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Classic Messier

beginner classic dso observing report observing refractor
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#26 AllanDystrup

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 06:03 AM

The Ram’s Head

M35, Open Cluster  (NGC 2168 + NGC 2158 / Cr 8

   

M35-BlackL-CropSmall.png

 

     

Obs-1:      It’s an early December morning 2015, half past 4 AM local time; A storm has swept away the clouds, and the sky is now clear, with steady seeing and good transparency from 15° altitude up to zenith. Already Orion is sinking towards the horizon in the SW, but Gemini is still high up, with M35 at a comfortable 35° altitude, right above Orion’s raised club.
  

     I aim my red dot at a point ~ 1½° above Castor’s left foot, midway between Eta and 1 GEM. In my 6x30 finder’s 6° FOV I see a wedge shaped alignment of stars, and looking in my finder EP (K-40mm, 24x @ 1.8° FOV) , I have M35 right in the center of the view, ½° up N from the apex of the wedge.

   

     There’s a myriad of stars filling a ½° area, with a dozen 8m -9m stars forming two bright chains in a roughly V-shaped pattern. It reminds me of a ram’s head, emerging from a background of dozens of smaller (10m-13m stars), and this outline is further enhanced by a faint nebulosity caused by countless unresolved stars (>13m). M35 also contains a nice double star : OƩ-134 (Otto Struve) at the base of the ”northern horn”, with components of magnitude 7.3m (orange) and 9.1m (light purple), separated by 31" in PA 188°.
__________________________________________________________________________________

Obs-2:   It’s an early evening (19h PM local), in late february, 2016. The transparency is fine: NELM 5.3m, with the moon well below the E horizon, scheduled to rise around 22h. I decide to take another shot at NGC2158, which evaded me at the previous observation.

   

     I get M35 at 24x/1.8° FOV in the center of my  K-40mm finder eyepiece; I then offset the FOV slightly (ca ½°) towards the SW, and click up the magnification, switching between 68x/0.6° and 108x/0.5°. After prolonged observation with averted vision, i convince myself, that I do see a faint, fan shaped nebulosity at the exact right spot and NW orientation, that I would expect from maps and photos: NGC2158!

 

     Given my observation conditions (bortle green), this distant, old OC is high on my difficulty scale, -- significantly more so than for instance M1, which I observed later this night, and that was obvious even in my finder @ 24x...

 

 

Full Obs.Report can be found : -> HERE <-

 

Allan


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#27 AllanDystrup

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 08:30 AM

M1
The Crab Nebula

 

    It’s an early october morning, 01:30 AM local summertime. I’ve been observing the Little Dumbbell (M76) for close to an  hour, so a little tired by now -- but it’s a fine calm and transparent night! Orion has cleared the horizon in the E, with the horns of Taurus just above his club, already up 40° towards zenith. I decide to to start a drawing of M1, the Crab Nebula.
 

     Aiming my red dot at the tip of the S horn, I get Zeta Tauri  in the main telescope at 19x in a field  of 2.2° (using my K-40mm EP with 1.25x GPC barlow). I sweep the glaring 3m Zet TAU to the SE, just outside the FOV, and then I immediately see a faint nebulous spot to the NE, close to the center of the field: M1. There’s a wealth of 8m - 9m stars decorating the field with small asterisms, which I can use to verify the location of M1 : to the W of Zet Tau there’s a ’pointing hand’ asterism with the tip of the index finger 20’ S of M1, and N and E of M, there’s a couple of L-shaped patterns nicely framing the position of the nebula.

      The nebula is faint, but obvious with peripheral vision (I can’t hold the nebula with direct vision). It is diffuse, with no brighter core (as in many galaxies). It is rather large (ca. 3’ diameter) in the 19x wide field eyepiece; It seems ”wooly”, like a dust bunny, with no evident outer boundary or internal structure, but obviously elongated in the NW-SE direction.

 

 

M1-BlackL-Crop-Small.png

 

Link to full obs. report for M1  -> HERE <-

Allan


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#28 AllanDystrup

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 02:22 AM


M78, Galactic Nebula (NGC 2068)

The Comet Nebula

 

M78-BlackL-CropSmall.png

 

 

(Obs-1):    It’s an early evening in late february, just after 20h local. The weather has been fair the past couple of days, mixed patches of blue sky with some passing stratocumulus. Today I heard the allegro of the skylark as well as the staccato of the yellowhammer for the first time this year – spring is just around the corner!  All is clear now, cool with a light frost (-2°C). Transparency and seeing are both above medium, and with the 18-day (91%) moon still below the E horizon (scheduled moonrise around 22h), I have a couple of good hours for deep sky diving!

    

     M78 has been on my short list for some weeks, and this is a good oportunity to pay it a visit with my small 80mm refractor. It may be a little difficult to locate this nebula – my approach is to aim my red dot roughly ¼ of the distance from Alintak (Zet ORI) towards Beetelgeuse (Alp ORI), which btw. is right at the pt. where the celestial equator crosses Orion. In the FOV of my finder eyepiece (27x @ 1.5° FOV) I now have a hook-shaped asterism, and slowly pushing the FOV from ”the hook” ½° due E, I get M78 smack in the center of the field of view. 

    

     I crank up the magnification to 68x @ 0.6° FOV (CZJ O-16mm EP) to best frame the object. The nebulosity of M78 is obvious in the 3”, showing a well defined NW edge, while it gets gradually more diffuse towards the SE, giving it a somewhat comet-like overall appearance. The nebula engulfs two close 10m stars, looking like (as O’Meara has described it) : ”a pair of bloodless eyes peering back at you through a frosty window”. There’s also a fainter (~13.5m, variable?) star below the ”bloodless eyes”, at the S edge of the nebula. I didn’t see this. I did however locate NGC2071, ca. 15’ to the N of M78; It was obvious with direct vision, but looking more like a slightly fuzzy star, than a small nebula.

    

     Facing the northwest edge of M78, separated by a dark canal, lies the faint nebulosity NGC 2067, elongated in NE-SW direction, and narrowing towards the SW. I looked for, but did not identify, this nebula with certainty. Further southwest is NGC 2064  (McNeils Nebula) – this is however well below the limit of perception with my 3” of aperture, and so I didn’t try to net it.

 

 

Link to my full Obs. report for M78 ->HERE<-

 

Allan


Edited by AllanDystrup, 29 February 2016 - 02:24 AM.

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#29 AllanDystrup

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 03:36 AM

We have entered the first month of spring, and the winter constellations are already sinking behind the trees towards the western Horizon.

    

It's time to clear my backlog of Fall/Winter observations, and to start looking forward towards the Leo, Virgo and Ursa Major Messier objects!

 


M42 / M43

 

M42-M43%20BlackL-Crop-Small.png

 

 

     It’s an early morning in late November, with clear skies after heavy snowfall the previous day; I’ve been studying the Pleiades (M45), for close to an hour, but as they sink lower and get entangled in the neighbours larch, I swing the telescope east towards Orions sword, which is now hanging 25° above the S horizon. The seeing is above average, but the transparency only medium, with some sky glow from a low, almost full moon close to the W.

    

     It’s not optimal conditions for nebula observation, but I can at least start my sketch with a general outline of the brightest stars and nebulosity in M42. I chose the O-25mm eyepiece to best frame the sketch, for 43x @ 0.9° FOV.  The line of 3 stars in Theta2 ORI is prominent at the base of the eastern wing (the Sword Handle), as are the 4 brightest stars of Theta1 ORI (the TRAP ~ Trapetzium), in the heart of M42’s central region.From The Handle, the faint nebulosity of SE wing (The Sword Blade) curves downwards, like an Arabian scimitar.

    
     The Trap is embedded in a bright rectangular bib of nebulosity hanging down SW below the Fish Mouth: The Huygens Region, with a sharp eastern boundary (The Wall) towards The Sword, and a fainter extension (The Thrust) hanging down like a small apron towards the SW. Finally the faint NW wing (The Sail) is seen stretching out towards the W and S.

    

     All these nebula structures in M42 are seen embedded in patches of still fainter nebulosity, that can be glimpsed with averted vision. Just above M42 is an isolated nebulous island: M43.  It is obvious as a hazy patch in my small 3” refractor, though not in any way as prominent and detailed as M42.

 

 

Link to full ->Obs. Report<-

 

Allan


Edited by AllanDystrup, 03 March 2016 - 04:45 AM.

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#30 AllanDystrup

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 04:07 AM

An "oldie, but goodie", from last year  :D

 

 

Great Andromeda Galaxy
M31, M32, M110 – Spiral Galaxy, with 2 elliptical companions

 

 

M31-32-110%20BlackCrop-L-Small.png

 

     A mild, relatively dry early September morning, 02-03 AM, -- perfect for stargazing. Already Taurus and the Pleiades  are rising in the SE, pushing Pegasus across the meridian and the rich Milky Way with the summer triangle down in the W; Andromeda is culminating in the S, holding her Great Galaxy right overhead, at zenith.

    
     M31, the Great Andromeda Galaxy, is easy to locate naked eye,  tracing a line from Beta through Mu and Nu AND, -- at least this early morning, with a calm and clear (bordering on Bortle Green) sky. The Great Galaxy shows up to the naked eye as an elongated undifferentiated foggy patch, but in the the 8.5° FOV of my 8x30 Zeiss bino, I view it more distinctly as a 2.5° NE-SW hazy ellipse with a noticeably brighter softly glowing nucleus.

    
     Aiming my 1x Red Dot just W of Nu AND, I get the central part of M31 (NGC 224) right in the middle of my 32mm finder eyepiece (24x @ 2° FOV). I can easily spot M32 (NGC 221), the smaller of the two satelitte dwarf galaxies, as a fuzzy 8.5m star 25’ due south of the center of M31’s bright core. It’s considerably harder to spot M110 (NGC 205); I find its exact location by starhopping to the top of a wedge shaped pattern N of the M31 core, and there, 42’ NW of M31,  I can glimpse the faint glow of the spheroidal galaxy M110, using averted eyesight.

    
     For a better view, I switch to my BCO-18mm ortho, yielding 43x @ 1.2° FOV; Since the dimension of the Great Andromeda Galaxy as seen from the Earth is roughly 3° x 1° , I realize that I crop the outer part of the spiral arms of M31 by bumping up the magnification, but my current night sky doesn’t allow me to view these faint parts of the galaxy anyway, and so I prefer the narrower view of ”downtown” M31, while still nicely framing the two companion dwarf galaxies.

    
     The core of M31 is a magnificent sight! It is of course not in any way resolvable in my small refractor, but it does show a nice gradation from a bright circular nucleus, over a surrounding elliptic disc (yellowish Pop II stars) that progressively fades into an elongated spindle shaped faint halo (ashen, with a tint of pale blue Pop I stars).

    
     The nebulosity spans the 1.2°  FOV, and using my mount fine controls to override the automatic RA tracking, I can with a twist of my fingers slide the whole galaxy gently back and forth in the FOV, and hence to different parts of my retina. This seems to lure out small details in the galaxy; I specifically look for stellar concentrations in the outer galactic arms (like NGC 206, close to the SW edge), but I’m not able to identify any of these with certainty. The galaxy however seems brighter and more extended in the NE part, which I think must be attributed to the dark dust lanes, that – as seen on photographs from Earth – are somewhat more prominent in the SW part.

    
It’s interesting to compare Area with Integrated Magnitude (IM) and Surface Brightness (SB) for the 3 AND galaxies :


                           Surface    Surface
         Size      Area    Integrated Brightness
Galaxy  (min)     (min2)   Magnitude  (mag/min2)     
M31 
   192 x 60   11520      3.4       13.3
M32      8 x  6      44      8.2       12.0
M101    27 x 26     702      7.7       14.6          

M32  is small, thus low IM, but with a brighter nucleus it has high SB and is easy to spot.
M101 is larger but more diffuse, thus higher IM than M32, but lower SB and harder to see.
M31  is large with high IM, but SB is in between.

 

->Full Obs. Report<-

 

Allan
 


Edited by AllanDystrup, 03 March 2016 - 04:17 AM.

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#31 AllanDystrup

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 04:32 AM

Back to September last year: The smoke ring in Lyra!

 

Ring Nebula
M57, Planetary Nebula (NGC 6720)

 

 

M57%20BlackCrop-L-Small.png

 

 

     A crisp, cool early September evening, around midnight 23:30 – 00:30 LOC; The Summer Triangle is prominent in the western sky, with Lyra still high, and Vega almost due W at 40° above the horizon.

    
     In the : 8° FOV of my 8x30 bino I can frame the whole main constellation of Lyra, from Vega at the top, down to the base defined by Sulafat (Beta) and Sheliak (Gamma); I look for M57 between the two base stars, -- but fail to see it.

    
     I aim my 1x Red Dot reticle just short of halfway from  Beta  to Gamma  LYR;  Switching to my rotating eyepiece holder, with a 1.2x GPC plus a K-32mm, I get a nice 24x @ 2° FOV, which is just enough to hold Sheliak and Sulafat in the same field. Close to half way the distance between these two stars, and a little below the imaginary line connecting them, I glimpse a fuzzy star, that ’blinks’ in and out of sight, as I switch my eye  between  indirect and direct vision: M57 !

    
     I first turn up the magnification to 48x (O-16mm) and center M57 in the now 0.8° FOV. Then I swap in my 3.5x FFC barlow, for a still higher magnification of 70x @ 0.7°  (K-32mm). M57 now reveals itself as a small, pale bluish (OIII) smoky disc with a central hole; The ring is slightly but clearly elongated in the NE-SW direction, -- sharply delineated using indirect vision and more fuzzy , when I look directly at it. At this magnification M57 is nicely framed by some small, distinct star patterns  -- I see a butterfly to the E, a chair to the S and a cross up towards NW...). As I enjoy this  view, suddenly! a star shoots from E to W through the field, missing the ring by just 20’, and leaving a jagged contrail that keeps glowing, then slowly fades, for about 3-4 sec... WOWeee !

    
     For a more detailed view, I now crank up the magnification to 90x @ 0.4° FOV (O-25mm). The view seems to show hints of, ’warm’  yellowish colour (Hα) at the outer edge of the annulus, but this is probably an illusion. Looking specifically for the 13.1m star I know should be at the NW edge of the ring, I do catch elusive but definite glimpses of it with prolonged peripheral vision. This is spot on the limiting magnitude of my 80mm refractor, and I’m satisfied to be able to ’crack’ it, even in these not quite optimal observing conditions.

    
     Continuing now to 140x @ 0.3° FOV (O-16mm) reveals a ’cooler’, faint grey nebulous light in the the center hole (what W. Herschel has described as ”like gauze stretched over a hoop”).  The ca. 15m white dwarf star, that hides in the center of the hoop, is of course beyond reach of my small scope. Finally increasing the magnification to 224x @ 0.2° FOV (O-10mm) turns out to be not useful – the image simply gets too dim and ’smeared’.

 

 

->Full Obs. Report<-

 

Allan


Edited by AllanDystrup, 03 March 2016 - 04:34 AM.

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#32 AllanDystrup

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 05:02 AM

From October last year : The Arrowhead Glob in Saggita.

 

Arrowhead Globular
M71, Globular Cluster (NGC 6838)

 

 

M71%20BlackCrop-L-Small.png

 

 

     It’s a mild, early autumn evening just after twilight, 20:30 local summertime, with a couple of hours before the 60% waning gibbous moon will be rising.  The sky is not quite dark yet, but the constellations are already peeping out, - as are the parents and chicks of the Owl family, who are bustling and babbling loudly in preparation for the night hunt.

    

     I start by scanning the eastern sky with my 8x30 bino, 9° up north of Almach (gamma AND) to judge the conditions for observing M76 tonight (the small Dumbbell PN). The seeing is good, but the transparency is not optimal, -- a touch of high haze resulting in too much air glow, so i choose M71 (the arrowhead globular) as my target instead.

    

     At 20:30 Sagitta has just passed the meridian due south, and M71 is conveniently placed right below the middle in the shaft of the Arrow (midway between gamma and delta). I aim my red dot at gamma SGE, then place this star in the eastearn part of the 2.2° FOV of my ATC K-40mm finder eyepiece (19x magnification); This puts M71 in the western part of the FOV, together with an easily identified ”string” of 3 stars (the brightest being 9 SGE).

 

     I now center the field on M71, and step up the magnification, first to 56x @ 0.75° = 45’ FOV (3.5xFFC+K-40mm), which nicely frames M71 together with the 3-star string. M71 is clearly seen with indirect vision as a neboulous patch of 3’ diameter, contained in a triangle of three 10-11m stars. The patch itself has a triangular outline, the western edge (baseline) being more delineated than the apex defined by the fuzzier NE and SE  edges. The patch has a slightly brighter glowing SW corner, but I can resolve no stars here at 56x magnification. I do however glimpse two pairs of brighter stars (around 12m) in the eastern part of the patch. These are probably galactic field stars and not actual members of the globular cluster.

    

     I now step up the magnification to 90x  @ 0.4° FOV (3.5xFFC+O-25mm); The view is clean and confirms the nebula outline and details I saw at 56x. After prolonged observation with indirect vision I catch short glimpses of a few tiny faint stelar points embedded in the central part of the nebula, on the very limit of resolution.

    

      Increasing the magnification to 140x @ 0.3° FOV (3.5xFFC+O-16mm) does not offer new details under the current observing conditions.

 

->Full Obs. report<-

 

Allan


Edited by AllanDystrup, 03 March 2016 - 05:03 AM.

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#33 AllanDystrup

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 05:18 AM

And here's the Little Dumbbell PN (Cork Neb), from mid October last year:

 

 

Little Dumbbell (’Cork / Barbell / Butterfly Nebula’)
M76, Planetary Nebula (NGC 650 & 651)

 

 

M76%20BlackCrop-L-Small.png

 

 

     It’s an hour past midnight, local summertime. After a cloudy day and evening, the last high cumulus clouds have been pushed to the west by a high preasure building up east of Scandinavia, and now the transparancy and seeing are both above average, plus it’s relatively mild and dry for the season. The owls are quiet – with the moon below the horizon, there’s probably not enough light to start hunting at the moment. But hey!  It’s a really fine night for stargazing!

    
     Orion has just climbed above the horizon in the east, and Andromeda is hovering high on the meridian in the south. This is a perfect night for hunting down M76, the Little Dumbbell planetary nebula in Perseus. I have prepared a star hop from the beautiful double Almach (Gamma And), 5° NW to an inverted ’hockey stick’, up 2½° to a ’puch’ including 51 AND, and further up  3° NE to a stick man asterism (presumably the owner of the hocley gear?). The S and N feet of the stick man is Phi PER and ’a’ PER (HIP 8063) respectively. Aiming my red dot at Phi PER, i get the whole stick man in my K-40mm telescope eyepiece, 19x @ 2.2° FOV.

    
     Centering now on ’a’ Per (HIP 8063), I swap in my FFC at 5x barlow, yielding 80x @ 0.5° FOV. This frames M76 nicely, with ’a’ PER on the E side and a circular asterism (somewhat like a small Auriga constellation) towards the W. I see the small dumbbell clearly with averted vision -- a faint nebula elongted in the NE-SW direction (PA ~45°). After prolonged observation, I can discern a bisection of the nebula, the S ’core’ (NGC 651) being a tad brighter and more well defined than the N part (NGC 650). There are a pair of small stars (~12m) close to the nebulous bar in the NW direction, one for each of the NGC ’lobes’.

    
     Switching to 128x @ 0.3° FOV ( O-25mm) confirms what I saw at 80x, but adds no further detail. I haven’t brought along my OII filter, so I look forward to observe M76 again to see if a can catch more nebulous details using this filter.

 

->Full Obs. Report<-

 

Allan


Edited by AllanDystrup, 03 March 2016 - 06:23 AM.

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#34 AllanDystrup

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 05:39 AM

Time to say goodbye & thank you to the Pleiades too :

 

The Pleiades (”The Seven Sisters”)
M45, Open Cluster  (NGC: not listed, Melotte 22, Collinder 42)

 

 

M45%20BlackCrop-L-Small.png

 

 

OBS-1:   After an afternoon and early night with heavy snowfall, I wake up an hour after midnight to a clear sky and a sharp temperature drop of 20°, down to a crisp -10°C;  It’s a calm, rather pleasant early morning with low humidity, but there’s a 13 day (94%) moon sailing low in Pisces in the W, -- and so faint DSO (like M1) is clearly a no-go.

    
      Instead I start out by aiming my red dot at the ”Seven Sisters” (M45, The Pleiades), who at 45° altitude in the SW  are coaxing Taurus and Orion along on their curved path down to the W horizon. I start the observation with my Kellner 40mm eyepiece, for a 19x mag. @ 2° wide field view. This actually gives a nice, wide framing of M45, but I prefer the 25mm Ortho to do a close up sketch of the central part of the OC.

    
     Switching to the O-25 EP gives me 31x @ 1.3° FOV, with the 8 brightest 3 m-4m stars forming a nice ”shopping cart" asterism on the backdrop of two dozen 7 m-8m pin points stars scattered across the field. I take the time to carefully plot these main stars of the cluster, but having finished this after a good half an hour, my fingers are starting to get numb from the cold, and so I postpone the drawing of M45 nebulosity (IC 349) to a subsequent observation session!

 

M42%20Annotated.png

 

OBS-2:     It’s an early evening in late November, with a clear sky after several days with heavy rain; There’s a 19 day (90%) waning gibbous moon rising in Gemini, already causing some sky glow towards the E in the high humidity atmosphere. The Pleiades are a comfortable 37° up towards the zenith, so I decide to finish my sketch of the open cluster by filling in the nebulousity around the 8 brightest naked eye visible stars.

    
     I have the Baader 1.75x GPC before my Zeiss Amici diagonal, and as always I start with the ATC K-40mm EP for a 24x @ 1.7° wide field view; The the nebulosity, however, is not obvious at this low magnification, so I click up the mag. to 38x (CZJ O-25), then 60x (O-16) and finally 96x (O-10). The nebulosity gets steadily more pronounced and slightly better delimited with increasing magnification (though still best seen with peripheral vision). I complete my sketch at 38x / 1° FOV, then try adding a Baader O-III emission nebula filter to the optical train, -- but the gain in definition is traded off for a loss in transmission, and so all-in-all the O-III filter is not an advantage for this object (IC 349), at this suburban observation site and time, with this relatively small (80mm) aperture refractor. Switching to the Baader UHC-S filter yields a better view of IC 349, now obvious using direct vision, and with only a slightly dimmer view.

 

->Full Obs.Report<-

 

Allan


Edited by AllanDystrup, 03 March 2016 - 06:21 AM.

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#35 AllanDystrup

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 06:12 AM

And the Dumbbell PN completes flushing my backlog for this season;

Btw, the first observation I believe, in this Messier tour with my FL-80S!

 

Dumbbell
M27, Planetary Nebula   (NGC6853)

 

M27%20BlackCrop-Small.png

 

 

     A mild, humid early september evening, the hour before midnight, local summertime. The transparency and seeing are both just above medium, as is often the case in summer in my yelllow zone (Bortle 6 m) suburban backyard.

    

     A waning, 77% gibbous moon is rising in the E behind my house, the Summer Triangle is riding high in the SW. In my CZJ 8x30 bino I can easily hold the main constellation of Sagitta (SGE, The Arrow)  in one FOV (8.5°). From the tip of SGE (baseline: Gamma-Eta), I can trace a star pattern, somewhat like the outline of a christmas tree, up 3°N; In the top of the Xmas tree, I can glimpse M27 in the bino, a tiny faint nebulous spot.

    

     I aim my 1x red dot at the top of the Xmas tree, then look for M27 in my 6x30 finder (8° FOV), -- but fail to locate it in the skyglow of the moonlit early september sky. I switch to my FL-80S with a 32mm Kellner in the Zeiss Amici turret. As I have the FFC barlow before the turret, the magnification is already appropriately high (70x), and I have M27 nicely framed in a 0.7° FOV.

    

     The rather large nebula (6’ x 8’) fills close to 1/5 of the diameter of the field (~7’). The nebulosity is clearly visible, as is the main apple core outline of the nebula .  Trying to focus on details of the nebula with direct vision is hard though, -- the nebula seems alive, twitching and dissolving where you ’poke’ it with your visual focus. To stop the quivering morphing of the nebula, you have to observe  it with indirect vision.

    

     Now the hurglass shape of the nebula core settles down, the NE and SW borders are seen as more clearly delineated, and the S part of the ’hourglass’  shows up considerably brighter, with a small 11.5m star playing peek a boo at the far SW corner. After some time of indirect observation, I can make out a thinner veil wrapping the central ’waist’ of the apple core, and at monents I think I can catch a glimpse of the whole core shrouded in a very faint nebulos sphere. I’m not sure though, whether the sphere is an optical illusion, or a real observation.

    

     Making a drawing of M27 at the eyepiece is not easy, as observation of the nebula details requires a good dark adapted eye. Each time I add to the drawing, I have to close my right eye, then dim the red light (holding it inside my left hand) while I make the drawing with my left eye open and my right hand controlling the pencil.

 

 

->Full Obs.Report-<

 

Allan


Edited by AllanDystrup, 03 March 2016 - 06:21 AM.

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#36 Sasa

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 08:12 AM

Excellent work Allan, you are diing fairly well.

#37 AllanDystrup

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 09:07 AM

Thank you very much for the encouragement Sasa!

Exciting taking this round trip to the Messiers with my 3",

and a pleasure sharing it with others.

 

Allan


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#38 kenrenard

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 09:32 AM

Allan, 

Excellent observing and writing. I am really enjoying this thread. I just sketch M44 the other night and really enjoyed putting those dots on paper. 

 

 

Ken


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#39 AllanDystrup

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 10:42 AM

Thank you Ken!   --   Feel free to share "those dots" here in the Messier thread :)  --

always interesting to compare impressions from different obs. locations/conditions

and with different instruments!

Allan
 



#40 Sasa

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 02:13 PM

Allan, here are my drawings of some of the objects you have visited (all from small and mostly classic refractors):

 

http://www-hep2.fzu....1_03_04/m35.jpg

 

http://www-hep2.fzu....14_02_23/m1.jpg

 

http://www-hep2.fzu...._07_08/m27a.jpg

 

http://www-hep2.fzu....4_10_19/m76.jpg

 

http://www-hep2.fzu....4_02_23/m42.jpg

 

http://www-hep2.fzu....arradd_invA.jpg

 

Some of them made it last year to the new re-edition of Ruckl's book "Constellations". This made me, of course, proud.


Edited by Sasa, 03 March 2016 - 02:24 PM.

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#41 AllanDystrup

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 03:10 AM

Wonderful sketches Alexander!! I can understand why some of them were selected for publishing.

I especially enjoyed studying your drawing of M35 with NGC2158 (also to verify my own observation of the latter), and M76 where your drawing with AS110 shows more detail than I could catch with the FL80S. The other "fuzzy" on your M71 sketch must be a comet? WOW, what a sight that must have been!

 

I think our observation conditions (european temperate zone weather, suburban / yellow) and our equipment and observation methods are quite similar, and therefore in many ways comparable.

 

When I have completed my Messier tour with the FL80S, I plan to reboot my FL102S, which should be even more comparable to your AS110. I love the CZJ AS Steinheil objectives, superb figuring and polish. I had the small AS63/840 early Telementor, and is was razor sharp -- but showed some residual CA, most prominent on the solar system objects. Still an excellent instrument!

 

Allan



#42 kenrenard

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 09:46 AM

M44.JPG Allan, 

Here is my M44 sketch with my 72mm F6 refractor. 

 


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#43 AllanDystrup

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 03:25 AM

Leo Triplet 2    (Leo I group, West)

M105, M96, M95  Spiral Galaxies
(NGC 3397, NGC 3627, NGC 3623)

 

     It’s just before midnight (23h15m LOC) in early April, 2016. I’m out under a starry sky with my small Vixen FL-80S refractor at my ”semi-dark” observation site in our weekend cottage at a local nature reserve. A deer is rummaging around with a raucous barking at the neighbors plot, and our own owl has just flown by, leaving a hooting trail above my head.  All's well :) 

    

     The transparency is the best I’ve experienced in the past 6 months (NELM 5.7), the seeing is above medium, and a 4 day (17%) waxing crescent moon is steadily sinking behind the trees on the W horizon, at the feet of Gemini. This will be a fine night for hunting down galaxies!

    

   I start with the western Leo Triplet (M105, M96, M95), in the Leo I galaxy group.  My star hop takes off at Rho Leonis, easily found naked eye ca. 9° E of Regulus, and identified in the 7° FOV of my KK 8x50 RACI finder by a nearby triangle of 6m stars . From Rho Leo I first pan 4° due E, and center the 5.3m star 53 Leo in the finder view. This star is at the center of a Y-shaped asterism, and from the NE tip of this Y, I finally pan the finder 1½° to the NW and center on a 7m star, marked ‘X’ on my star maps (alias: HD93273 ). This is my anchor for navigating the W Leo Triplet.

    

     Switching to my K-40mm finder eyepiece on the telescope (27x @ 1.5° FOV), I immediately see a fuzzy spot barely ½° E of ’X’. This is M105. It is easily observed (O-16mm, 68x @ 0.6° FOV) as a hazy halo with a brighter, slightly NE-elongated stellar core, that can hold direct vision. It has an obvious galaxy companion without a clearly defined core just 7’ to the ENE (NGC 3384), and together they make a beautiful pair in the ~½°  FOV of the 16mm CZJ orthoscopic  eyepiece!

   

     Sliding now the FOV of the K-40mm ½° S, I move M105 to the top of the FOV, and at the same time get another fuzzy spot close to the center of view: M96.  Although fainter than M105, this galaxy is also easily seen in the K-40mm finder EP, and it shows up some details at 44x (O-25) and 68x (O-16) magnification: a rounded hazy spot with a slight NW orientation and a mottled core.

    

      Finally I start the hunt for the last galaxy in the Western Leo Triplet: M95. This galaxy is distinctly fainter than it’s two companions, so I have to check my star maps for the precise location. Keeping the FOV as described above for M96, I suspect a faint spot in the SW ”corner” of the field, at the expected position. I now center on this spot, and click up the magnification to 44x (O-25mm @ 0.9° FOV) : M95 is seen as a ”faint fuzzy”, with no brighter core – actually best observed with averted vision.

 

LEO-Triplet-I-West BLACK PSP-Light-Crop-Small.jpg

 

->Link to full observation report<- with more info.

 

Allan


Edited by AllanDystrup, 13 April 2016 - 04:00 AM.

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#44 Sasa

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 03:39 AM

Excellent work and interesting reading, Allan. Thanks. It brings back the memories from the night when there was supernova in M95. I saw hints of bar and part of the ring in 100mm refractor that night:

 

th_m95_sn2012aw.jpg


Edited by Sasa, 13 April 2016 - 06:24 AM.

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#45 AllanDystrup

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 03:54 AM

Very fine drawing of M95 with your 100mm, Sasa!!

 

The Messier tour I have embarked on is mostly a survey to establish search maps and a knowledge baseline, using my 80mm Vixen under a suburban sky

I plan to do more detailed object studies with my 102mm Vixen, once the survey is done.

 

Many plans, too few starry nights...

Allan
 



#46 AllanDystrup

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Posted 16 April 2016 - 01:35 AM

Spring is deep sky galaxy time up here in the N. hemisphere, where the constellations UMa, Coma and Virgo are culminating at the meridian around midnight, undisturbed by all the Milky Way frenzy of dense star fields, clusters and dust. Despite the less than optimal conditions tonight, I decide to embark on my survey of the Virgo Cluster.

 

VirgoCluster-TheWall.png

 

VIRGO CLUSTER
 

"The Wall" , East

M60 - M59, M58    

 

     It’s  past midnight (01:30-02:30 Loc. Time) in early April, 2016. I have the Vixen FL-80S out under a Bortle 7/Red suburban transition night sky in my backyard, -- the seeing is steady at 8/10, and the transparency just above medium at 5/7, with NELM 5.3m (SQM 18.4); However there’s a curtain of haze rising up 15° from the horizon, so my time for observation will be limited.

    

     I start out by centering my small rafractor on Rho VIR, which is easily found naked eye ca. 5° W of Eps VIR (Vindemiatrix). In my K-40mm eyepiece (27x @ 1.5° FOV), Rho Vir is at the center of a bright, easily recognized LAMBDA asterism, and there’s a line of 3 fainter (~9m) stars at the top of the same field of view. Placing the 3 stars now at the bottom of the field (i.e. moving up almost 1° in DEC), I get a smaller line of 2 faint  (9m) stars in the upper part of the field. M60 and M59 are just below (to the SE)  of these two stars.

    

• M60 :  is the easternmost galaxy of this pair; It is easily seen at 27x, but I choose to click up the magnification to 44x (O-25mm)  for my drawing, which will thus be framed at ~1° FOV. In this frame I can nicely hold the pair of  Virgo galaxies: M60 and M59, which form the eastern part of  The WALL  in the Virgo Cluster.  M60 is the larger and brighter of the pair. It shows up in my 80mm refractor (68x,O-16mm) as a bright core, somewhat triangular in shape with the triangle apex oriented towards NW, surrounded by a fainter halo. The observed asymmetry of the core is probably due to the merged images of M60 + the nearby smaller galaxy NGC 4647.

    

•  M59:  is seen as an slimmer, oval patch of nebulosity, roughly only half the size and brightness of M60. It does have a bright core, slightly elongated towards the N. There’s a 11m star ca. 3’ to the N of M59.

    

    

#1-M60M59-BLACK-LL-CROP-SMALL.png

 

 To be continued... :)

 

->Link to full Obs. Report<-

 

Allan


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#47 AllanDystrup

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Posted 16 April 2016 - 01:46 AM

VIRGO CLUSTER 
 

"The Wall" , East

   M58

 

    Switching back to my ”finder eyepiece” (K-40mm, 27x @ 1.5° FOV), I now move W in RA untill the line of 3 stars mentioned above is just swept out of the FOV (ca. 1½°). I now have a KITE asterism (of 9m stars) in the field, and just E of the easternmost star in the KITE I see M58.

    

• M58:  This is a rather featureless galaxy in the 80mm refractor, round with no obvious orientation or structure of the core. It apears less bright than both M60 and M59.

 

#2-M58-BLACK-LL-CROP-SMALL.png

 

 

->Link to full Obs. Report<- for The Wall, East (incl. M58)

 

To be continued...

Allan


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#48 AllanDystrup

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 02:09 AM


VIRGO CLUSTER
 

"The Wall" , West
M87

 

  

     In my previous observation report, I was star hopping along "The Wall" of galaxies in the Virgo Cluster, from Rho VIR to M60-M59 and further west to M58, which I studied @ 44x in 1° FOV (CZJ 25mm Ortho).
 

     Switching back now to my ”finder eyepiece” (K-40mm, 27x @ 1.5° FOV), I slide the refractor further W in RA along The Wall, untill the KITE-asterism of 9m stars mentioned for M58 is swept just out of the FOV (ca. 1½°);  I now have a new AXE-asterism (of ~9m stars) in the field, and just below (to the SW) of the tip of the AXE I find :


• M87: This galaxy is easily seen as a relatively bright and round nebulous spot.
            In the 80mm it looks like a mottled fuzzball, reminescent of a globular cluster.

 

#1-M87-BLACK-LL-CROP-SMALL.jpg

 

 

To be continued...

Allan


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#49 AllanDystrup

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 02:22 AM

VIRGO CLUSTER
 

"The Wall" , West
M86 - M84

 

 

      This is the night following the observation of M87 (described above). The humidity and haze of the previous night are gone, and I have relocated to my ”darker site” at our weekend cottage; All in all the observing conditions are as excellent as it gets, here just north of Copenhagen.

 

     I start out with the AXE-asterism (anchoring M87) in my  K-40mm eyepiece, for 27x @ 1½° FOV.  Moving now one FOV in RA further to the W (~1½°), I get an ARROW-asterism (somewhat like a small Sagitta constellation) in the field, and to the E, just off the tip of the arrow, I spot the M86 – M84 pair of  galaxies as two faint fuzzies, separated by only 20’.  They both have brighter centers and softer outer haloes.

 

• M86 : is the easternmost of the pair, noticeably larger but more diffuse and slightly elongated towards the NW.
  
• M84:  is closer to the tip of The Arrow, with a rounder and brighter apearance.

 

 

#2-M86M84-BLACK-LL-CROP-SMALL.jpg

 

 

The western galaxies in "The Wall" of the Virgo Cluster have some interesting astrophysical characteristics.
I've written a little about that in the :  ->Full Observation Report<-

 

Allan


Edited by AllanDystrup, 19 April 2016 - 02:30 AM.

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#50 PeterTheUniverse

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 12:31 PM

Allan, well done! And I love this unique cluster visual connection (M35-Ngc...). The best option to watch that - exactly as you mentioned - with a lower zoom, keeping that weaker one just as a haze. But with bigger magnitude my 8-inches revealed how many stars it has!
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