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M1 Crab Nebula and M78 - how difficult for you?


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Hi Shane

I had a go at M1 last night in my 8" under my usual light pollution 6 mile from B'Ham city center & 6 ft from nearest surrounding houses. All I can say is THANK GOD FOR GOTO!!!! best investment to date. My goto is off slightly I assume to backlash ( and a 22mm house brick :)) so it means I have to have a little search for stuff in the FOV. This occasion there was nothing. The moon was almost full so I wasn't holding my breath but thought I'd try my Castell OIII. After your review Sahne I thought this might help. Well yes it did make some thing "stand out" (loose term of words) and I was able to center into view. Other than experience telling me there was some thing there & coupled with dark adapted averted vision I almost wouldn't have found it even with GT. Only the fact the GT got me to the vicinity and the OIII lit a little reflection from the nebula did I get to see what was nothing anyway. Very faint would be an understatement so I think you managing to find it in a dob was an outstanding achievement. Only the fact that last night the moon was high and almost full will I bother to attempt M1 again in the hope a moon free sky will give me some thing.

To me pictures speak a thousand words.

Here is what I should see and a very close what I did see. M1 Crab nebula, 21:50 16/12/10, 9mm Nagler (x 111.1), 8" F/5, Castell OIII

Might be worth mentioning this is roughly what I saw with averted vision so you wouldn't have got this view looking straight at it..... but I wanted to give an idea what I saw and my descriptions can sometimes be painful :)

Edited by spaceboy
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I did think that myself Alan. In stellarium this is the image it shown I confirmed M1 Crab Neb???? I was worried I was looking at the wrong thing last night as surly I would have seen the star if not the neb! Either way the adjustment look approx what I saw last night even if the stellarium got the original pic wrong.

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This is how M1 appeared to me last winter in my 16"

M1-17Jan10.png

definitely no central star visible to me, but there is a brighter star close to it. Can't remember what magnitude it is. Maybe this is the star you were seeing in Stellarium. That program can pile things on top of each other if you are not zoomed in close enough to an object :)

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If I go out under dark skies it will be with a 10" dob so hopefully I should see more either way (if I can find it) but this is one neb I really wanted to see. I think I will have to go to a star party and see if anyone will let me look through a 20" :) I read that when the crab was a star that was brighter than Venus and towards the end of it's life it was visible during the day WOW :)

I am waiting for Betelgeuse to pop as it is suggested this is next on the cards ????

PS Acey I'm not as talented as you on sketching ...mine was Photoshop'ed

Edited by spaceboy
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PS Acey I'm not as talented as you on sketching ...mine was Photoshop'ed

"Mine" was googled!

I can't see any central star on the Stellarium image, only a bright condensation. We know there's no central star visible to amateur scopes, only a pulsar that's about 30km across, which has been imaged by professional astronomers: Hubble views the Crab Nebula M1

Lord Rosse's drawing explains why he called it "crab" (he thought it resembled a spider crab), though a better description for his version might be "pineapple".

post-14602-133877511552_thumb.jpg

post-14602-133877511555_thumb.jpg

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I managed to see it last night even with the moon in the 12". it's relatively straightforward with the Telrad once you know where it is. I found last night that rocking the scope back and forth made the thing 'pop' (well maybe not 'pop') a little more and become more obvious - GOTO averted vision? :)

Edited by Moonshane
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"Mine" was googled!

I can't see any central star on the Stellarium image, only a bright condensation. We know there's no central star visible to amateur scopes, only a pulsar that's about 30km across, which has been imaged by professional astronomers: Hubble views the Crab Nebula M1

Lord Rosse's drawing explains why he called it "crab" (he thought it resembled a spider crab), though a better description for his version might be "pineapple".

I have been messing with all the settings in stellarium to try and get the view the same as my skies. Looks like I need to reset them to default if you can't see any thing on yours.

Agree with the pineapple nebula description but I don't think he would have seen a pineapple. I may be wrong but I think exotic fruits like pineapple and bananas were rare those days due to moving them around the globe :)

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I meant I couldn't see any central star on your first image. Interesting idea to try and get the sort of view you would expect: the second image you came up with looks right in that respect. It shows a double condensation, also visible in the sketch I googled, which is something to look for.

Another quick google tells me the first pineapple in UK was delivered to Oliver Cromwell and they were a staple ingredient of Victorian Christmas cakes - so they would certainly have been on Lord Rosse's menu.:)

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Another quick google tells me the first pineapple in UK was delivered to Oliver Cromwell and they were a staple ingredient of Victorian Christmas cakes - so they would certainly have been on Lord Rosse's menu.:)

I stand corrected my good man :)

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I managed to see it last night even with the moon in the 12". it's relatively straightforward with the Telrad once you know where it is. I found last night that rocking the scope back and forth made the thing 'pop' (well maybe not 'pop') a little more and become more obvious - GOTO averted vision? :)

I would be very interested to see how your dob performed under my skies. Is the 12" Hilux ed ?? And where can I get one of those GOTO Averted vision for my dob as I think I'm gona need one :)

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I think I am a little lucky as my house faces almost directly west and so my observable sky is north to east to south. this has a couple of advantages 1) I get to see things as they rise 2) I have a house between the worst of the LP and me. also, our estate is such that the houses are back to back and therefore the street lamps are also on the other side of houses. as such it's about as god as it can be in my position.

I am not sure of the spec of my scope but the seller knew the original owner who was quite wealthy and into imaging so I expect it is at least 1/6 PV and HILUX coated but may possibly be better. I have never felt the need to get it tested but might do before / if I sell it (e.g. if my dream comes off next year of a home built 18") to make sure I don't give away a stunner! :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I got M78 from my suburban site yesterday in 15x70s. M1 is also doable. Try M74, that is very hard. Failed to get it in 15x70s from a quite dark site in South Africa, got it yesterday after much searching with my C8 from my back garden. Would love to get a look at it from a dark site.

Edited by michael.h.f.wilkinson
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I'm reaching the conclusion my eyes can easily detect faint objects, however I struggle to detect color even on M42 and the Blue Snowball. My wife says they both show obvious green and blue tints, but I can only get a hint when transparency is excellent.

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I'm reaching the conclusion my eyes can easily detect faint objects, however I struggle to detect color even on M42 and the Blue Snowball. My wife says they both show obvious green and blue tints, but I can only get a hint when transparency is excellent.

I find an LPR filter helps spotting colour in M42 (though only on good nights).

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I'm reaching the conclusion my eyes can easily detect faint objects, however I struggle to detect color even on M42 and the Blue Snowball. My wife says they both show obvious green and blue tints, but I can only get a hint when transparency is excellent.

I can't say I have ever seen colour in M42 but the Blue snowball is blue and M57 is green. It's not striking colour but it is apparent. I take it you see colour with double stars like Albireo (Beta Cygni) ?

I saw the blue snowball for the 1st time the other day and I was well impressed. The sky never ceases to amaze me how many different objects it has to offer.

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