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Anyone had a good look at Stephan's Quintet?


Ships and Stars
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Hello all,

I'm normally focused on nebulae this time of year, but somehow I've managed to forget all about Stephan's Quintet near the Deer Lick Group in Pegasus - I've never seen either group. This time of year it is dropping quickly at my latitude. It seems 18:30-19:45 or so is the best time when it's reasonably high up, but I think now will be it until next year. 

The weather here has been atrocious with almost non-stop rain and wind since the last full moon, not even a break in the clouds for binoculars, but tonight and tomorrow night might have small windows of clear skies.

Since this is looking hit or miss, I was going to try the 12" 'grab and go' dob under dark-ish skies (21.20-21.50) over the 20" dob, because I might not be setting up for very long. 

Has anyone had a good look and been able to resolve the galaxies in Stephan's Quintet? Or is it more of a faint smudge? I've read 200x is about right, but that's a fairly small exit pupil. 

Can you get a decent view with a 12" dob? Or is this one really difficult?

 

PS anyone have problems with Stellarium? Mine keeps freezing up and buttons come and go, then couldn't close it. Really weird. Might uninstall and reinstall.

 

Cheers all

 

Edited by Ships and Stars
Changed Stephen's to Stephan's!
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When I used to own a 16" Lightbridge I often tried to find this group. It was right on the edge of what I could see in the lightbridge so if I was successful I knew it was a good night. I could split the group into three but it was tough and normally just a smudge until you spent a long time just staring at it and then on those fleeting seconds of good seeing you could split them, it was challenging to say the least.

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23 minutes ago, Doc said:

When I used to own a 16" Lightbridge I often tried to find this group. It was right on the edge of what I could see in the lightbridge so if I was successful I knew it was a good night. I could split the group into three but it was tough and normally just a smudge until you spent a long time just staring at it and then on those fleeting seconds of good seeing you could split them, it was challenging to say the least.

Thank you Doc! Sounds like the 20" under excellent skies is the way to go, kind of what I was figuring with these faint galaxies. I may skip it tonight and just go for a quick binocular tour if the cloud breaks. 

Hopefully Stephen's Quintet pops back up late spring before summer hits. I'll check Stellarium. 

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25 minutes ago, Peter Drew said:

I've seen the Quintet in 10" and 16" Newtonians at Kelling Heath.  The full set in the 16" but less in the 10".  Needs a dark site and good transparency.    🙂

Thanks Peter, I suppose even if I get a hint of it in the 12" then I would call that a success. I don't think I'll have the kind of skies this week I'll need, but always the optimist!

Forecast is showing partly cloudy tonight...with scattered showers. Meh!

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PS just checked Stellarium for January around the new moon on the 12th and 13th and Stephan's Quintet is still high enough to observe just after astronomical darkness. This month is shaping up weather-wise to be a DSO write-off, so hoping January is better.

Edited by Ships and Stars
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Resolved aspects of this with my 14" dob, from a dark site on a windy night. I threw everything at it steadily increasing to 5mm, 320x and as Doc mentioned above, managed just to separate into three components. It does require high power and perhaps increasing beyond 320x. Your 20" dob would be the right aperture for this, @jetstream Gerry will have more to say on this subject. 

Edit: Actually just checked my notes, it was 313x I got to with my 6E, the Paracorr had been in use, I was to extend to using a 5XW, but the wind sweeping through the valley was numbing my fingers quite a bit and buffeting the scope. Therefore wind is of course not favourable for this. Had a 5mm been applied, 376x would had resolved more, so go with high power.

Edited by scarp15
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16 minutes ago, scarp15 said:

Resolved aspects of this with my 14" dob, from a dark site on a windy night. I threw everything at it steadily increasing to 5mm, 320x and as Doc mentioned above, managed just to separate into three components. It does require high power and perhaps increasing beyond 320x. Your 20" dob would be the right aperture for this, @jetstream Gerry will have more to say on this subject. 

Edit: Actually just checked my notes, it was 313x I got to with my 6E, the Paracorr had been in use, I was to extend to using a 5XW, but the wind sweeping through the valley was numbing my fingers quite a bit and buffeting the scope. Therefore wind is of course not favourable for this. Had a 5mm been applied, 376x would had resolved more, so go with high power.

Excellent, thanks Iain. I doubt now I'll be able to get the 20" out tonight or tomorrow, maybe this weekend if the forecast is reliable enough, but by then the moon will be up early evening. I think mid-January is looking like my best shot, I bet the 9mm APM will work well on this! Or barlow the 13mm... Cheers

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4 hours ago, Ships and Stars said:

Sounds like the 20" under excellent skies is the way to go,

Absolutely.

The 24" will break up this group into individual galaxies as will your 20" and I personally use orthos or more recently Delos. I had one session under my best conditions that the view was photo like and stunning- I keep chasing that view...it was a combination of fresh , well dark ,adapted eyes and the unusual combination of top seeing and superb transparency.I used between 250x and 357x ( this is why the seeing matters IMHO).

Orthos or ortho like widefields are the way to go and my 10BCO still beats the 10 Delos by a squeak on this stuff.

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47 minutes ago, jetstream said:

Absolutely.

The 24" will break up this group into individual galaxies as will your 20" and I personally use orthos or more recently Delos. I had one session under my best conditions that the view was photo like and stunning- I keep chasing that view...it was a combination of fresh , well dark ,adapted eyes and the unusual combination of top seeing and superb transparency.I used between 250x and 357x ( this is why the seeing matters IMHO).

Orthos or ortho like widefields are the way to go and my 10BCO still beats the 10 Delos by a squeak on this stuff.

Thanks Gerry, I have everything but the skies I guess! Hope you've had better weather than we've had here. The 10BCO would be perfect for this. The 9mm APM is the highest mag EP I have (there's a Celestron 8mm plossl lurking around in my desk somewhere). I could barlow the 13mm APM but that would hang off the focuser quite a bit.

I think mid-October was the last time we had anything approaching good conditions and I've been checking all the forecasts at least daily. Looking to shape up a bit hopefully by the end of this week, I might be able to squeeze in a quick session with the 20" before the moon pops up again.

If not, January dear weather gods!

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9 hours ago, Doc said:

When I used to own a 16" Lightbridge I often tried to find this group. It was right on the edge of what I could see in the lightbridge so if I was successful I knew it was a good night. I could split the group into three but it was tough and normally just a smudge until you spent a long time just staring at it and then on those fleeting seconds of good seeing you could split them, it was challenging to say the least.

Reminds me of my observations with the then new 13.1" Odyssey under 21+ mag skies three decades ago. Three components separable during moments of good seeing (was way less experienced in DSO observing), but not impressive. I'd give it a try with your 12"; but the three brighter galaxies of the Deer Lick group, the "fleas", are easier and more rewarding.

Stephan

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21 hours ago, Nyctimene said:

Reminds me of my observations with the then new 13.1" Odyssey under 21+ mag skies three decades ago. Three components separable during moments of good seeing (was way less experienced in DSO observing), but not impressive. I'd give it a try with your 12"; but the three brighter galaxies of the Deer Lick group, the "fleas", are easier and more rewarding.

Stephan

Thank you! I've decided it's all or nothing until at least January 10th so going out tonight.

The weather is showing a small possibility of a clear spell around 8pm tonight so why not. I was pleasantly surprised to easily fit the 20" dob in my small car.  I've found the disassembled 20" fits as well in my car as does the 12" flextube. Amazing 👍 

Now let's hope for a clear window of weather tonight, a bit of a gamble... if not, new moon January might be the last chance until the Autumn.

If you don't see a report tomorrow, then the weather was no good!

Edited by Ships and Stars
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Robert, a vg goal is breaking up NGC 7318 into individual galaxies- what a sight! Watching 2 galaxies in the process of merging is pretty cool if you ask me. The 10 BCO makes short work of them in good conditions, the VIP is useful as well  and in my case a vg sample of a KK 7mm ortho is always on deck. Play with the mag....

Good luck!

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20 minutes ago, jetstream said:

Robert, a vg goal is breaking up NGC 7318 into individual galaxies- what a sight! Watching 2 galaxies in the process of merging is pretty cool if you ask me. The 10 BCO makes short work of them in good conditions, the VIP is useful as well  and in my case a vg sample of a KK 7mm ortho is always on deck. Play with the mag....

Good luck!

It's a struggle tonight Gerry! Drove to my local dark spot, rain set in. Back home and put the big dob away, clear. Got obsy bins out now and having a play, haven't used them with the new fork mount yet. 

Saturday night is looking clear all night, hoping to try again once the moon is down. 

That's the way it goes sometimes! If I had just set the 20" up at home, at least I would have caught NGC7331 and maybe some fleas ;)

PS I was looking at photos of NGC 7318, must be an incredible sight to see two galaxies colliding in real life (minus however many light years away they are!)

Edited by Ships and Stars
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Well at least you gave it a go, must say that for the NE and I know you are further north than I am, it does look potentially better for the weekend. Will be interesting to hear if you get another attempt at this and a decisive spit. 

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35 minutes ago, scarp15 said:

Well at least you gave it a go, must say that for the NE and I know you are further north than I am, it does look potentially better for the weekend. Will be interesting to hear if you get another attempt at this and a decisive spit. 

I zigged when I should have zagged Iain, haha, had a play with the 20/40x100 binoculars on the TS optics fork mount, they work quite well, should be a treat under dark skies. Looking through the binocular refractors, I noticed my left eye has noticeable astigmatism, can't blame it on reflector coma, but it is tolerable. Might go the TV dioptrx route someday when it worsens. 

I think Sunday night might be ok, fingers crossed, that's still a few days out though if the forecast is close.

At least I saw some stars again tonight, it's been ages with this weather, hopefully the persistent stretch of rain we've probably all had up north is gone now.

Good luck to you this weekend!

Edited by Ships and Stars
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1 hour ago, jetstream said:

Off topic, but have you seen Hickson 55? another favourite over in Draco. I got 4 of them so far with the 24" and is well worth the time.

Never observed this galaxy chain. Here's a drawing by Uwe Glahn, one of the best German observers, with his 24":

HCG55i.jpg

Stephan

P.S.: have a look at Uwe's Website; a cornucopia of excellent drawings. He is the co-author of the Interstellarum Deep Sky Guide

http://www.deepsky-visuell.de/

Edited by Nyctimene
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8 hours ago, jetstream said:

Off topic, but have you seen Hickson 55? another favourite over in Draco. I got 4 of them so far with the 24" and is well worth the time.

No I haven't yet Gerry - I couldn't sleep last night so did some research on it. Looks like a proper challenge, very faint! I looked on Stellarium with ocular view, they are tiny but high up, so looks like a good target if I ever get the weather. This weekend looking possible once the moon is down, but very windy again. Is there a catalogue of the ones in the Northern Hemisphere? I seem to recall you or Piero receiving a catalogue in the post. Might have been ARPs? But I will remember Hickson 55 now! 👍

7 hours ago, Nyctimene said:

P.S.: have a look at Uwe's Website; a cornucopia of excellent drawings. He is the co-author of the Interstellarum Deep Sky Guide

http://www.deepsky-visuell.de/

These are excellent, some highly challenging targets in there. Thank you! PS I originally typed 'Stephen's Quintet, but now realise it is Stephan's not Stephens's. Sorry! 🤣

Edited by Ships and Stars
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12 hours ago, Nyctimene said:

Never observed this galaxy chain. Here's a drawing by Uwe Glahn, one of the best German observers, with his 24":

Thanks Stephan!

I see Uwe got one more than me! I've heard of him from DeepSky forum but did not know of his website, it looks like a great resource.  I use Reiner Vogels info on his own site as well as Alvin Hueys Faint Fuzzies. These guys are top dogs, along with Gottleib.

I'm very happy to get 4 of this really unusual object and I am drawn to the non typical galaxy groups and formations. Hickson 55 likes mag but needs good seeing along with transparency for best views. I have no doubt you will see this object and break it up Stephan, good luck!

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5 hours ago, Ships and Stars said:

 Is there a catalogue of the ones in the Northern Hemisphere?

Over on Reiner Vogels site there is a whole host of maps to download, including Sharpless and also Alvins Faint Fuzzies has great ones too. The astronomers mentioned above are among the best IMHO.

Hickson 55 seemed not that hard to me but I was happy to have 4 appear, but knowing there is 5- more work to do! (fun work)

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1 hour ago, jetstream said:

Over on Reiner Vogels site there is a whole host of maps to download, including Sharpless and also Alvins Faint Fuzzies has great ones too. The astronomers mentioned above are among the best IMHO.

Hickson 55 seemed not that hard to me but I was happy to have 4 appear, but knowing there is 5- more work to do! (fun work)

Thanks Gerry, this will keep me busy! HCG 55 sounds possible under the right conditions. Hopefully this weekend, but it's still pretty grim weather here at the moment. Weekend looking better. Been ages since I've had a clear moonless night, mid October I think.

Edited by Ships and Stars
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