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Sky Atlas-project sketches 2009

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#1 JakeSaloranta

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 12:20 PM

Encouraged by Juha I'll post two of my observing reports from last season with sketches.

I started a new observing project in full force this month - trying to observe all of the (roughly 2700) deep sky objects listed in Sky Atlas 2000.0 Deluxe edition with my 4.7" refractor (or 4.1" reflector). So obviously this is a long term project but I have time. Here are some preliminary observations from March and April 2009.

Telescope: 4.7" Sky-Watcher
Obs. place: Hindsby, Sipoo, Finland
Date: 26./27.3.2009
Bortle class: 4 (Rural / suburban transition)
NE Lim.mag: ~6.5 (UMi - SAO 8211)
Background sky: 3
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 2-3
Sky conditions: Light domes evident in SW-NW
Aurora activity: None (~10 nT/sec)
Weather: -7.7°C, humidity ~58%, no wind

I've sketched the double cluster at least a dozen times with at least 5 different telescopes but the results have always been poor at best. I've sketched it on twilight and with the full moon (removing fainter background stars). I've tried my best with high magnification, low magnification, medium magnification and whatever comes in between but none of these just seems to do the trick.

The pair was setting behind the tree line and sitting in some light pollution so here was my final chance to get it right. I started with NGC 884. Here is my description "More scattered than NGC 869 with about 80* within 20'. Three stars have obvious red color rest blue/white. Two clumps of stars slightly W from the center. A lot of empty space in the E side of the cluster".
Posted Image
NGC 884 with 4.7" Sky-Watcher @ 61x

Next was NGC 869 that I didn't find quite as impressive: "Not as rich or as colorful as 884 but more concentrated toward the middle. Needs more magnification than 884. . ."
Posted Image
NGC 869 with 4.7" Sky-Watcher @ 76x

The combination of the two sketches:
Posted Image

I moved north to Stock 2 in Cassiopeia. I've always liked the "8 Persei Cascade" that leads from the Double Cluster to Stock 2. It contains roughly 10 stars of magnitudes 5.8 - 9.6 and is actually visible with the naked eye as a "stick" pointing to NW. A little like the "Golf Club" asterism next to NGC 752. I sketched the cluster with 25mm Sirius Plössl eye piece which obviously wasn't the best of choices. I should have tried the 40mm Plössl instead providing the tasty field of view of 2° 32'. The description was as follows: "Rich and very large open cluster. Low in the sky. Impressive with small apertures and small magnifications. The "Muscleman" shape was obvious but not so in the sketch".
Posted Image
Stock 2 with 4.7" Sky-Watcher @ 30x

Last in line was NGC 7789. Under darker skies (or a larger telescope) the several dark lanes run across the face of the cluster making the view truly breathtaking and find it safe to say it is Cassiopeia's finest. My description of the object says: "Rich cluster with a strong background glow. Roughly 40* resolved within 15' area. Only a few field stars sketched to save time".
Posted Image
NGC 7789 with 4.7" Sky-Watcher @ 61x

/Jake

#2 JakeSaloranta

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 12:23 PM

Telescope: 4.1" Tal-1
Obs. place: Tottijärvi, Nokia, Finland
Date: 10./11.4.2009
Bortle class: Class 3
NE Lim.mag: - (not measured but close to 7)
Background sky: 2
Seeing: 1-2
Transparency: 2
Weather: +0°C, no wind, 98.1% moon rising from the east.

I started with something simple and easy that I could locate without maps - Messier 37 in good old Auriga. I am not at all pleased with any of the previous sketches I have of it so here was my chance. The sky was still quite bright and twilight was obvious but I didn't have much time to waste. The shape came out pretty peculiar but I was still pleased enough to scan and upload it. The best view came with 107x. I counted roughly 90* of different colors (mostly light blue and few reds and oranges) within a 10' radius."
Posted Image
Messier 37 with 4.5" Tal-1 @ 107x

After sketching M37 I moved the telescope gently down to Cancer and M67. The cluster is one of my favorites. Maybe it has something to do with the first time I viewed the cluster and clearly saw an octopus or maybe not but there just is something about this ancient cluster I just find hypnotizing. It is quite not as rich looking as M37 with small apertures but still is quite the eye catcher. To keep the cluster as compact as possible I decided to go with the 64x for the field of view."
Posted Image
Messier 67 with 4.5" Tal-1 @ 64x

Viewing NGC 3172 has nothing to do with the Sky Atlas-project but I've always wondered if it could be spotted in an instrument smaller than 6". In the 1996 book "Syvä Taivas" ("Deep Sky" in English) the author and legendary deep sky observer Risto Heikkilä states that "The galaxy can be seen even with small instruments. Stephen Knight from Maine, US has reported seeing the galaxy even in a 6" telescope". So could I do it? The moon was rising from the east and it was going to be big and ugly. Wolfgang Steinicke's NGC-data has the galaxy listed at 14.4 (v) magnitude with a surface brightness of 13.9. This does seem a tad bit too faint. Uranometria field guide has it at 13.8 (v) magnitude and surface brightness at 13.5. This seems to be closer to the truth.

I popped quickly back in the house to get my laptop and a printed map of Uranometria's page 1 (which proved totally useless). I thought that even if the galaxy itself was invisible I could do some limiting magnitude tests with the telescope. Luckily that wasn't necessary. Using the telescope @ 162x I was able to spot a faint but still an obvious round, even brightness glow in the correct position - SE from the star GSC 4644-0086. I sketched all the stars in the field and the faintest one visible was roughly 14.8 (v) magnitude.

I have to say I was quite pleased. All this was done with a low quality 3x barlow lens and even worse quality 15mm Kellner eye piece. I'm sure I could have gone a lot deeper with my own Baader Hyperion oculars.
Posted Image
NGC 3172 with 4.5" Tal-1 @ 162x

I had time for one more object before the girlfriend would be out and demanding to see something more... "rewarding" with her telescope. I wanted to try for a planetary I haven't seen in a few years - IC 3568. I maxed out the magnification and long story short, here is the result: "Bright disk with a fairly bright central star".
Posted Image
IC 3568 with 4.5" Tal-1 @ 382x

/Jake

#3 kraterkid

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 01:44 PM

Superb sketches Jake! :bow: :rainbow: :bow: I love the Double Cluster combined sketch, a brilliant project. Exceptional sketching! :waytogo:

#4 Jef De Wit

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 03:02 PM

Jake
Are you going to sketch all the 2.700 DSO?

#5 JakeSaloranta

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 03:47 PM

Are you going to sketch all the 2.700 DSO?


Yes! Observe and sketch. Left that out of the intro apparently...

/Jake

#6 Shannon s

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 04:52 PM

GOOD GOD MAN, all of them? Great report and sketches.Well looking forward to the next 2,693 of them.

#7 FJA

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 05:39 PM

Wow, I wonder how long that's going to take you Jake? That's an ambitious project you have taken on there, good luck with it. :bow:

Awesome sketches, accurate open cluster too. The trouble with sketching oc's - especially the rich ones - is that they can drive one up the wall if you try to plot every single star in them.

#8 frank5817

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 06:49 PM

Jake,

You are off to a great start. These sketches are very good
sketches of your first targets. Best wishes to you on reaching your goal. :bow: :rainbow:

Frank :)

#9 Tommy5

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 09:40 PM

Great sketches the double cluster is really interesting bravo.

#10 Special Ed

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 05:38 AM

Jake,

You're off to a good start on your project--the combined Double Cluster is especially striking.

I've noticed that you present your sketches in the positive (i.e., not inverted). That always seems to give sketches better contrast to my eye.

There is a school of thought that holds that the best projects are ones that take years to complete. Good luck! :cool:

#11 Ragaisis

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 09:24 AM

After seeing Jake's work I know the kind of sketcher I want to be when I grow up!

Chris

#12 cildarith

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 09:30 AM

Very nice, Jake. Thanks for the report and sketches - hope to see more soon! :waytogo:

#13 JakeSaloranta

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 10:40 AM

Wow, I wonder how long that's going to take you Jake?


Two decades probably! The biggest problem with the 4.7" is that really seeings things with it requires very dark skies.

And with the typical 30-50 clear nights a year... it is gonna take a long time! Few trips to Australia or somewhere else will surely ease up the load :)

/Jake

#14 FJA

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 12:13 PM

Wow, I wonder how long that's going to take you Jake?


Two decades probably! The biggest problem with the 4.7" is that really seeings things with it requires very dark skies.

And with the typical 30-50 clear nights a year... it is gonna take a long time! Few trips to Australia or somewhere else will surely ease up the load :)

/Jake


Perfect excuse...I mean reason...for long observing trips! ;)

I see from Iiro Sarainen's website that he has an expedition to Western Australia lined up. You going to be on that trip too Jake?

#15 i_sairanen

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 12:05 PM

A pompous project compared to my own H400-project!

I see from Iiro Sarainen's website that he has an expedition to Western Australia lined up. You going to be on that trip too Jake?


Astronomy is a really good excuse to travel around the world :) Unfortunately I will make my journey to Geraldton Western Australia without Jaakko, but thankfully I have two other deepsky-fellows with me. It's gonna be interesting six weeks.

#16 FJA

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 12:30 PM

It certainly is, Iiro. I hope we all get to read about it? If you have not been to the Southern Hemisphere before, you're in for a fantastic deep sky observing experience. I've been to the Southern Hemisphere four times and while only one trip was a dedicated astronomy trip, I have managed to get at least some observing in on each occasion, and it is always fabulous.

#17 CarlosEH

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 02:03 PM

Jake,

An outstanding set of deep sky observations and an ambitious project. You have captured all of these objects very nicely in your two instruments. The view of such objects through moderate aperture instruments as you own is very pleasing.

I took the liberty in inverting your excellent Double Cluster (NGC 869/884) observation and placing it into an "eyepiece" type view. I inverted your image in Photoshop and applied a gentle Gaussian Blur (0.5 pixel). I think it came out nice. I hope that you like it.

I look forward to more observations in the future.

Carlos

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#18 Aldebaran

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 04:41 PM

A pompous project compared to my own H400-project!


I see from Iiro Sarainen's website that he has an expedition to Western Australia lined up. You going to be on that trip too Jake?


Astronomy is a really good excuse to travel around the world :) Unfortunately I will make my journey to Geraldton Western Australia without Jaakko, but thankfully I have two other deepsky-fellows with me. It's gonna be interesting six weeks.


That trip to Australia is certainly going to be an unforgettable experience!

The observing project of Jaakko is without a doubt very ambitious, and it is interesting to see more skethces in future!

Also I'm planning a deep sky trip to southern latitudes in near future. The exact date and place of the trip aren't yet clear. But I will post some reports as soon as the trip is done! :)

#19 JakeSaloranta

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 09:05 AM

I see from Iiro Sarainen's website that he has an expedition to Western Australia lined up. You going to be on that trip too Jake?


This time the master is going without me. I just started my studies at a new school and cannot take the 6 weeks off - unfortunately. Maybe when I graduate... in 20... something I'll take that trip I've been wanting to take for over a decade :)

/Jake

#20 JakeSaloranta

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 09:07 AM

I think it came out nice. I hope that you like it.



Looking sharp Carlos :bow:! Thanks for that. I'll save it to my hard drive.

#21 Hrundi

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 10:08 PM

Absolutely brilliant sketches, I'm a definite fan of the minimalist sketching style.
What are you studying? :p

#22 JakeSaloranta

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 10:36 AM

What are you studying? :p


Health care. So don't drink and observe. :)

/Jake

#23 rolandlinda3

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 12:09 PM

I like all your sketches but the double cluster is a favorite.

#24 Jeff Young

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 06:51 AM

Lovely sketches, Jake.

-- Jeff.






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