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alanjgreen

Getting ready for galaxy season ...

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In preparation for the upcoming "galaxy season", I have been busy re-organising my eyepieces across my eyepiece boxes.

case3.jpg.939487642b1d245fdbebf56e9d5de0e3.jpg

I am expecting to be using a mix of traditional and a-focal night vision observing. Therefore, I have put together a "mixed" case of eyepieces. There is a little space remaining just in case I need to swap in a couple more (but I don't tend to go outside will all my eyepieces in one go as they only get cold and unuseable, I prefer to leave a couple inside for a mid-session warm eyepiece swap-in!

I have also created a new Sky Safari "brightest galaxies" observing list so I can target these larger/brighter galaxies with the night vision to hopefully tease out some views of unseen spiral arms? (most likely with the 55mm TeleVus Plossl) as focal speed is key to getting the arms. I may need to swap in the TeleVue Panoptic 27mm for more scale (but we will see)...

[Here is the Sky Safari Observing List that I will be using  Galaxy High Brightness.skylist  should you wish to try it too…(you can import it into your Sky Safari - just email it to yourself then when you try to open the file in the email app it should offer you the chance to "open with Sky Safari") ]

Having learned last year that night vision is not much help on the smaller galaxies (they just get overpowered by the super bright galaxy cores), I have the TeleVue Ethos 21, 13, 10 ready for some "traditional viewing" (with the option of swapping in the Ethos 8 as needed) on the smaller galaxies. I am eagerly awaiting the heavenly widefield views of endless galaxies as seen in Leo with the Ethos21 and the big dob!

Last year turned out to be a "Supernova Marathon" with seemingly weekly supernovas occuring over the UK (and I managed to bag EIGHT of them with the Big Dob).

  1. NGC 3941 - SN2018pv
  2. UGC 5049 - SN2018pc
  3. NGC2746  - SN2018iq
  4. NGC3367 - SN2018kp
  5. NGC6217 - SN2018gj
  6. NGC3158 - SN2018aaz
  7. NGC2146 - SN2018zd
  8. NGC4151 - SN2018aoq

I can't see that happening two years running but I did bag SN AT2018ivc (in M77) on December 1st. Tonight I will be targeting SN2019np in NGC3254 so here's hoping...

Either way, I will need a good supply of clear sky, so lets hope our luck is in.

Wishing you the best for Galaxy season,

Alan

 

Edited by alanjgreen
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Nice :thumbsup:

My prep will be giving my mirror a wash,  giving the EPs a clean, then praying for the permacloud to shift on some other nights than those with a full moon!  It has been a desperately dissapointing last couple of months for getting the scope out here for me.

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You’ve certainly got the gear to go fuzzy hoovering!

Coma was chasing Leo high in the sky when I finally called it quits about 3am on Tues morning. That is when I realised that I need to go shopping big time. Whilst my attempt to get by with just a set of TV Plossls was financially a very good idea, taking a decent sized Dob to play in the spring galaxy fields without something big & wide in the focuser, just isn’t right.

Here is hoping that the weather plays ball. And, good luck with the Supernova in NGC3254. My attempt on Monday night was inconclusive as I forgot to take a decent image with me to compare against.

Paul

Edited by Paul73
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10 hours ago, niallk said:

Nice :thumbsup:

My prep will be giving my mirror a wash,  giving the EPs a clean, then praying for the permacloud to shift on some other nights than those with a full moon!  It has been a desperately dissapointing last couple of months for getting the scope out here for me.

Beat you to it!

wash.jpg.b4a3a57da04a8ff60933284131507052.jpg

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8 hours ago, Paul73 said:

Here is hoping that the weather plays ball. And, good luck with the Supernova in NGC3254. My attempt on Monday night was inconclusive as I forgot to take a decent image with me to compare against.

Paul

Yep, I bagged it

 

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You’ve inspired me to get my EAA setup ready for galaxy season. The RC6@F4.5 + Lodestar gives a lovely FOV for brighter galaxies and fainter groups and clusters, and there’s a limitless supply of them. ?

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Off to get some vodka for galaxy season....

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11 hours ago, estwing said:

Off to get some vodka for galaxy season....

Just don"t let any observing get in the way of a good drinking session?

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1 hour ago, bish said:

Just don"t let any observing get in the way of a good drinking session?

Got to keep the cold out somehow!

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    • By alanjgreen
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      UGC4642/SN2018hfg/Type IIn/ Stated mag 16.5
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      NGC3304/SN2019aik/Type 1a/Stated may 15.9
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      My other three targets had not yet reached points in the sky where I could get the big dob pointing at them, so that was that for my supernova search for tonight.
       
      Let’s see what traditional higher power observing can do?
      I removed the NVD and eyepiece and switched to the Ethos10 (x200) only. I settled at the eyepiece and started to make out the galaxy in the fov. The FOV felt huge compared to the 40 degrees of the NVD but the galaxy was more of a challenge to grab with my eyeball. It was certainly larger in this fov but was so much fainter that I struggled to hold it in my vision.
      I nudged back to UGC4642 and attempted to see SN2018hfg with the ethos10. The experience was similar again with the galaxy now much fainter than with Night Vision and much more of a challenge to see anything within the galaxy disk.
      Of course, the sky was wet (as stated earlier) and by now the Devils Orb was brightening the sky too, so I will make the same attempt and comparison again in the coming week of darker skies.
       
      Thoughts of the observer.
      It’s amazing what you can see with the 55mm Plossl (and night vision) at only x38 magnification. You assume that more magnification is better but with NV the faster focal ratio of the 55mm Plossl (when used a-focally is key). These tiny galaxies are very faint but they are just obvious when viewed with NV. Supernovae hunting is proving that the extra magnification of the 18.2 DeLite and 27mm Panoptic are useful tools too, sometimes you just need the extra scale to reveal fainter stars that are just not seen in the 55mm Plossl. This is the first time, I have gone after SN before images are available so it was intriguing to see if I could spot them “first”! Of course, close in to the core SN are hopefully more easy to discern and further out SN would surely need the star chart sketch to confirm if you see them or not? It is also clear that Galaxies are greatly improved with Night Vision (mostly – there are exceptions where the core seems too large and over powers the disk or the galaxy does not give off enough red for the NV to improve the view or the galaxy is just too large and spreadout over the fov) they are much easier to pick out and most bright galaxies reveal details in the disks that are a joy to see. Generally, I have been surprised at the quality and detail of the galaxy views on offer so far this galaxy season plus those beyond reach previously that are now “in play” too. NGC3294 was a surprise to me, it is not in my “brightest galaxy list” but it was large and detailed in the 35mm Panoptic (I have now added it to my “Brightest Galaxy observing list” to ensure future revisits when the moon is gone).  
      Lets hope we get more clear sky over the next 2 weeks when galaxies will be our main focus of attention and before the Orb waxes once more!
       
      Clear Skies,
      Alan
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