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jetstream

NGC 2403, Leo Quartet and the Box

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Just sitting here with a VG cup of coffee this morning, watching a timber wolf run across the ice about 400 yards way- the deer are getting decimated out there, I viewed 2 more kill remains on the ice yesterday. Oddly enough this pack is not solely nocturnal.

Anyway, on to last night.

There is a renewed interest in NGC 2403 with the 15" performing remarkably well on it, so well in fact I wheeled the 24" behemoth out last night to view it.  The 15" revealed delicate arms, some popping in and out, while the 24" revealed a mass of galactic glow with many faint and delicate spiral arms in direct vision. Amazingly there seemed to be "bright" knots" in the spiral arms- HII regions?

The added features in the 24" really brought NGC 2403 alive but the 15" also gave an excellent, smaller presentation albeit without some features. This one is well worth getting to know with your dob.

Observing galaxies is a fun challenge but observing unusual ones or formations are very rewarding to me. A couple of Hicksons provided satisfaction last night- HCG 44 -the Leo Quartet- and also HCG 61 - the "Box". These similar groups are very fine objects to observe.

So, I'm wondering if others have chosen to observe NGC 2403 ? what details can you see?

Btw, M3 was stunning last night, getting very close to rivaling M13 for presentation. The 10mm Delos/PCII was king here. All observing done with the 24"/PCII and 2 eyepieces, the superlative 20mm Lunt HDC and the top tier 10mm Delos.

 

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Sounds like another interesting galaxy that's missed my radar. I saw a Hubble photo of it and checked Stellarium eyepiece view. Looks fairly large!

Weather being very uncooperative here, plus we've entered a lockdown (of sorts), so I may only have a few hours around 1am in mid-April for galaxies again. Hopefully not, but...

PS the wolves must be incredible to see. We are overrun with deer here, but highly, highly doubt they would reintroduce wolves to Scotland. A hot topic and a lot of unhappy sheep (and shepherds)!

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Interesting observation description Gerry of that Galaxy between those two dobs. This would certainly whet my appetite, if it were possible, now that we are back to a dark sky period. Encountering wolfs in your environment will be familiar of course, would be a special experience, having encountering a pack of wolves over a two, three day period in Norway. Just as Robert has said, there are campaigns to reintroduce them to Northern Britain, it is necessary as the deer populations are out of control with no natural predator. A hot topic as said and hill farmers; just as with the objections to the reintroduction of Lynx, consensus will for now at least favour the opinions of the farmers unfortunately. 

Some uncertainty with the weather, but there is certainty also as Robert has said, the UK is entering into a lockdown period, as the following two weeks will become very critical for the health service and their workers. The backyard will be a respite but local light pollution restrict what is possible. I do as you refer to look forward to M3 though.

Meantime Gerry, please keep the reports coming.

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6 hours ago, scarp15 said:

I do as you refer to look forward to M3 though.

Sometimes I go on cluster observing "sprees", they are always there and always good. I actually spent a fair bit of time on it this session, coming back to it as the transparency went south. Another thing I get into are double stars espc color doubles- we are eagerly waiting reports from you Iain!

ps the owls were really hooting the other night lol!

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9 hours ago, Ships and Stars said:

PS the wolves must be incredible to see.

Observing them is a hobby of mine in the winter. This bay has a large wolf and deer population- right now the deer are struggling on the snow crust and today sloppy snow. These timber wolves have paws about the size of the palm of my hand letting them run on top of the crust. There is a kill at the end of the bay where the whole pack must have been involved, the snow was tramped about 50 meters in diameter.

I took a picture of another kill last week.

They seem to use roughly the same places to chase their prey out every winter. Now I kinda want to know why. Previously I have watched (from a distance) a pair run about 10 miles down the ice effortlessly, using their odd "lope", not a run or trot but a strange lope. Man can these animals cover ground.

Back to NGC 2403- for sure give this one many tries, it will open up for you at your dark sites. These big dobs show detail in the brighter galaxies- I even had some structure in one of Markarians Chain galaxies last night. And then there was the Needle and the Hamburger and... I observed hundreds of galaxies last night Robert.

Another hobby- listening and observing owls lol! they were calling back and forth last night as I observed the cosmos, it doesn't get much better than that IMHO.

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Excellent report as always Gerry. I must go back to NGC 2403 again. It is kind of special with so much structure.

I was out observing again last night. The sky was better than Monday night.

I started with the comet 2017 T2 above and left of Cassiopeia in the west. A bright fuzzy ball. No tail visible but a pleasure to see.

For a change to save paper I am now using charts saved to my Kindle to find galaxies. It is good as I can use it dark to save any loss of dark adaptation.

The highlight of the night for me was however noting Hercules was rising an looking at M13. It was so sharp tonight in the new 10BCO. I love galaxies but there is something majestic about a globular cluster drifting across the eyepiece taking your breath away.

No wolves near me to keep me company just the distant hum of cars on the M5 motorway indicating an east wind.

Regards

Mark

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6 hours ago, jetstream said:

I have watched (from a distance) a pair run about 10 miles down the ice effortlessly, using their odd "lope", not a run or trot but a strange lope. Man can these animals cover ground.

Back to NGC 2403- for sure give this one many tries, it will open up for you at your dark sites. These big dobs show detail in the brighter galaxies- I even had some structure in one of Markarians Chain galaxies last night. And then there was the Needle and the Hamburger and... I observed hundreds of galaxies last night Robert.

Another hobby- listening and observing owls lol! they were calling back and forth last night as I observed the cosmos, it doesn't get much better than that IMHO.

Wolf behaviour really seems to be something unique in the animal kingdom I think, based on the fairly limited amount I've read, but I did take an interest in it a while back and did a little reading on the topic. We didn't have any wolves where I grew up, some malnourished coyotes were the closest thing, but black bear have apparently returned. Still a far cry from your area!

Really hoping to get out again with the 20" before we lose total darkness, but not holding my breath!

We had the little Tawny Owls near a place I used to live, I could hear them every night but never could see them, the closest one was resident high up in a giant oak tree. I've seen a few barn owls swoop across the road late at night while driving.

There are two reindeer herds in the Cairngorms which were introduced by a Finnish herder in the 1950s I think. One is wild and roams around the Cairngorm plateau I think, and the other is semi-domesticated and lives down near the visitors centre. Been wanting to take my daughter, but she'll still in her 'car-sick' phase, joy oh joy, and would tire fairly quickly on a long walk. Next year perhaps!

No need to reply to all this! My coffee just kicked in, haha.

Cheers!

 

 

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I have to say I'm enjoying this thread as much for the observations on nature (wolves loping, owls, easterly wind bringing motorway noises) as the skies.  Thank you!

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2 hours ago, vineyard said:

I have to say I'm enjoying this thread as much for the observations on nature (wolves loping, owls, easterly wind bringing motorway noises) as the skies.  Thank you!

Glad you like nature, me too. For me astronomy is being part of nature at night- pitch black with the sound of animals at times. Mind you there has been times I ran for my "walking stick" lol!  We had bear issues last year with one hanging around for a month. You really get in tune with things- one out of place twig "snap" and all the attention goes there!

Mind you one of those snaps resulted in a face to face with the bear for a bit :icon_bounce:

One of the coolest thing I saw recently was a large owl fly across the road but with the wings pulled back? unless I didn't see the wings but I'm positive it kind of darted through the air to a tree about 30 ft away. Still puzzled with this one.

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2 hours ago, jetstream said:

Glad you like nature, me too. For me astronomy is being part of nature at night- pitch black with the sound of animals at times. Mind you there has been times I ran for my "walking stick" lol!  We had bear issues last year with one hanging around for a month. You really get in tune with things- one out of place twig "snap" and all the attention goes there!

Mind you one of those snaps resulted in a face to face with the bear for a bit :icon_bounce:

One of the coolest thing I saw recently was a large owl fly across the road but with the wings pulled back? unless I didn't see the wings but I'm positive it kind of darted through the air to a tree about 30 ft away. Still puzzled with this one.

Wow!  If ever there was a legitimate reason to have night-vision monoculars :) Stay safe & looking fwd to reading more sightings of all kinds.

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5 minutes ago, vineyard said:

Wow!  If ever there was a legitimate reason to have night-vision monoculars :) Stay safe & looking fwd to reading more sightings of all kinds.

The skies here are dark 21.6 avg but oddly enough I can see very well in it after dark adaptation.I don't use torches or anything to swap eyepieces and such as I can see everything nicely.One flick of my headlamp and the sky turns inky black until re adapting. Jupiter and bright stars wreck my adaptation after viewing through the scopes as does M42. The faster f ratios really knock the eyes about.

However I can't see much in the balsams or spruce- they really absorb light- in the open on my ridge my night sight is vg, espc with snow. I saw the bear as a black shape right near me but it wandered off as it was looking for berries I think. They can be curious.

Thankfully wolves don't like humans...

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Wonderful thread and report.

I picked NGC2403 as my first galaxy to trial my new imaging rig this year and it was a wonderful target. I then tried observing in my 14" and it was little more than a smudge. Oh for some dark skies!

I don't get to watch Timber Wolves, but I can see my kids chasing each other round the back garden with plastic light sabres. Does that count?

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Geez Gerry - you are a brave man out on your own at night with wolves around!! 😲😲

Great report ;)

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On 08/05/2020 at 03:53, niallk said:

Geez Gerry - you are a brave man out on your own at night with wolves around!! 😲😲

Great report ;)

Thanks Niall!

The bears have woke up and are roaming around all hungry now- they are more of a concern to me than the wolves. There was a real tragedy that happened about 8 miles from my house last year and highlights the nature of these animals. We had one break into my house last year- ripped the window screen and lifted the window. It was one of the young ones described and it would circle the house after attempts to scare it. It was wrecking the neighbours stuff too.

Many want people to believe these animals are not dangerous but you need to know which ones are and the behaviour they exhibit if they are problem ones...most big black bears are not a problem.

We had one around again last week...

https://www.startribune.com/minnesota-woman-identified-after-she-was-killed-by-bear-on-rainy-lake/559381372/

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1 hour ago, jetstream said:

Thanks Niall!

The bears have woke up and are roaming around all hungry now- they are more of a concern to me than the wolves. There was a real tragedy that happened about 8 miles from my house last year and highlights the nature of these animals. We had one break into my house last year- ripped the window screen and lifted the window. It was one of the young ones described and it would circle the house after attempts to scare it. It was wrecking the neighbours stuff too.

Many want people to believe these animals are not dangerous but you need to know which ones are and the behaviour they exhibit if they are problem ones...most big black bears are not a problem.

We had one around again last week...

https://www.startribune.com/minnesota-woman-identified-after-she-was-killed-by-bear-on-rainy-lake/559381372/

😲😲😲 be careful out there!!

...and there's me worried about encountering a stray dog in the dark! We don't even have poisonous spiders or snakes here in Ireland ;)

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Yes, I have bear spray- works if their not mad- doesn't work on grizzlys, thankfully none of those here. We won't talk about what that bear was doing as it was standing over the woman... but there is a reason they wanted to find the others.

Bears can pattern themselves on food by observing other bears ^^.. and they have food location memories. They can remember single trees or houses or anything else and can be passed down by generation, hence repeated visits in certain locations. Here its my dads berry tree- I can't bring myself to cut it down.

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2 hours ago, jetstream said:

Yes, I have bear spray- works if their not mad- doesn't work on grizzlys,....

 

I wonder how they find that out ????

I just have this picture of some guys in lab coats with clipboards saying to a nervous colleague "Ok, now go in there and annoy the bear while we make notes. After that you can try it on the grizzly" :shocked:

image.jpeg.9cf3c670eb9b880fc6ce13110d0e64c2.jpeg

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7 minutes ago, John said:

I wonder how they find that out ????

Well it does work sometimes but there are many many cases where it doesn't...there is zero chance I'd be the tester on a grizzly. I truly hope I don't ever have to try mine out either!

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3 minutes ago, jetstream said:

Well it does work sometimes but there are many many cases where it doesn't...there is zero chance I'd be the tester on a grizzly. I truly hope I don't ever have to try mine out either!

Sometimes I'm glad that I observe from my garden in the UK even if my skies are not all that dark.

A hedgehog or a bat are my biggest wildlife risks !

 

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13 minutes ago, John said:

Sometimes I'm glad that I observe from my garden in the UK even if my skies are not all that dark.

A hedgehog or a bat are my biggest wildlife risks !

 

I can say this John- any twig snap, crack or unusual sound has my attention. Just before ice out a couple weeks ago I woke up to the sound of wolves screaming...sounded right under my window. Turns out they chased the deer through here and killed it 500 yds away. I found the remains the next day on the sled. Wolves howl but they also scream...its horrific.

One timber wolf crossed my path on the road walking last fall thankfully he was hot on a track and only gave me a brief look-at 25yds or so. They are huge.

I do love it here, my home it is.

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Biggest concern in terms of the natural world for the UK are ticks. The answer is to reintroduce the wolf to cull the very oversized deer populations that are a carrier of ticks. Hill farmers aren't at all keen and successfully led to the blocked reintroduction of Lynx - let alone Wolf into Kielder. Sorry way off topic; dwindling dark sky a good rousing topic. 

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4 hours ago, scarp15 said:

Biggest concern in terms of the natural world for the UK are ticks. The answer is to reintroduce the wolf to cull the very oversized deer populations that are a carrier of ticks. Hill farmers aren't at all keen and successfully led to the blocked reintroduction of Lynx - let alone Wolf into Kielder. Sorry way off topic; dwindling dark sky a good rousing topic. 

Living around animals means interactions with them, we don't mind it here and in fact like it. For the most part the predators have their traditional prey and its only the odd ones that become a problem. About 50 miles away in farmland very few cattle are taken by wolves, again their main prey is deer (and moose by me). We have Lynx as well- they make wide loops and focus on where large groups of animals (unhealthy) have exploded and they bring things back under control. We had a wild rabbit problem 4 years ago, they were everywhere- until a Lynx set up shop for a couple of weeks.

One of my very favorite animals is the Owl- they are here now and at night I'll sit on the deck listening to them hoot back and forth as I watch the stars. Hopefully some wildlife can be introduced over there Iain, the farmers could make it work and protect their livestock.

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