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A tour of Ursa Major and its DSOs


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Another clear night and with the moon no shinning much, I was out looking for some DSOs. I got out just after 10 with my 8" Dob and since I had not spent much time observing the North I decided to focus on DSOs around the Ursa Major. As a beginner it was my first time to put a plan together, last minute since the weather was rubbish with rain all afternoon, of targeting a narrow area of interest. I adapted my eyes in the warmth of dark sitting room and the night sky was glowing with stars (I think the rain had really cleared the atmosphere). As many of you know, although a beginner, I am fascinated by nebulas. So my first target was the M97 (Owl Nebula). (Very easy to star hope around Ursa Major). A beautiful round shaped light patch. I spent a good 30min time looking at it with my 15mm EP, which I think was the best, but I also used my 8mm and 25mm to get a different perspective; they did not disappoint. Averted vision did not bring out much more details. That target really got me excited! 'Just above it', was the M108 galaxy. OWO! It was my first spiral galaxy (I have only had my Dob for 2 months). A nice elongated shape and quite bright. Next on the list was M109. It was just there. I found the light from Phad washing out the details or its brightness. Then I moved to the M51. It was not as bright as I thought, it was better viewed with averted vision. The last two targets kind of left me 'disappointed' after my first two targets. It could be some high cloud as well. I am not sure or it could have been tired eyes.  I had M63 on my list but I was getting tired to search so I revisited the familiar M81/82 with some nice details and looked nice on both the 25 and 15mm EPs.  Just before I packed up, a quick look on M42 just because it is an amazing nebula.

Overall another excellent night around Ursa Major. Sorry for long post.  I think going out with a plan makes viewing more fun and keeps me focused in one area than scattering around. I hope the rest of you had some clear skies!🔭

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Congratulations on a nice bit of work.  No need to apologize. We appreciate the detail. You are, after all, entering a scientific report. You verified that these things exist and are pretty much as described. I judge regional science fairs and we never (well hardly ever) reward kids for validating the works of others. Yet, one of the hidden shames of modern science is that hardly any research publications are ever validated by other, independent researchers. Have you heard of the case of "Plastic Fantastic"? 

That all being as it may, of course, we do this for ourselves; and that needs no justification.

Again, nicely done, Kon.

 

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Nice report !

Glad you had a good spell of clear sky.

It was clear for a while here earlier but not long enough to get stuck in to observing.

I don't know if you have an O-III filter but that really makes the Owl Nebula pop out. It is worth observing without a filter as well though because then you can see M108 as well as the nebula. While the O-III filter increases the contrast of the nebula, the galaxy takes a real hit.

 

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8 hours ago, John said:

I don't know if you have an O-III filter but that really makes the Owl Nebula pop out. It is worth observing without a filter as well though because then you can see M108 as well as the nebula. While the O-III filter increases the contrast of the nebula, the galaxy takes a real hit.

No, I do not have any filters and I have been contemplating getting since I am in rather dark skies (bortle 4). So far, I have managed to find and see most nebulas on my list but if they can make them pop more then worth the investment. What would be a good overall filter, something that can be used with various ones?

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19 hours ago, mikemarotta said:

Congratulations on a nice bit of work.  No need to apologize. We appreciate the detail. You are, after all, entering a scientific report. You verified that these things exist and are pretty much as described. I judge regional science fairs and we never (well hardly ever) reward kids for validating the works of others. Yet, one of the hidden shames of modern science is that hardly any research publications are ever validated by other, independent researchers. Have you heard of the case of "Plastic Fantastic"? 

That all being as it may, of course, we do this for ourselves; and that needs no justification.

Again, nicely done, Kon.

Thank you. I am a biochemistry scientist, and I think that's the reason I enjoy this hobby with the observations and reporting. In my experience, if the science is not solid or not well executed, validation  will naturally happen from other groups but it can also harm many scientists if it is accepted as is, which is rather common as you said.  I love reading the reports from other members as well. I am not aware of 'Plastic Fantastic'.

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45 minutes ago, Kon said:

No, I do not have any filters and I have been contemplating getting since I am in rather dark skies (bortle 4). So far, I have managed to find and see most nebulas on my list but if they can make them pop more then worth the investment. What would be a good overall filter, something that can be used with various ones?

The UHC and O-III filters are effective on a wide range of nebula types. These are an often quoted articles on the impact of various filter types:

https://www.prairieastronomyclub.org/useful-filters-for-viewing-deep-sky-objects/

https://www.prairieastronomyclub.org/filter-performance-comparisons-for-some-common-nebulae/

My skies are generally around bortle 5 and I find these filters (and occasionally the H-Beta filter) are pretty effective. They work even better under a darker sky.

 

Edited by John
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Nice report as usual Kon👍. Loved reading about objects in Ursa Major which I have no chance of seeing here. Sounds like you had a great night out with your light bucket 👌

 

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22 minutes ago, Epick Crom said:

Nice report as usual Kon👍. Loved reading about objects in Ursa Major which I have no chance of seeing here. Sounds like you had a great night out with your light bucket 👌

Thank you. It was perfect seeing last night, and I was very pleased to see some new targets. At least in Australia you do not have to contemplate the freezing weather we have.

Edited by Kon
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A great report and useful for me as I have a 200P Dob and am currently into analogue rather than digital. I caught Bode's and the Cigar last week and am looking to target more.

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3 hours ago, Spile said:

A great report and useful for me as I have a 200P Dob and am currently into analogue rather than digital. I caught Bode's and the Cigar last week and am looking to target more.

Thanks.  If you managed the Bode's and the Cigar, then these targets are a bit easier to locate. I used stellarium for guidance as well.

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I spent a very happy evening a few years back picking off the galaxies that the Sky & Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas shows within the "bowl" of the Big Dipper. I seem to recall there were about 10 that my 12 inch dob would show. Some were quite challenging though.

Funny how satisfying seeing a faint smudge of light can be :smiley:

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@Konthat is an  enjoyable report to read. Ursa Major has some reasonably bright DSOs in fact over 55 between M81 (6.9 mag) and NGC 4085 (Mag 12.5) quite a few are listed in the Herschel 400 list. The 8" Dob will give you endless pleasure and as John suggested adding a UHC or O-III will bring some object to 'life'.

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2 hours ago, Mark at Beaufort said:

@Konthat is an  enjoyable report to read. Ursa Major has some reasonably bright DSOs in fact over 55 between M81 (6.9 mag) and NGC 4085 (Mag 12.5) quite a few are listed in the Herschel 400 list. The 8" Dob will give you endless pleasure and as John suggested adding a UHC or O-III will bring some object to 'life'.

Thanks. I am reading on possible targets for the next clear skies as well as researching on filters. There is so much information in this forum on filters so it will keep me busy to make a decision.

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6 minutes ago, Kon said:

Thanks. I am reading on possible targets for the next clear skies as well as researching on filters. There is so much information in this forum on filters so it will keep me busy to make a decision.

Just a few in Ursa Major to start with - NGC 2841, 3184 and 3077

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On 07/02/2021 at 18:11, John said:

Funny how satisfying seeing a faint smudge of light can be :smiley:

I suppose seeing it with your own eyes changes perception compare to looking at photos. I like what the AP brings out but somehow i prefer the smudge of light.

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