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First time observering nebulosity in Pleiades


Victor Boesen
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Last night, after dinner, I ventured to the fields at my grandparent's house where the skies can sometimes be very dark (Bortle 4) compared to what I'm used to from home (Bortle 7). I had no real plans on what to observe, but I had a couple of targets in mind, among these M31, M42, M45 and I figured the sky should inspire to choose the rest of the targets. All observing was done with a Tecnosky (TS-optics, Starfield, Starwave clone and etc) 102mm F7 APO.

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The weapon of choice right before packing up. It was a couple cold but very satisfying hours under the stars.

M31
I started out with the Andromeda galaxy which at this moment was quite close to zenith. Luckily I could find a comfortable position kneeling down while looking through my 24mm 82 degree Explore scientific eyepiece. I was immediately greeted by its companion galaxies, M32 and M110. The galaxy stretched across approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the FOV and while I didn't notice any dark banding I was rather satisfied with the view.

M33
While in town, I decided to give M33 a visit. This target has always been quite disappointing for me since I have rarely been able to spot it, however, this summer, while at a bortle 3 location with my 15X70 bins I finally caught it. Stepping down the three stars from the Andromeda galaxy to Triangulum I drifted across a sudden patch of diffuse light. While noticeably less bright than M31 I found this target to be quite rewarding. The brightness of the disk was quite even, while having a small but slightly brighter core. I was happy with the catch and it was the first time I've observed M33 from this location. I think it helped that it was high in the sky.

M45
Remaining on my knees I turned to M45 which at this point was also very high in the sky. Naked eye the stars in M45 were very clear and as if they were bathing in a sea of light, which I guess must have been the nebulosity. With my 24mm still in place (it's at these occasions I wish I also had the 30mm to benefit from the dark skies and get a larger exit pupil) I turned to M45 where I was struck by the bright cluster. The main four/five stars in the cluster seemed to have a slight glow around them, however, especially Merope had a "veil" of glow leading away from the cluster. Checking Stellarium and other observing reports today I feel comfortable enough to conclude this was actually nebulosity!

M42
As Orion climbed the sky I turned to the obligatory Orion nebula, however, this time with my 2" OIII filter screwed into my 24mm eyepiece. The wings extended a decent amount from the core, which also showed a dark patch of nebula in it, and pointing slightly north from M42 the running man nebula also became visible. I must admit I expected slightly more from M42, but I suspect this may have been due to the fact that Orion is right above the city. Albeit a small city it still pollutes a significant amount which is quite noticeable from the field I'm observing from.

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My scope pointed towards the Orion nebula at the end of the session. Note the annoying street lamp!!

I also briefly tried pointing the scope towards the flame nebula but to no avail. I suppose I need slightly darker skies for this. At this point transparency had also worsened and this became very obvious when I went back to M45 where I now couldn't notice the same veil of nebulosity from Merope. My eyepieces also began to dew as I tried to look through them, however, the scope showed no sign of dew which I'm very happy with. I then packed up while watching the Moon rise across the field.
Sky is looking good for tonight as well so I hope to revisit some of these targets again to perhaps hope for some better transparency and that more people have taken down or turned off their Christmas lights:thumbright:

Thanks for reading and clear skies!

Victor

Edited by Victor Boesen
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Great report and pictures and congrats for gaining the reflection nebulae;  Merope and the Running Man. The Merope Nebula is astonishingly vast and fan shaped I have found and certainly as you imply can come and go determined by the fluctuation of transparency conditions and later problems caused by dew. Maybe another time, your 30mm could reveal more.

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11 minutes ago, scarp15 said:

Great report and pictures and congrats for gaining the reflection nebulae;  Merope and the Running Man. The Merope Nebula is astonishingly vast and fan shaped I have found and certainly as you imply can come and go determined by the fluctuation of transparency conditions and later problems caused by dew. Maybe another time, your 30mm could reveal more.

Thank you! I certainly do look forward to spend more time with this object at other occasions and darker skies. Until then I can only cross my fingers the 30mm even gets in stock for me to purchase it! It seems many of the ES eyepieces have been out of stock for almost a year now so I appreciate that I already have a solid set.

Just now, Mr Spock said:

That's a great report and you got some good objects in. These small apos are really capable scopes.

They are indeed. Coming from a 10" dob I worried I wouldn't be satisfied with only 4 inches of aperture but it has really only taught me that aperture isn't everything! Oh no, I already hear the dob mobs knocking in my door:grin: Instead I've learnt that nothing beats a dark sky and having a smaller scope without much (dis)assembly time lets me get to a proper site easier. Higher exit pupil for improved contrast, large field of views, pin sharp stars... What's not to like!

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39 minutes ago, Victor Boesen said:

Thank you! I certainly do look forward to spend more time with this object at other occasions and darker skies. Until then I can only cross my fingers the 30mm even gets in stock for me to purchase it! It seems many of the ES eyepieces have been out of stock for almost a year now so I appreciate that I already have a solid set.

They are indeed. Coming from a 10" dob I worried I wouldn't be satisfied with only 4 inches of aperture but it has really only taught me that aperture isn't everything! Oh no, I already hear the dob mobs knocking in my door:grin: Instead I've learnt that nothing beats a dark sky and having a smaller scope without much (dis)assembly time lets me get to a proper site easier. Higher exit pupil for improved contrast, large field of views, pin sharp stars... What's not to like!

Totally agree Victor 👍. Another excellent report, and good to see you finding some dark skies.

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25 minutes ago, mikeDnight said:

That really is an inspiring report Victor. And your refractor looks so sexy caked in ice. May be I'm revealing too much about myself with that last statement! :icon_scratch:

I'm sure the Dob Squad will forgive you in time. :confused3:

I appreciate it Mike, and not at all! We all know @JeremyS is the worst among refractor owners. At least we don't have an urge to lick our fracs like he does:laugh2:

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On 26/12/2021 at 20:29, Victor Boesen said:

I appreciate it Mike, and not at all! We all know @JeremyS is the worst among refractor owners. At least we don't have an urge to lick our fracs like he does:laugh2:

On the contrary Victor I think we would all love to see a picture of you licking your frac, and for extra entertainment please wait until it’s around -40 degrees C before doing so 😄😄🥶

Lovely read by the way. You’re torturing all we Brits who haven’t seen a star for months!

Mahnus

Edited by Captain Magenta
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