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alanjgreen

28-29 Nov-Borg 107FL & 20" Dob team up to tease out & map more faint nebula (Night Vision)

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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.

heart.jpg.966079ee1ff3c7b36069799b70d3ccb9.jpg

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…

 heart1.jpg.fd8de11b4b910365019031546ab7df43.jpg

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.
fs.jpg.dedf1d957d721af00c54f5692e6aee46.jpg


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...
fs1.jpg.3a6962f09b1066a677b19c6da64d2384.jpg

 

 

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…


fox.jpg.836865225ec9773c6dacb7a64faa5ecf.jpg


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…

 434.jpg.a6c39e6c8a6f044767e7fd8505d9c52e.jpg

I cannot reach this region from my shed so there is no dob confirmation text.

 orion.jpg.5fd012b7b055b67bde9c2d97a8dbbf71.jpg

 

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.

 

 

Epilogue

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,

Alan

Edited by alanjgreen

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Alan, wonderful work. I am enjoying the fact that you are exploring the area of interest, teasing out details, checking against images, comparing scopes - what I call observation astronomy. It really enables one to learn, see more.......I have just been doing the same with my interest in lunar sketching. 

Am I right in thinking that NV is particularly suited to nebulae observing rather than small faint galaxies which I do with my C11/ultrastar set up?

A great read, capturing the excitement of observing such fascinating objects.

Mike

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51 minutes ago, Mike JW said:

Alan, wonderful work. I am enjoying the fact that you are exploring the area of interest, teasing out details, checking against images, comparing scopes - what I call observation astronomy. It really enables one to learn, see more.......I have just been doing the same with my interest in lunar sketching. 

Am I right in thinking that NV is particularly suited to nebulae observing rather than small faint galaxies which I do with my C11/ultrastar set up?

A great read, capturing the excitement of observing such fascinating objects.

Mike

NV is made for infra red part of the spectrum and Ha (hydrogen alpha) is red. Therefore any source in the night sky that is strong in Ha will appear easily with night vision.

The narrowband Ha filter allows me to filter everything else away and then nebula just pop out into view. What I really like is seeing the jet black hydrogen sections which really stand out much better than with no NV.

I did an experiment to observe M33 reported here, where you can see my sketch showing how the areas on new star birth really pop out with the filter.

For general galaxy viewing, no filter or a UHC filter works well (to get rid of the moon light for example). It is the tiny galaxies where all the light from the galaxy is concentrated in a small location that are easiest to see! Hickson groups are easy for instance.

The larger galaxies where the red Ha light is less concentrated are not so good but with the right magnification (and fast focal ratio) arms can be readily observed in many galaxies ( I have seen arms in 68 galaxies so far). Leo and Virgo are superb with NV, tiny galaxy patches everywhere.

With the 20”, I can now observe PGC and UGC galaxies easily.

Supernovas to mag 17 are now achievable too.

Night Vision is not a one trick pony but you need a scope with long focal length, Dob or SCT to get decent magnification from a 55mm plossl.

You need the 55mm plossl to get the effective focal ratio of your system doubled and get more light (exit pupil) into the NV unit.

Alan

Edited by alanjgreen

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    • By alanjgreen
      Date: Friday 17th April 2020. 2320-0410hrs
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      The last three sessions outside have been focused on Supernovae, tonight I wanted to focus on the grade 3 (rated by me “the best of the best” galaxies to view based on my experience with Night Vision on >150 galaxies).
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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).
      Night Vision: PVS-14 with Photonis 4g INTENS.
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      Introduction.
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      Epilogue.
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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.
      In spring 2019 I created a Sky Safari observing list of 214 highest brightness galaxies in the night sky above.
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      Grade 3 galaxies (the best of the best).
      M51 M61 M64 M65 M66 M81 M90 M91 M94 M95 M96 M99 M100 M101 M106 M109 NGC891 NGC2403 NGC2903 NGC3184 NGC3628 NGC3631 NGC3726 NGC3893 NGC3953 NGC4051 NGC4216 NGC4274 NGC4449 NGC4559 NGC4565 NGC4618 NGC4725 NGC5248 NGC5371 NGC5746 NGC5907 NGC6946  
      Grade 2 galaxies (good but the arms are not quite there…)
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      Grade 3 Galaxies.skylist
      Grade 2 Galaxies.skylist
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      Clear Skies,
      Alan
       
    • By alanjgreen
      Date: Friday 20th March 2020. 2300-0305hrs.
      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.
      Unbelievably, I just completed my third straight night outside observing Hickson Galaxy Groups and Supernovae. After months of thin gruel, I am beside myself although a little tired it must be said!
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      Hicksons (3 new to me).
      I spent yesterday making an updated Sky Safari observing list. My aim was to edit the “full Hickson observing list”, remove all those that I have observed to produce a “To Do Hickson” observing list. I will add the steps taken to do this at the bottom of this report in case anyone is wondering how this is done?
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      https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.deepsky-visuell.de/Projekte/HCG34_66.htm&prev=search
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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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