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No Horse Head, but...

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#1 Fuzzyguy

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 12:52 AM

I took a big step toward seeing it tonight!

Tonight was the first night of double digit temps with good seeing, great transparency and no clouds or moon in almost two months! Finally the temp was near freezing which is about 20 degrees warmer than it's been for a week here. I started by logging M52, a new Messier for me that brought me up to 90 total. I plan on finishing the list by the end of March. Then I rechecked M103 and decided to look at M42.

I, like a lot of us, have the horse's head on my todo list but with an 8" scope, I haven't had any success. I've always heard that if you can't see the flame nebula, the horse's head is not going to show itself and I"d never seen it either. Tonight, when I went east of Alnitak, there was a very dim flame complete with the black lane! Wow, if I can see that, just maybe I can see the HH?

The skies are usually blue/green from my rural backyard, but with snow still on the ground I think it's probably a green zone tonight, so I knew I'd need to really concentrate on becoming and remaining dark adapted. Hood and towel was the uniform along with the insulated overalls and parka. I went south of Alnitak to the three star arc and two stars on south that frame the HH. To my surprise, I could just make out some of the brighter parts of IC 434! I don't own an Ha filter, but I do have a UHC, so on the 40mm it went and I could definitely see some faint nebulosity stretching north and south through the center of my EP. I kept looking for the notch, but I the nebula was so faint, I just couldn't see it. A couple of times I thought maybe, but no, I just didn't see it.

In all, I tried for over an hour to see the notch. I don't know if I would have seen it from a grey or black zone in my 8" SCT, but I think seeing IC 434 at all from my backyard was a big step in the right direction and it may be time to invest in (or better yet borrow) an Ha filter!

#2 David Knisely

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 02:18 AM

Nope, an H-a (H-alpha) filter won't help visually (just for imaging). Get an H-Beta line nebula filter and you should stand a fighting chance on getting to see the Horsehead, although it will still take a really good dark night to see it in an 8 inch even with a filter. Clear skies to you.

#3 John K

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 12:11 PM

I would also try to bring the magnification up a little.maybe a 30mm EP with just a little smaller exit pupil as well as the UHC.A 30mm and a HB filter may be to dark for the 8" aperture.I think you may have been able to see it with the conditions you where in if you employed the UHC and a 30mm EP.
On the bright side you are really working hard at your observing skills, this will only pay you great dividends to your DSO hunts in the future.

#4 drbyyz

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 01:04 PM

I, like a lot of us, have the horse's head on my todo list but with an 8" scope, I haven't had any success. I've always heard that if you can't see the flame nebula, the horse's head is not going to show itself and I"d never seen it either. Tonight, when I went east of Alnitak, there was a very dim flame complete with the black lane! Wow, if I can see that, just maybe I can see the HH?


How much of the Flame did you see? At a green site a few nights ago I had a good look at the flame in my 8", Dark lane was easily visible as well as the 2 smaller ones, the maple leaf/flame shape was easily visible and I would hardly call it "dim." I didn't even think about going for the HH in my 8" but perhaps I should have looked for some of the nebulosity around it.

#5 Fuzzyguy

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 01:05 PM

Thanks for the correction David, yes hydrogen Beta filter is what I meant! :rainbow: I've got a pretty dark site about 10 minutes from here and the next time the conditions are as good as they were Saturday, I'll pack up and go. It's on a high hill though, and with the breeze, it would have been really cold up there! :coldday:

John, I don't have a 32mm, but I did look through a 20mm. The 2mm exit pupil may have been a little too dark for this object. I should have tried my 25mm Kelner with it's 2.5mm exit pupil, but I didn't think about it! The UHC did improve IC 434 in both the 20mm and 40mm over no filter.

Drbyyz, I didn't spend a lot of time on the flame and since it was only 10 or 15 minutes into my observations, I wasn't completely dark adapted, so it looked pretty dim to me. Just two faint smudges separated by a dark area. If I'd spent some time on it, I may have seen it better, but the wind was blowing and I wanted to try the HH! :) It may have seemed brighter if I hadn't looked at M42/43 first! ;)

Anyway, that's the closest I've come to seeing it yet. I'll keep trying though and next time I'll get dark adapted on the flame first. It looks like there are some nice details to be had there also.

#6 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 04:39 PM

A larger exit pupil (4 to 5mm) will definitely make observing B33 a bit easier.

http://home.ix.netco...b/MEyepiece.htm

It's still going to be fairly difficult though. I've only seen B33 once through an 8" aperture (my 8" f/6 Starsplitter Tube Dob with a Zambuto primary equipped with an H-beta filter) and that was after 20 to 30 minutes of dedicated effort.

Dave Mitsky

#7 Edward E

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:56 AM

I always found the Flame Neb an easy object for an 8" scope, even from SE USA skies that are anything but transparent most of the time within a green zone. The Horsehead (Hh) is a real challenge for most scopes. IMHO, it requires very transparent and calm skies and a scope with very good optics, maybe 12" or larger. My best vue of the Hh to date was through a 15" Dob with an excellent mirror (sorry, cannot recall the eyepiece used), no filter, on a very cold night with excellent transparency and excellent seeing in SE Arizona. The nebula the Hh is embedded in was easily seen and the Hh itself was very prominent with direct vision. I have tried many time to see the Hh with my C11 GPS but no success yet. It's easy with my 20" Dob from the same location as noted above. Keep trying, one night everything will come together and the Hh will materialize for you. It is an exciting experience to see the Hh for the first time or second or third... :jump:






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