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CN Report: The Abell Planetary and Hickson Guides

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#1 Tom T

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 11:17 AM

CN Report: The Abell Planetary and Hickson Group Observers Guides

#2 edwincjones

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 12:29 PM

Thanks for the information-I just ordered the Hickson Guide.

edj

#3 Cosmosphil

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 12:40 PM

Tom,
This is excellent! :D
I have wondered if there would ever be additional resources for these types of objects. The 2 main mags seem to be moving away from advanced observing to imaging. Well, I guess that's where the money is and where technology is taking this hobby nowadays.
Would these resouces be useful with 15" at 6 - 6.5 mag skies? I have viewed about 6 or so Hickson groups with varied success and maybe only all of 2 or 3 Abell planetaries. I wouldn't want to waste my time. But, if a majority of these objects were within grasp I would go for it! I also am getting tired of the same 500 objects but I try to at least set up one or two challenges everytime I head out to the dark site. Heck, I would almost puchase these resources to just support the author and browse through them. :grin:
I loved the features a few years ago when the major mags had challenge articles on deep sky. I miss those greatly and my Observers Guides are wearing thin as wonderful as they are so these are a true breath of fresh air for us good ol observing types. :ubetcha:

#4 Starman1

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 01:38 PM

I have wondered if there would ever be additional resources for these types of objects. The 2 main mags seem to be moving away from advanced observing to imaging.
Would these resouces be useful with 15" at 6 - 6.5 mag skies? I have viewed about 6 or so Hickson groups with varied success and maybe only all of 2 or 3 Abell planetaries. But, if a majority of these objects were within grasp I would go for it! I also am getting tired of the same 500 objects but I try to at least set up one or two challenges everytime I head out to the dark site. Heck, I would almost puchase these resources to just support the author and browse through them. :grin:
I loved the features a few years ago when the major mags had challenge articles on deep sky. I miss those greatly and my Observers Guides are wearing thin as wonderful as they are so these are a true breath of fresh air for us good ol observing types. :ubetcha:

A lot of objects will be within reach and these two guides are excellent books.
I'd recommend the Night Sky Observer's Guide Vol I and II from Kepple and Sanner. On-line, download the Saguaro Astronomy Club's Deep Sky list of over 10,000 objects. In 6-6.5 skies, all of these objects should be viewable in a 15" scope, though many will be a challenge if you're not used to viewing at the limit.
There are many, many, observing guides available, and most are aimed at the beginner. Tom has done an excellent service to let amateurs know about 2 excellent guides. There are many more of them on-line, and the SAC list is just about the best.
But definitely get the two guides Tom mentions and use them as observing guides to challenges. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
I'd say these two guides are pretty good guides for anyone with 8" or more in dark skies(6.5+), or 10" and more in brighter skies (mag.6), or 12.5" up in mag.5.5 skies.
Thanks for the review, Tom.

#5 Bob Abraham

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 03:27 PM

This is an interesting article but I'm afraid some of the historical information is wrong. (I'm a professional astronomer and know Paul Hickson quite well).

In particular, this is incorrect:

"In 1994 Dr. Paul Hickson compiled a list of 100 interesting interactive galaxy clusters with the idea of looking for inharmonious redshifts – where apparently nearby or interacting galaxies are flying apart at high velocities instead of remaining in their groups. This study of the unique gravitational behavior of these Hickson groups was the first to suggest the idea of Dark Matter – a material now believed to compose most of the universe."

Firstly, dynamical analysis of compact groups was assuredly not the first to suggest the existence of dark matter. Dynamical analysis of rich clusters (principally by Zwicky) suggested the existence of dark matter decades before Paul was even born. Subsequent dynamical work on the rotation curves of spiral galaxies really nailed the case convincingly (late 1970's and early 1980's). Paul is a great guy and I'm pretty sure he'd be embarrassed to learn he's being credited with the discovery of dark matter, so I thought I'd better note this error to try to nip it in the bud.

Secondly, I believe the date information about when Paul put together his catalog is probably wrong. Paul has been working on compact groups since the 1970's, and has published several catalogs. A very notable catalog paper of his came out in 1989 (Astrophysical Journal Supplement, 70, 687). Perhaps this is what is being referred to? A search of Paul's publications in 1994 on the Astrophysics Data System (http://adsabs.harvar...ct_service.html) yields a few papers but nothing that looks like a master catalog of compact groups.

Best regards,

Roberto Abraham

#6 Tom T

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 04:27 PM

I had completely forgotten about Fritz Zwicky. Now that you mention him, I seem to recall reading about some really wild ideas he had. The all time "best" I've heard attributed to him was he wanted to have the armed forces shoot cannon over the area where observations were being made - the theory being something along the lines that it would improve seeing. :) Or was that an astronomy "urban" legand?

I made the change to my article.

As per the date for the compilation of the Hickson catalog - I also removed that, but it was based on various (amateur) sources across the internet (of course that means nothing about the accuracy). If you can confirm a date for the catalog, please let me know and I'll add it in.

Thank you!

Tom T.

#7 Starman1

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 07:24 PM

My copy of the Hickson catalog was published in 1994 by the University of British Columbia, and has no prior copyright. Perhaps that's where the "information" comes from. Reading that, I did not have the idea that the research was new, though, as I had heard about his work much earlier. I saw Stephan's Quintet called a "Hickson Group" in magazines in the 1980's.

#8 Bob Abraham

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 08:07 PM

Hi Tom and Don,

I'm not sure what the 1994 publication is, since I can't find it in
the NASA ADS publication database. This database is pretty complete
for journal articles but a bit spotty for books and other types of
publications. Perhaps the 1994 reference is indeed the definitive
resource for this kind of thing.... I just don't know. Anyway, I bump
into Paul all the time, and next time I see him I'll ask.

But in any case I believe the original catalog was published in the ApJ
in 1982:

"Systematic properties of compact groups of galaxies", ApJ, 255, 382.

Here is a description of the catalog in the paper:

"The catalog is a list of 100 compact groups of galaxies identified by a systematic search of the Palomar Observatory Sky Survey red prints. Each group contains four or more galaxies, has an estimated mean surface brightness brighter than 26.0 magnitude per arcsec and satisfies an isolation criterion. The catalog includes running numbers, equatorial coordinates, group types according to the two brightest members, number of galaxies in the group, angular diameters of the smallest circles containing the geometric centers of all group members, total magnitudes (red) of those galaxies counted as group members, estimated red magnitudes of the brightest galaxies in the groups, corrected redshifts of the brightest galaxies, and other designations of the groups. (1 data file)."

As for Fritz Zwicky.... he was certainly quite a character. He was before
my time, and actually he was about 40 years ahead of his own time too...
and while a genius not exactly a charming personality --- I've heard
some pretty "interesting" stories. I'm pretty sure that he did indeed
play with firearms as a device for improving seeing, but I'm afraid I
am not privy to any details...

#9 Starman1

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 08:23 PM

Bob,
You simply must get out more :grin:.
Here's an Amazon.com link to the 1994 publication:
Hickson
Don

#10 Bob Abraham

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 09:18 PM

It's funny that Paul is listed as being Robert on Amazon! At least
they got his last name right.

But yeah I very clearly do need to step outside the ivory tower once in
a while (oddly enough, reading Cloudy Nights occasionally is my attempt
to do exactly that!).

The publication on Amazon should be on the NASA ADS system ---
its absence from there is surprising (the ADS, along with the astro-ph
preprint server for recent stuff, are the usual sources of info for
working astronomers). I'll email the ADS guys about this...

Anyway, it looks like the 1994 manuscript is a reworking of
the 1982 Astrophysical Journal catalog with some
supplementary information to make it more user friendly,
so I guess 1982 is the right year to cite for the origin of
the catalog...

#11 stevecoe

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 12:56 AM

Don;

Thank you so much for the kind words about the Saguaro Astronomy Club database. We are at ver. 7.2 and I promise that I plan an upgrade in the future, I am right at the end of putting together my book on observing Nebulae.

I did include many Abell planetaries in the database, I just don't remember if I did them ALL. I will check that when we start the database review. It was always meant to be aimed at someone with well trained vision and a 10 inch scope in Arizona. Some of those Abells do not meet that criteria, they are 17th mag or so. I am certain that some of the Hickson groups are beyond that criteria as well.

All I need is time;
Steve Coe

#12 snorkler

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 02:05 AM

I've had the pleasure of viewing with Alvin Huey, the author, a number of times here in northern California. He's quite an impressive fellow and observer. It's great to see his work recognized.

I bought both of his books last year prior to the Shingletown Star Party. Now that I'm retired, I'm going to be looking for the Hickson and Abell objects.

#13 Mr. Bill

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 11:23 AM

Thanks for the information-I just ordered the Hickson Guide.

edj


Getting ready for May, edj?

:jump:

#14 Mr. Bill

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 12:56 PM

Tom,
This is excellent! :D
I have wondered if there would ever be additional resources for these types of objects. The 2 main mags seem to be moving away from advanced observing to imaging. Well, I guess that's where the money is and where technology is taking this hobby nowadays.
Would these resouces be useful with 15" at 6 - 6.5 mag skies? I have viewed about 6 or so Hickson groups with varied success and maybe only all of 2 or 3 Abell planetaries. I wouldn't want to waste my time. But, if a majority of these objects were within grasp I would go for it! I also am getting tired of the same 500 objects but I try to at least set up one or two challenges everytime I head out to the dark site. Heck, I would almost puchase these resources to just support the author and browse through them. :grin:
I loved the features a few years ago when the major mags had challenge articles on deep sky. I miss those greatly and my Observers Guides are wearing thin as wonderful as they are so these are a true breath of fresh air for us good ol observing types. :ubetcha:


Agree in general with your comments, but I've never gotten bored with the same ol' 500 objects. I would rather spend my observing time viewing objects that I can discern some detail in, then objects that I have to strain just to detect with averted vision.

Different strokes....

#15 RRaubach

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 05:15 PM

I agree--I'd sooner "see" something than just another faint fuzzy. One of my favorite galaxies is now coming up pretty early: NGC 4449. With my (ex) TMB 175, I was able to see several "knots" that corresponded to HII regionswhen compared with the SEDS data bases.

Rodger

#16 Alvin Huey

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 06:21 PM

Thanks Darrell for your kind words. :)

Alvin
alvin@faintfuzzies.com
22" f/4.1 Pegasus reflector
30" f/4.3 StarMaster GOTO

:jump:

#17 spaceydee

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 06:36 PM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights Alvin and Bob.
:)

#18 Mr. Bill

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 06:42 PM

Of course, if I owned a 30 inch I might spend more time looking at "faint fuzzies..." like Hicksons and Abells....

:roflmao:

#19 Tom T

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 06:50 PM

I agree--I'd sooner "see" something than just another faint fuzzy. One of my favorite galaxies is now coming up pretty early: NGC 4449. With my (ex) TMB 175, I was able to see several "knots" that corresponded to HII regionswhen compared with the SEDS data bases.

Rodger


Well, get rid of those tiny scopes and get yourself some aperture.

;)

T

#20 Mr. Bill

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 07:04 PM

I agree--I'd sooner "see" something than just another faint fuzzy. One of my favorite galaxies is now coming up pretty early: NGC 4449. With my (ex) TMB 175, I was able to see several "knots" that corresponded to HII regionswhen compared with the SEDS data bases.

Rodger


Well, get rid of those tiny scopes and get yourself some aperture.

;)

T


Spending a week in May "keeping company" with a 30 inch at New Mexico Skies....might just have to take a peek at some of those Abells and Hicksons.

Got a chance to view Stephen's Quintet (Sextet) with a 1 meter several years ago.....outstanding. Aperture trumps!
:jump:

#21 edwincjones

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 07:13 PM

Yes, Mr Bill-after we see all the Hicksons, we can look at your list.

(note to CNers, Mr Bill and I are going to NewMexicoSkies in May to use their 30" f5 scope).

edj

#22 Mr. Bill

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 07:17 PM

Yes, Mr Bill-after we see all the Hicksons, we can look at your list.

(note to CNers, Mr Bill and I are going to NewMexicoSkies in May to use their 30" f5 scope)

edj


Hey ed....
I bet some of those "boring" Messier objects will look pretty awesome....
:grin:

#23 edwincjones

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Posted 14 March 2006 - 04:28 AM

Bill,

I guess I could tolerate Omega Centauri in the 30" if we have time after the Hicksons, but it may ruin our night vision.

edj

#24 Alvin Huey

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Posted 14 March 2006 - 11:19 AM

Yes, Mr Bill-after we see all the Hicksons, we can look at your list.

(note to CNers, Mr Bill and I are going to NewMexicoSkies in May to use their 30" f5 scope)

edj


Hey ed....
I bet some of those "boring" Messier objects will look pretty awesome....
:grin:



Oh yeah, I sometimes like to look at Eye Candy with the 30"...totally different perspective. Even better...toss in a BinoVue and enjoy. :) I thought the best views I had of Saturn was with my friend's BinoVues at 800x on the 30". Wow 3-D effect. M-13 with BinoVue's looks 3-D! I can go on.

#25 Mr. Bill

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Posted 14 March 2006 - 11:49 AM

Yes, Mr Bill-after we see all the Hicksons, we can look at your list.

(note to CNers, Mr Bill and I are going to NewMexicoSkies in May to use their 30" f5 scope)

edj


Hey ed....
I bet some of those "boring" Messier objects will look pretty awesome....
:grin:



Oh yeah, I sometimes like to look at Eye Candy with the 30"...totally different perspective. Even better...toss in a BinoVue and enjoy. :) I thought the best views I had of Saturn was with my friend's BinoVues at 800x on the 30". Wow 3-D effect. M-13 with BinoVue's looks 3-D! I can go on.


Well, if ed is buying the Hickson, I guess I'll buy the Abell (I like pns)

OBTW, I did a lot of observing with Jack Marling (Lumicon) back in the mid 80s when Jack was developing his OIII filter. Jack was also working on a catalog of pns with integrated surface brightness for visual. I don't think he ever published, but if you Google him you will come up with some hits.

We probably were among the first, if not first, to observe many of the Abells using a 12 1/2inch and 17 1/2 inch scopes. My 12 1/2 inch may have had first light on a couple.

Ah, the good ol' days.....
:rainbow:


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