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Meade Lightbridge Observing report as of 17.1.2010


Doc
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Meade lightbridge 16" F4.5 FL1829mm

Sunday 17th Jan 2010

No Moon

No wind and Mild.

My first target was a very distant globular that I have been trying to track down for ages and that is Pal 2 in Auriga.With the 16 Uwan in the focuser I tracked down the correct position just west of Hassaleh but nothing was visible, changing to the 7 Uwan at x261, I instantly saw out the corner of my vision a mottled like smudge but when I centered the eyepiece I seem to have lost it, I spent the next 10 minutes moving the scope very slightly around and eventually with averted vision I caught a glimpse of my first Palomar Globular Cluster. To say that these objects are dim is an understatement, no stars were resolved but there was a definite smudge where I was looking.

Dropped down to Orion next and an object I've not seen yet despite looking and that is the M78 a Diffuse Nebula. This nebula is about 1,600 light-years from Earth and measures nearly 4 light-years in diameter. It shines with the reflected light of two bright blue stars which with a star chart I was able to locate. In my 16 Uwan at x114 I could easily see the shape of the nebula and the two mag 10 stars embedded within, a lovely sight.

Staying in Orion I visited the open cluster Ngc 2186, not very impressive but I saw about 15 stars in a rough circular formation, many of them at least mag 12. The cluster is within a very rich star field which looked awesome through the 28 Uwan at x65.

Went hunting for some bright nebulars in Orion and first was Ngc 1999 this is situated below the M42 and is a very small patch of nebulosity about 2' in size. There is a small star embedded in the edge of the nebulosity I would estimate at mag 10. The nebulosity is very dim even with averted vision it is hard to make out.

Another bright nebula in orion is Ngc 1788 it is larger then Ngc1999 at 8' x 5' and shines at a magnitude of 9. It's in a very sparse starfield and is actually beside a dark nebula called LDN1616. The nebula itself is pretty hard to track down but the nebulosity was eventually seen around two stars at least mag 10.

Next came the best bright nebula of the night that is Ngc 2024 also known as The Flame Nebula, the general area is awash with stars of all sizes and magnitudes. The main star Zeta Orion dominates the view but the nebula can be seen radiating out, looked green through both the 28 and the 16 Uwan eyepieces. A lovely looking nebula that does show some detail.

Over to Cancer next and got myself submerged within the M44. This famous cluster is also known as Praesepe, and more recently, the Beehive Cluster. The Beehive was given this name because to some it resembles a swarm of bees. It is one of the few deep-sky objects visible to the naked eye and has been known since ancient times. M44 consists of about 350 stars, this cluster is about 577 light-years from Earth and is believed to be approximately 400 million years old. It looks fantastic through my 16" scope and the 28 Uwan gives an impressive fov of 1.26° which is still not enough to completely soak up this wonderful object.

Next onto a difficult planetary nebula called MI-7 or PK189+7.1 it situated not far from Epsilon Gemini and at only 0.6' x 0.3' is a very hard planetary to locate. Try as I might with the 16 and 7 Uwan with and without the Baader O111 filter I couldn't detect it, the object has a Sbr of 9.3 so should be possible. While searching for this I came accross a wonderful asterism, which looked like a straight line of stars, I counted 10 stars in a lovely straight line. These stars were dim, I would estimate mag 13 at least.

Off to Mars next and this must have been the brightest I have seen it yet. With the 4 Uwan inserted giving me x457 I was able to detect the polar cap, but no other details were observed, but must say it's pretty large now at 13.9" across.

Over to Ursa Major and the Owl Nebula M97, with my 16 Uwan Inserted I easily found the nebula and could detect the overall circular shape, the single eye was seen with my 7 Uwan at x261 .

You are meant to see M108 in the same FOV but once again I'm not sure I saw it. I tapped the OTA and did detect a very very dim mottled shape appear but I cannot be sure if this was M108 or not. I know I was in the right area and the stars on CduC did line up with where the galaxy should be, but I'm not ticking this one off my Messier list just yet.

Up to the Bodes Galaxy as always fantastic, just such a showcase object.

Over to one of my favourite planetary nebulas that being the Eskimo Nebula or Ngc2392 in Gemini. This object takes magnification so well and alot of detail can be seen when using my 7 Uwan and O111 filter. Lovely object and one I visit alot.

Down to Monoceros and the open cluster Ngc 2244, this is a wonderful large cluster at 27' in diameter. with the 28 Uwan I counted at least 30 bright stars many of them yellow in colour, and then a few very dim stars. I also saw what looks like a double star at the centre. Nebulosity was also detected which might indicate unseen stars as well.

Lastly I went hunting for the M48 in Hydra an open cluster of about 80 stars. 50 of these are brighter than magnitude 13 and are easily visible in my 28 Uwan. M48 is about 23 light-years in diameter and is located some 1,500 light-years from Earth. Its age is estimated at about 300 million years. A very impressive cluster and a nice one to round the nights observing with.

Thats 2 more Messier objects and 5 more Herschel Objects found.

Edited by Doc
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M108 is (or was) easily visible in same fov as M97 in my baby 10" lightbridge using a 26 mm ep. I used to have excellent seeing conditions from my viewing site but new housing in the area has badly affected viewing.

Tonight is supposed to be clear and wind free so Im going to have a go. I'll let you know if I can still see either of these two objects

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Nice and detailed report as always Mick. I came home late yesterday evening and grabbed the William Optics SD66 for a look around Orion and Monoceros. Found NGC 2301 a very nice cluster even in 66mm frac.

Mick meant to ask you how have you found your O 111 filter - has it come up to expectation?

Mark

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Thanks guys it was indeed a great night, the highlight seeing a smudge and knowing it's Pal2

Nice and detailed report as always Mick. I came home late yesterday evening and grabbed the William Optics SD66 for a look around Orion and Monoceros. Found NGC 2301 a very nice cluster even in 66mm frac.

Mick meant to ask you how have you found your O 111 filter - has it come up to expectation?

Mark

The O111 filter Mark does take some getting use to. For starters it turns everything green. But with a little practise it comes up trumps on many objects.

Blinking the O111 does take some practise but when you get the hang of it, those little nebs to pop out.

Which one have you bought Mark?

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Mick I have been using the Skywatcher UHC filter which is ok on my 10". However, I have been thinking of purchasing the Skywatcher O111, possibly getting it at Astrofest. I knew you had one and I felt you would give a honest answer on their usefulness.

Mark

If you enjoy hunting down elusive planetaries then they are great, if not then I wouldn't bother. With one exemption the Veil is awesome through one.

Edited by Doc
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Thanks for that positive answer Mick. I will delay the decision and possibly get Steve to bring one over to SGL5. The view of the Veil from my dark site is great with the UHC so it will be interesting to see if that can be improved. I think Cygnus will be rising in the early hours at Lucksall so it will be a good time to view it.

By the way well done on bagging Pal 2. You are going to enjoy yourself at the dark site at Lucksall in April.

Mark

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Well that confirms my worst fears. I tried to observe m108 and m97 but despite a clear moonless night I couldnt see them. I now have, due to a new housing scheme, 2 street lights plus numerous house and security lights directly polluting my observing site.

Why do people hate the night sky so much?

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Pal 2 is a great trophy! :D

I been postponing the read of this report till I had the time to follow through with Google Earth for images (google doens't know Pal 2 exists! :)). Thanks again for the time you put into your reports. I find they help me knowing what mag to use for some of those elusive objects you tend to pick.

I need another go on M78 and M97. I didn't get to see that much detail on either, and probably won't due to my smaller scope, but still I'll give them another try to squeeze whatever I can out of them.

Edited by pvaz
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