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Observation Report 3/4/10


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So it was a clear night in Melbourne on Saturday 3rd April. Although the moon was a problem, somehow the transparency was very good, with the moon the NELM was still around 4.5. Even with the moon up I succeeded in observing a couple of galaxies and nebulae. The seeing however was freakin rubbish, e.g. Saturn was unfocasable at 250x, and only marginal at 156x. It was also windy, now, I don't mind a slight breeze as it prevents dew formation, but I didn't ask for a blumming Hurricane! Later in the night, the wind died down and seeing slightly improved.

After I came in at 3am, I realised that daylight saving had ended at that moment, so effectively I called it quits at only 2am! I could've had an extra hour of observing!

The scope used was the 10" dob.

Time: 9:15pm-3am

Scope: 10" F/5 GSO dob

Seeing: 3/10

Transparency: 5/5

Moon: Waning gibbous, illumination 75%

NGC 2467

HII Region, Puppis, RA= 7 52 05 Dec= 26º 45' 48", Size= 8x7', Mag V= 7.1

I have observed this object with the 120st before, but in the 10" it is significantly better and more detailed. At 96x, the main portion was clearly dome-shaped with the "dome" on the southern edge. The center of the cloud was slightly darker than the outer extremeties, and the northern edge was sharply defined with a dark lane seperating it from a very faint haze to the north. OIII filter provideds excellent contrast boost. Using OIII, the contrast between the nebula's center and outer was much more pronounced, with a brighter region running from the west to south portion of the outer extremety. A brighter knot was seen at the eastern end of the "dome".

NGC 2477

OC, Puppis, RA= 7 52 9.8, Dec= 38º 32' 00" , Size= 27', Mag V= 5.8

The countless stars of this fantastic cluster really became alive in the 10". Gorgoeus in the 13mm LVW at 96x, with the central 2/3rds of the field swamped. The stars are apparently arranged in streamers and arcs, seperated by large dark voids. A particulary obvious void was seen just SE of the centre. Two thick dark voids could be seen slicing the cluster running south from the centre. The 8mm EP at 156x provided an even better view, with the stars appearing much brighter. It seems as you increase power here, the stars just "gain" brightness! At this mag, a faint reddish star could be seen sitting almost alone in the middle of a dark void just SE of the cluster's centre.

Leo Triplet

By now the moon was up, but the sky transparency seemed very good despite. I managed to glimpse NGC 3628 as a faint sliver of light at 156x, with a slightly fatter core region.

M65- Condensed core, slightly larger and more diffuse than M66, with a stellaring in the core hinted at. Broad, but faint oval halo elongated NNW-SSE.

M66- Tighter core than M65, elongated N-S with a stellaring in the core hinted at.

NGC 3132

PNe, Vela, RA= 10 07 01.73, Dec= -40º26' 12", Size= 84x53", Mag V= 9.9

250x - the SE end appeared confined in a solid ring, which only encompasses the southern half of the planetary, while the northwest end was diffuse. A dark gap could be seen on the SW side between this ring and the central star. OIII provided good improvement, with the northwestern portion of the ring, just before it tapers off, being brighter than the rest, while the entire ring structure in general was better defined.


At this time, it was around 12:30am, and spotted a high flying jet. I caught the aircraft in the scope and could see its contrails floating among the stars, quite a unique sight! The plane aslo flew directly infront of what I believe was open cluster NGC 6124.


I tried a few planetaries in Lupus, and I gotta say there are some very nice ones here.

NGC 5882

PNe, Lupus, RA= 16 50 49.9, Dec= -45º 38' 58.5" , Size= 14" , Mag V= 9.5

At 156x, this excellent planetary could be seen as a small, very high surface brightness, round sharply defined orb. No detail could be seen. At 250x, it appearedvery slightly elongated N-S, but otherwise no improvement on the lower mag view. This object I suspect will handle the reckless magnifications should seeing permit as its sfc brightness really is among the highest I've seen in a PNe.

IC 4406

PNe, Lupus, RA= 14 22 26.4, Dec= -44º 09' 04" , Size= 102x36" , Mag V= 10.3

Appeared bright at 156x, and forms a lopsided triangle with two 12th mag stars 2' to the NW. A thick, wide apple-core shape could be seen, with the long axis orientated N-S. Bright, but lacks any colour. At 250x, this feature exibited fainter extensions either side along its E-W axis, each stretching roughly half of the diameter of the apple core outwards. Despite poor seeing, I upped the mag to 353x and suspected mottling in the apple core, while the OIII filter enhanced the mottling. The outer extensions could now be glimpsed slightly further out aswell.

DSS images show a bizzare cucumber shaped thing, which apparently is a Cheerio viewed edge on.

NGC 5873

PNe, Lupus, RA= 15 12 50.9, Dec= -38º 07' 34" , Size= 7" , Mag V= 11.

Extremely tiny, but high sfc brightness planetary. Stellar at low power. Even at 156x, the only clues it gives away is its appearance as a slightly out of focus "star", with a bluish tint. Forms a neat diamond with an 11th and two 12th mag stars to the SW. Spectacularly tiny, sharply defined orb at 250x, with a bluish tint. Forms a "double" with a 13th mag star which I'd estimate is only 6" SW of the planetary. The view at 353x with the OIII filter was quite astounding. The planetary appeared egg-shaped, elongated E-W, and very sharply defined, literally like a knife-edge, rather than that fuzziness associated with objects of diffuse nature. The northern edge appeared to contain an elongated brightening which was almost glittering - maybe because of seeing, and the colour was a vivid sky blue. A fantastic object that must be revisited in better conditions.

Observed the moon before calling it quits, been ages since I looked at it. Saw the 4 main craterlets in Plato, with the "double" well resolved, and occasionally two more popped in when the seeing settled.

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SAB - brilliant report! Always a pleasure to read. Really like your descriptions. That last planetary was a good capture at Mag 11 with the moon out. Hooray for some decent sky transparency and none of your dreaded melbourne cloud !! :(

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SAB - I love these reports and really impressed with what you were picking out with the moon as it was.

Excellent targets on the planetaries and was thinking of giving them a go and then I remembered where you live


Nice one mate and please keep them going


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