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Going South in Puppis,Pyxis, and Vela

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#1 SteelStar

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 10:13 AM

Back on the nights of March 13-14, I did some deep sky observing in these constellations with my 12" Dob. While I'm at 35 North in a tree hampered area, it is not the easiest part of the sky for me. I set up in an area that allowed me a window between two trees that I could see far enough south.

First on my target list was the star cluster NGC2477 in Puppis. Starting at the star Naos, it just a short hop to the cluster pair 2451/2477. 2451 is large and sparse with an orange central star but the real showpiece is 2477. This gorgeous cluster sits just north of a bluish star. A fine splash of star dust that I had not seen in awhile.

Next up was a new target for me, the cluster/planetary NGC2818. I first read about this object in the March S&T Sue French column Deep-Sky Wonders. Very nice Hubble pictures of this Nebula and the prospect of seeing a Planetary in an open cluster (aka M46)had me intrigued.
Starting from the wide pair of stars Alpha/Beta Pyxidis it was a 7 degree pan through a faint star field to a triangle of brighter stars that pointed the way just North to 2818. At -36 declinaton the faint stars in this area from my locale are very hard to make out. Once I knew I should be on it, a look with a 24mm Pan showed me nothing. I tried different EP's but still nothing. Using a 13mm Stratus I went ahead and employed an Orion Ultrablock filter. Yes. The faint glow of the planetary appeared but the sparse star field that was the open cluster was very sparse. Even without filtration the open cluster was very dissappointing.So, as far as a fantastic object, No, but still a good find.

Next up was the Eight-Burst Planetary NGC3132 in Vela. I dropped down SE about a finder field to 3.6 Psi Velorum. I placed this star on the edge of my finder field and had to wait about 25min for for 3132 to drift from behind a tree into my field.
This planetary showed itself easily at low power without filtration. At higher powers with a filter a nice oblong oval glow with a darker center was punctuated by a 10th mag central star. Another very nice object I had not seen in awhile. At -40 declination its too bad this planetary is not higher in the sky.

All in all a good couple of nights going south.

-NGC 2477

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#2 SteelStar

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 10:14 AM

-NGC 2818/A

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#3 SteelStar

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 10:16 AM

- NGC 3132 Eight-Burst planetary

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#4 Kraus

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 10:54 AM


Sue's column is the first item I go to when the new issue arrives. This month, she is a tad too far south for me even at 32 degrees north. The light pollution gets bad at about -25 degrees declination. M-8 is there but its wisps aren't.

Now next month she's in Hydra and the Ghost of Jupiter is very visible and offers quite a bit of detail for this Georgian.

#5 Sarkikos

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 12:07 PM

SteelStar,

Very nice drawings.

My dark site is at latitude 39 degrees in Maryland. Most observers at the site don't bother with seeing how low they can go, but I enjoy the challenge. Last New Moon weekend I was even able to catch Omega Centauri.

I have seen OC NGC 2477 in Puppis. In my 10" f/4.8 Dob, it looked like a Manta Ray. The tail is pointing toward the lower right in your drawing. Others have called it a "Hay Stack."

I've not yet seen OC NGC 2818 or the associated PN in Pyx. They are 8.2 and 11.9 mag, and are at dec -36, so should be doable for me. Need to put them on my list for next time. So far I've missed the Eight Burst PN in Vel. That should also be possible for me at 8.2 mag and -40 dec.

Mike

#6 Sarkikos

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 12:12 PM

- NGC 3132 Eight-Burst planetary


I see you observed this one with a 6mm Radian. How do you like that eyepiece for deep sky? I have a 3mm and 4mm Radian I bought used recently, but haven't had a chance to give them a good first light.

Mike

#7 SteelStar

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 01:43 PM

Krause- yes Sue French's column is also one of the first things I check in S&T. Not only does she point out the obvious, she also tells of the obscure and less known.

Sarkikos - I too have seen Omega Centauri. I have to set up looking down my road to see it. The lowest object I have seen from my locale here is the open cluster NGC5460 in Centaurus at -48 24'.

3132 is a must see if possible.

I'm very happy with the Radian. I also have the 10mm. A little bit small field but for small objects just fine. 4 clicks up on instajust for me. Want to upgrade to Delos but just can't right now. Too high. :p. Guess I'll just keep having fun with what I got. :grin:

Clear skies

#8 IVM

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 03:55 PM

Very fine observations even apart from the dedication it takes to "dive" so low. Actually, seeing far southern objects drift into the field from behind distant trees is a visual treat in itself. The sketch of NGC 2477 especially is fantastically detailed, with a touch of color.

I saw these objects a year ago on a trip to Australia with my 5.5" Maksutov. I agree with you about the OC in which the PN NGC 2818 is involved. My journal records about this object:

"Pyxis. NGC 2818. PN. According to Uranometria, there is both an OC and a PN, and the NGC number refers to both. Although the PN [is] in a group of stars, it [the group] is poorly detached and not dissimilar to what’s common in the field. The PN is sizable and has a relatively low SB. Slight annularity may be suspected."

#9 tigerroach

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 08:13 AM

Nice sketches and report. :cool:

#10 Astrodj

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 12:05 AM

SteelStar,

I very much admire your sketches. Staring at your sketch of NGC 2477 in particular gave me the illusion of looking through an eyepiece. Beautiful, truly.

Sarkikos,

I was familiar with the "haystack" moniker, but I must say I prefer your likeness to a manta ray much better.

#11 Sarkikos

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 05:47 AM

:grin:

#12 FirstSight

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:35 AM

My dark site is at latitude 39 degrees in Maryland. Most observers at the site don't bother with seeing how low they can go, but I enjoy the challenge. Last New Moon weekend I was even able to catch Omega Centauri.


I'll be down at Sunset Beach, NC (a south-facing ocean beach near the SC line) next week for my annual spring house maintenance trip, and viewing Omega Centauri low out over the ocean is part of my annual spring ritual. At 33.89 degrees latitude, with open horizons right down to the water, OC is easily viewable from here every spring, but alas it never gets high enough to be more than a hazy, unresolved smear with indistinct hints of granularity when at maximum culmination just over eight degrees above the horizon. There's simply too much atmosphere, too much distortion, haze, etc.; another seven to ten degrees elevation down in southern Florida makes all the difference in the world in the quality of the view of OC between here and there.

However, the latitude and open-to-the-water southern horizons do present a magnificent opportunity to wander among the rich collection of southern star clusters in Puppis etc., which are very well-suited for the NP-101 and Megrez-90 refractors I'm bringing with me (12" dobbie stays home in Raleigh). As the moonrise gets later and later next week, I'll stay up on my rooftop deck as long as I don't get too sleepy or the skies too cloudy (which unfortunately may happen a couple of nights). One of my observing projects will be to see the farthest-south deep-space object I can identify on the charts with certainty.

#13 SteelStar

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 10:45 AM

My dark site is at latitude 39 degrees in Maryland. Most observers at the site don't bother with seeing how low they can go, but I enjoy the challenge. Last New Moon weekend I was even able to catch Omega Centauri.

One of my observing projects will be to see the farthest-south deep-space object I can identify on the charts with certainty.


If you observed Omega Centauri you may want to try for the open cluster NGC 5460 about 7 degrees away also in Centaurus. It is about a degree lower at -48 24' and is fairly large and bright at 35' / 5.5mag.

I have seen it from my locale here at +35 and should be doable with your small refractors.

Clear skies. :grin:

#14 FirstSight

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 11:14 AM

My dark site is at latitude 39 degrees in Maryland. Most observers at the site don't bother with seeing how low they can go, but I enjoy the challenge. Last New Moon weekend I was even able to catch Omega Centauri.

One of my observing projects will be to see the farthest-south deep-space object I can identify on the charts with certainty.


If you observed Omega Centauri you may want to try for the open cluster NGC 5460 about 7 degrees away also in Centaurus. It is about a degree lower at -48 24' and is fairly large and bright at 35' / 5.5mag.

I have seen it from my locale here at +35 and should be doable with your small refractors.

Clear skies. :grin:


Thanks. Game on!

#15 Sarkikos

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 11:17 AM

I think many observers are too preoccupied with avoiding the low horizon glow, light domes and suboptimal seeing that they avoid even attempting any objects farther south. Sometimes they will even set up toward the south end of an observing site, which makes no sense to me. If anything, I'll set up closer to the north end, as long as Polaris is above the tree line so I can use it for collimation and for aligning my finders.

Mike

#16 deepskydarrell

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 11:52 AM

I think many observers are too preoccupied with avoiding the low horizon glow, light domes and suboptimal seeing that they avoid even attempting any objects farther south.

Mike


I'm a firm believer in sitting on a rug on the ground while observing thru my Dob pointing south. From a southern CA site at 32°37' N. I managed NGC 6397, the closest globular with the brightest stars and brightest horizontal branch at -53°40'. To get that I had to climb my ladder with my 13 X 80 finder in my hands to look over the 5 degrees of bushes at the site. What a hoot, very rewarding.

DSD.

#17 Sarkikos

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 11:56 AM

Here are my 12 southernmost observed objects from 39 degrees latitude with not-so-low southern horizons:

Omega Centauri OC Cen -47 29
Cr 173 OC Pup -46 16
NGC 6541 GC CrA -43 42
NGC 6231 OC Sco -41 49 Table of Scorpius
Cr 316 OC Sco -40 50
NGC 6124 OC Sco -40 39 Two Stacked Saucers
Tr 24 OC Sco -40 38 False Comet
Ru 56 OC Pup -40 28
Cr 343 OC Sco -40 07
NGC 1851 GC Col -40 03
NGC 6139 GC Sco -38 51
NGC 2477 OC Pup -38 32 Manta Ray

Mike

#18 IVM

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 10:15 AM

This is an interesting list, Mike. In fact I was now preparing a talk for my club about the southern skies and thinking that quite a few of the objects that were discovered from the Southern Hemisphere are now viewed by amateurs from the US mainland.

#19 Sarkikos

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 05:01 PM

I wish I had a nearby dark site that would let me go farther south at the meridian. Unlike many deep sky observers, I like low horizons, especially southern ones.

Maybe next New Moon I'll try to set up my scope as far north at the dark site as possible. But I don't like losing sight of Polaris. My 10" Dob doesn't track, and Polaris is very convenient when I'm aligning the finders.

Mike

#20 Red Shift

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 08:37 PM

3 for 3 ain't a bad night






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