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Night of the Nebulae


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After the previous night's exceptional transparency, I had my hopes raised it would be similar.   It had been a mix of clouds during the day but by late afternoon it gave ways to nice breaks of very clean blue sky.  Around 10pm I set up in a corner of the back garden with the 120ST on the Alt/Az which was much more suitable for the Cygnus region where the North America nebula (NaN) would be my primary target fort the evening.  Large wafts of clouds were still present but it was forecast to improve considerably around midnight and so I went back in for power nap.

It cleared quite a bit in the end by 00:30 although some mid/low level clouds were still present.  The transparency was again excellent easily seeing directly to mag 5 without any difficulty.

I have previously given the NaN numerous attempts before without success, although I'd only attempted to use a Hbeta filter on it or no filter, half expecting a large cloud of nebulosity to be visible.  It turns out, this is far from the case (especially in these skies anyway...) and that I'd been using the wrong filter.

With the 32mm Baader Plossl I centred my position between Xi Cyg and 57 Cyg giving me theoretically an entire view of the nebula in the eyepiece FOV.  First without any filter for comparison of what extra was going to be added that was not MW "background", fine stars predominate with numerous bright stars - it's really a fantastic open star cluster to view in its own right.   Then placing in the Astronomik OIII, the star cloud diminshed and replaced with a nebulous activity.  Immediately, I could distinguish the Gulf of Mexico shape that was sharply defined - indeed the lower lobe was relatively bright.  Less sharply defined was the 57 Cyg side as the nebula faded in from blackness.  I swapped out the Astronomik OIII for the Baader OIII which has a slightly narrower band-pass.  This was almost too much for the remainder of the nebula apart from the brighter regions however the Gulf was very sharply defined with this.  Swapping out for the Astronomik UHC filter, this was a different view again.  Less defined but seemingly more of the main area of the nebula seemed to be apparent - Perhaps a touch of darker region splitting up the nebula into component parts however not defined well.  Two very different views really and I could not say that the OIII nor the UHC provided a "better" view.

I repeated with the 18mm BCO in place of the 32mm Plossl and found that this gave a really nice result with the Astronomik OIII around the gulf region now showing some distinct bright patches particularly on the western side.  For the most part the remainder of the nebula diminished.

Now I know what to look for, I shall look forward to pointing the extra light gathering power of the 12" dob on this target!

I moved over slightly to the Pelican nebula however I could not see anything here.   I think this may be more a target for the 12" dob.

Moving to the Veil nebula with the 32mm Plossl initially with the Baader OIII,  The Western Veil was very bright and there also seemed to be a hint of NGC 6974 (the middle bit).  Switching to the BCO 18mm defined much more and up to the Eastern Veil, this was quite spectacular almost filling the view with an array of knots and twirls  I never tire of viewing the Veil!

With the 18mm BCO still in place I went to Pleiades.  As it's a reflection nebula, no filter...  The view with the BCO was quite something - The brightness of the stars almost making any nebulous viewing very difficult however it seemed obvious that a few nebulous "brighter" non distinct areas seemed to be apparent.

Next up was M33.  With the 18mm BCO this was in your face obvious large area almost filling the frame of 4 brighter stars.  The central core was distinctly brighter but I could not make out any distinct arms.  With the 10mm BCO a variability of brightness was easy to see in the face of the galaxy (still no arms) however the swirl of the core could definitely be seen.

I finished up with the wonderful Double Cluster and was about to move over to the Heart / Soul nebulae when large clouds came over covering the entire sky.  It was already close to 2:30am so decided to call it a night.  As I was packing away, typically the cloud appeared to move off! :p  Still, it had been a successful and productive evening and very happy to finally bag the North America Nebula!

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Great report and good to read that you managed the NAN this time. Yes the Veil is an awesome sight, isn't it? You should also try the nearby Crescent with your OIII.

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Yes a cracking report, seems you had a similar experience to myself albeit with a different range of equipment.

You mention the baader has a narrower bandpass, according to my findings they may be too narrow. The Baader filter seems to cut out most of the secondary 495.9 wavelength, the result will be to reduce both brightness and contrast.

SearchLight Spectra Viewer from Semrock

As like me you enjoy your nebula, I have always found this to be a useful guide. Filter Performance Comparisons - Astronomical Filters - Articles - Articles - Cloudy Nights

cheers

steve

 

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1 hour ago, bomberbaz said:

Yes a cracking report, seems you had a similar experience to myself albeit with a different range of equipment.

You mention the baader has a narrower bandpass, according to my findings they may be too narrow. The Baader filter seems to cut out most of the secondary 495.9 wavelength, the result will be to reduce both brightness and contrast.

SearchLight Spectra Viewer from Semrock

As like me you enjoy your nebula, I have always found this to be a useful guide. Filter Performance Comparisons - Astronomical Filters - Articles - Articles - Cloudy Nights

cheers

steve

 

Thanks Steve!

The Baader OIII works very well in my 12" dob on certain objects and in fact I've found it boosting contrast significantly over the Astronomik OIII fairly recent with my observation of M27.  However I think that you're correct in certain objects it is perhaps not beneficial because of this cut at that line.   With my refractors normally the Astronomik filter is the better choice to bring out the maximum detail available for those apertures.

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I have only ever seem M33 from Scotland never from home the same goes for M32 and M110, A trick Nick (Cotterless 45) said is put NGC6992 in the eyepiece and then dial in NGC 6995 now keep your eye at the eyepiece the mount will follow the curve of the Nebula really brilliant view.

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