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M 2-9 (Minkowski's Butterfly) in an 8-inch

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#1 Nick Anderson

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 01:48 AM

I thought I'd remark on a neat planetary nebula I caught over the weekend (April 21): M 2-9 (Minkowski's Butterfly). I tried it from my 6.3-6.4 magnitude site in Giles County, VA. For viewing conditions, I gave transparency and seeing both an 8/10 and temperatures were in the low 30's.

Here's a little background on this object if you had never heard of this one before (must be very impressive in larger apertures!):
http://observing.sky...K_010 18.2.html

Despite what I've read so far everywhere else, M 2-9 is not only possible in an 8-inch scope, but rather impressive! Because it is listed at 14.7 magnitude, dark skies and good transparency are a must. After pinpointing its position and staring at the field unfiltered for a few minutes, I didn't notice anything spectacular until I popped in the SkyGlow broadband filter at 96x. Then suddenly, I noticed the thin "twin jets" which stretched probably about 1-2 arcminutes. I classified it as a difficult averted vision object (4/5), visible about 40% of the time. I wasn't sure if I could pick out a central star from the very faint nebulosity. I never did conclusively see it unfiltered or at a different power, but I could also detect it a little more poorly in O-III. Much like a previous observation I had of 14.4 magnitude Abell 4, it takes the right power and filters to detect this object. My recommendation for scopes this size: try moderate power with a broadband filter.

-Nick Anderson

#2 IVM

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 08:55 AM

Interesting object from an interesting catalog. Especially your observation of the "jets" is intriguing.

#3 David Knisely

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 05:44 PM

I suspect that this object is somewhat brighter than its usual magnitude 14.6 figure. It does not respond well to OIII filters because it is a bipolar "proto-planetary" nebula that has a lot of continuum light from its central star scattered off of gas and dust in the nebula. A similar but slightly brighter object is "Minkowski's Footprint" (M1-92) in Cygnus, although that one does respond somewhat better to a narrow-band nebula filter, although again, this one is probably best without a filter. Another small faint bipolar object is "the Egg Nebula", PK 80-6.1, also in Cygnus. I have tracked these last two down in my 9.25 inch SCT under magnitude 6.8 skies. Clear skies to you.

#4 hbanich

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 07:36 PM

Impressive observation Nick, especially with an 8 inch. It's still pretty subtle in my 28 inch under dark skies, but is a direct vision object, and looks best without a filter to my eyes.

#5 Nick Anderson

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 10:12 PM

Oops, I made a small error in my original post. Meant to say "difficult averted averted vision object (4/5)" instead of "extremely difficult averted vision object (5/5)".

-Nick Anderson

#6 Nick Anderson

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 10:16 PM

I have to agree with you on that David. It's certainly not a bright object, but I've had a harder time with "brighter" 14th magnitude planetaries of similar size. My guess is it's probably around lower 14th magnitude.

-Nick Anderson

#7 Bill Weir

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 11:39 PM

Nice observation. I haven't observed this object for a few years. I think I might need to revisit it this year and see how it looks with my 20". Personally I found it reasonably bright with my 12.5" so your brightness estimate is probably correct. My favorite view of it was the first evening I ever observed it. http://rascvic.zenfo...59c571#h4d9d1d0

Bill

#8 Nick Anderson

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 12:00 AM

Nice sketch Bill! That resembles rather well what I was able to see, minus the central star and the fact that I was at a lower power.

I'm hoping to give this object another observation this year to see if I can catch the central star or pull out any more details. It is a fine planetary!

-Nick Anderson

#9 stevecoe

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 04:49 AM

Here is my observation with a 13 inch on a mediocre night about 50 miles from Phoenix.

PK 9+10.1 13" f/5.6 Seeing=6/10 Transparency=7/10
150X--only suspected. 220X--extremely faint, pretty small, little elongated 1.5X1 in PA 15, not brighter in the middle, averted vision only. Only seen, even averted, about 30% of the time. Definitely not much.

I may give it a try on a better night in the future.

Clear skies;
Steve Coe

#10 Sarkikos

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 01:16 PM

M 2-9 is in Ophiuchus, for those who still care about such old-fashioned concepts as constellations. :grin:

It's just weird to me that even the Skyhound website did not mention that this planetary is in Ophiuchus. "What constellation is it in?" is one of the first questions that pops into my head when I'm thinking about bagging another object. I'll try for M 2-9 with my 10" Dob at a yellow zone site.

Mike

#11 C_Moon

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 08:10 PM

M 2-9 is in Ophiuchus, for those who still care about such old-fashioned concepts as constellations. :grin:

It's just weird to me that even the Skyhound website did not mention that this planetary is in Ophiuchus. "What constellation is it in?" is one of the first questions that pops into my head when I'm thinking about bagging another object. I'll try for M 2-9 with my 10" Dob at a yellow zone site.

Mike


Funny, Mike. I thought the exact same thing when I read this last week and immediately looked it up in my atlas. :ubetcha:

I'd be interested in hearing your report.

#12 Sarkikos

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 09:50 PM

I've seen the same thing on many websites, as well as right here on CN! Observers talk on and on about a DSO, shoot photos of it, but never seem to get around to mentioning which constellation it's in, much less give even a rough description of its location in the constellation. I suppose in the Age of Goto, hardly anyone cares about such things any more.

If I manage to bag M 2-9, I will make a report. And tell you where it is!

:grin:
Mike

#13 Nick Anderson

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 03:23 PM

M 2-9 is in Ophiuchus, for those who still care about such old-fashioned concepts as constellations. :grin:

It's just weird to me that even the Skyhound website did not mention that this planetary is in Ophiuchus. "What constellation is it in?" is one of the first questions that pops into my head when I'm thinking about bagging another object.


I agree completely with you there, even though I apparently left it out of my report! :foreheadslap: (I think my thought was: Skyhound will certainly have it...)

Ok here's what you're missing:
M 2-9 is in the southern half of Ophiuchus near the Serpens Cauda border. To locate it's position, you'll first want to find Eta Ophiuchi (2nd magnitude) and Nu Serpentis (4th magnitude). Then find 5th magnitude HR 6375, which makes a right triangle with the first two stars. Once you're centered on that star, hop about a degree to the WNW to find M 2-9. Also to note: while you're starhopping in that area of Ophiuchus, you might also want to check out another planetary nebula: NGC 6309 (Box Nebula).

-Nick Anderson

#14 Sarkikos

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 03:50 PM

Thanks. M 2-9 is probably in SkySafari Pro on my tablet, but I still like to have an idea in my head of an object's location before I even start to look.

I have seen the Box Nebula before. That one was pretty bright and easy.

Mike

#15 Bill Weir

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 05:39 PM

Here.s a screen capture made with Megastar complete with Telrad bulls eye. Coordinates are 17h 05m 37.9s, -10ยบ 08m 32s.

Bill

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