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August 2006 - M27


MartinB
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Ok we're keeping it simple this month with just 1 target. So no excuse for not making a submission!! M27 stays reasonably high in the sky through August within the Summer Triangle. It is large relatively bright planetary nebula which should be visible with a small scope.

Remember - observe what you can see and, maybe just as important, what you can't. Give details of location, light pollution, seeing, cloud, influence of the moon, equipment used.

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OK listen up! There are some people on this forum who claim to occasionally observe the skies with a telescope. Frankly I'm a bit sceptical judging by the poor response to the comparative targets so far. I think we will have to invent a new term "telescopony" for people who's hobby is observing telescopes :D :D Yes, yes I know that until recently it's been a bad year weather wise but come on everyone and show us what you are capable of.

You will find the comparative target section under observation and imaging reports/monthly observations.

The idea behind the excercise is to indicate just how much detail it is possible to see with different scopes and different observing conditions.

This months target is M27. It is relatively bright and doesn't require a large telescope to provide reasonable views.

If we have a good mix of reports this will provide some very interesting info. So come on - just one target in one month - you can do it . Yes that means YOU!!!

Beginners please don't be shy. This is for every one :D

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Good choice that Martin not only for experienced observers like myself but the people new to the Hobby it's really quite easy to find and as you say a nice view in the Modest of Telescopes.

Observed M27 last night but i will wait for the darker skies of August to fall before reporting the Comparative target.

Good luck everyone.

James.

PS:Here's were you will find M27 (The dumbell Nebula) Mag 7.5

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Seeing: 4

Transparency: 2-3

Last night I decided to observe this planetary nebula with a 10" SCT, a piggybacked ED80 and a 6" f5 refractor (not piggybacked Wink), unfortuneatly the Sun beat me before I got around to setting the f5 up so SCT and ED80 it was!

I located M27 my usual way, find the double doulble in Lyra, straight to Alberio and keep on going. It's a massive, bright object and very easy to spot even in a small scope.

In the ED80 the dumbell shape was clear at ~x35 (17mm Stratus), set beautifully in a backdrop of stars and although going to x48 (12mm ortho) showed a hint of denser nebulosity at the East of the object, further magnification did not yield any more detail.

The upclose view with the SCT at x147 confirmed the dense nebulosity and displayed the stars in the very near vercinity of M27, as I raised the magnifaction the dumbell shape became less distinct as the finer nebulosity at the edges was revealed (or finer nebulosty was lost due to higher magnificaton, I'm not sure which but my guess is the former) . Theres defineatly a happy medium when observing this planetary neb.

The best view for detail was at around x200 in the SCT, the "nicest" (errghhh!) view was with the ED80 at x38 where it was framed amongst the stars on a pitch black sky.

Gaz

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Time 11.30pm 1st August. Temp 15deg Transparency 10 seeing 7 Blustery wind.

LP a little. Milky way just visible, lyra showind distinctly

Scope Celestron Nexter 8" GPS Focal length 2000mm

Moonfish 32mm UWA - The dumbell shape very easily visible. An easily defined target. There was no detail to see within the core. With averted vision and the eye of faith just possible to make out some nebulosity surrounding the core - dumbells "ears"

Antares 25mm - similar to above just a little larger

Celestron omni plossel 15mm - the faint nebulosity of the ears now visible. No additional detail in the core though.

Celestron plossel 10mm - now getting too dark and a less distinct view than 15mm

Most satifyiing view was throught the moonfish. A little extra detail acquired with the 15mm EP but loss of perspective and less comfortable to view.

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I managed to put things together tonight and the skies cooperated to let me observe, yes, through a telescope, this magnificent planetary nebula in Vulpecula. Had some clouds roll through earlier, but it cleared nicely. Got off work at a reasonable hour, with few errands to run on the way home. Spent the first hour or so checking alignment of the new mount and everything looks good. Mounted a 1x red bullseye finder on the tube, finally. (Not the Telrad, the other one....name escapes me.)

Telescope: 10" F/5.6 Newtonian with oversized tube (lengthy) on an ancient Cave GEM mount.

Finder scope: 8x50 oldster with cross hair reticle.

Weather: Some high clouds early, but clearing. Seeing remained steady with little or no wind, except the fan to circulate air within the dome. Temperature around 30ºC.

Seeing: I'd rate it a 7 on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being perfect. Steady, with times of some turbulence. No noticable twinkling with the unaided eye and little distortion through the EP.

M27 is most likely the finest planetary nebula on the sky. At a distance of ~1200 ly, it's age is estimated at ~3,000 to 4,000 years. It's actual diameter being ~2.5ly. All these measurements are estimates, due to incomplete distance measurements. HST is working on it, though.

I located M27 easily, using Gamma Sagitta as a guide. With the 32mm Plossl at 45X, M27 appears as an elongated cylinder with hints of gas forming an incomplete circle from end to end and missing in the middle. It resembles an apple core, more than a dumbell to me. Using a UHC filter brings out more detail in the entire nebula, including darker regions at the midsection of the cylinder and wispy gas farther out. The 18mm Ultima ep at 79x reveals much more detail toward the center, with a very noticable dark patch just off center to the north. The UHC filter brings out all kinds of detail in the nebula, showing the structure along the arcs on the north and south sides as billowing lines of shocked gas. The cylinder is revealed as more of a meandering cloud, with brighter portions to the nw and south, while intervening areas are fainter and mottled. One striking aspect is how many stars are contained in the FOV. It's hard to tell if the dozen or so stars within the nebula are in the foreground or background. There are so many around the edges to make the scene surreal. An absolutely spectacular object!

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None, its been either cloudy or raining for a week now.

On top of that, it doesn't get dark until late still, and it's my busy time of the year (factory shutdown maintenance work) so I have to be up bright and early every day (including weekends) now for three more weeks.

As soon as possible I'll point it that way and post a picture.

Captain Chaos

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Got it, well sort of

image.jpg

Yesterday was cloudy all day, with the weather forecast for more of the same. Warm enough for us to be outside though. The gorgeous chick made a chilli and invited the neighbours round to eat, so we all sat out enjoying good food, cheap good wine and good company. Later though the clouds decided to clear off and it started to look promising so I got the Skywatcher Newt. and skelescope out to wait for the dark to arrive. As the moon was hovering about, it didn't get very dark very quick, but I got a sort of alignment on the EQ6 and had a bash at M27.

This is the camera on autopilot as I was chatting with the male neighbour about interesting things and we were having a look at M27 and M57 through the blue one at this time. The ladies were talking about some other stuff at the other end of the garden.

We had a great time looking at the stars and chatting about the usual (HOW FAR!, ET?, would you go? etc.) and so I left the Nikon snapping away as the target drifted off lower left.

Chick's sister came for a peek later and was impressed with M13 as M57 had gone in a tree. She could also see M27 after I showed her the laptop which had a preview thing going from the DSLR.

Good night for playing out. The excuses are:-

It was a bit windy, the polar alignment was a bit out, the subs are too short as the max. sub in auto is 30 seconds, focus is a tad out as I was conversating.

Neighbour guy is going to assist in pier building (runs a steel fabrication company) as he wants another bash, and chick's sister guessed that I'd spent fifteen grand on toys, so they both seemed suitably impressed.

Captain Chaos

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The stars are nice and pinpoint CC. I think I prefer the original though, the re-edit has a red halo around it. DSLRs seem to have a problem with red generally. Focus looks good to me.

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Skelescope plus SC3 and 1.25" FR.

Conditions 15C ish with a gusty wind to about 20 mph.

Gain at 15%, 1 frame every 12 seconds.

Started at 11PM, 202 frames of which 12 were not ruined by the wind.

image.jpg

Now I need to get a shed or something to keep the wind off, or the Skelescope might fly away (it now looks like a box kite).

Captain Chaos

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Stood looking at it AND the laptop some of the time. Oh you mean looking through the Skelescope, why didn't I think of that? Well its very awkward as its very high up and the focusser always seems to end up on top.

Had a visual go the other evening when I had the Skelescope and the Skywatcher pointed in the same direction. The apple core shape was visible through that.

Captain Chaos

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First chance this month to use the scope so I had to have a go with M27.

11-00pm 18 August. No wind 15C.

Seeing 6/7 reasonable transparency. Very little LP

Some patchy white clouds but clear near M27

Tal125R 5ins refractor.

Started out with 2ins Moonfish 30mm @ 37x. Fairly bright bluish-greyish blob at first glance. Developing a bit of a waist the longer I looked. Changed to the 11/4ins Lanthanum 15mm @ 77x. Immediately the structure improved. It started to look to me like a bat with outstretched wings (perhaps I've read too many Batman comics in the past!). With averted vision thought I saw some nebulosity but I could be wrong. Swapped for the 9mm Lanth @ 136x but much dimmer and no more detail.

As a specs wearer the best view for me of M27 was with the 15mm Lanth @ 77x as this has excellent Eye Relief.

MD

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  • 2 weeks later...

Date: 29th August 2006

Conditions: Still air, 16o, 'dry' humidty

Seeing: 6/7

Transparancy: 6/7

Found M27 quite easily using the 32mm 2" (x15) and was surprised at how big it appeared in the FOV. A definite discernable smudge - an elongated smudge, as this lower power you cannot make out any structure.

Switching to the 1.25 26mm (x18) made no real difference, as you would expect, but the 20mm (x24) allowed me to start making out a more defined core, rather than just a smudge. Adding the UHC-S filter increased the definition, not a huge amount, but enough to make a difference. When I say a more defined core, it still a smudge - just less wispy!!!

With the 10mm (x48) the nebula fills the FOV , but there is still none of the structure visible to the eye. Again, using the UHC filter has a marginal effect on increasing the contrast, but even using that and averted vision the 'dumbell' or 'apple-core' shape could not be defined.

I was expecting to see a little more structure in the nebula, but I imagine this will be more apparant in the 8" - first target when next out with it!!

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