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Observing report Jan 14

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#1 uniondrone

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 03:04 PM

I was out observing on the night of January 14th and managed to see some good objects, including a few for the first time. I was observing at my club's orange zone north of the Detroit suburbs using my 10" dob. I would rate both transparency and seeing as 3/5. As expected there was a substantial southern light dome that extended to about 30* above the horizon before fading out. The naked eye limiting magnitude at zenith was no worse than 4.6, although I didn't specifically look for it. Began session at around 9:40pm and ended session around 2:00am.

NGC 3344: a tenuous faint wisp of a galaxy encompassing two stars of about 10th magnitude. Visible with direct vision without too much trouble, but no real detail.

NGC 2683: viewed for the second time in less than a week. Impressive, bright, fairly small in appearance, looks like miniature Sombrero galaxy. Very nice.

NGC 2841: a new find for me, bright galaxy, elongated oval shape, immediately obvious in the eyepiece, better than quite a few Messier galaxies in terms of brightness.

NGC 3115: nice galaxy, fairly bright, nice needle-like shape, fairly obvious at the eyepiece.

NGC 2419: small faint globular, at low magnification it looked more like an elliptical galaxy, but at 85x it showed signs of being a globular with some detection of texture due to member stars. First time observation.

NGC 2261: emission/reflection nebula; surprising bright, quite small, one end appears concentrated, the other end flares outward in fan-shape. Very interesting! Seems to respond well to increased magnification. First time observation.

NGC 2903: galaxy in western Leo. Fairly bright, immediately obvious in eyepiece. Bright oval core region shows up well. Second observation of this object this week.

NGC 2403: galaxy in CAM. Bright oval that encompasses two stars. Some signs of spiral arm. Impressively bright and immediately obvious.

I also looked at some old favorites: M51, M63, M65, M66, M94, M106, among others.

#2 David Knisely

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 03:28 PM

Nice observation report! You wrote:

NGC 2419: small faint globular, at low magnification it looked more like an elliptical galaxy, but at 85x it showed signs of being a globular with some detection of texture due to member stars. First time observation.


Well, NGC 2419 is a *very* distant globular, so seeing stars in it is problematic at best. Its very brightest stars are all fainter than 17th magnitude (V-tip mag. 17.3), so none of its component stars is likely to be visible in a 10 inch. Clear skies to you.

#3 uniondrone

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 03:45 PM

Well, NGC 2419 is a *very* distant globular, so seeing stars in it is problematic at best. Its very brightest stars are all fainter than 17th magnitude (V-tip mag. 17.3), so none of its component stars is likely to be visible in a 10 inch. Clear skies to you.


Hi David,

Thanks for the response! I tried to be careful in what I wrote so as not to appear to claim resolution of NGC 2419. I most certainly wasn't able to resolve it. What I saw, however, was a certain texture change at higher power that I never see in galaxies. It seemed to have a grittiness to it that often seems to accompany globular clusters. For example, if I look at one of the dimmer Messier globs at 35x in my 10" dob, it will seem gritty, but only higher power will resolve it. I seemed to get that gritty effect on NGC 2419 at 85x (unless it was my imagination), but at lower power it looked no different than a round galaxy.

I was pretty excited to find it. I had failed to find it on two previous occasions, and was starting to think that it was beyond what is possible from that observing site.

#4 IVM

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 05:35 PM

I often see globs as very characteristically textured (unlike galaxies etc.) when they are clearly not resolved (i.e. when there are clearly no distinct dots).

But frankly I think that considering the projected 2D density of stars in most globulars (something like Palomar 5 might be an exception), the starlike points we see most often across their face are mostly not individual stars, but clumps of stars due to chance alignment. Irrespective of aperture. Aperture just brings out more of these chance alignments. It is just a guess, but I would bet that true individual stars, when they are resolved at all, will invariably be the minority, and the majority of "dots" seen in the same glob through the same scope will be chance alignments of fainter stars.

#5 David Knisely

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 07:49 PM

The times when I have gone after NGC 2419, it has appeared as fairly smooth in texture with no really obvious clumping. There are a number of faint (14th to 16th magnitude) field stars in or somewhat near the cluster's outer haze, but otherwise, the cluster looks about as smooth as an elliptical galaxy, except that it has a somewhat extended diffuse envelope. Clear skies to you.

#6 Starman81

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:28 PM

Nice report Chuck, are you working on the Herschel 400 list or something? I looked those up in SSP and they are some nice objects--wonder if I can bag them with my 8" scope?

A couple other questions... You didn't mention the EPs used. I like to know the power/TFOV for 'framing' objects. Last question, kinda OT, but it was pretty cold last night, we were observing on the West side as well, it got down to 22*. How do you stay warm?

#7 drbyyz

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:32 AM

Nice report Chuck, are you working on the Herschel 400 list or something? I looked those up in SSP and they are some nice objects--wonder if I can bag them with my 8" scope?


All of those minus NGC2261 are Herschel 400s, so theoretically, yes you can bag them with an 8" on a good enough night/site. NGC2261 is also doable in an 8".

#8 uniondrone

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 01:58 PM

Nice report Chuck, are you working on the Herschel 400 list or something? I looked those up in SSP and they are some nice objects--wonder if I can bag them with my 8" scope?

A couple other questions... You didn't mention the EPs used. I like to know the power/TFOV for 'framing' objects. Last question, kinda OT, but it was pretty cold last night, we were observing on the West side as well, it got down to 22*. How do you stay warm?


Hi Syed,

Well, I'm not exactly working on the H400 intentionally, although I draw from it as a source for new objects. My intention is to find objects that are bright enough to be reasonably observable from the orange zone in my 10" dob and interesting enough to be worth viewing. I'm sure that some day I will make an actual concerted effort to do the H400, but at present it's more of a whimsical object checklist that I use.

For each object, I used a 24mm Meade SWA 5000 as my low power view (about 50x and 1.4* TFOV) and a 14mm ES82 for my higher power view (about 85X and 1* TFOV). For a few of the objects, I tried my 11mm ES82 (109x, 45' TFOV) but the seeing conditions made this view less pleasing, although it may have better framed the smaller objects.

I think that you should be able to bag most if not all of them with the 8" from an orange zone. The only ones that might give you a little trouble are NGC 2419 and NGC 3344. Those two could be a challenge, but would likely be doable in for you from a darker sky. The others shouldn't give you much of a problem. I was especially impressed by NGC 2261. It was a real showpiece in my opinion. You view from a yellow zone, right? If so, you could probably expect to see similar to what I saw.

For keeping warm, I layered clothes as best I could (more layers = better), but used hand warmers and toe warmers to keep my hands and toes from getting too cold. If you have a Costco membership, they are sold there at considerable discount. The toe warmers are especially nice. They have a peel-off adhesive backing so that you can stick them directly to your socks. I put one above and below my toes on each foot. I put one of the hand warmers in each of the side pockets on my winter coat. They keep my hands warm enough that I don't have to mess with gloves.

EDIT: miscalculated one of the TFOV values

#9 Starman81

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 03:40 PM

Nice report Chuck, are you working on the Herschel 400 list or something? I looked those up in SSP and they are some nice objects--wonder if I can bag them with my 8" scope?


All of those minus NGC2261 are Herschel 400s, so theoretically, yes you can bag them with an 8" on a good enough night/site. NGC2261 is also doable in an 8".


Good to hear, thanks Dr Byyz!

Nice report Chuck, are you working on the Herschel 400 list or something? I looked those up in SSP and they are some nice objects--wonder if I can bag them with my 8" scope?

A couple other questions... You didn't mention the EPs used. I like to know the power/TFOV for 'framing' objects. Last question, kinda OT, but it was pretty cold last night, we were observing on the West side as well, it got down to 22*. How do you stay warm?


Hi Syed,

Well, I'm not exactly working on the H400 intentionally, although I draw from it as a source for new objects. My intention is to find objects that are bright enough to be reasonably observable from the orange zone in my 10" dob and interesting enough to be worth viewing. I'm sure that some day I will make an actual concerted effort to do the H400, but at present it's more of a whimsical object checklist that I use.

For each object, I used a 24mm Meade SWA 5000 as my low power view (about 50x and 1.4* TFOV) and a 14mm ES82 for my higher power view (about 85X and 1* TFOV). For a few of the objects, I tried my 11mm ES82 (109x, 45' TFOV) but the seeing conditions made this view less pleasing, although it may have better framed the smaller objects.

I think that you should be able to bag most if not all of them with the 8" from an orange zone. The only ones that might give you a little trouble are NGC 2419 and NGC 3344. Those two could be a challenge, but would likely be doable in for you from a darker sky. The others shouldn't give you much of a problem. I was especially impressed by NGC 2261. It was a real showpiece in my opinion. You view from a yellow zone, right? If so, you could probably expect to see similar to what I saw.

For keeping warm, I layered clothes as best I could (more layers = better), but used hand warmers and toe warmers to keep my hands and toes from getting too cold. If you have a Costco membership, they are sold there at considerable discount. The toe warmers are especially nice. They have a peel-off adhesive backing so that you can stick them directly to your socks. I put one above and below my toes on each foot. I put one of the hand warmers in each of the side pockets on my winter coat. They keep my hands warm enough that I don't have to mess with gloves.

EDIT: miscalculated one of the TFOV values


Thanks for the additional information Chuck. Last week we observed from a Yellow zone (Lake Hudson) and this week we settled for a Red (NCSP). I look forward to attempt to observe these objects but I am still working on my Messier and AL Urban Observer lists. Still kind of a newb, first year back in the hobby and all. :)

I'm going to try those toe-warmers too, doubling-up like you mentioned. I was also considering a nice pair of wool socks, but I am thinking that it's either one or the other; the wool socks or the toe-warmers unless you wear really loose shoes/boots!

#10 uniondrone

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 05:03 PM

I'm going to try those toe-warmers too, doubling-up like you mentioned. I was also considering a nice pair of wool socks, but I am thinking that it's either one or the other; the wool socks or the toe-warmers unless you wear really loose shoes/boots!


Actually this is exactly what I do... I put on regular socks, put the toe warmers on both top and bottom of my feet, then pull the wool socks over them. It's a little bit of tight squeeze into by boots, but the pressure seems to make the toe warmers a lot more activated.






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