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Some Winter Globulars

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#1 JayKSC

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 11:54 AM

Hi all,

During the past couple of nights I've ventured out into the Florida cold (observing at 45-degrees is tough for those of us down here! ;)) to try and catch some scarce winter globular star clusters. Many of these reside deep in the southern skies, which happen to be severely light polluted from my urban observing location. Fortunately, I have a terrific southern horizon that lets me see even Canopus rise pretty high.

The most famed of the winter globulars (for those of us in the northern hemisphere) is doubltessly M79 (NGC 1904). I've been able to get a few stars resolved with a 4-inch lens years ago, but with my present 77mm refractor, this cluster appears merely like a shadowy glowing orb. It's still a fine view and holds up in light pollution well. I made the sketch (below) under a nearly full moon. Combined with my site's light pollution, my NELM was about 3.5.

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A subsequent night, under a moonless sky, I was able to chase NGC 1851, in Columba. I suspect many in the northern hemisphere neglect this globular, but it should rise high enough for most of us in the continental United States to provide a good view. This globular appeared brighter and larger than M79. In my 3-inch lens, I detected distinct mottling with averted vision. The globular seemed to have "arms" or star tendrils across its northern half. Two of these were very obvious, on either side of the cluster's core. O'Meara notes these irregular features and that this globular appears yellow to him. To me, though, it seemed a dull blue.

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By the time I finished with NGC 1851, I was quite cold and clouds were starting to stream in high above. I nabbed one last little object, the asterism NGC 2017, in Lepus. It's a bright little star grouping (known to not be a cluster now). Apparently several of the stars are tight doubles, but I didn't use high enough power to see this.

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Clear skies and keep warm!

- Jay
South Florida

#2 frank5817

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 12:09 PM

Jay,

These are all very fine sketches. :bow: :rainbow: :cool: Globular clusters are always challenging to sketch, the cold air makes it even yougher.

Frank :)

#3 Jef De Wit

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 02:27 PM

Nice sketches! And thanks for supporting the cold, so that we could see the result warm inside ;)

#4 JayKSC

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 03:21 PM

Thanks Frank and Jef.

Trying to sketch in the cold conditions is definitely challenging. My hands became so numb (I lack gloves) that I had to give-up on sketching at the eyepiece and instead make crude outline/contour drawings with scribbled notes. I then used these to create the finished sketch indoors. I know it was cold as when I got inside my fingers and outer edges of my hands were sunburnt-red, though it sure wasn't sunny out! ;)

Of course, those of you farther north doubtlessly get far colder nights at the scope than I experienced.

Tonight I'll be trying for NGC 2298 in Puppis, even though there's a freeze warning here.

- Jay
South Florida

#5 CarlosEH

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 05:24 PM

Jay,

An excellent set of Winter globular cluster observations. I enjoy looking at M79 in Lepus in the Winter sky as well. Thank you for sharing them with us all.

Carlos

#6 FJA

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 05:32 PM

Trying to sketch in the cold conditions is definitely challenging. My hands became so numb (I lack gloves) that I had to give-up on sketching at the eyepiece and instead make crude outline/contour drawings with scribbled notes. I then used these to create the finished sketch indoors. I know it was cold as when I got inside my fingers and outer edges of my hands were sunburnt-red, though it sure wasn't sunny out! ;)


I was out observing last night, it was -7C here and I did wear gloves but still got cold hands. I can't sketch with proper gloves on so I wore a fingerless glove on my right hand and a full glove on my non-sketching left hand. My finger tips took a lot of painful warming up when I got in. I had to give up after two hours.

Nice sketches. :bow:
I wanted to have a go at NGC 2017 myself, but it's behind the house from my observing spot.

#7 JayKSC

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 05:43 PM

Thanks, Carlos!

Cygnus X1 - That's dreadfully cold; just reading about your observing in such temperatures makes me feel a little better about my planning to head-out in tonight's conditions. It'll apt be around 3 to 4C here when I'm out.

- Jay
South Florida

#8 mikesemmler

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 07:05 AM

i can only conclude the comments - great sketches

Michael

#9 starquake

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 08:48 AM

Great sketches Jay! Too bad 1851 is such a Southern object, I doubt I could ever catch it, although it looks quite spectacular according to your sketch.

About gloves and cold weather: I usually wear some professional winter cycling gloves which are perfect down to -10C (14F)and are thin enough to allow me draw with a pencil. Under -10C I usually wear a snowboard glove on my left hand and the same cycling glove on my right (I'm right handed). I have to care, that I only push the tube with my left hand, because the metal gets really really cold (oh yes, and I've tried to push my tongue to the tube. Never try that at home! :)). This combination is good down to about -25C (-13F). Under that, I wear only snowboard gloves, but that makes changing eyepieces and sketching impossible. (Fortunately we rarely have such a low temperature)

#10 Jef De Wit

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 10:23 AM

I use double sided gloves, than can be used with the fingertips out or in.

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#11 Jef De Wit

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 10:23 AM

And the fingertips warm inside.

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#12 blb

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 10:49 AM

Hey Jef, I have a pare of those gloves. Arn't they great. I got them last year and would not have believed how warm they are.

#13 JayKSC

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 11:58 AM

Thanks Michael and Starquake!

Starquake - I checked for your latitude and at about 10:30 PM tonight, NGC 1851 rises its highest for you at a mere 3-degrees above the horizon. That'd be a tough observation to make, but if you had a dark site with no southern obstruction, it might barely be doable.

Jef - those gloves look super warm and just what I needed last night. My hands turned so numb (again) that I had to pack up my equipment as if I had claws rather than fingers. :o ... The temperature was about 38-degrees (3C) with blustery northwest winds.

- Jay
South Florida

#14 Jef De Wit

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 01:33 PM

Jay

I have no idea you can buy them in the US. The only information on the gloves is:

Thinsulate TM
Insulation
40 gram

I can recommend them warmly :)

#15 blb

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 03:03 PM

Jay, I got mine from Jeff Norwood at Camera Concepts. He is great to work with and you can order them over the phone. His phone number in New York is 631-475-1118. It was 18 deg F. last night and I have a hard time viewing without them.

Enjoy, Buddy

#16 JayKSC

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 03:32 PM

Thanks Jef and Buddy,

I'm holding off on the gloves for now. Being here in Florida, I end up wanting gloves for maybe 2 or 3 observing sessions out of the whole year. Then, this year's bizarre. The latest forecast models and talk from the area Weather Service Offices suggests that there may be some snow come Friday night or Saturday! :shocked:

- Jay
South Florida

#17 Shannon s

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 09:31 PM

Great sketches Jay. You got to get bundled up. I went out Monday night and was fine for about 2 hours before my nose sprung a massive leak! :lol: M 42 was worth it.

#18 JayKSC

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 10:03 PM

Thanks, Shannon!

Last night I was out for about 2 & 1/2 hours and had a great night. That said, it was downright nasty out. As I hiked to my observing location my eyes kept watering up thanks to the gusty winds.

Despite my wearing multiple layers (e.g., shirt, vest, light jacket, heavy hooded sweater) towards the end of my observing I noticed my legs (had on flannel pajama pants under my regular pants) were quite numb and my whole body was shaking. I decided more great views were not worth a possible hypothermia risk!

:) Jay
South Florida

#19 JayinUT

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 11:41 PM

Jay,

Nicely done as always. I really enjoy seeing a reflection of what you see in your white zone with your scope.

I have a pair of similar gloves given to me by one of my astronomy students for Christmas. However, mine have a pull back on the thumbs so the end of the thumb and the fingers can be exposed and then both covered back up. I'll try to take a picture. I like them a lot as it allows me to use my skin on screws etc. When it is REALLY cold I wear a skin tight glove that is very tight and seems thin but lets me have some feeling (I use them for snow shoeing).

#20 starquake

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 10:08 AM

The cycling gloves I use til about -10C are:

BIEMME WINDSTOPPER GORE CYCLING GLOVES (just do a google ;))

They are perfect for cold weather sketching.

#21 FJA

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 02:44 PM

As my finger tips got very cold the other evening while wearing fingerless gloves, I took to putting a thin full-size pair on with the fingerless gloves over them. However, that doesn't work well on my right hand, for sketching, so I have to use just the fingerless glove on my right hand.

#22 starquake

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 02:53 PM

the good point in such cycling gloves is that they have some rubber grips at the fingertips, so you can easily hold a pencil.






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