NGC 1931, 2261, 2244, 2022, IC 418
Posted 09 February 2009 - 12:49 AM
From February 1st through February 3rd, 2009 I was able to observe each night. On each item here (I did 12 total sketches/observations) I did a sketch from the view of my 21mm Stratus at 53x and then either using the 13mm Stratus or the 13mm Stratus with a Barlow or with a 9mm TMB or Expanse.
I began on 2/1/09 by going to Auriga and looking at M37, 38, and 36. Near M36 is a often overlooked cluster with nebulosity and I had it on my list to find and sketch NGC 1931. Here is some information on NGC 1931 from the net:
"NGC 1931 is located in the constellation of Auriga, about 10,000 light years from earth. It is just west of the M36 star cluster. NGC 1931 is a relatively small, young open star cluster and reflection nebula, with a core of new white hot stars. In its center are four stars in a roughly trapezoidal configuration."
I used both a 21mm Stratus and a 13mm Stratus to observe the object. For the sketch I used my 9mm with a 2x shorty barlow giving me 266x. Nebulosity was present and visible and averted vision helped me to see it. I was fighting a waxing gibbious moon and I'm sure that hampered my seeing. Here is my sketch:
My next object that evening was NGC 2261, Hubble's Variable Nebula. This object really does look like a comet when viewed. The variability of this nebula is caused by the star R-Monocerotis which is at the southern tip of the nebula and illuminates it.
I viewed the comet at 53x, 92x and at 133x and sketched it at the 53x and the 133x (which is below). This object takes magnification well, and is fun to observe over time to see how it varies in its light. Conditions were not dark since the waxing moon was out and I would love to see it under a dark sky but in winter, I figured better to see when I can since I never know about weather. Some of my notes on the sketch (something new I'm doing that I am enjoying) are as follows:
I wanted to include on those stars that might help me or someone else to find this object or that I readily see. Sometimes I feel I include too many stars.
The west side seemed brighter than the rest of the nebula and became diffused as it flared back.
I broke the sketch into four quadrants, and began in quad 1, moving to quad 2, then to the center and then to quad 3 and 4. Finally I adjusted the highlights in the flame at the end.
NGC 2244 was next on February 2, and I spent a lot of time on this one. Located in the Rosette Nebula (which I could not see this night). NGC 2244 is about 50 light years across and 4500 light years away from us.
At the angle I was observing this cluster I wrote in my notes that it really reminded me of a scorpion. I started by breaking the cluster into four quadrants and decided to start in quadrant 3, move to 4, then go to 1 and finish in 2. I held to this pretty well, though I did move up from 4 into 2 just because I liked how the spacing of the stars were which I wanted to help in my positioning in quadrant 1.
Another object I had was fitting this in a 3 inch diameter circle. I feared I might start out small and then in the end make larger stars to compensate for spacing.
Review: Working the quadrants is really helping and is allowing me to make decisions in the sketch that seem to work for me at the scope. My positioning is still off, but not as bad, so I do see improvement there. Stars are small, but I feel I stayed consistent for the most part, though I see imperfections. Overall I feel the sketch is ok, but the learning that happen from it I was really happy about.
On February 3rd I did planetary nebula NGC 2022 in Orion. This is the brightest planetary nebula in Orion and is located near Orion's western shoulder. Star hopping is how to find this one, and it is very faint at low magnification but if you know what a planetary looks like, you'll pick it up really quick. NGC 2022 takes magnification really well.
This sketch was done at 133x and though averted vision seem to round it out, overall it appeared as a football or rugby ball shape to me. I only used 2 pencils instead of the 3 that I have been using to create the objects in the view. It was 1:30a.m. and I was starting to get cold and tired, and felt in some ways I had rushed this. I really enjoyed viewing this object.
My last object was on the evening of Feb. 3rd, and is IC 418, just below Orion. I viewed this at 53x, 133x and 186x and the best view to me was at 186x (the 13mm Stratus with a 2x barlow). The bright central star was visible to me and I seem to me to see the star, the nebulosity around it and then a very, very faint layer next to the layer that is next to the star. I saw a greater diffusion of light to the north and east on this object.
My goals were to show the central star and the nebulosity that surrounds it I want to capture the planetary nebula as I see it, while reflecting the faintness of the surrounding stars using a 2H pencil and finally try to show the greater diffusion to the north and east.
I I did a good job capturing the PN as I haven seen it. I'm happy with how the faintness of the stars came out. I don't think I caught the diffusion of the nebula to the north and east as much as I wanted. Overall I would rate it good and feel I am improving.
I think it is helping to write my observation down first, which is separate than the sketch, and on that sheet I do a quick sketch from low magnification so it acts as a finder. Then I observe for a while, then I move into sketching. Making goals for what I want to do on the sketch has helped and keeping those notes around the object is helping as well. As always, I like the original sketches better than the scanned images of them.
Posted 09 February 2009 - 02:19 AM
Thank you for your wonderful tour of various deep sky objects. You have recorded them very nicely and your descriptions are informative. I look forward to your future observations.
Posted 09 February 2009 - 03:38 PM
This is excellent work!
I think that you do a great job with these notes and sketches. I enjoy reading and looking at the sketches.
I would'nt mind a closer look at the field of views, but maybe you'll show them at a later time.
Posted 09 February 2009 - 08:27 PM
Very nice observing with sketches and reports. I like the format you use for keeping records of you sketches and reports. It reminds me of my own sketching and reports (just barely), only my sketches are not nearly as nice as these and my writing is very cryptic sometimes difficult for me to read and understand. I vote for how you do it.
Posted 10 February 2009 - 01:26 PM
WOW! Great stuff; you've been quite productive. The folks over in the Deep Sky Observing section would also be interested in an observing report like this. While CN frowns on duplicate posts, you can post a pointer from a thread in one section to a thread in another.
Your Hubble's Variable Nebula is really nice. I must look that one up. I tried Gyulbudaghian's (a similar but dimmer nebula) a few times, but never managed to pull it in.
Pump up the power more on IC418 -- even if it isn't crisp you may still reveal details you can't see at lower powers. I used 600X on it in my last sketch.
Similar to you, I do my notes (and sometimes a rough field sketch) on a separate piece of paper first, and then the "real" sketch. I transfer my notes directly to AstroPlanner though, rather then to my finished sketch.
I look forward to more!
Oh, one other note: since different instruments orient the view differently, it's helpful to put two directions at 90Â° to each other on your sketch -- so you might want to add a N pointer to go with your W ones. (Since you're using a Newt it will be counterclockwise from your W, but a refractor with a diagonal would have N clockwise from W.)
Posted 10 February 2009 - 02:51 PM
Great sketch work and excellent documentation. Your notes remind me that I need to do more documentation on my sketches. You have something to teach here as a new sketcher.
I look forward to seeing how the black paper and pastel chalks will eventualy work for you.
Keep up the great work!
Posted 11 February 2009 - 08:12 PM
I'm rather beat so I'll post the larger inverted images this weekend here.
Jeff, I took your advice and did a post in Deep Sky Observing with a link here. Thanks, and thanks again to everyone.
Posted 14 February 2009 - 02:44 AM
Posted 19 February 2009 - 09:01 AM