By Steve Coe
This is going to be the last What’s Up in the constellation format I have been using for the past 8 years. I have covered the entire sky except a few constellations that have virtually no deep sky objects—Equuleus, as an example. I have covered all the brightest deep sky objects and it has been an enjoyable journey for the writer, hopefully for the reader as well.
From now on, I am going to spend some time concentrating on the best objects around the sky. It will give me time to write about one bright and famous cluster, galaxy or nebula at a time. That way I can discuss what I have seen in a variety of telescopes and some information about the history and science of that object. I am looking forward to it and I hope you are too.
NGC 1807 6" f/8 refractor Antennas Seeing and Transparency are 7 out of 10. With a 27mm Panoptic eyepiece NGC 1807 is large, pretty bright, scattered with few faint members. This rather coarse cluster shows 21 stars involved.
Using a 17.5" f/4.5 Newtonian on a 6/10 night, the cluster is bright and not compressed. 31 stars were resolved at 135X.
NGC 1817 6" f/8 refractor with a 14mm UWA eyepiece, it is large, pretty rich, somewhat compressed, 28 stars counted as resolved and there is an obvious fuzzy background glow of unresolved stars. Averted vision resolved another 10 stars and makes the cluster larger and more prominent. This cluster is well detached from the background star field. The main, brighter stars are arranged in a figure "4" shape.
With the 17.5" f/4.5 NGC 1817 is bright, rich and resolved about 120 stars at 165X with the 8.8mm eyepiece. Many dim members "fill in" this cluster. NGC 1817 and NGC 1807 are in the same field of view, these two clusters form a “Poor Man's Double Cluster” since they are in the same wide angle field of view with the 2 inch barrel 38mm Erfle eyepiece.
M 1 is nicknamed the Crab Nebula since large telescopes and images show a network of filaments within this first Messier object. It is a supernova remnant.
In a 6" f/6 Maksutov-Newtonian on a night I rated 6 out of 10 for seeing and transparency, it is a rather high surface brightness oval at 40X. Using the 22mm Panoptic for low power the Crab nebula is very comet-like, I see why Messier started his list. Raising the power with an 8.8mm eyepiece shows it as bright, pretty large, elongated 1.8X1, somewhat brighter middle and the edges dimmer than center, the edges look "feathery". One very faint star is involved at the edge of the nebula.
Using my old SCT, Nexstar 11, on a 7/10 night at low power with a 35mm Panoptic it is bright, pretty large, much elongated 2.5X1. There are no stars involved within the Crab Nebula at low magnification. Moving up to 200X with the 14mm eyepiece, it shows off a fascinating gray-green color. There are 4 stars involved, all at the edges; none of these stars is the central pulsar.
In the 17.5" f/4.5 this nebula is bright, pretty large, elongated and somewhat brighter in the middle at 135X. Powers of up to 300X show a brighter inner region and a faint trace of the "Crab" filaments on the best of nights. There are three or four stars involved in the nebula, but the central pulsar was not seen, maybe it was turned off while we were observing!
M 1 17.5” f/4.5 200X no filter
IC 2087 13" f/5.6 Seeing=6 Transparency=8 very faint, pretty small, irregularly round, very little brighter in the middle. Averted vision and the hood over my head help a little, but it is still tough, a low surface brightness object if there ever was one!
With the 17.5" f/4.5 on a mediocre night (6/10) this nebula is very faint, pretty small, little elongated 1.5 X 1 in PA 90. Just seen at 150X, moving the scope helps, but the UHC filter makes it disappear. There are very few field stars in this part of the sky because IC 2087 is in front of the large dark nebula Barnard 22.