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Some new targets for me tonight, plus some old faves, in Coma Berenices and Canes Venatici. The sky promised to be very transparent, although some clouds came through later to spoil the party. Temperature was just below freezing, and the wind chill made it feel like -5 deg C.

Started out with the M52 open cluster and the Nova.
Cold and breezy. Local light pollution

M51 (Whirlpool) - Hints of structure with averted vision.
M101 - Very faint, needed averted vision and some dob-wobbling to find it.
NGC 4490 (Cocoon galaxy) - Clear and shape obvious but smaller companion not visible
NGC 4449 - Some structure observable with averted vision
NGC 5005 - Clear with direct vision. Much brighter than neighbour:
NGC 5033 - Faint, observed with averted vision
M63 (Sunflower) - Clear with direct vision. Hints of outer shape with averted vision
M94 - Very bright, star-like core
M106 - core visible directly. Averted vision reveals its shape
NGC 4244 (Silver Needle Galaxy) - Very faint. Just visible with averted vision and wobbling.
NGC 4214 - Very faint. Just visible with averted vision and wobbling.
NGC 4631 (Whale Galaxy) - Some haze / high cloud building. Very faint. Just visible with averted vision and wobbling. Neighbour NGC 4646 not found
M53. Faint and oval-shaped globular, no resolution of stars. NGC 5053 neighbour not found

Paused to let clouds pass and to warm up


M64 (Black Eye Galaxy) - Bright core directly visible. 
NGC 4725 - some very faint structure visible with averted vision
NGC 4546 (Needle Galaxy) - Core bright but averted vision need to see hints of the long fine shape.
NGC 4559 - Very faint. Just visible with averted vision and wobbling.


Paused to let clouds pass
 

Melotte 111 - observed in the finder. 
NGC 4494 - Small and compact with averted vision.


Now very cold and more clouds appearing, so called it a night after a quick visit to M13

I'm fed up with the street light in the lane at the end of the garden. Once the trees are in leaf, it'll be hidden to a certain extent. But the real pain is the way it illuminates the rear of all the houses in our street. It makes it impossible to get dark adaption. I'll need to investigate a hood/cover of some kind. Luckily, the local street lights are being replaced with LEDs in the Autumn.  I'll take that opportunity to make sure a decent shield is installed.

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Some new targets for me tonight, plus some old faves, in Coma Berenices and Canes Venatici. The sky promised to be very transparent, although some clouds came through later to spoil the party. Tempera

ANOTHER clear night, tonight, so tried to carry on where I left off. Also used an old T-shirt as an observing hood to try and help with the local lights. M88 - Core bright, even in light pollutio

Very nice list of targets covered there  

51 minutes ago, Pixies said:

Some new targets for me tonight, plus some old faves, in Coma Berenices and Canes Venatici. The sky promised to be very transparent, although some clouds came through later to spoil the party. Temperature was just below freezing, and the wind chill made it feel like -5 deg C.

Started out with the M52 open cluster and the Nova.
Cold and breezy. Local light pollution

M51 (Whirlpool) - Hints of structure with averted vision.
M101 - Very faint, needed averted vision and some dob-wobbling to find it.
NGC 4490 (Cocoon galaxy) - Clear and shape obvious but smaller companion not visible
NGC 4449 - Some structure observable with averted vision
NGC 5005 - Clear with direct vision. Much brighter than neighbour:
NGC 5033 - Faint, observed with averted vision
M63 (Sunflower) - Clear with direct vision. Hints of outer shape with averted vision
M94 - Very bright, star-like core
M106 - core visible directly. Averted vision reveals its shape
NGC 4244 (Silver Needle Galaxy) - Very faint. Just visible with averted vision and wobbling.
NGC 4214 - Very faint. Just visible with averted vision and wobbling.
NGC 4631 (Whale Galaxy) - Some haze / high cloud building. Very faint. Just visible with averted vision and wobbling. Neighbour NGC 4646 not found
M53. Faint and oval-shaped globular, no resolution of stars. NGC 5053 neighbour not found

Paused to let clouds pass and to warm up


M64 (Black Eye Galaxy) - Bright core directly visible. 
NGC 4725 - some very faint structure visible with averted vision
NGC 4546 (Needle Galaxy) - Core bright but averted vision need to see hints of the long fine shape.
NGC 4559 - Very faint. Just visible with averted vision and wobbling.


Paused to let clouds pass
 

Melotte 111 - observed in the finder. 
NGC 4494 - Small and compact with averted vision.


Now very cold and more clouds appearing, so called it a night after a quick visit to M13

I'm fed up with the street light in the lane at the end of the garden. Once the trees are in leaf, it'll be hidden to a certain extent. But the real pain is the way it illuminates the rear of all the houses in our street. It makes it impossible to get dark adaption. I'll need to investigate a hood/cover of some kind. Luckily, the local street lights are being replaced with LEDs in the Autumn.  I'll take that opportunity to make sure a decent shield is installed.

Not a bad haul at all. Still sounded like you fared better than here as I couldn't see any real structure in M51.

Although LED lanterns control light spill better in general, I do find the indirect glare still much harsher if a lantern is in your peripheral vision (tend to be bluer in colour temp so adds to the perception). I have one either side of my garden but the one can cause issues if I don't hide it behind the oak tree on the roadside, I feel your pain. Do you mean that you'll have the Council install a shield? 

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19 minutes ago, Stardaze said:

Not a bad haul at all. Still sounded like you fared better than here as I couldn't see any real structure in M51.

Although LED lanterns control light spill better in general, I do find the indirect glare still much harsher if a lantern is in your peripheral vision (tend to be bluer in colour temp so adds to the perception). I have one either side of my garden but the one can cause issues if I don't hide it behind the oak tree on the roadside, I feel your pain. Do you mean that you'll have the Council install a shield? 

It was suggested not to bother requesting a shield before now, as the lamps are scheduled to be replaced. However, I have heard (anecdotally) that if you complain immediately after the new lamps are installed, the lighting team will be available in the area to fix any issues and install shields immediately.

Edinburgh's street lights started being upgraded several years ago and they are slowly working their way around the city. Of course, my neighborhood is literally the last to be done! It was supposed to have been done by now, but it was delayed by Covid. The occasional times I have driven through upgraded areas in the dark, I have noticed a real difference and it does appear much darker. People are complaining about the new lights being too dim! 🙄 The council are saying that once the upgrade is complete, they will be able to control the timing and brightness of the streetlights remotely. Hopefully that doesn't mean they turn them up! I'm hoping they start turning them off late at night.

I do see that my westerly view towards the city centre now has white light pollution instead of yellow!

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A nice haul of targets there. I can only commiserate on the LP. Mine is now pretty much exclusively white and a big new warehouse complex has gone up on some former green belt land less than a mile away so that part of the sky is now a mess. The worsening LP situation put me off doing astronomy for the past few years but my attitude has mellowed now and the scope has seen more action over this winter. Strangely enough our lighting was renewed just a couple of years ago and the council put up what looks like HP sodium when LEDs were going up in most other places. It's flipping bright but masked by the house if I stay on the right side of the garden.

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3 hours ago, Pixies said:

It was suggested not to bother requesting a shield before now, as the lamps are scheduled to be replaced. However, I have heard (anecdotally) that if you complain immediately after the new lamps are installed, the lighting team will be available in the area to fix any issues and install shields immediately.

Edinburgh's street lights started being upgraded several years ago and they are slowly working their way around the city. Of course, my neighborhood is literally the last to be done! It was supposed to have been done by now, but it was delayed by Covid. The occasional times I have driven through upgraded areas in the dark, I have noticed a real difference and it does appear much darker. People are complaining about the new lights being too dim! 🙄 The council are saying that once the upgrade is complete, they will be able to control the timing and brightness of the streetlights remotely. Hopefully that doesn't mean they turn them up! I'm hoping they start turning them off late at night.

I do see that my westerly view towards the city centre now has white light pollution instead of yellow!

Some Councils are investing into smart lighting that can be remotely controlled with curfew times, but there's a balance to be found between saving themselves some money versus general safety. Our local Council are replacing on a reactive basis, and so we have probably half replaced now, but they have over-lit in places for certain. 

You will only receive any consideration soon after a new install for certain so definitely best to wait. 

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Excellent targets and nice observing notes. The light seems a pain but hopefully you can work something out.

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Great list of targets! The led lights can be a mixed blessing. We have them here but I found they can be just as bright. Perhaps the worst aspect of them is that they emit light in a very broad spectrum so the light pollution filters don't work so well. 

Note to self: invest in a narrowband filter. It will be nice to spot the Veil from home...

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1 hour ago, Nik271 said:

Great list of targets! The led lights can be a mixed blessing. We have them here but I found they can be just as bright. Perhaps the worst aspect of them is that they emit light in a very broad spectrum so the light pollution filters don't work so well. 

Note to self: invest in a narrowband filter. It will be nice to spot the Veil from home...

Definitely need an OIII for the veil 

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ANOTHER clear night, tonight, so tried to carry on where I left off. Also used an old T-shirt as an observing hood to try and help with the local lights.

M88 - Core bright, even in light pollution
M98 - Possibly. Very very faint. LP
M99 (Coma Pinwheel galaxy) - Barely visible averted vision. LP
M100 - core faint averted vision
NGC 4450 - Faint averted vision
NGC 4564 - Faint and small. Averted vision

M86 & M84 (Markarian's chain - 2 main ones) - clear
NGC 4438 & 4435 (Eyes galaxies) - Faint averted vision

M87 (Virgo A) - Clear direct
NGC 4486A - Very faint averted vision
NGC 4478 - ditto

M58 - Bright and small
M90 - Fairly bright but indistinct
M89 - Small and dense. Direct
M85 - Bright. Direct

Left it a bit late so the targets were well south and into a dome of light pollution from the local train yards. At times some high cloud didn't help, and at others it was very transparent.

What really surprised me was how visible the 2 fainters galaxies around Virgo-A (M87) were (NGC 4486A and 4478). They are mag 11.3 and 12.1 but I could see them quite easily. I assume it's because they are small and dense and so their surface brightness is quite good. 

I had my best view yet of Markarian's chain, too. As well as the above, I could see lots of tiny faint fuzzy patches scattered around the views. 

 

I really fancy trying to get to a dark site next new moon, once the Scottish stay-local rules are relaxed, and attempting these targets again. I reckon that would be the last chance before astronomical darkness ends here for the summer.

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7 hours ago, Pixies said:

ANOTHER clear night, tonight, so tried to carry on where I left off. Also used an old T-shirt as an observing hood to try and help with the local lights.

M88 - Core bright, even in light pollution
M98 - Possibly. Very very faint. LP
M99 (Coma Pinwheel galaxy) - Barely visible averted vision. LP
M100 - core faint averted vision
NGC 4450 - Faint averted vision
NGC 4564 - Faint and small. Averted vision

M86 & M84 (Markarian's chain - 2 main ones) - clear
NGC 4438 & 4435 (Eyes galaxies) - Faint averted vision

M87 (Virgo A) - Clear direct
NGC 4486A - Very faint averted vision
NGC 4478 - ditto

M58 - Bright and small
M90 - Fairly bright but indistinct
M89 - Small and dense. Direct
M85 - Bright. Direct

Left it a bit late so the targets were well south and into a dome of light pollution from the local train yards. At times some high cloud didn't help, and at others it was very transparent.

What really surprised me was how visible the 2 fainters galaxies around Virgo-A (M87) were (NGC 4486A and 4478). They are mag 11.3 and 12.1 but I could see them quite easily. I assume it's because they are small and dense and so their surface brightness is quite good. 

I had my best view yet of Markarian's chain, too. As well as the above, I could see lots of tiny faint fuzzy patches scattered around the views. 

 

I really fancy trying to get to a dark site next new moon, once the Scottish stay-local rules are relaxed, and attempting these targets again. I reckon that would be the last chance before astronomical darkness ends here for the summer.

You did really well either way, it was thick over, here. 

You prompted a look at when darkness ends which is middle of next month so I'll have to make an effort too. Got plagued with dew on the finder scope last time out so ordered a band for that and have got a 12v battery rigged up to get mobile. There's some clearer nights forecast next week with a new moon and I'm off all week, sounds too good to be true!

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A great observing report and some great DSOs. Although I don't suffer too much from IP at the moment I still curtain myself off from the house and my neighbours. I have a washing line across the garden (7 foot off the ground) and I use black ground sheets which I bought from B&M stores. You can see this arrangements in Stargazine EP5 (it starts after 39minutes after Ian's talk on double stars) - 

 

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On 08/04/2021 at 09:40, Stardaze said:

Definitely need an OIII for the veil 

A good UHC filter will do too. The Veil is one of those objects where a filter makes all the difference between completely invisible and bright and detailed. A very remarkable contrast.

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I agree re: a UHC filter showing the Veil when it may have been more or less invisible before but the O-III turns it into a spectacle :smiley:

 

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2 hours ago, mdstuart said:

Sounds like your hooked on observing galaxies! :)

Mark

Just working with the conditions. The seeing was poor but the moon was away.

Last week the seeing was great, so it was splitting doubles then!

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Loving the references to dob wobbling. It's a very effective technique on galaxies, but also works really well on nebulae. I was able to pick out the tadpoles nebula the other night with it, and nearly the whole extent of the reflection area around the Pleiades.

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49 minutes ago, Whistlin Bob said:

Loving the references to dob wobbling. It's a very effective technique on galaxies, but also works really well on nebulae. I was able to pick out the tadpoles nebula the other night with it, and nearly the whole extent of the reflection area around the Pleiades.

You’ll have to enlighten me please all about dob wobbling 🙂

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13 minutes ago, Stardaze said:

You’ll have to enlighten me please all about dob wobbling 🙂

Your eyes are sensitive to motion. So sometimes, when a faint object is just on the verge of visibility, shaking the scope very slightly, so that the view moves in the eyepiece, makes the faint object stand out more.

I found it very good for areas around the Virgo clusters, where you suspect there to be a few of the fainter galaxies in the view. Just slightly wobbling the scope makes them stand out.

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21 minutes ago, Pixies said:

Your eyes are sensitive to motion. So sometimes, when a faint object is just on the verge of visibility, shaking the scope very slightly, so that the view moves in the eyepiece, makes the faint object stand out more.

I found it very good for areas around the Virgo clusters, where you suspect there to be a few of the fainter galaxies in the view. Just slightly wobbling the scope makes them stand out.

It sounded self explanatory, I thought there could be something more to it. I’ll give it a go 😀

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What a great report and a guid haul of targets!

It's rather remarkable - I have been chasing down a list practically identical to that in the past three nights. What references are you using to choose your targets? I've been mainly working with the Caldwell Catalogue but also been looking for some of O'Meara's Hidden Treasures.

I'm guessing you have an 8"? I've been working with my 12" dob in a dark site near Aberdeen so you've done well to catch some of those under light polluted skies.

Regarding the Whale's partner galaxy, "the Hockey Stick" (4656), I'm not surprised you didn't spot this from light polluted skies, but it should be distinctly visible under darker skies. It is quite a bit smaller and lower surface brightness than the Whale, but its nucleus is actually brighter. Worth persevering with.

Lovely report.

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1 hour ago, Andrew* said:

What a great report and a guid haul of targets!

It's rather remarkable - I have been chasing down a list practically identical to that in the past three nights. What references are you using to choose your targets? I've been mainly working with the Caldwell Catalogue but also been looking for some of O'Meara's Hidden Treasures.

I'm guessing you have an 8"? I've been working with my 12" dob in a dark site near Aberdeen so you've done well to catch some of those under light polluted skies.

Regarding the Whale's partner galaxy, "the Hockey Stick" (4656), I'm not surprised you didn't spot this from light polluted skies, but it should be distinctly visible under darker skies. It is quite a bit smaller and lower surface brightness than the Whale, but its nucleus is actually brighter. Worth persevering with.

Lovely report.

Andrew good to see you are firmly back in the saddle. Hope all is good with family. You never know we might see at Lucksall again.

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2 hours ago, Andrew* said:

What a great report and a guid haul of targets!

It's rather remarkable - I have been chasing down a list practically identical to that in the past three nights. What references are you using to choose your targets? I've been mainly working with the Caldwell Catalogue but also been looking for some of O'Meara's Hidden Treasures.

I'm guessing you have an 8"? I've been working with my 12" dob in a dark site near Aberdeen so you've done well to catch some of those under light polluted skies.

Regarding the Whale's partner galaxy, "the Hockey Stick" (4656), I'm not surprised you didn't spot this from light polluted skies, but it should be distinctly visible under darker skies. It is quite a bit smaller and lower surface brightness than the Whale, but its nucleus is actually brighter. Worth persevering with.

Lovely report.

Hi Andrew,

I just did a search in SkySafari for galaxies/nebulae/clusters between 0-10 magnitude in each of the constellations in question.

Hoping to get to a dark sky before astronomical darkness vanishes for the summer. I think there's one new moon left before that (2nd week in May). I lack a low southerly view from home, too. I quite fancy trying to find M104 (Sombrero) and thre Ghost of Jupiter

 

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Both very good reports I myself have never seen M51 from home despite 8 years of trying in varying scopes from a 4" to a 8". Quite a few of those objects I have not seen many I have from a dark site including the " The Whale and Hockey stick" 

Thank you for posting. 

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