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alanjgreen

17 Jan - Big Dob chases the brightest galaxies before dawn (Night Vision)

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Date: Thursday 17th January 2019. 0310-0640hrs
Scope: 20” f3.6 Lukehurst Dob with Paracorr (fl = 2089mm & f4.1).
Night Vision: PVS-14 with Photonis 4g INTENS. Plossl 55mm (f2 x38).
Eyepieces: Ethos 13mm (x150), Ethos 10mm (x200).
Moon: 75% (until 4am)

Introduction.
Last night was one of those “nervous” nights when you go to bed early with clear skies outside (including a 75% Devils Orb ?) and set your alarm for 3am hoping the clear skies will still be there (but not the Orb)…
I awoke around 0250am and checked outside, still clear! I dressed and headed off down to the shed…
Once setup and having completed the alignment for Nexus, I headed straight for the supernova SN 2019np in NGC3254. (I had drawn a star map earlier from some of the posted images!)

Supernova SN 2019np ?
I started with the Ethos10 (x200) and could see the hazy galaxy patch with a dot in the right place for the supernova. I could pick out 3 other stars and went to check my star map. I recognized the 2 bright stars and swapped to the Ethos13 (x150) for a bit more of the field. I could still see the SN with the lower power but field stars were still at a premium (the moon had not quite gone in the West so the sky was being impacted).
I switched to Night Vision and added the 55mm Plossl with the PVS-14 NVD attached. Now I was down to only x38 magnification but the galaxy and SN were clear and easy. I now had many more fainter stars to work with and returned to my drawn star map. I matched up a few more stars and hey presto – the SN 2019np was observed!
Now, I sketched out a new map based on what I could see…

2019np.jpg.9dfaabbc35049d9542cae56f1c962fec.jpg

Brightest Galaxy Observing List
I had come across a post on cloudynights detailing a list of 210 brightest galaxies and had used this list to make an “observing list” in Sky Safari 5. Now it was time to highlight that list and see what Night Vision could make of these brightest few…
NGC3432 – edge-on. Bright. Seems to have a black mark coming in on one side. Needs more magnification.
?NGC3184 ARMS! Decent size too. Circle of arms around the core then backwards “S” of arms clearly seen.
M108 – Flat edge-on disc. 2 bright patches (1 is core and other on RHS). Two large black areas above and below.
?NGC3631 ARMS! Core surrounded by circular disk. Playing with the gain, I see what looks like a double arm up over the top.
NGC3718 (+ 3729) – both galaxies seem to have delicate faint arms. 3729 is tiny. 3718 has a circular arm shape around the core & black patches on both sides.
NGC3917 – faint vertical edge-on.
NGC3953 – bright side-on. 2 black patches on either side.
?M109 ARMS! Central horizontal bar then 2 sweeping arms in a backwards “S” shape.
NGC3893 (+3896) – ARMS! 3893 is bright with a clear arm underneath which seems to exit at 12 o’clock and swing left, down and underneath. Tiny 3896 sits nearby.
NGC3877 – Long flat edge-on with bright core.
?NGC3726 - ARMS! Bright side-on with circular arms close-in. Averted reveals a second layer of arms outside.
?NGC3938 ARMS! A fainter galaxy but faint arms can be seen.
NGC4111 (+4117) – Small edge-on with a bright core. Underneath lies tiny 4117. Just above I see a large faint edge-on (UGC7089) & another (PGC38276) is also faintly seen (separated by a star).
?NGC4449 ARMS! This is an interesting one! It seems to have bright patches either side of the core that appear as a “vertical bar”. There is an arm underneath RHS (it seems to exit the lower bar).
NGC4490 (Cocoon) – Vertical bar with curve of partial arm at top. Smaller NGC4485 to the side appears to have tiny “flick” arms.
?NGC4618 (+4625) – ARMS! 4618 has an arm to RHS. Tiny 4625 nearby surrounded by a tiny circular disk. Both galaxies are quite faint.
M94 ARMS! Very bright core then surrounding halo then blackness & finally a faint circular disk. Unusual.
M63 (Sunflower) – Bright core with a halo then more of a bar style extension. Blackness on both sides.
?M51 (+5195) (Whirlpool) – ARMS!!! Core of M51 shows both arms exciting. The inner arm shows a black dust lane within as it comes down and under the core. Arms make it over the bridge then go beyond and curve back into NGC5195 (which has a bar shape core).
?M101 ARMS!! As soon as it comes into the FOV, multiple arms are seen in clear view curving over the top of the galaxy. I start to sketch the arms returning for more information at the eyepiece multiple times. I make three iterations of adjustments to the sketch as time passes by…

m101.jpg.e67cd7ec1ad099d56f182f0b0f8f2062.jpg
?NGC4278 ARMS! A smallish side-on with time at the eyepiece then arms appear as a spiral. [Looks like this is elliptical so the “arms” must have been the outer fainter halo?]
NGC4314 – Bright core. Horizontal bar and black patches on both sides. No arms seen.
NGC4414 – similar to previous. There is a bright dot in close to the core.
?NGC4559 ARMS! Bright core and surrounding dust disk. Multiple arms coming & going with averted.
NGC4565 (Needle) – GREAT. ?Long sleek edge-on. Bright central bulge. Lovely black dust lane running through. Galaxy gets longer with averted vision.
NGC4494 – Bright core & surrounding disk. Blackness on both sides. No arms.
NGC4631 (Whale) (+4627) – Long thin edge-on. Has bright line detailing on central lower side and a black dart section to RHS. Tiny 4627 sits underneath.
NGC4656 (+4657)(HockeyStick) – Bright core then brighter one side out to a curve (4657). Other side of the core is less bright.
NGC5005 – Bright core. Vertical disk side-on. The disk gives the impression of many tiny curved black lanes running within it.
NGC4244 (Silver Needle) – Long, thin edge-on. Lacks brightness.
NGC4214 – Core with a dust disk. No arms.

 

Galaxies have slipped beyond the shed, what else can I find?
?M3 globular – Fantastic! Looks like an “Olympic speed skater”. It is resolved to the core revealing 100s of stars. There are so many fainter stars just outside the brighter core area too.
NGC5466 globular – Faint and widespread with many fewer stars than the “big boys”. I see the shape of “Orion” within it!
?M13 Globular – Lovely and bright. The propeller is easy to see. The globular is resolved to the core with the central section so very bright and shimmery. Again, there are so many fainter stars around the edges of the bright core section.
?M5 Globular – Lovely and bright. I don’t get to bag this one often from the shed. It has an intriguing star formation that looks like there are “chains of stars” busy orbiting the centre in wide looping orbits.
M104 Sombrero – Another rare sight from the shed. Its so low that the percentage of mirror on the target must be miniscule! But there it is…
Sh2-73 – I notice some Sharpless coming up in the South. I throw in the Chroma 5nm Ha filter and manage to bag the large circular (egg) shaped patch of sh2-73. The edges are easily traceable.

It is now getting lighter to the East and I decide to call it a night!

 

Thoughts of the observer.

  1. It was a great start to bag SN 2019np so quickly. I love chasing supernovas so that got me into a great mood to start off!
  2. The 210 brightest galaxies should be a nice task for the upcoming galaxy season. I am hitting them with the 55mm Plossl as this gives me the fastest focal ratio for my setup and from my testing last April, is the best way to “see the arms” of galaxies, no matter how small they may be.
  3. I counted 13 galaxies showing their arms and I have to be pleased with that. Night Vision does just increase the odds of seeing arms in our favour but its not the silver bullet, the galaxies need to be bright and not too small to increase our chances.
  4. It was an added bonus to get into some Globulars. I love the way that the absence makes the heart grow fonder and I never tire of that “first night” explosion of brightness (especially after looking at faint galaxies.
  5. I even bagged an additional Sharpless for the icing on the cake.
  6. Finally, I was pretty cold when I came in. I am sitting in the study now with my feet on a hot water bottle and wearing a bobble hat on my head. The hot coffee is really hitting the spot too.
  7. Here is my Sky Safari Brightest Galaxy observing list 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") !

    Galaxy High Brightness.skylist

Clear Skies,
Alan

Edited by alanjgreen
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Great detailed report

Forgive my ignorance but what do you mean by "I switched to Night Vision" ?

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8 minutes ago, PaulM said:

Great detailed report

Forgive my ignorance but what do you mean by "I switched to Night Vision" ?

Alan has a special switch in the back of his head. Much like an Action Man toy. It activates a chip imbedded behind his eye..... Or, he has a very expensive bit of kit which screws onto his eyepiece and enhances the light to a point the the human eye can see it. The military have been using them for years. But it has only been in the last few years that the technology has been available (at a price) to stargazers and hunters.

Paul

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1 hour ago, PaulM said:

Great detailed report

Forgive my ignorance but what do you mean by "I switched to Night Vision" ?

Paul,

Thanks & no problem. I am attaching a military night vision monocular to my TeleVue eyepiece, like this...

image.png.77383c9bf96edf59ffc90bea8324dff0.png

Here are a couple of starter pages to get you up to speed..

Alan

Edited by alanjgreen

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45 minutes ago, alanjgreen said:

Paul,

Thanks & no problem. I am attaching a military night vision monocular to my TeleVue eyepiece, like this...

image.png.77383c9bf96edf59ffc90bea8324dff0.png

Here are a couple of starter pages to get you up to speed..

Alan

thanks Alan - interesting reading

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... people been using it for close to 20yrs... just not many. Been a big rise in the past 5yrs, improving tech, better awareness and greater availability.

PEter

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Impressive report @alanjgreen.

Have you tried the Chroma filter at 1x yet?

What’s you’re preferred scope for NV? Dob, Borg or just 1x?

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What a great report.  Your set up is a killer on galaxies - I bet M51 is a real jaw dropper.

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3 hours ago, GavStar said:

Impressive report @alanjgreen.

Have you tried the Chroma filter at 1x yet?

What’s you’re preferred scope for NV? Dob, Borg or just 1x?

I don’t have a 1.25” Chroma filter for 1x use so no I have not. I use a Baader 7nm Ha or Castell UHC for 1x handheld use.

My preferred scope depends on what target type I am after...

1. The 4” frac is not in the same league as the 20” for galaxies and globs. Small sharpless need the 20” too.

2. medium nebula are great in both the 20” and the frac . 

3. Large nebula are great in the fast 4” frac. Targets that are low on the horizon need the 4” to target them.

Alan

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25 minutes ago, alanjgreen said:

I don’t have a 1.25” Chroma filter for 1x use so no I have not. I use a Baader 7nm Ha or Castell UHC for 1x handheld use.

My preferred scope depends on what target type I am after...

1. The 4” frac is not in the same league as the 20” for galaxies and globs. Small sharpless need the 20” too.

2. medium nebula are great in both the 20” and the frac . 

3. Large nebula are great in the fast 4” frac. Targets that are low on the horizon need the 4” to target them.

Alan

Thanks. I’ve not yet got my new dob under decent skies so am looking forward to seeing galaxies and globs with it.

I find 1x amazing for those mega large nebulae and just sweeping the sky. ?

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I mount a 2” on my 1x (made a pushfit adapter). 3x is quite useful for the bigger things, then my 80mm f4 jumbo finder which is very good for the heart/soul/NAM etc.

Peter

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    • 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!
       
      UGC11860/SN2019tua

      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).
       
      UGC11979/SN2019tgm

      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!
      Alan
    • 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.
       
      Introduction.
      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.
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      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.
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      Area of interest 3 – Fox Fur & Rosette region.
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      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.
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      Area of interest 4 – IC434 & Horsehead region.
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      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:
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      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.
       
       
      Epilogue
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      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,
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    • By alanjgreen
      Date: Friday 8th November 2019. 0300-0600am
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      Night Vision: PVS-14 with Photonis 4g INTENS.
      Eyepieces: Plossl 55mm (f2.6 x11).
      Filters: Chroma 5nm Ha filter.
      Moon: 0%
       
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      NGC2244/Rosette.
      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.
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      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.
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      IC2177 Seagull nebula.
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      Sh2-240 Spagetti.
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      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.
       
      Flame/IC434/Horsehead.
      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.
       
      Epilogue.
      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!
      Alan
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