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scarp15

NGC 7129 Reflection Nebula Cepheus

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Cepheus was overhead last night from my dark sky location. Orientating my 350mm dob, the plan was to gain an observation of Reflection nebula NGC 7129 and the near by open cluster NGC 7142. After some gentle positioning I located what I assumed would be the open cluster NGC 7142. To the north east I thought I had located the reflection nebula as a glare or glow around three stars. However this orientation was incorrect and upon re-approaching, determined that the faint quite large dim hazy glow initially located was in fact the nebula, perhaps associated or embedded in an open cluster. I couldn't quite ascertain NGC 7142, although it might be that it is a difficult observation being faint and enveloped in part by the interstellar cloud of the reflection nebula.

Intriguing, the glow around the triple stars might just have been a touch of condensation as moisture was building up at this point of time in my session. NGC 7129 has been debated else where such as on Cloudy Nights, with one reference to it as nicknamed the Mickey Mouse Nebula, due to associated ear like lobes (not visually detectable). I did not use a filter and employed a power of 88X, a light pollution type narrow band filter is considered to be helpful in gaining a little more contrast. Cepheus is very prominent, if you would like to have a go and are at a dark enough sky and able to use reasonable aperture, it would be good to gauge your opinion. Equally if you have observed this feature and could contribute further.

After this I went onto visit another, familiar more straight forward, pairing that of NGC 6946, the Fireworks Galaxy and open cluster NGC 6939. Incidentally a new discovery for myself (well at least I think so), was a nice quite bright, largish Planetary nebula, NGC 6804 in Aquila, captured at 142X. I understand that the central star is visible on this but couldn't quite get it this time.  

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Very interesting report, Iain. I shall look for those targets myself on my next dark sky trip. Is the use of a light pollution filter likely to help contrast with reflection nebulae in general or is that specific to NGC 7129? I assume I could use my Baader Neodymium for that purpose?

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Yes I think its worth a try Neil, I have seen reflection nebula both with and without filter type, general rule of thumb is not to use one, however your Baader Neodymium might be handy for this particular emission, reflection nebula perhaps. As a very difficult challenge I understand that the Witch Head Nebula, Eridanus, might respond (which is probably an over statement) to this type of filter assistance. The planetary I had observed last night was with a UHC, I also observed, as I know you get to observe this to, Barnard's E in with my wide field refractor, no filter necessarily required of course for dark nebula. 

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8 minutes ago, scarp15 said:

Yes I think its worth a try Neil, I have seen reflection nebula both with and without filter type, general rule of thumb is not to use one, however your Baader Neodymium might be handy for this particular emission, reflection nebula perhaps. As a very difficult challenge I understand that the Witch Head Nebula, Eridanus, might respond (which is probably an over statement) to this type of filter assistance. The planetary I had observed last night was with a UHC, I also observed, as I know you get to observe this to, Barnard's E in with my wide field refractor, no filter necessarily required of course for dark nebula. 

Sounds like the key is a bit of experimentation with filters. I find reflection nebula particularly tricky. It’s often hard to tell if your actually picking up the nebula. Barnard’s E is an excellent target.

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3 hours ago, Littleguy80 said:

Sounds like the key is a bit of experimentation with filters. I find reflection nebula particularly tricky. It’s often hard to tell if your actually picking up the nebula. Barnard’s E is an excellent target.

The joy of doing the supermarket run following a late night stargazing, relief to get back home.

Yes B142, 143 is a great target for small wide field scopes and binoculars. Reflection nebula are quite subtle, the easiest is M78 in Orion and there are other small reflection nebulae in Orion that are viable. M45 is perhaps the most interesting region with the Merope nebula and around other associated stars.  

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Here are some considered details; Nebula NGC 7129 is 3000 light years distant, whilst open cluster NGC 7142 thought to be 6000 light years. Dust clouds from the nebula, redden the light emitted by NGC 7142 making it difficult to study.   

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This has been a conundrum which I have finally resolved and feel that as I have started this topic ought to clarify in some detail. 

My original observation is now correct and I had not misplaced orientation. Therefore as I had described, NGC 7129 was indeed a glow formed between three fairly bright stars and NGC 7142 a fairly large hazy patch.

The confusion had derived with Cepheus being overhead and its profile in relation to the charts, also I had been switching between reflector and refractor when things are inverted, mirror reversed image, perhaps my brain got a bit muddled at this late hour.

So in case you haven't already had enough of NGC 7129 here are some more interesting, though not necessarily visually attainable scrutinising facts;

A young open cluster of approximately 130 stars is responsible for illuminating this blue reflection nebula, that in images encompasses six fairly bright stars. There is a small nebula to the upper left of main nebula, NGC 7133, which is illuminated by a single star. The two small nebula, upper right of main nebula, are each illuminated by a star, IC 5133 (top) and IC 5132 (bottom). The reddish emission nebula to the lower right is Lynd's Bright Nebula 497. There is a dark nebula that dims the background stars that surrounds the main object especially on the left to upper right. The dusty region is Lynd's Dark Nebula 1181 and 1183. In some images NGC 7129 has been described as looking more like a Tulip, for the 'Mickey Mouse' shape you can view this on Stellarium. 

NGC 7142 is interesting in that it is enveloped within the interstellar cloud. 

Every day is a learning day.

 

 

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scarp15: I have observed NGC 7129 first in a 50mm f/8 Tasco Refractor and many larger telescopes up through several observatory instruments to 250cm and the object takes magnification well unlike many diffused nebulae.  I mention in my book that a similar object is NGC 1931 in Auriga.  Of course, there are many NGCs that can be observed easily such as NGCs 1579 in Perseus, 1788 Orion, 2149, 2170, 2182, 2185 and even NGC 2261 Hubble's Variable Nebula in Monoceros as well as many other objects in catalogs such as Dorschner Gurtler, van den Bergh, Sharpless and Parsamian Petrosian.  nebulaeman

Edited by nebulaeman
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