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Barnard 7
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Poster: cildarith (see all of this user's photos)
Description: Barnard 7
Dark Nebula in Taurus
Parks Astrolight EQ6 • 6" f/6 Newtonian Reflector
30mm Parks Gold Series Plössl • 30x
Field of View 104'
31 December 2007 • 05:15-06:30 UT

In northern Taurus, east of the brilliant Pleiades and west of the elusive supernova remnant Simeis 147 stretches a vast network of dark nebulosity known collectively as the Taurus Dark Cloud. The Taurus dark nebulae are very challenging visual targets (even for this elusive class) because they lie some distance from the star-studded plane of the Milky Way, nor are they associated with much in the way of contrasting bright nebulosity. They are, instead, best noticed by fields strongly devoid of all but a few foreground stars punctuated by occasional patches of a deeper darkness than the ambient skyglow.

One of these patches, designated Barnard 7 (LDN 1495), may be found about 80' north-northwest of 5th-magnitude Phi Tauri. The amorphous dark patch spans and arc between a pair of 8th magnitude stars (HD 27159 and HD 26709) with the most extensive and prominent concentration of dust to the north-northwest of the former star. I used my widest-field low power eyepiece (a 30mm Parks G.S-5 Plössl, yielding a magnification of 30x and 104' field of view) to frame the 96' extent of the dark cloud. Sweeping the scope across the face of the nebulosity and back again helped to estimate the extent and shape of Barnard 7. It was a very challenging object to sketch and the view presented here certainly exaggerates the contrast between this object and the background skyglow. Barnard 7 gives the impression of a sinister shadow, blacker than midnight, crouched over the reddish glow of HD 27159.

Immediately north of this star, I occasionally sensed a subtle brightening in the sky background. This corresponds to the position of a faint reflection nebula known as IC 359. I am not 100% confident that I saw this, but I've included the slightest hint of bright nebulosity on the sketch for future reference.

Post Laureate

Registered: 3/7/2005
Posts: 4828

Simply wonderful sketch and report!

Fri Jun 26, 2009 11:26am
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