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Could anyone confirm if the misty glow in the sketch below is Comet Atlas. This observation was made last night 25/3/2020, using a 100mm refractor at 21X & 30X, and with a prism diagonal, so image reversed. I swept the sky repeatedly where the comet was reported to be, on occasion sweeping across M81 & 82 a number of times in my search. Eventually my eye caught sight of this misty patch situated between two stars. I checked my deep sky charts and there appears to be very little within the range of my scope in the area, other than the comet. I was unable to detect any hint of a nucleus or tail, only what looked to be a nebulous coma. Also, there was no hint of granulation or form as there may be with a galaxy or star cluster. So, is this potentially Comet Atlas, or have I swept up a DSO? Thank's in advance for any light you may shed on this.

392895805_2020-03-2607_02_40.thumb.jpg.ef6b05eb7b89ea48045e666b627263db.jpg

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, mikeDnight said:

Could anyone confirm if the misty glow in the sketch below is Comet Atlas. This observation was made last night 25/3/2020, using a 100mm refractor at 21X & 30X, and with a prism diagonal, so image reversed. I swept the sky repeatedly where the comet was reported to be, on occasion sweeping across M81 & 82 a number of times in my search. Eventually my eye caught sight of this misty patch situated between two stars. I checked my deep sky charts and there appears to be very little within the range of my scope in the area, other than the comet. I was unable to detect any hint of a nucleus or tail, only what looked to be a nebulous coma. Also, there was no hint of granulation or form as there may be with a galaxy or star cluster. So, is this potentially Comet Atlas, or have I swept up a DSO? Thank's in advance for any light you may shed on this.

392895805_2020-03-2607_02_40.thumb.jpg.ef6b05eb7b89ea48045e666b627263db.jpg

Hello Mike

i saw the comet last night but I was ‘cheating’ using Sky Safari linked to the mount. I can’t make your sketch fit the Sky Safari picture. There was a distinct L shaped group of stars close by which Pete Presland also noted and these are not in your sketch. So ‘unproven’ I think! 

Kerry

Edited by kerrylewis
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Thanks Kerry,

I tried to get the field stars as precise as I could in the dark, and the object I saw was sandwiched between two stars of roughly equal magnitude which made it quite memorable. So it's looking like I've unwittingly picked up a galaxy or something that I haven't seen before. I checked on my star charts but there was nothing in the region but the occasional tiny galaxy, which I assumed would be beyond the grasp of my scope. I can't remember ever seeing a galaxy situated between two stars like that. Perhapse its a new comet! Comet SGL!! That would be nice!!! :laugh2:

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Dunno if this helps, two images an hour apart last night.

Dave

01.10 26/3/20

C2019-y4-26-03-20-01_10.png.a5c4655e13a785549566f7c311548a27.png

 

02.06 26/03/20

C2019-Y4-26-03-20-02_06.png.2fbd5d7f1cda948c327e6bdf4578bc32.png

 

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Many thanks for that Dave.  I picked it up again last night in my 120ED.  Seeing was very poor and transparency also - only m4 naked eye stars visible at times.  In the conditions is just looked like a slightly nebulous star of 8th or 9th mag.  The tail and coma surrounding it in your pic was invisible.  I wouldn't have found it except for my Sky Safari 6 Pro.  Even then, it took me over an hour to star-hop to it!  Well worth it though.

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10 hours ago, Davey-T said:

Dunno if this helps, two images an hour apart last night.

Dave

01.10 26/3/20

C2019-y4-26-03-20-01_10.png.a5c4655e13a785549566f7c311548a27.png

 

02.06 26/03/20

C2019-Y4-26-03-20-02_06.png.2fbd5d7f1cda948c327e6bdf4578bc32.png

 

Thanks for the images Dave. I should have left my drive running for an hour to see if i could detect any change in position. Hopefully someone might have a wider field view then I could trace its path backwards by 4 to 5 hours. The strange thing is that there's nothing in that area in my scopes range. 

The stare positions were placed in the dark, so not entirely accurate.

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6 minutes ago, mikeDnight said:

Hopefully someone might have a wider field view then I could trace its path backwards by 4 to 5 hours.

My sky was pretty rubbish last night with lots of passing high cloud and contrails, I did try earlier but gave up, not much better tonight no cloud as such but very murky up there, two nights ago it was pretty good but still with clouds.

Just started another run on it.

Dasve

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I found it last night with the 12" during a quick session before an early start - it does look oblong shaped with no coma. 

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11 hours ago, Davey-T said:

 

My sky was pretty rubbish last night with lots of passing high cloud and contrails, I did try earlier but gave up, not much better tonight no cloud as such but very murky up there, two nights ago it was pretty good but still with clouds.

Just started another run on it.

Dasve

I find the images interesting because they show what appear to be a similar grouping of stars. The three bright stars to the top right in your images seem to perhapse be the three stars to the top right in my sketch. My star placing isn't totally accurate as I was in almost complete darkness and placed the stars as much by feel as by vision. I didn't feel I could turn a red light on as I'd have lost the dark adaption. The field of view for the sketch represents 1.7° with a magnification of 30X. Your image does show the comet speeding across the field and being able to backtrack its path across the star field would be interesting. After I looked out from under my blackout hood, the sky had gone milky with thin cloud, so it wasn't the best night to use a 4" to hunt a comet.

 

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I was going to ask the same thing Mike!

Last night I used a 20" dob under 20.30SQM to chase it, thought it would be an open and shut case. I used SkyLive to find its location and punched in the number of the nearest SAO star into synscan and then started trawling back and forth with a 20mm 100deg EP at 100x. There were two sets of triple stars and if you followed one set down, it was supposed to lead straight to the comet at that exact time.

Eventually, I came across a faint fuzzy which by all appearances, resembled a galaxy with a bright core and a faint outer shell, but couldn't see a tail. I checked Stellarium again and I wasn't fully convinced of course, and there were no galaxies where I was looking but there were a few really faint PGCs in the general area and NGC 2787 not terribly far away. 

I doubt very much I would have seen this in my smaller 12" dob which is still quite large aperture really, so I am really dubious now I have actually seen the comet, think it might have been a PGC, but whatever it was, it wasn't too obvious unless I somehow mistook it for a star and slewed right past. I was in a bit of a rush because cloud was approaching. 

I'll try again tonight to confirm if weather cooperates!

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On 27/03/2020 at 09:58, mikeDnight said:

Your image does show the comet speeding across the field and being able to backtrack its path across the star field would be interesting.

You can run Stellarium backwards to try and match it up although I find the stars in Stellarium are not very representative of camera images brightness wise.

Dave

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1 hour ago, Ships and Stars said:

I was going to ask the same thing Mike!

Last night I used a 20" dob under 20.30SQM to chase it, thought it would be an open and shut case. I used SkyLive to find its location and punched in the number of the nearest SAO star into synscan and then started trawling back and forth with a 20mm 100deg EP at 100x. There were two sets of triple stars and if you followed one set down, it was supposed to lead straight to the comet at that exact time.

Eventually, I came across a faint fuzzy which by all appearances, resembled a galaxy with a bright core and a faint outer shell, but couldn't see a tail. I checked Stellarium again and I wasn't fully convinced of course, and there were no galaxies where I was looking but there were a few really faint PGCs in the general area and NGC 2787 not terribly far away. 

I doubt very much I would have seen this in my smaller 12" dob which is still quite large aperture really, so I am really dubious now I have actually seen the comet, think it might have been a PGC, but whatever it was, it wasn't too obvious unless I somehow mistook it for a star and slewed right past. I was in a bit of a rush because cloud was approaching. 

I'll try again tonight to confirm if weather cooperates!

On the night I saw whatever it was I saw - presumably comet Atlas - I aimed the 4" at other things after sketching it, but the sky had already started clouding up. Being low down in a valley and not far from a river, I'm often plagued with mist's and thin cloud; and monstrous Pendle Hill a few miles to my north just seems to generate cloud. Consequently I couldn't find the object again in the 4", so I tried searching for it in the 10" F6 Newt', but to no avail. I regret now not letting the 4" keep tracking the target, as at least then I'd have been certain it was moving. Lesson learned - I hope!

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9 minutes ago, mikeDnight said:

On the night I saw whatever it was I saw - presumably comet Atlas - I aimed the 4" at other things after sketching it, but the sky had already started clouding up. Being low down in a valley and not far from a river, I'm often plagued with mist's and thin cloud; and monstrous Pendle Hill a few miles to my north just seems to generate cloud. Consequently I couldn't find the object again in the 4", so I tried searching for it in the 10" F6 Newt', but to no avail. I regret now not letting the 4" keep tracking the target, as at least then I'd have been certain it was moving. Lesson learned - I hope!

Actually your description at the top is quite similar to what I saw. A lot of times things in a big dob like the 20" aren't necessarily massively brighter, just perhaps larger due to increased focal length and being a fast scope, I can't really use very low-mag EPs beyond 30-32mm without exceeding a reasonable exit pupil. For example, I tried a 42mm 'finder' EP on Markarian's Chain after seeing it with the 20mm Lunt last night, expecting to see a wonderful view of dozens of galaxies hovering in space, and could only see two extremely faint smudges along the entire chain and the sky was all washed out - no contrast. Swapping directly after that to the 13mm APM was like looking through a different scope in different skies, they were spilling out everywhere and quite large and 'contrasty'.

I didn't think to leave the synscan on the suspected comet and see if it went out of view, but my tracking was a little sluggish last night anyway near zenith. 

I reckon you saw the comet, anything else in that part of the sky galaxy-wise would have been extremely faint I think! 👍

PS I recognise the three stars in your sketch that form a right angle, that was one set of 'guide stars' I was using, so we must have seen the same thing. 

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Posted (edited)

Hi @mikeDnight, I think I’ve just stumbled across the galaxy you sketched in your original post, NGC 2403. I just did an eyepiece to sketch comparison and looks like a good match to me. SkySafari screenshot for reference. 
F9179013-CDAB-45A0-AADB-0274B992BC23.thumb.png.bfe9fcd6c292212ebb2059f91850e3f7.png

Edited by Littleguy80
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On 05/04/2020 at 23:23, Littleguy80 said:

Hi @mikeDnight, I think I’ve just stumbled across the galaxy you sketched in your original post, NGC 2403. I just did an eyepiece to sketch comparison and looks like a good match to me. SkySafari screenshot for reference. 
F9179013-CDAB-45A0-AADB-0274B992BC23.thumb.png.bfe9fcd6c292212ebb2059f91850e3f7.png

Wow, that really does seem to fit the sketch. Any idea of the magnitude? I'd imagined everything in the path of my sweep to be beyond the grasp of my 100mm scope.

Thanks for posting this! 

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11 minutes ago, mikeDnight said:

Wow, that really does seem to fit the sketch. Any idea of the magnitude? I'd imagined everything in the path of my sweep to be beyond the grasp of my 100mm scope.

No problem. It’s quite a bright one at Mag 8.25 (SkySafari). Here’s the blurb on it. 
3694BE79-96DD-44AC-BD98-80C8906AAFAB.thumb.png.b6acbf56b953fdc9a9e3b74fa99c6512.png
 

As soon as I saw your post, it rang a bell so I had a hunt in SkySafari for it but couldn’t find the mystery galaxy. Now I can see that I actually observed it on the same night as you. I just didn’t put all the pieces together until I saw it last night. Must be getting old!

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9 minutes ago, Littleguy80 said:

No problem. It’s quite a bright one at Mag 8.25 (SkySafari). Here’s the blurb on it. 
3694BE79-96DD-44AC-BD98-80C8906AAFAB.thumb.png.b6acbf56b953fdc9a9e3b74fa99c6512.png
 

As soon as I saw your post, it rang a bell so I had a hunt in SkySafari for it but couldn’t find the mystery galaxy. Now I can see that I actually observed it on the same night as you. I just didn’t put all the pieces together until I saw it last night. Must be getting old!

Thanks so much for this info Neil,  I've never seen this one before, or at least I can't remember seeing it. If I had have come across it I would have drawn it, but I've no recollection of ever seeing it. And Camelopardalis too!  I think its time the Astronomical Union marked out constellation boundaries on the sky.

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My pleasure, Mike. It’s a really nice galaxy. As you said in your original post, being settled between two stars makes it quite eye catching. Completely agree on the constellation boundaries. They managed to mark north with a star so boundaries seem totally achievable!

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There's a feature in Stellarium under 'sky and viewing options', then 'markings' which shows the constellation boundaries.

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