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scarp15

Barnard's Loop From Battle Hill

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Following a cold bright day I headed into Northumberland, which initially had become fairly cloudy. After sipping coffee in the car for a few minutes, was relieved to see the Milky Way and the winter constellations, brightly peppering the sky. I set up my 14" F4.6 dob alongside my Tele Vue 85 refractor.    

Three subjects in particular were objectively revealing tonight; The Pleiades, the California Nebula and Barnard's Loop. I would be using a 41mm Panoptic, that equipped with the a paracorr converting the dob to F5.3 and a super large 7.73 exit pupil. This would experimentally change the 'attitude' of both scopes particularly the dob, observing faint and diffuse objects.

The Merope nebula was vast and the glow of nebulosity marked each prominent star. As in Gerry's report, there were detectable dark lanes and the Pleiades bubble abounded, with a glow of dust clouds around the cluster. Onto the California and this object lit up, almost comparable to a chunky version of the Veil, there was much billowing structure in the dimness. I have become accustomed to observing this object each season, the high altitude, combining the pan 41, paracorr and lumicon H beta filter, the image was the most revealing and defined I had encountered.   

After this at mid power I observed M1, to remind myself of the image scale and then moved down to the Flame, the dark lane particularly pronounced, I prepared to move on towards B33. Aligning that small faint double star behind the neck, sure enough the Horse Head could be discerned.

In anticipation I continued to work with the Pan 41 and aligned onto M78. A slight movement of the scope and there it was, there was a quite definable edge line. marking the profile of Barnard's Loop. I have never seen this before, in the past I had entered into Barnard's Loop as a very dim grey curtain banishing the background stars, but here was an actually perceptual edge. I was able to work across and then aligning north a little and then south. Later using the TV 85, with the 41 Pan and H beta filter, I was able to drift along the curvature certainly south in alignment with Alnitak.   

The Pan was also, not so unsurprisingly engaging on Andromeda, yet becoming even more expansive. Later unfortunately while examining the Hour Glass Nebula, the focuser became very slack and I did not have the tools to hand, so retiring the dob, packed it away. However it meant that I could continue with just the TV 85, re-engaging with much besides such as the Eskimo Nebula, the Orion Nebula, Rosette Nebula and Barnard's Loop, the California and the Pleaides which in this refractor, begins to reveal the Merope nebula at mid power and not at low power. A tour of open clusters concluding with M41 the Little Beehive completed the night.

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Excellent stuff Iain! I am lacking widefield EPs at the moment, tried for California last night but might have been looking right through it. Good tip on the coma corrector reducing exit pupil by the way. I am intrigued by Barnard's Loop now, should have given that and the Witch Head more attention when wandering around Alnitak Estates, lol

Hoping we get more of these nights before long, there is so much I want to see up there.

 

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Brilliant report, Iain. So pleased to hear that the Panoptic 41mm is repaying the investment with both the dob and frac!

Edited by Littleguy80
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Excellent observing on some challenging targets Iain, I hope you get more chances to observe. The big Pan is an asset for sure.

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