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bluegoatwoods

Pretty confident I nabbed the Ring Nebula tonight.

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It was a good sky. Not enough clouds to say so. Transparency and seeing were ranked as 'average'.  My particular sky is moderately light polluted. Mid-sized American city nearby.

My telescope is a 4 1/2 inch reflector with a 500 mm focal length. It's collimated well enough to show definite red bands on Jupiter at a magnification of 83. I'm also feeling proud of the fact that the mount I've devised allows me to view comfortably, and control the telescope well, near and at the zenith. I'll post pics when I can make just a bit of time to take some.

So, anyway, I knew just about where to look; in the little parallelogram near Vega, and started slowly scanning near where I was aimed. It didn't take long to come across a tiny round fuzz. This was at a magnification of 40. This object was certainly more dim than the nearby stars, which were focused to as near a pinpoint as I can manage. 

At a magnification of 83 it was still rather dim. But it was now large enough to cast aside any suspicion that it was a phantom image of my own imagination. It was obviously something. It was still fuzzy. And it was about as circular as it ought to be. Despite the circularity, I could easily picture Messier stumbling upon this and thinking, "I think I've found a comet!"

I might not have been convinced that it was my actual target except for the fact that I could, I'm pretty sure, perceive a clearly defined 'donut hole' using averted vision. Though the outside edge remained fuzzy even then. But I'm pretty confident of that sharp inner circle. That plus the fact that I was certainly near my target leads me to believe that I did find it.

The reason I post all of this is to ask those of you who are more familiar with various telescopes and what they're capable of if this sounds like about the image of the Ring Nebula that you'd expect from a $100, 114 mm reflector?

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That sounds like a hit to me!  At low mags the Ring is a fuzzy light that could be any number of DSO’s but once magnified it becomes obvious because of the donut shape. If you have any Nebula filters this can help. Your scope is certainly capable of gathering enough light and I don’t think there are any other fuzzies in that part of Lyra. 

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That does sound like it. If you were between gamma and beta there's nothing else anything like the ring nebula in that space.

There is a super faint galaxy (ic1296) right next to the ring nebula but you wouldn't see that at all, not even with averted vision.

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I was looking at it in a 5 inch reflector last night at the zenith and your description is spot on..

Now try comet 21p above Cassiopeia...

Mark

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Yep, put that one as a definite! Your description sounds bang on. It's not always the easiest of targets to spot because at low mag it can just appear as a fuzzy star. Once you know what you are looking for it is much easier.

What next? M13 is well within your grasp, a lovely globular cluster.

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A notch up in your observing list. Well done! Once you know where it is you can see it also just with a good pair of 10x50binos too if held real still. :) 

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If you know where you are looking, it is possible to see M57 during daylight hours! ...It can be done! ...and it is worth the effort!

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If you can get your hands on one, a UHC filter really makes the ring pop out from the background!

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Thanks, folks. I was feeling fairly sure that I'd hit my target. But confirmation is still good.

Plus, had I heard something like..."Your scope ought to do better than that...", then I'd have known I needed to work on collimation.  I'll still try to get it better and better, of course. But it's nice to know that it's not bad.

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5 hours ago, mdstuart said:

 

.......Now try comet 21p above Cassiopeia...

Mark

I actually have been looking just below Cassiopeia lately for the Andromeda galaxy. I've failed to find my target, though. It's down near the horizon and in the glow of a nearby city.

But maybe I'll spend some time looking above. If I spot a fuzz, then perhaps I won't check back here for confirmation immediately. Instead I'll watch it for a bit and try to perceive movement against the background.

Comets move pretty fast. Is, say, a week likely to be enough time to see movement against nearby stars?

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5 hours ago, Stu said:

 

....What next? M13 is well within your grasp, a lovely globular cluster.

M13? That's the cluster in Hercules, isn't it? It's certainly on my wish list. But I haven't yet been able to perceive the constellation of Hercules with the naked eye. I'm not seeing the pattern.

Now it's only recently that I've obtained the ability to study the zenith well telescopically. So until now I haven't been studying it with the naked eye all that much. Perhaps that'll be changing soon and M13 might become possible for me.

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3 hours ago, bluegoatwoods said:

M13? That's the cluster in Hercules, isn't it? It's certainly on my wish list. But I haven't yet been able to perceive the constellation of Hercules with the naked eye. I'm not seeing the pattern.

Now it's only recently that I've obtained the ability to study the zenith well telescopically. So until now I haven't been studying it with the naked eye all that much. Perhaps that'll be changing soon and M13 might become possible for me.

That’s right. Well worth seeking out, reasonably easy to find once you’ve identified the ‘keystone’ asterism in Hercules.

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Posted (edited)

I stumbled across the Ring a few years ago using my SW Heritage 130P. It was small (teeny tiny really), but the donut shape gave it away.

I was chuffed. Like anything else, once you spot it, its easy to find the next time.

Well done. Its a gem.

I also bagged the Black Eye galaxy (M64) on the same night.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher

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17 hours ago, LukeSkywatcher said:

 

......I also bagged the Black Eye galaxy (M64) on the same night.

I'll keep M64 in mind and see if I can't pin it down one of these nights. The 'black eye' name sounds familiar. Other than that, I'm drawing a blank.

But I'll be able to find it on a sky map.

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On 10/08/2018 at 10:05, Knighty2112 said:

Once you know where it is you can see it also just with a good pair of 10x50binos too if held real still.

With my vintage 14x100 Wachter binos it's quite easy to spot M 57 as tiny disc (without the ring structure). There is, starting N of Sheliak (Beta Lyrae), a sequence of  four almost equally bright stars, like stepstones,  in about the same distance, pointing into the SE direction. The fifth "stepstone" doesn't appear starlike as the others, but slightly fuzzy/defocused - that's M 57. I like this star hop with binos or a small grab-and-go scope - just give it a try!

Map attached:DSC_0478.thumb.JPG.defcac7f7a2c7ea43d4fad1baa712a00.JPG

Enjoy!

Stephan

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I think it is a lot easier to find the Andromeda galaxy starting from the Pegasus and Andromeda constellations. There is a large distance between Cassiopeia and Andromeda which will mean you can easily miss the target. 

If you can identify Cassiopeia see if you can also identify Perseus. Between the two is the double cluster. Other targets to look for are the dumbbell nebula and the coathanger asterism which should be nicely framed in your scope. 

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35 minutes ago, Ricochet said:

I think it is a lot easier to find the Andromeda galaxy starting from the Pegasus and Andromeda constellations.

I do agree with this, I like star hops which drop me near the target. There is a great one for M81/M82 which puts you right there every time.

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5 hours ago, Stu said:

I do agree with this, I like star hops which drop me near the target. There is a great one for M81/M82 which puts you right there every time.

I'm still quite a beginner at star hopping. Though I surely do recognize it's value and intend to improve.

The map that Stephan posted above will be excellent practice if I'm interpreting it correctly.

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Treat your self to a planesphere, once you find one constellation your`ll be able to pick out others quite easy. Des

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The red arrows are the hop I use for M81/82, works very well. The blue line also works but to me the distances leave room for missing the target, whereas the red line takes you straight there.

761BE4F4-77A0-4798-BEFA-05CDC5FAF5B4.gif

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17 hours ago, Stu said:

The red arrows are the hop I use for M81/82, works very well. The blue line also works but to me the distances leave room for missing the target, whereas the red line takes you straight there.

761BE4F4-77A0-4798-BEFA-05CDC5FAF5B4.gif

Thanks! I'm definitely adding this to my list.

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