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M103, not what I thought.

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#1 Dennis_S253

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 08:48 PM

Taking a break for a few minutes. Was just looking at M103 and I didn't see what I was expecting. I was looking for dim smudge about half the size as M13, with some brighter stars shining. All I see is the brighter stars and no smudge.

#2 bumm

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 09:06 PM

You won't see much of a smudge with M103... It's a rather course star cluster. So, all you see is a cluster of stars, and your observation was accurate. :)

#3 DavidC

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 09:08 PM

M104 is a nice open star cluster in Cassopia, even with a 4 inch sct, you should have noticed a loose grouping of stars, are you sure you're in the right area?. I would say go try again and don't get discouraged.
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#4 DavidC

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 09:10 PM

Brain fart, I'm getting old. I meant M103!

#5 Michael Rapp

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 10:25 PM

It's a very sparse cluster. In my Mag 4 skies in my 8", I see about five stars in the main cluster. There is a really neat hook pattern in the same field of view, though.

I passed over this cluster many, many times as I was looking for something much more substantial.

Here's my sketch of it from a few nights ago.

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#6 Dennis_S253

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 11:00 PM

Hey Michael, I seen your sketch in the sketches forum. That's what made me want to look. My B&L 4000 really stunk for looking north. With my new scope it's rather easy. So this was my first attempt. Ok, breaks over, back to viewing. Talk later...clear skies...

#7 Tony Flanders

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 04:51 AM

It's a very sparse cluster. In my Mag 4 skies in my 8", I see about five stars in the main cluster.


Crank up the magnification, look more carefully, and you'll see lots more stars. Four of them are much brighter than the rest, creating the y or gamma pattern that's so easy to recognize. But they're surrounded by a cloud of 20 or so considerably fainter stars. Still not a very impressive cluster, but richer than (say) M39.

This is more obvious under dark skies, but 8 inches of aperture is ample to show the fainter stars even in very bright conditions.

#8 Bill Weir

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 03:53 PM

Just a thought and it really is my opinion, don't go into viewing any object with any expectaions. View it for what it is and try and see in it all you can.

For the last few years I've taken on this observing philosophy. Except for extremely challenging objects I don't look at images of it so I have no preconcieved idea of what I "should" see. That way I log what I do see. Sure I know people might say, "then you don't know of such and such obscure part of this object", in order to look for it. Then again, after I observe an object I do then go look it up. It's way more exciting if I did noticed this aspect of the object when I didn't know it was there and if I didn't then all it means is I need to revisit the object.

Also, depending on your taste in objects some of them will leave you with an impression of, Meh.

Look at it this way, your goal was to obseve M103 and you did. Good on you.

Bill

#9 derangedhermit

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 06:08 PM

Taking a break for a few minutes. Was just looking at M103 and I didn't see what I was expecting. I was looking for dim smudge about half the size as M13, with some brighter stars shining. All I see is the brighter stars and no smudge.

Globular clusters like M13 and open clusters like M103 are fundamentally different things. Stars in an open cluster may have some gas providing a glow in the area, but there is no core of unresolved stars that makes that central smudge associated with globs.

#10 C_Moon

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 08:49 PM

I always thought M103 looks like a Christmas Tree. If you look it has a triangle shape with a "star" on top and even a colorful "ornament" in the branches. At least it looks that way to me. I have had fun showing it to folks over the holidays since it is well placed in the early evening.

#11 Dennis_S253

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 10:24 PM

Hey Bill, maybe expecting was the wrong word to use. I had seen Michael's sketch in the sketching forum a little while back. I had to check it out myself, and seen about the same thing. I just thought it would look better at low mag in a 6" scope.
Yes Tony I cranked it up to 156X and there are more stars.
I'll have another look for that Christmas tree Paul.

#12 RAKing

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 03:25 PM

I always thought M103 looks like a Christmas Tree. If you look it has a triangle shape with a "star" on top and even a colorful "ornament" in the branches. At least it looks that way to me. I have had fun showing it to folks over the holidays since it is well placed in the early evening.


This is how it always looks to me, too. My Dad said it would look like a triangle and that was my clue. M103 was one of the first ones I found by myself when I started astronomy and it will always be one of my favorites. :)

Cheers,

Ron

#13 newtoskies

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 06:36 PM

Great to read this thread. I was out the other night looking for M103 and other Clusters. I didn't think I had seen M103, but really had no clue what to expect. So I did find it, so check that off the list. M52 was better viewing and wow'd me, mainly because I found it.

#14 Michael Rapp

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:53 AM

When I was mulling over what eyepieces to get, Don Pensack taught me a neat trick. For clusters, especially sparse ones, it can often be helpful to use a medium to low AFOV eyepiece (40-50 degrees) rather than a wide field (68+) as the smaller AFOV will have the stars closer together, thus highlighting their "clusterness" better when you're sweeping.






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