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M77 Over Downtown

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#1 JayKSC

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Posted 21 November 2009 - 10:41 PM

Hi all,

After my hunting for star clusters in Cassiopeia early last week, I decided to go for some galaxies last night. While periodic cumulus and cirrus clouds did not grant me the best transparency, I was nonetheless able to get a fantastic view of M77.

Posted Image

I later compared this sketch with one I did over ten years ago with an 8-inch cassegrain from good suburban skies. Experience does play at least as much a role in viewing objects as does aperture and dark skies; with the cassegrain, my sketch shows only a dim slightly hazy star and nothing more. With the 77mm refractor under city lights I was able to get a better view of this great galaxy.

If tomorrow night (or Monday night) is clear here, I plan to hunt for some of the brighter NGC galaxies nearby M77, as if I observe earlier in the evening, Cetus will not be bathed in the combined sky glow from downtown Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale. Even if sky conditions don't allow, I still had fun observing this distant galaxy.

- Jay
South Florida

#2 JayinUT

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 12:12 PM

Jay,

Marvelous capture of this fine galaxy. I took at look at her last week and you have capture the inner core and halo most excellent. I have to agree on experience, the more one has the more one is able to see finer details, at least until the eyes get older?

#3 JayKSC

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 01:56 PM

Thanks, Jay. I think that increased experience in using one's eyes to their maximum potential under the extreme low-light conditions involved in deep sky observing may at least partially offset for aging eyes. I hope this is the case; I'd hate to think that I'm in the prime of my deep sky observing!

- Jay
South Florida

#4 frank5817

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 05:42 PM

Jay,

Your sketch of this great galaxy looks wonderful. Very nice work.
:bow: :rainbow: :cool:

Frank :)

#5 Ptarmigan

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 07:27 PM

Pretty good for a small telescope in a light polluted sky. :cool: :bow:

#6 markseibold

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 08:10 AM

. . . increased experience in using one's eyes to their maximum potential under the extreme low-light conditions involved in deep sky observing may at least partially offset for aging eyes. I hope this is the case; I'd hate to think that I'm in the prime of my deep sky observing!

- Jay
South Florida


Jay

A beautiful rendering of this galaxy :bow: :bow: :bow:
I am guessing that you produced this with a digital mechanism. With my aging eyes, I miss what I read sometimes, hence why I stick to mostly sketching and do little writing. :question: Never mind my run-on sentences as I am practicing to write more :foreheadslap: :lol: :tonofbricks:

That is an intersting report that you are seeing more structure in M77 with a refractor under city lights rather than a larger reflector from suburban skies.

Can you elaborate further on this? Also how aged are your eyes? Sorry if that's a personal question; I just want to know if eyes can improve with age before my time is up! :confused: There's got to be a reason that you are seeing more in a DSO within light polluted skies. Do we possibly learn to see better with well trained- 'aged eyes'? :question:

I look forward to your next observations and sketches,

Mark

#7 JayKSC

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 09:09 AM

Thanks, Frank and Ptarmigan! I had fun viewing this galaxy.

Mark - Over the past few years I've become increasingly digital with my final sketches. For comparison of what my non-digital raw field sketches look like, here's an old one I did of M61, the only computer work done to it was inverting black to white (I don't save my more recent raw sketch scans on my hard drive since they're in plastic sheets in a log book). Old M61 sketch.

I use Paintshop Pro to invert the image and adjust brightness/contrast to attain the desired brightness of the deep sky object. I then use a round-tipped "paint brush" tool with a Gaussian cut-off to retouch the stars. This gives my stars a subtle drop-off in their glow, reminiscent of diffused light with photography. Lastly, I do very light touch-ups on the given deep sky object to adjust for any stray pencil markings from in the field or to smooth out roughness in the pencil work so that objects (esp. galaxies) don't suggest more detail than I saw.

As for observing and experience, I'm creeping up close to that 30-mark. My eyes are far from perfect, though. I suspect I'll need a slight adjustment to my glasses in the near future. Stephen James O'Meara writes about eye-sight, observing, and aging in one of his deep sky books (maybe his Messier book), and shares his experiences, which mine seem to replicate. O'Meara notes that he's found that he's able to see so much detail in deep sky objects through a 4-inch refractor as a result of his observing often and taking his time with each object he views. Thus, I greatly suspect that the effects of aging eyes can at least be counter-balanced with the gains from increased experience in observing and with increased patience.

- Jay
South Florida

#8 CarlosEH

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 05:14 PM

Jay,

An excellent observation of M77 in Cetus. This is an interesting spiral galaxy. Your digital rendering of this object os excellent. Thank you for sharing it with us all.

Carlos

#9 JayKSC

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 12:34 AM

Sadly, the skies tonight are quite cloudy, so no updates here.

Carlos - many thanks. Just a quick note, my sketch was originally made at the telescope with pencil and (rather soggy paper, thanks to South Florida humidity). I prefer to touch-up my stars using the computer at a later time after scanning my original sketch. I also invert the image and adjust brightness/contrast levels to best capture the given deep sky object as I observed it. :-) Just noting to remove any chance that anyone thinks my sketches are purely digital. The sky is too personal to me for such.

- Jay
South Florida

#10 markseibold

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 07:29 AM

Mark -
As for observing and experience, I'm creeping up close to that 30-mark. My eyes are far from perfect, though. I suspect I'll need a slight adjustment to my glasses in the near future. Stephen James O'Meara writes about eye-sight, observing, and aging in one of his deep sky books (maybe his Messier book), and shares his experiences, which mine seem to replicate. O'Meara notes that he's found that he's able to see so much detail in deep sky objects through a 4-inch refractor as a result of his observing often and taking his time with each object he views. Thus, I greatly suspect that the effects of aging eyes can at least be counter-balanced with the gains from increased experience in observing and with increased patience.
- Jay
South Florida


Jay

Also a very nice sketch in your earlier work. :bow: :bow: :bow: My god! You are starting early as you indicated that you are my daughters age! I admire your great efforts at a young age. Yes I have read O'Meara's lines about observing and aging eyes. You have seen him of course discuss observing and sketching in Timothy Ferris’ Seeing in the Dark PBS video from 2007?

I look forward to seeing your next sketch work,

Mark

*PS- Do not fear crossing the 30th trip around the sun; your journey has just begun! :cool:

#11 JayKSC

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 09:29 AM

Mark,

Thanks once more. I was fortunate enough to have a solid start in astronomy when I was a young teenager thanks to a cheap department store telescope from my parents, comet Hale-Bopp, and a mentor who had awesome old Celestron telescopes I borrowed. I've been hooked ever since.

As for age, I don't actually mind growing older at all. I'm fortunate to be in a career path that has rewards that get sweeter over time.

I've not seen Ferris' PBS video, but will definitely need to have a look for it! :)

- Jay
South Florida

#12 nunciusaustralis

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 10:08 PM

Great. I must look for it. It will be first in my wish list as soon i have a chance. Tnx :bow: :bow: :bow:






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