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Hypernova

A little deep sky tour

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Two clear nights in row is pretty good going I think so I thought I might as well make the most of it. The sky was mostly clear last night but there was a lot of moisture in the air and possibly a slight haze which might have affected viewing. My aims for the evening were to try and observe a few more obscure and faint DSOs in the clear patch of sky to my North. This area included the constellations of Perseus, Andromeda and Cephus at the time I was observing so I scoured the sky atlas for potential targets. So off I went with the dob mainly, I had it out and cooled down by around 8-ish. I also glanced through the binoculars one in a while to pass the time and to scout out for comet Hartley.

So the targets that I successfully viewed last night included: (not a big list)

Comet Hartley- The obvious target for any night's observing now. The amount of movement of the comet in one night is amazing, stellarium says about 2 1/2 degrees. The coma is quite large and easily visible as a bright haze in the binoculars even from my light polluted skies. I hope this sticks around in a good position for a few weeks more. I can see already though that it is starting to sink a little towards the eastern horizon slowly but is soon up high when midnight comes.

NGC 40- A small planetary nebula in northern Cephus, well placed by mid evening and should be good for viewing all year round. One thing to note about this object is the very bright central star, it is 11th magnitude and easily visible in my dob. The star is surrounded by a faint haze probably well under 1' in diameter which reveals itself with averted vision. My eyes couldn't detect any structure or mottling in the surface.

NGC 1023- This is a small but bright lenticular galaxy in Perseus not too far from NGC 891. Readily visible with direct vision and appeared brighter than M110. Unsurprising no structure visible but a brighter core area was seen with a fainter halo. This galaxy should be a good target for anyone with a moderate sized 'scope.

IC 2149- Yet another planetary nebula, this time in Auriga. Very small this one and almost indistinguishable from a star even at moderately high powers. Noticeably smaller than the Lemon Slice Nebula and only a slight bloating was observed at 200x with no other detail or central star seen.

I did try to view the edge on spiral galaxy NGC 891 but I was unsuccessful. I was in the right star field but there was nothing to be seen. It might've been the slight haze that scuppered things but I have heard that this particular galaxy can be tricky to view for some.

I did also move away from deep sky at the end of the night to view Jupiter. The seeing was surprisingly good despite the haze and I was able to see the GRS and some delicate detail in the cloud bands. At 200x, details like the snakes in the NEZ and the dark spots in the southern polar region became apparent. The view was amazing in periods of good seeing and I feel that was my best viewing of Jupiter to date. It was a shame that there were no moon transits or occultations were occurring at the time.

That was it for the night. I just have to note that I had problems with dewing up of the eyepieces throughout the night. The dew problem only occurred when they were cold and my eye was placed close to them when observing. I found the only way to temporarily rid myself of this issue was to hold each eyepiece in my hand for a while before looking through it to warm it up. Has anyone else had this problem and how do you cope with it?

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Some good targets there Tom, and congrats on seeing Hartley. I've managed to miss it every time so far (two nights of cloud hasn't helped)... :D

I think most of us have a problem with EP's misting up from time to time, and you should try and avoid inadvertently breathing on them when you're close to the EP. I usually put mine under my armpit for a short while, or inside my jacket to warm 'em up.

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Nice report Tom. Some really nice unusual objects, will have to give those a try myself at the next scag meet. And it amazing how much the comet moves in one night.

Edited by russ

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I agree with Tantalus to avoid breathing on them. As I pull my head away from the eyepiece it is natural to breath out a sigh, hopefully out of satisfaction, often out of frustration :D and that's when the problem starts.

On the dew question, in the absence of any formal dew heating control, I try to avoid my eyepiece being exposed at all to the elements when I'm not looking through it and do so by immediately covering it with a suitably sized small plastic container till I the next moment I observe through it. Same with the end of the tube (reflector) or the objective lens (refractor) as soon as I've finished viewing, I cover them up and rely on my finder (now taking of its own covers) or GOTO to locate the next object. It's a pain and a fiddle but many a time I have still been observing when my observing chums are starting to locate their hairdryers etc.

Thanks for the report by the way. Clear skies.

James

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Nice report Tom. I am hoping to view NGC40 tonight - this is the first DSO in Herschel 400 list.

Don't know IC2149 so will give this a go as well.

mark

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On the issue of dew, I do not believe that the problem is me breathing on the lens. The dewing occurs when my eye is at the eyepiece and my mouth and nostrils are down to side. Could it be that the moisture from my eyes are to blame?

I will start keeping my eyepieces in my jacket pockets from now on to keep them warm while not being used.

Also an OIII or UHC filter might be on my shopping list for the near future if it would be worth it.

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But watch the dust and hairs from pockets! I think you just go in when it dews unless you take out a 12v hair dryers to keep the dew off...Some nights its hours before the dew wins..

Mark

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