Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.


M42 Orion Nebula! the highlight as Big Dob views Horsehead & Cone for first time with Night Vision

Recommended Posts

Date: Saturday 17th November 0110-0415am
Scope: 20” f3.6 Lukehurst Dob with Paracorr (fl = 2089mm & f4.1).
Night Vision: PVS-14 with Photonis 4g INTENS.
Eyepieces: Plossl 55mm (f2 x38), Panoptic 35mm (f3 x60).
Filters: Astronomik 6nm Ha CCD.


Well, what a session that was!

Earlier, I had repositioned the Big Dob in the shed ready for a shot at Orion early Sunday (17th/18th) morning as the weather forecast was for cloud all night last night (16th/17th).
However, an opportunity for an unexpected session started when a quick look outside at 7pm revealed a very clear sky! I decided to get outside with the Borg 107FL for as long as it lasted and was soon outside and setup revisiting Milky Way Ha targets with the 6nm Ha CCD filter and Night Vision.
I did not take any notes as I expected the session to end abruptly “at any time” plus the Devils Orb was out meaning that new targets were going to be “a dream rather than a reality”.

Time kept passing and I kept GOTOing…

Eventually, we reached 0030hrs and it was still clear. Orion was now coming “into the zone” for the Dob from the shed and the Devils lightbulb was almost gone! All my kit was soaking with the heavy dew that had descended but I decided to swap scopes/kit and get into the shed for some “Dobbing”.
Everything was soon back in the house but I had to pause “to towel” the Borg, mount and kit boxes as they were covered in water droplets. I swapped some eyepieces, added the ParaCorr2 (& my notebook) to the case and headed back outside and down to the shed.
By 0110am, I was setup and ready to open the roof of the shed…


Head straight for the “big hitters”

Sh2-273 incl. Cone – I had the 55mm Plossl and 6nm Ha CCD filter loaded. The Cone was very obvious and probably around 1.5cm in size with the x38 magnification from the dob. Even with 20” the edges of the Cone were not sharp, they were more fuzzy looking but the black triangular patch was very black and ended in a bright circular tip as it touched the brighter star next to the tip.


Sh2-275 Rosette – WOW! smile.gif The Rosette seems to be the best thing since Gamma Cygni and now was showing with the same 3D textures! It was much larger than the fov and I nudged through varying brightness nebula with delicate black lanes running within. The nebula clouds just bellowed, It was awesome!


Sh2-282 – A long curve filled the fov.
Sh2-284 – I saw a long sausage protrusion at the right hand side, which extended out wider at both sides at the left hand side. It reminded me of a large “cosmic baby’s dummy”. It was bigger than the fov so I nudged around. Looking at images, it’s clear that a revisit is needed as it seems to have more to give…
Sh2-280 – a large patch with two black sockets to the right hand side. There is a nearby long curving piece possibly detached.
Sh2-269 – small bright “butterfly” seems to be in two halves. Could be a “rib cage”?
Sh2-267 – Medium sized faint patch. Averted vision reveals its full size. It has some black central detailing.


Sh2-261 Lowers neb – Very nice. Fills the fov. Looks like an open clam shell. The top lid has a brighter mid section. Some nice shading detail seen in the shell itself.smile.gif


Sh2-254 to sh2-258 – 4 of 5 observed. Surprisingly the view was very similar to that seen in the Borg107 on the 14th November. I saw the three patches in a line. The first was the largest and easily seen. The second was smaller and brighter with black details within. The third was the brightest and slightly smaller than the second patch. But where were the other two? I found the tiny patch in between patch 1 and 2 easily but it did not stand out against the other three. It was much smaller & dimmer – but I had picked it out with the Borg107! I could not see the 5th element at all and I know where it should be but not tonight Josephine!

Sh2-263 – large faint patch around a star.


Sh2-276 Barnards loop – Wow, it’s just so easy to see. It’s really wide at x38. I use Nexus to position at the top and then follow it down with ease. It’s like a well-lit freeway!smile.gif


Sh2-277 Flame nebImmense! waytogo.gif I can literally see every detail, just like the image I am looking at as I write it. It is a whole new view to the previous Cactus managed with traditional eyepieces and the same dobsonian scope on previous years. I have to spend time looking and noting. The long thick black trunk of the flame has very bright nebula to both sides. I see 4 branches on the right hand side and a free floating black blob to the left hand side. There is fine black sleeks along the whole structure. I revisited later with the pan35 (x60) and the image was just as fine.


Horsehead IC434 – Right its time to put the horse to bed. I nudge up from the Flame and there she sits. A perfect sea-horse head shape nestling in a lane of very bright nebula. I notice a single brighter strand that runs the length of IC434 within the wider lane.


M42 Orion neb – I was not ready for this. "Holy Cow Batman".bow.gif

  • The Orion nebula just moved to a whole new level, its 3D and there is a mesmerising swirl of nebula sitting out behind the 1000 watt fish head that my eyes are drawn to. Eventually I pull me eyes to the fish head and its covered in clear small black sleeks or scales! Then I notice M43, astonishing!, M43 has what appears to be a brighter lobster shape inside the overall outline – What? Gobsmacked.smile.gif
  • I nudge around M42, I notice the black section between M42-M43 looks like space invader on its side. I can see three of the trapezium stars beaming brightly, I am swearing out loud now as I sit back from the eyepiece and rub my face processing what I have just seen.
  • Back to the eyepiece and I notice that the upper wing of M42 is splitting into two sections as it heads out back over the top. There is a very black section in the splitting section. I encourage you to google an “M42 Ha” image – it was truly astounding.
  • In a previous report, I wrote “if you have ever seen M42 in a big dob then you ain’t seen nothing like Gamma Cygni in a big dob with Night Vision”. Well, I now need to amend my statement “If you have seen Gamma Cygni with Night Vision with a big dob then just wait until you see M42 with Night Vision with a big dob!”


Right, back into the undiscovered Sharpless search…

sh2-279 Running Man (NGC1975) – Finally I can see it. But what is it? Not a “running man” that’s for sure. I see a large faint patch with 3 brighter stars within. There is something large and faint under the 3 star section.


Sh2-278 – large faint patch.
Sh2-288 – very bright tiny patch.
Sh2-260 – very large. Sausage shaped. Faint.
Sh2-262 – seems to be another sausage. The edges are traceable. Faint.
Sh2-268 – I can see a big curve. Other side is flatter. The edges are faintly seen.

Sh2-271 – small bright patch around a star. Black detail seen in centre. Missing from Sky Safari, the location is around star TYC-0738-1135-1


Sh2-283 – very small fuzzy patch. Missing from Sky Safari, the location is around star HD291952.
Sh2-285 – tiny fuzzy patch next to a star. Missing from Sky Safari, the location is around star HD50773.
Sh2-286 – faint fuzzy patch. Medium sized. Double star at 7 o’clock and triple star at 11 o’clock. Missing from Sky Safari, the location is around star HD 50637.


Sh2-287 – faint patch. Medium sized. 2 stars inside. Seems to be a curve above. Looks a bit like a “comma”.
Sh2-288 – small bright centre. 2 fainter sections either side (like wings).
Sh2-291 – medium sized patch next to a plough type star formation. Nebula seems to extend up & down.
Sh2-289 – medium sized. Faint patch around a star.


Seagull neb – A quick dip into the Seagull to confirm sh2-293 & sh2-295, two small faint patches in front of the wings. I saw them both but they were pretty faint. The Seagull was looking majesticsmile.gif, and the head (sh2-292) revealed the black jagged mouth section nicely.
LBN1036 – Sitting next to the Seagull. I saw several thin parallel lines running horizontally.
Sh2-294 – A small bright “clam”. Bright clam shell lids separated by blackness cutting in.


Sh2-298 Thor’s Helmet – it looked like a mini flaming star nebula. There was a clear curvy “tail” moving away from a shimmering circle (around a star).smile.gif
Sh2-299 – a faint patch over a star. Missing from Sky Safari, the location is around star HR2868.
Sh2-300 – a faint patch over several stars. Missing from Sky Safari, the location is around star HD59752.


Sh2-274 Medusa – The clear outline of a crescent moon is seen. Underside seems “active” and “moving”. Unusual!
M1 Crab – Looks like a multi-celled bubbling patch. Nice.


IC410 – Wow – more 3D nebula! I see two black “eye sockets”. There are two tiny bright patches like two “nostrils” (the tadpoles). The left cheek section is the brightest part. Lovely! smile.gif
Sh2-302 (Gum6) – a large patch next to 2 bright stars.


A Comet to finish!

C/38P Stephan-Oterma – With the Ethos10 traditional viewing resumed as I hunted and found 38P. It is a big comet with a bright core. There is a decent dust halo surrounding the core.


Thoughts of the observer.

  • I packed myself off to bed, happy that I my chance to get into Orion had arrived a day early (you cannot trust the weather forecasts). I knew I had managed to observe many of the small Sharpless that the Borg107 cannot reach. After confirming my notes and my Sharpless tables in Bracken, I make that 20 new Sharpless objects (to me) tonight.
  • Previously, I had spent time marking stars in Sky Safari where the “missing” Sharpless objects “should be”. It was nice to have some success last night in finding the missing! – I have noted the star location details above should you wish to add them into your Sky Safari lists.
  • I saw some wondrous sights, the Flame (a favourite of mine) was tremendous and night vision has moved the big dob’s view to another level, it was just great to see all the details on either side of the main trunk.
  • The Horsehead is no longer a disappointing patch near the awesome Flame. Tonight, it puffed out its chest and stood its ground with the Flame. It became an “object worth seeing” at last. I also need to investigate the fine white line detailing within IC434 a lot more in the coming weeks…
  • I never expected M42 had more to give but boy was I wrong. It was quite rightly the highlight of the morning and I saw so many new unseen features that I hope I was able to get them down on paper for you to enjoy. An honourable mention goes to M43 (always a disappointment) which really came to life at last, revealing intricate detailing that I never knew existed.
  • Considering that I started observing at 1930hrs (with the Borg) and I did not finish until 0415hrs (with the dob), that was a pretty long session of over 8 hours!
  • Finally, a big thank-you to my Nexus unit for enabling me to "find & observe" all these targets.


Hope you enjoyed my trip.
Clear Skies,

Edited by alanjgreen
  • Like 5

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

My goodness. That sounds like an incredible session!!

Great Report too - thanks.

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent report, Alan. Do you think viewing objects like M42/M43 and the Horsehead with normal visual setup will hold the same appeal after seeing them in night vision?

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, Littleguy80 said:

Excellent report, Alan. Do you think viewing objects like M42/M43 and the Horsehead with normal visual setup will hold the same appeal after seeing them in night vision?

That’s a great question Neil, and I’m interested to see Alan’s reply.

I’ve thought a fair bit about precisely this over the past few months and I’ve come to the conclusion that on emission nebulae such as those you mention, I just can’t see me going back to a normal visual setup - the NV views are just so much better it’s not a fair comparison. 

Obviously I’ll still use my normal eyepieces for planets and open clusters but I note from cloudy nights that many US observers are NV only.

Edited by GavStar
  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent report Alan, 

19 hours ago, alanjgreen said:

M1 Crab – Looks like a multi-celled bubbling patch. Nice.

Must be great, to see so much more then a faint fuzzy.

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Littleguy80 said:

Excellent report, Alan. Do you think viewing objects like M42/M43 and the Horsehead with normal visual setup will hold the same appeal after seeing them in night vision?

My quick "off the cuff" answer is that "I do not see me ever attempting to view Nebula without Night Vision again".

However, if I spend a couple of minutes thinking about it, then my answer changes to " I do not see me ever attempting to view Nebula (that I have seen with Night Vision) without Night Vision again". This is a subtle change to the sentence but there are many nebula (especially Blue - like the WitchHead for example - that are hard to get anything with NV (I may need to get a narrowband OIII to try).

Certainly, those I have now seen with NV (Veil included), I do not see me improving that view by going back to the Ethos21 and visual filters.


Does this mean the end of my Ethos collection? Definately, "NO!".

I am a "Galaxy man" first and foremost and whilst I have seen many "improve with NV" (especially edge on and have seen clear spiral arms in large side on such as M100 and Fireworks), the smaller "grey smudges" are inferior with NV and I cannot for example see me deciding that "I don't want to see banks of galaxies in a Leo widefield with the Ethos21 ever again". :)

Galaxy season will be along in a couple of months, so lets see how much use the NV gets up against the mighty Ethos21 and Ethos10 with the 20". But I would also say that if I only had a 4" frac at my disposal then the galaxy experience with NV must be well beyond any traditional eyepiece experience.


Finally, globular clusters and tiny open clusters must get a mention. I don't see me using eyepieces on these objects again in either scope (with the exception of getting the Ethos 8mm onto M13 in the dob). The sheer number of tiny open clusters that just jump out at you when panning with NV is amazing. These tiny objects are just missed completely without NV.


Comets are another of my favourite objects and I had to use the Ethos10 to see 38P the other night. I have spotted smaller comets with NV but the tight fov makes finding them a bit of a challenge. I would probably reach for an eyepiece when bagging comets.


Larger open clusters are just better with eyepieces. The double cluster is nice with NV but better without. Carolines Rose is terrible with NV and one of my favourites when using eyepieces.


For planets then you just need eyepieces.


So, my conclusion is that I am not rushing to sell off my eyepieces just yet.


Edited by alanjgreen
  • Like 2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Alan. Very interesting response. It seems to boil down to using the right tool for the job. NV can’t be beaten on most Nebula but definitely has its limitations too. 

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, GavStar said:

That’s a great question Neil, and I’m interested to see Alan’s reply.

I’ve thought a fair bit about precisely this over the past few months and I’ve come to the conclusion that on emission nebulae such as those you mention, I just can’t see me going back to a normal visual setup - the NV views are just so much better it’s not a fair comparison. 

Obviously I’ll still use my normal eyepieces for planets and open clusters but I note from cloudy nights that many US observers are NV only.

Even though I don’t have NV it’s something I follow with interest. It seems to have all the fun of traditional visual observing. The technology simply enhances the views. The targets that can be seen are stunning. I’m certainly sold on it. Just need to sell a kidney, or perhaps a child, or two ;) 

  • Haha 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

.... it has its place. Not a do-all, but not as one trick as a h-alpha solar telescope. The worse your skies the greater the impact (though as Alan keeps showing, it gives more with better skies and bigger scopes.... not the “end of aperture fever” some of us might have hoped for!

Your Sharpless list will be a good resource for us all.


  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By alanjgreen
      Scope: 20” f3.6 Lukehurst Dob with Paracorr (fl = 2089mm & f4.1).
      Night Vision: PVS-14 with Photonis 4g INTENS.
      Eyepieces: DeLite 18.2mm (f5.8 x115).
      I was out supernovae hunting last night with three SN targets planned
      1= NGC109/SN2019upw
      2= UGC11860/SN2019tua
      3= UGC11979/SN2019tgm
      I am happy to report that I observed 2 out of 3. Here are some notes to help others.
      NGC109 /  SN2019upw

      This one is fairly straightforward as there are few field stars in the area. Once you find the three brighter stars in a triangle then the galaxy is easily seen in the centre. There are 4 faint stars on one side of the galaxy and one on the other. The SN is separate from the core. As I was only using x115 magnification then the split was not straightforward and time was needed to wait and observe for the split to come and go!

      This galaxy was really well placed at the zenith at around 1830 last night. The galaxy was not seen but the SN is there. It takes time to find the right spot but there is a field star "3D cube" just above, once you find the cube then you can find the SN. (See stars marked A,B,C,D on my diagram, the Supernova is X).

      This is the toughest, there are so many field stars that it is hard to find what to match to the internet images. Anyway, it turned out that I was looking in the wrong place but the stars I drew do match the images so I was just a small way off. 
      Look carefully at my sketch and there are two rows of field stars (the 3+2 and the 3, the middle star of the lower 3 is a double), if you can find these two rows of stars at the eyepiece then the SN is in-between these rows as shown by the blue box (added this morning). I was looking further up in a tight cluster of stars where the tiny galaxy appeared to be (my mistake!).
      Happy hunting!
    • By alanjgreen
      Dates: 28th & 29th November 2019.
      Scopes: 20” f3.6 Lukehurst Dob & Borg 107FL f5.6 (focal length 600mm).
      Night Vision: PVS-14 with Photonis 4g INTENS.
      Eyepieces: Plossl 55mm (Dob f2 x38, Borg f2.6 x11). Filters: Chroma 5nm Ha filter.
      Last time outside was the 8th November and I had a great night with the Borg 107FL and Night Vision identifying many new “areas of interest”.
      See my report and sketches here: 

      But then we have had three weeks of clouds!

      Anyway, last weekend we got three clear(ish) nights outside so I decided to use the Borg 107FL as a spotting scope to identify further areas to then check out with the Big Dob. It seems that it is easy to look straight through faint nebula and not see the bigger picture with the greater magnification proving a disadvantage with the dobsonian.

      This report will cover a mix of two sessions (Night one – Borg 107FL) and (Night Two – 20” dobsonian). I will detail my wide field observations and sketch and then follow up with the detailed greater magnification/aperture view of the exact same area accompanied by a photo from Sky Safari with locations marked.
      Area of interest 1 – Heart & Soul nebula region.
      Starting with my wide field observations, here is a sketch I made of this area of the sky.

      The big thing I found was a rectangular structure that is attached to the side of the Heart nebula. It had some brighter areas within it and a smaller parallel line inside it. There was an obvious “loop” coming from the “mole head” part of the Heart and beyond the loop I saw a small patch and a longer snake patch too. I have marked some of the smaller Sharpless (sh) that I saw on the sketch as well.
      After quite a long time examining the Heart, I slewed to the Soul (foetus) next door, where some nice intricate interior detail and brighter mouth and chin areas were observed together with a couple of small Sharpless just of the sides were also noted.

      Now, onto the Dob observations from the following night. Here is a Sky Safari view…
      GSC 4051-1604 – large faintish patch fills fov. Stars have cleared black areas inside. Double star in a black patch stands out.
      TYC 4054-1657-1 - marks the right angled corner of faint box extension to heart nebula.
      HD 15022 – Triangular shaped patch fills fov. Some small black areas inside.
      GSC 4046-0016 – a “line” section. Two brighter patches stand-out.
      TYC 4050-2042-1 – return section of “loop”. Exiting & returning to the “mole head”.
      TYC 4056-1055-1 – Long curving corner section of faint nebula lane coming from the Heart.
      TYC 4051-2885-1 – Junction of two curved loops (curved X shape), brighter central area with black patch & stars inside.
      TYC 4059-0328-1 – very faint large section of reflection neb. Plenty of black helps the nebula to stand out.
      GSC 4058-0834 – “house” shaped star cluster set in a large nebula patch.
      TYC 4052-1055-1 – small nebula patch (part of a long thick curvy lane that winds along here).
      SAO 012401 – very tiny, bright nebula patch.
      HD 20798 – small circular patch next to a star (the last in a line of stars). Black circular area too.
      TYC 4049-0064-1 – double lane of nebula. One side brighter with some brighter patches too.
      Area of interest 2 – Flaming Star region.
      It was time to revisit the Flaming star region. I familiarized myself with a look at my sketch from last time out then started to note and sketch further nebula details seen at the eyepiece. I could see a sketch what looked like loops of nebula coming from the main bright blobs (sketched as dashed lines). There was a clear right angled corner piece above IC417. I then hit the multi-patched area of sh2-233/235 which looked great. On the other side there was a sweeping curved section that ended in a double patch (maybe sh2-227). I could see a small bright blob below that (guessed as NGC1778 but may be something else sh2-228?). Finally, I noted a small patch hanging off the side of the Flaming star itself. Here is my sketch from 28th November.

      Now, onto my 20” dob observations from the following night…

      TYC 2393-1581-1 – oblong patch to LHS of tail of Flaming star.
      HD 243596 – patch between IC410 & Spider.
      HD 36834 – thick lane of nebula brighter section connects to HD35345.
      TYC2415-0413-1 – large patch connected to HD35345.
      HD 36212 – large nebula patch with many stars.
      SAO 058274 – large nebula patch under the pinwheel cluster.
      More work needed here...

      Area of interest 3 – Fox Fur & Rosette region.
      Next, the Fox Fur & Rosette, which is proving to be a great area to explore with a small wide field scope. The Fox Fur is rising rapidly up the list of “great nebulas of the night sky”! Once again, I started by checking my sketch from last time out and then worked to see and sketch further details… Here is what I ended with…

      It’s really hard to find a decent image of this area wide field. Everyone seems obsessed capturing the tiny Cone and misses out on the vast lush areas greatness! Search for “Fox Fur Nebula Rosette” and you can find some – it’s well worth it. 
      This time I noted some of the black detail inside the thick “comma” shape and also a smaller detached patch above.
      I cannot reach this region from my shed so there is no dob confirmation text.
      Area of interest 4 – IC434 & Horsehead region.
      Onto the expansive region that contains IC434 and the horsehead. Last time out I noted a long extension to the left hand side and down parallel to IC434. This time I was lucky enough to see even more. IC434 was a complete rectangle of nebula surrounding Sigma Orionis in its centre. With more time I began to notice a separate nebula lane running up the left side of this. It was fainter and ended with a curvy section around Alnilam at the top. The bottom end was right angled as shown below in my sketch…
      I cannot reach this region from my shed so there is no dob confirmation text.
      Finish with the search for some Comets.
      I was out again on the 30th November where I managed a couple of hours observing before fog descended. The highlight was that I bagged four comets as follows:
      Equipment: 20” dob, 27mm Panoptic (x77 magnification), PVS-14 Night Vision.

      C/260P McNaught – A small fuzzy blob next to a star. No core to speak of.
      C/114P Wiseman-Skiff – (found WEST of where Sky Safari says it is so beware!) It appeared brighter than C/260P. A small fuzzy patch with wide brighter core (but not a bright “dot” core).
      C/2018 N2 (ASSASN) – Easy. Bright dot core and halo surrounds. Next to 2 stars LHS.
      C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS) – Very Easy. Bright dot core and dust halo. Small tail heads NW.
      The above approach proved a success, identifying potential areas for detailed searching with the dob in advance really helped me to focus where I looked with the dob and helped me to linger longer at a location waiting for nebula to pop out at me.
      I will be relocating the dob to the back of the shed for the next new moon so Orion and the Rosette can be reached. Then I can firm up some more exact locations thanks to the push-to connection to Sky Safari that the dob has (via a Nexus wifi unit).
      Clear Skies,
    • By alanjgreen
      Date: Friday 8th November 2019. 0300-0600am
      Scope: Borg 107FL f5.6 (focal length 600mm).
      Night Vision: PVS-14 with Photonis 4g INTENS.
      Eyepieces: Plossl 55mm (f2.6 x11).
      Filters: Chroma 5nm Ha filter.
      Moon: 0%
      It’s now been over a week since the “never ending” clear skies went away. With the full moon approaching I saw an opportunity to maybe get out for a few early morning hours after the moon had set.
      The skies were clearing when I went to bed and the Devils Orb was already giving the appearance of daylight outside.
      I had a short restless sleep with the occasional peek to see if the moon was still lighting the edges of my bedroom curtains. Once I was satisfied that it had gone and having taken a few minutes to “motivate myself”, I slipped out from the warm bed and headed downstairs to get dressed.
      It was pretty windy outside which meant the roll-off shed would not be used tonight so I prepared the Borg107 for a trip outside onto the patio. It took me 20 minutes to get ready before I relayed my kit outside.
      I quickly performed a 2-star alignment for the Skywatcher AZGTi mount and headed to M45 to test it out…  The Pleiades were all bright and sparkly in my fov set against a lovely black background (“looks good” I thought to myself).
      I had no real plan for the session, so I decided to look at the brightest areas of Orion plus some of the larger Sharpless from my “Best of Sharpless”.
      I added the Night Vision PVS-14 to the TeleVue 55mm Plossl and added the Chroma 5nm Ha narrowband filter to the front of my 2” diagonal.
      Where else to start but my favourite nebula – The Rosette! It appeared bright and mid-sized (at x11 magnification). Thin bright lanes seemed to trace out the “petals of a flower”. Multi-toned fainter nebula filled in the gaps, then with the dark black central hole and cluster to complete the view. I lingered a while before slewing down and into three spread-out nebula patches (sh2-280, 282 & 284). They are all different which makes them more appealing. The first is a circular patch with two small dark circular shapes inside (sh2-280), then we have an oblong shaped patch (sh2-282), finally on the other side of a bright star we arrive at the circular patch sh2-284.

      NGC2264/Cone/Fox-Fur nebula.
      Now for the first “surprise bonus” of the night. I centred on NGC2264 and when I looked in the eyepiece I found the fov filled with faint multi-textured nebula. I located the MINUTE Cone nebula, it was very tiny but a clear black triangle nevertheless! I traced the parent Fox Fur into what looked like a “comma” shape. This comma shape was sitting above a right angled long thick lane. Below this I found a mid-sized curved lane and followed this down and left to arrive back at the Rosette.
      I decided to make a sketch of the large area just covered as the individual segments were so clear to see (and you do the daftest things when only half awake!)

      I found the Xmas tree in the tail (of the comma) slightly brighter. I noted a dark lane running through the comma tail section.
      IC405 Flaming star/IC410/sh2-230
      I have had recent success with the sh2-230 undefined area around IC410/405 with the big dob. So it was time to see what the 4” aperture of the Borg could tease out of this region. This is a beautiful detailed large section that really comes out well under low x11 magnification. IC405 and IC410 are immediately obvious. The magnificence (intricate detail) of the upper head section is not so striking at this low magnification but you then notice that the Flame is larger than expected and in fact has an extra patch that seems to extend the tail section further out. IC410 sits by the side and has the appearance of “a mask”, I see two black eyes cutting into the small bright shape. Above IC410 there are two tiny patches (Spider and Fly) then above them I see a large faint circular patch (unknown). To the left of this and above the Flame is a double curved lane which has several brighter sections visible within it (sh2-230) which I have seen before. But my eye is drawn further left and up where there appears to be a huge circular edge (unknown).

      NGC1499 California.
      While looking at Sky Safari, I decide to see NGC1499 (another nebula where the big dob has been working hard recently). Wow, this area is great at low magnification. The “traditional” section of the California is the brightest and easily seen in its entirety but it’s the large extension section to the right (that must be at least the same length again!). Then while examining the tail and crown sections at the left end, I begin to notice a huge structure that seems to sit behind the California nebula. I sketch out what I can see. This background section is vertical where the California appears horizontal. It is faint and has curves under the California where it seems to meet a large faint patch (that has 6 bright stars inside), I add these to the sketch…

      IC2177 Seagull nebula.
      Looking for big and bright nebula, I choose to see the Seagull next… The traditional “head and shoulders” fills the fov. I slew around and trace out a large additional structure leaving the “top shoulder” and travelling right and then down to finish at an extended “foot” patch just above the Duck nebula. I sketch out the Seagull and then hunt around for any patches (I know there are plenty to small Sharpless around here). I find two small patches at the end of an extended “leg” section (I thought that one of these was Thor’s Helmet but after slewing to that later then I think I am wrong so I need to revisit and sort out what they are?)

      Sh2-240 Spagetti.
      I pick a large nebula from the best of Sharpless, sh2-240 next. It appears as a large circular faint shape. There is a central vertical zig-zag section and I see several hortizontal-ish black lanes travelling through the patch (as I get my eye in). There is definitely lots to see here and its deserving of its place in the “best of Sharpless”.
      M42/M43/NGC1973, Orion and the Running Man.
      Okay, I’ve waited long enough! I slew to NGC1973. The only thing you see at the eyepiece initially is M42 of course! It’s so bright and wonderfully detailed. At this low magnification it reminds me of a “bird in flight” with bended wings. The “fish head” is the brightest section but I am fond of the blackness that spews from the fish head and seems to spread out and around M43 next door, it is black as black can be. M43 has an intricate shape inside its almost complete circular patch, but I speed by to seek out the Running man. Tonight the bright patch is clear as day and as I look on a black shape within the bright patch comes and goes, it’s not a “pair of legs” but it’s a black patch within nevertheless.
      I slew directly up from M42 and a bright patch comes into view, over to the right a bit and there is IC434 bright and thick. The horsehead is tiny but clearly visible and having a decent shape tonight. However, I am completely drawn to the long nebula bend section to the left which runs down from the Flame too. I do not remember noticing this section before but it’s been a year since Orion was here and I cannot remember everything that I see!

      I now manually slew up from the Flame to find a thick horizontal nebula lane running across the full fov. I follow it right and then down and back under until I find myself back at the Orion nebula (M42). I guess this is Barnards Loop. I had earlier searched for it to the left of Alnitak (as that’s where it is with the dob but this “star diagonal” used in refractors regularly sends me the wrong way when I try to retrace the big dob steps!
      Angel Fish – Huge and bright. Way too big to see the fish at x11 magnification. I do my best to tease out some features but it is just too huge!
      NGC2174/Monkey’s head.
      Instead, I move onto the Monkeys Head. It appears small and bright but as usual I see “Mickey Mouse” with the refractor and star diagonal turning things around. I slew around and pick out two patches above, one is sh2-247 the other is unknown. I slew below and find the wonderful tiny triple nebula sh2-254,255 & 257 (another Best of Sharpless member).

      NGC2395 Medusa – A small shimmering crescent moon shape is observed.
      M1 Crab – A small shimmering patch. With time at the eyepiece I see a bright circle around the outside and the occasional jumping line details within but cannot hold the interior in my view.
      NGC2359 Thor – A small faintish semi-circle.
      IC443/IC444, sh2-249 – The triplet of nebulas all fit into the fov and are a lovely sight that takes a good while to look around and take it all in. The Jelly fish (IC443) has lovely “tenticles” section that breaks backwards RHS. There is a small bright patch directly in front of IC443 (IC444) and then behind this the large oblong nebula structure sh2-249. I see the fine black lanes within sh2-249 next to Tejat Posterior (bright star).
      Sh2-265 – Picking another large Sharpless object, I headed for SAO 112667. I found a small bright patch (sh2-263) then above that a huge bright nebula that after slewing around, reminded me of a “walkie-talkie”. It had a pointed section at the upper LHS. And an interesting double lane at the lower sections.

      Sh2-260 – Next I picked sh2-260 (which I have only ever seen with the big dob). I slewed to SAO 112142 where I discovered a very large faint nebula shape. It was larger than the fov and seemed to appear as a “thin teardrop” shape. I cannot find any images of this so at the moment it is unknown to me.
      I noticed the sky brightening from around 0550hrs so I headed for a last look at the Rosette and Flaming Star regions before deciding to pack up at 0600hrs.
      I am glad that I made the effort to get up as I felt like I got “more than I imagined” from my session (which sent me back to bed happy, if a little cold – at least I had my hot water bottle to bring my feet back to life).
      I think that I have concluded that I need to get the widefield Borg 107FL out more frequently, when it’s cold then the dob in the shed is a much more appealing thought.
      -          I have added an unexpected 7 entries to the “Ag1-xx” nebula catalog for the unknown/extra patches that I will need to come back and confirm… (up to 97 entries now).
      I also now have some lingering memories to help me through the barren spell of the full moon (out here in the dark countryside, the full moon is a real killer!).
      Hope you enjoyed the read and my sketches!
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.