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scarp15

IC59 and IC63 Ghost of Cassiopeia

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The bright erratic subgaint variable star Gamma Cassiopeia, is encircled by gaseous material that is projected by the stars rapid rotation. IC59 and IC63 are reflection nebulae, although IC63 is considered to be an emission reflection nebula. They are each of very low surface brightness and of a notable challenge for observers. IC63 the closer of the two nebula to the star, is considered to be the brighter component. Cassiopeia is very favourably positioned presently in an autumn evening sky and on Saturday night I was able to get to a dark sky location and have a go at these.

The sky was mostly clear, there was a very sharp cold wind, four winter layers felt as though they were not near enough. Throughout the session, I returned to Gamma Cas trying various eyepieces, methods. Not untypical of a very faint reflection nebula, much was also washed out by the brightness of this star (a radius 14 times that of our Sun and 55, 000 times more luminous). I was using my 14" F4.6 dobsonian and to begin used a 21mm Ethos x76. I then switched to a TV20mm Plossl to narrow the field and thus reduce the glare, I then felt that I was gaining something of IC63, averted vision assisted. When I say something it was a comet shaped feature that was very dim, vaguely discernable after repeatedly going over the same area. I felt that I could make out an arc shape, but averted imagination might be playing games. At least this evening with the wind chill there was no dew building up and I was not tired, but it proved to be a very hard observation. I cannot say that I had any success with IC59 a pure reflection nebula. A UHC might have been useful to for IC63 but I did not use a filter. Other eyepieces used were a 25mm Plossl and 10mm Delos with no luck, I also tried with and without a Paracorr for a little more contrast, so the little 20mm Plossl scored again, just as it had with the Horse Head Nebula. 

After this and with an OIII in place, the Pacman was positively bright and shapley, over towards Cygnus and the Veil bright and delicate. Encountering the North America and Pelican with ease, I drifted along for 68 cygni and I am certain I encountered some of the nebulosity around sh2-119, a large diffuse nebula. Much more followed before the cold and a period of cloud (which as per usual had swept away by the time I had loaded the car) determined that I pack up.

Don't expect much, however It would be interesting to hear if anyone else has a go at the Ghost of Cassiopeia, on a dark transparent night.

Here is an image borrowed from the internet by Ken Crawford. Second download is a sketch borrowed from Cloudy Nights using a 17" dob, providing some indication to a visual reference although at best will be vague in comparison.

    

 

IC-59-and-IC-63-in-Cassiopeia-by-Ken-Crawford.jpg

 

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/218257-ghost-nebulae-around-gamma-cas/#entry2792504

ghost nebulae around gamma CAS - Sketching - Cloudy Nights.html

Edited by scarp15
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Thanks Alan, the shot and sketch are not mine they have been included as a reference and the image does not of course represent a visual encounter. The sketch to is more pronounced than at least my actual observation.

Conditions last night in the north east were very good and the milky way prominent cutting through Cassiopeia. Due to some strong gusts and uncertainty of cloud conditions further west, I kept to the east (somewhat N/W of Alnwick) offering a little protection from the wind. SQM readings here were averaging only 21.11 so not the darkest circumstance. I am certain that at a darker location registering 21.4 this target would be easier to ascertain and perhaps should include conviction for IC59.

One interesting annoyance from last night, I forget my dim red light torches. I memorise as much as I can before hand, however I still need to refer to charts occasionally. In order to see I used the red light glare on my phone based on Stellarium app, this was OK applied with my jumbo magnifier which incidentally is great for scanning with both eyes. Because I had to memorise more than I would had liked, it would have assisted with prolonged periods with no light interference concerning dark adaptation, as even a dim red light can have an impact. Mine you pouring a cup of coffee that is resting on your knee in the dark with no light assistance even with dark adaption, needs as I leant (at least no one around to hear me screech) some what extra care.

Edited by scarp15

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Sounds like you picked some challenges! I was going to try for pacman last night, but ended up looking around the interior of Cepheus, a quick visit to the veil and finally viewing M1 and M42 very late. My folly was trying for the horse head with an 8" reflector and UHC (ever the optimist, ha) about 2 or 3am this morning. I dark adapted for an hour with an eyepatch and used the large hood on my parka to block any stray light. I spent 30-40 minutes swapping eyes looking right where it should be with a 9mm Delite/Astronomik UHC to keep Alnitak out of the fov. I had an extremely faint bit of brightness next to the dark lane but no apparent shapes. I could feel I was on the cusp. The big dob ought to nail it with Hb filter from a darker spot. It was so transparent last night, clearest here I can remember for a long time. This was at home btw, Bortle 5, wish I'd taken the big dob out of town. Keep chasing the views! I'd like to try a 14" dob sometime, I think it would be the perfect mix of aperture and relative portability. I saw a picture of someone standing next to a 16", I'd just keep the Stargate! Happy viewing!

Edited by Ships and Stars
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It is looking really good here to again for tonight, but gusty. When as Orion gains in prominence, you do attain the horse head with using the Stargate, it will become familiar to you and enable you to attempt with an 8" reflector. 

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