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alanjgreen

Borg107FL explores Orion and finds some faint nebula surprises (Night Vision)

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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%

 

Introduction.

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.

 

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.

280.jpg.0fd2c9111e7d87063ad4bfd131777557.jpg

 

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!)

 

cone.jpg.c09e2bb96a10eef957c8dbbd238613cb.jpg

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).

ic405.jpg.d38e603c12f7c681f71d4ecc7d8863b1.jpg

 

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…

1499.jpg.123d3e180363f53540a5b57bda5b24a4.jpg

 

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?)

2177.jpg.e0a7e71e78408403ffce90965a30df76.jpg

 

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.

 

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!

hh.jpg.7e183bcae9e87041e1059e94aab325eb.jpg

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).

2174.jpg.a061242c0799db2cdd65a48d4feef79d.jpg

 

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.

265.jpg.21b2506d61ea09281a2273039a3de6c8.jpg

 

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

Edited by alanjgreen
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Hi Alan, Fascinating and well written to capture the thrill/adventure/awe of your observations. Inspired and as usual totally envious of what can be achieved using NV. Mike

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    • By alanjgreen
      Date: Wednesday 15th April 2020. 2300-0400hrs
      Scope: 20” f3.6 Lukehurst Dob with Paracorr (fl = 2089mm & f4.1).
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      Introduction.
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    • By alanjgreen
      Equipment Used:
      Scope: 20” f3.6 Lukehurst Dob with Paracorr (fl = 2089mm & f4.1).
      Night Vision: PVS-14 with Photonis 4g INTENS.
      Eyepiece: Plossl 55mm (f2 x38).
       
      Background.
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      Clear Skies,
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    • By alanjgreen
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      Scope: 20” f3.6 Lukehurst Dob with Paracorr (fl = 2089mm & f4.1).
      Night Vision: PVS-14 with Photonis 4g INTENS.
      Eyepieces: Panoptic 27mm (f4 x77), DeLite 18.2mm (f5.8 x115).
       
      Introduction.
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      Supernovae (6 from 7 attempted).
      Okay, onto the main diet for the evening…
      IC738/SN2020vg - SUCCESS. Repeating my observation from the previous night, the galaxy was once again tough to find. Once you have it then the elongated core can be seen within with the 18.2mm eyepiece. Images don't show a split so I am marking this one as a success.  PGC 041887/SN2020cdm – SUCCESS. I located the galaxy successfully in the 35mm, 27mm and 18.2mm eyepieces. It is located to the right of a small, mid-brightness “Xmas tree” star formation. A small patch is easily seen. Then it’s a case of letting the patch drift across the fov many times and watch for activity within using averted vision. With the 18.2mm eyepiece I was able to get 3 of 4 glimpses of a dot within the galaxy patch. NGC5371/SN2020bio – FAIL. I spent a long time on this large side-on galaxy but there was no sign of the Supernova in any eyepiece. I even tried an Ethos 10mm (conventional eyeball viewing) for greater magnification but the SN was not seen. I now doubt my observation from 18 March too. UGC9945/SN2019zhs – SUCCESS. With the 27mm eyepiece I quickly found the galaxy and could see the core within. Using the 18.2mm eyepiece I got occasional glimpses of two dots within the galaxy disk. PGC056547/SN2020dxa – SUCCESS. This is an easy target and it was nice after the work I had to put in on some of the previous ones! With the 18.2mm two dots within a dust patch are easily seen. UGC10661/SN2020awa – SUCCESS. The galaxy sits within a small triangle of stars (one corner of the triangle has 2 stars). With the 18.2mm eyepiece I could make out a dot within. PGC062161/SN2020duu – SUCCESS. This is another fairly easy one. It took a bit of time to find the edge-on galaxy. But once you have it there is a clear dot on the leading edge as it drifts across the fov.  
      Conclusions.
      After having two nights of not much sleep, I needed to pace myself last night. I delayed going out until 2300hrs so as to be able to stay out later without getting tired too soon. I am pleased to say that it was also warmer last night than the previous two nights (when I had to wipe of ice from the scope before packing away for the night).
      Perseverance is key with supernovae, you need to try them a few times to get the “lay of the land”. It’s amazing how you become familiar with the star patterns in the fov of the supernova’s parent galaxy. It’s like visiting an old friend by the third night. But it takes patience and concentration to get the faintest targets to pop into view and I was pretty tired by the time I packed up just after 3am.
       
      Clear Skies,
      Alan
       
      How to edit a Sky Safari observing list using Ipad & PC.
      Search for “Hickson” in Sky Safari Scroll to bottom of list and choose “create observing list” Use search to open the new observing list and scroll down to the bottom and choose “email observing list” On your PC, save the email attachment to desktop and add “.txt” to the end of the filename Edit the file with Notepad. Remove unwanted objects and save the file Remove “.txt” from the filename and email the file back to your Ipad On the Ipad, choose the email attachment and then choose “Sky Safari” when it asks what app you want to open the attachment with...
    • By alanjgreen
      Date: Sunday 1st March 2020. (2240-0220am)
      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), Panoptic 27mm (f4 x77), DeLite 18.2mm (f5.8 x115).
      Filters: Baader 610nm Red Filter
      Moon: 39%
       
      Introduction.
      Wow, it’s already March and I’ve just completed my first real session of any note in 2020! The weather in the UK has been pants since Christmas. I have managed a couple of two hour dashes between the clouds but that is not enough time to really get into a session and do any real observing on any more than a few objects so I have mainly been observing the more famous and brightest night sky objects.
       
      Galaxy season is here!
      Yay, my favourite observing season is here. With all this down time, I at least had an observing plan to follow when the opportunity finally came. I had created observing lists in Sky Safari of the Hickson and ARP catalogs.
       
      Making a start on the Hickson catalog with Night Vision.
      There was a 39% moon in the West so I had to deploy a Baader 610nm Red filter to the front of my Paracorr2 to remove the unwanted moonlight from my view.
      On the first object, I tested out all the eyepieces listed above to see which produced the “best” view. There is a trade-off with night vision devices of image brightness and image magnification and I wanted to identify the best eyepiece option up-front as I intended to attach my eyepiece heater tape and then stick with the one eyepiece for the session.
      I settled on the Panoptic 35mm as my chosen eyepiece as it was giving decent image brightness resulting in more galaxy halo and the magnification (x60) was enough to provide something to see from these tiny objects.
       
      Hickson 37 – I could see three galaxies in a row close to two field stars. One galaxy was a longer edge-on and one had a bright core with faint halo. I found the fourth group member nearby just the other side of a field star although this one was a challenge to hold in vision for long. The final galaxy was glimpses occasionally with a real effort and concentration needed.
      Hickson 44 – Two small bright galaxies were immediately obvious, I soon located a third slightly separated galaxy of mid-brightness out in front. The final galaxy was the faintest of the four and was sited at 90 degrees to the side. All four galaxies were easily seen in direct vision.
      Hickson 46 – This group was hard to locate initially then I spotted two cores appearing close together in the field of view. After letting my eye settle in the other two galaxies appeared one on either side of the first two.
      Hickson 47 – Two cores were immediately obvious in the fov then one more emerged lower (near a field star). I did get glimpses of the fourth member which was in close to the third galaxy staggered to one side.
      Hickson 38 – Another group that was tough to find. Found just above left of two bright stars. Time reveals three galaxies in a triangle formation. The lower galaxy was the easiest with a nice halo. The upper two were smaller and fainter.
      Hickson 36 – The toughest so far! I found a possible very faint patch just below 6 stars. It looked like two groups of three galaxies but looking at images this morning then this looks incorrect so this goes down as a fail.
      Hickson 35 – Found inside a triangle of field stars. Three galaxies easily seen in a flat triangle formation. There was a possible fourth galaxy glimpsed to the left which was fainter.
      Hickson 41 – Two galaxies easily seen (one has a core and halo). The third was tough and appeared just under the fainter of the first two. No sign of the fourth member.
      Hickson 60 – A small patch is easily seen in the fov. One core dot is seen within the patch off–centre.
      Hickson 56 – This tiny group is located next to two much larger and brighter galaxies (NGC 3718, 3729) that overpower your vision as you reach the eyepiece. Once I was settled on my actual target then I saw two tiny bright galaxies first. Then the third was seen slightly separated to the RHS. Then one appeared LHS fainter giving a 3+1 appearance to the group.
      Hickson 55 – The small patch was quickly located in the fov. I could see two dot cores appearing on and off within the patch but not much more.
      Hickson 49 – not found.
      Hickson 61 (Box Galaxies) – A nice sight. Three bright galaxies make up three corners of the “box”. A fainter larger galaxy sits at the other corner. The two brightest galaxies were at the top side. The bright lower galaxy has a halo.
      Hickson 51 – Five galaxies are easily seen in the fov, appearing as 3+2. The galaxies appeared well spaced but were small.
      Hickson 57 (Copeland Septet) – A very nice galaxy group! I could see 7 galaxies appearing as 3+3+1 formation. All easily seen.
      Hickson 53 – I saw three galaxies in the fov in a 1+2 formation. The fourth member (off to the right) was not seen.
      Hickson 52 – Two galaxies were easily seen. Another galaxy is glimpsed intermittently near to the second galaxy with time at the eyepiece.
      Hickson 59 – 3 of 5 galaxies seen. Two are bright and easily seen. The third appeared at a right angle to the first two with the gain turned up.
      Hickson 58 – Four galaxies are easily seen in a 2+2 formation. The fifth needed further exploration but clouds starting passing and my session was cut off in its prime!
       
      Epilogue
      I make that 18 Hicksons attempted last night which seems like a good start and I am pleased with that.
      Most of the observations were taken with the Moon up so it will be interesting to try them again on a new moon to see if more can be seen…
      It was great to be back outside after nearly two months of slim pickings!
       
      Clear Skies,
      Alan
       
       
      Some Technical Background (Voluntary reading!).
      This section is added for anyone wondering why I was only using x60 magnification with my setup and maybe “more would be seen with greater magnification?”.
      While that would be true with traditional observing, night vision is best used with eyepieces with large exit pupils as the more light you get into the device then the more light it has to work with. Longer focal length eyepieces (greater than 27mm) also have a side-effect of increasing the effective focal ratio of your telescope system (as far as the attached night vision device is concerned) and as the NVD works at f1.2 then the closer we can get to that speed the better the results will be.
      So the facts are that the 55mm Plossl with always show the brightest view possible with the most galaxy details possible seen within that view.
      But when tiny objects are tightly packed then you may need more magnification to separate them (this is usually true for supernovae hunting for example).
      But as you increase magnification and decrease the exit pupil/effective focal ratio of the system then galaxy detail will be lost from the view. I only ever view galaxies where I hope to see the spiral arms with the 55mm Plossl as I want maximum brightness and fastest effective focal ratio.
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