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two clusters in the same view

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#1 acochran


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Posted 26 January 2013 - 07:35 PM

Last new moon, I had a very good night of observing at my astro club (OCA) dark site in the Southern California desert. Many of the objects I saw were firsts for me. It was also very cold!
With my 16 inch Lightbridge, using my ES 20mm/100degree eyepiece (1.09 degrees of sky) I saw two pretty but different-looking clusters in the same view. At the bottom of the constellation Gemini is open cluster M 35. Right next to it in the same view was a much tighter cluster NGC 2158. Both beautiful but different, a nice contrast to each other.
Also firsts for me, the very popular M 81/82, M 51 and a pair of galaxies in the bottom of Leo (Maybe M 95/96?), and the double cluster in Perseus.
My favorite, M 42, was straight overhead, as was Jupiter. Finally saw the Flame Nebula in Orion! But it had to be overhead. Could not see it earlier when Orion was lower. Someone showed me the Horsehead, but I could not see it.
So a very eventful night for me.

#2 GlennLeDrew


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Posted 26 January 2013 - 08:01 PM

With binoculars and their wider field one can often enjoy several clusters in one view.

#3 Skylook123



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Posted 26 January 2013 - 08:10 PM

The M35/NGC2158 pair is always interesting; at times, it can look like an embedded glob in the big open. The Flame, off the edge of Alnitak, the left belt star in Orion, can really pop when you get the double star out of the field; try it with a UHC or O-III filter if you can. With my 18" and an H-Beta filter, everyone tells me they see the Horsehead dead center in my eyepiece, but I never seem to be able to see it. :shrug:

On good nights with that 16", M82 at higher power has got to look interesting with all the action going on in it.

Thanks for a nice note.

#4 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 08:21 PM

With binoculars and their wider field one can often enjoy several clusters in one view.

Indeed... or with a wide field telescope. M6 and M7 are within reach of a 500mm focal length scope with a 2 inch focuser. M36-37-38 are possible with a 400mm focal length scope with a 2 inch focuser.

In longer length scopes, M38, NGC-1907 is a favorite. Also M46-M47 are quite close and with a widefield scope, there are several other nearby clusters.


#5 CollinofAlabama



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Posted 26 January 2013 - 10:25 PM

Andy (Jon, I'm sure you've already seen this effect), try looking at M35 & M38 with their respective neighboring NGC's in an 80mm refractor. The NGCs appear ghostlike, almost rendered the way a little refractor shows up a globular cluster. Quite amazing! Honestly, I prefer these two in >4" scopes, or at least at very low power in a larger aperture, because the NGCs can't be resolved into their open cluster star components. Such mystery they hold! BTW, I've always considered those, M35-38, as a contiguous group, with the ends having the neato, ghostly NGCs and the middle two out of order (but not the ending ones). This is important because so many folks categorize by constellation, missing this kind of simple, neumonic arrangement that makes them easier to remember as a group. But they're always fun, just don't limit yourself to a constellation. The heavens are Platonically Divine, whereas the constellations are merely of the gods.

Andy, I'll never forget the first time I saw Mirach's Ghost, elliptical galaxy NGC 404. I was at the Star Walk star party at Copper Breaks State Park near Crowell, Texas. There had been an abundance of curious folks earlier, but I arrived late. Missed the intro and most of the family crowds. I think I brought an ST80 or some such. Anyway, as people left I was attracted to two scopes near where I set up, a 16" and an 18" Obsession. I was enjoying some fantastic things in the 18" when the poor soul who was trying to manage both realized I was a genuine lover of the night sky and had a clue about telescopes. He said, "Why don't you manage that one (pointing to the 16"), and I'll handle this one." To a guy who bought an ST80, my immediate response was, "Okay"

I didn't get my bearings right, and was trying to split Almach in Andromeda, when I noticed the supposed Almach was awfully white and without its component. But off to the side was a strange, mysterious blob! I realized I was on Mirach and not Almach, but what was this ethereal glow? The lame star chart I had with me (this was around 2003, I think), didnt show anything. Later, back home looking at a better star map and confirming on the Internet, I found out about NGC 404, Mirach's Ghost, an elliptical galaxy.

Andy, you've got the right scope for ample discoveries. Enjoy!

#6 payner


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Posted 27 January 2013 - 03:01 PM

Enjoyed your story of seeing Mirach's Ghost (NGC 404), COllin. It remains a favorite deep sky object of mine.


#7 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 03:14 PM

With binoculars and their wider field one can often enjoy several clusters in one view.

As a matter of fact, one such pair, NGC 6633 and IC 4756, is known as the Binocular Double Cluster.


Dave Mitsky

#8 CharlesW



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Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:37 AM

Would you mind sharing where your location is? I live part-time in Indio and I'm always looking for dark places within a reasonable driving distance.

#9 Mike B

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 04:11 PM

Hi Andy- nice post! Nice situation, too- a good-sized Dob and some dry, dark desert skies. Sweet!

M38, NGC-1907 is a favorite

I really enjoy BOTH of these M-clusters & their attendant NGC's... amazing alignments of near+far clusters, and that we should have TWO of 'em in the same vicinity!

In your aperture, these NGC's go beyond the ghostlike hazies of a smaller scope (which is ALSO quite kewl, btw :grin:), and begin to reveal their true natures- that of tightly packed star clusters! I'll never forget my first glimpse of one (don't recall which :foreheadslap:) thru a 33-inch Dob; my gosh, in that aperture, the NGC looked just like it's nearby 'M' cluster thru an "ordinary" scope! :bigshock:

Good stuff! Keep at it- the heavens are loaded with surprises... not all as splashy, some quite subtle, but all can be amazing!

#10 acochran


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Posted 30 January 2013 - 04:20 PM

CharlesW: Not sure who your question about dark site is directed to. If you are asking me, I was observing from the OCA club's private dark site located in Anza, CA. On the Clear Sky chart, it shows up as in a green zone, in other words, not the darkest, but not bad either.

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