, and I was getting chilly and ready to call it a night.

 

All in all I had a great session and managed first light on a few major targets I'd been hoping to see for a long time.  As always, there was plenty that I didn't get around to looking for, and more that I missed with an attempt, serving only to heighten my desire to find them on a future night.  I'm glad all you folks across the pond are getting some nice views, and it sounds like everyone but me was out looking at the Horsey.  Maybe I'll add that my my advanced list of future challenges.  Thanks for reading!

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Great stuff Alex. The veil is a target to revisit for sure. It is great the first time! But keep going back to tease out more detail around the edges of the east west and in the area in between. The O3 pays you back on this target for sure.

Have a go at the North American nebula too next time you are in this area.

Alan

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17 minutes ago, alanjgreen said:

Great stuff Alex. The veil is a target to revisit for sure. It is great the first time! But keep going back to tease out more detail around the edges of the east west and in the area in between. The O3 pays you back on this target for sure.

Have a go at the North American nebula too next time you are in this area.

Alan

I absolutely plan on returning to this area for lots more viewing.  I wasn't seeing a lot of detail on the nebula between the east and west, but I think this was in part due to my enthusiasm for having just found it all, and I wasn't taking my time the way I should to see the fainter stuff.  It's a beautiful sight!

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