Date: Sunday 9th September. 2145-0100am
Scope: 20” f3.6 Lukehurst Dob with Paracorr (fl = 2089mm & f4.1). Night Vision: PVS-14 with Photonis 4g INTENS.
Eyepieces: 55mm (f2 x38), 35mm (f3 x60).
Filters: Astronomik 6nm.
The last few days have been showery, so I had spent some of the time building a new Observing List in Sky Safari with a target list of 30 Sharpless nebulas.
New Moon – Get looking up!
As it was new moon and the weather forecast is not good for the next few days, I saw a potential opportunity for some Sunday night observing. I checked outside at 2100 and it was complete cloud so went back to watching the TV. At 2130, I checked again and it was completely clear with a nice Milky Way showing already. I got my bits and pieces together, got changed into warm clothing (now back to 2 layers of everything as it has dropped much colder in the last week or so!)
No time to wait, off we go…
As I opened the shed, I could see some cloud off to the west so decided to forego collimation and just get setup and started…
Within a few minutes, the roof was open and I completed the 2-star alignment for my Nexus push-to system. (This turned out to be a good thing as within 30 minutes, I was clouded out and then had to spend the rest of my 3 hour+ session aiming at holes in the clouds (this is not so bad when you at least have the scope alignment completed as you can still find objects that are in that area of the sky quickly.)
Grab some new (to me) Sharpless
The night was a bit of a disappointment overall, I spent a few spells just sitting on my chair waiting for clouds to part but I did get the occasional 15-20 minutes of a clear patch now and again. Checking my Sharpless targets off against my list of “visited” targets, I managed six new Sharpless nebulas last night so let’s start with them…
Sh2-88 – I was aiming to spend some time of sh2-86 (after reading the “Classic Rich Field” reports of Allan Dystrup on cloudynights.com) and was looking to see a dark notch lane that I had missed on my first observation. By the time I was able to get to sh2-86 (NGC6820) it had passed its peak and the dark lane was “kind of” observed. However as I pushed around the area (fighting the clouds) I happened upon sh2-88 (which was a decent sized patch of nebula) which I have not observed before. [“Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining”?]
Sh2-140 – This is a nicely shaped interesting nebula, I christened it “the cap” as it seemed to have a rounded dome section and I bit of a peak out in front. There was a memorable bright triangle arrangement of stars near the brightest section of this nebula with a bulbous appearance to the right side and a fainter left side. It was a decent size in the 55mm Plossl (x38).
Sh2-154 – Appeared as a long streak in a mildly triangular shape. I could see a possible black area within in near some bright spread out stars
Sh2-149 – Appeared in the same FOV as sh2-148. They appeared similar in that they were small bright patches with something fainter/blacker to the side. Sh2-148 had a large ghostly patch of nebula above it.
Sh2-187 – Appeared as a small hazy patch in the 35mm (x60).
Sh2-186 – was a tiny tiny patch near a star. (Missing from Sky Safari, FOV star SAO 011593).
This takes my total (since I started in June 2018) to 63 of 313 Sharpless objects observed so far.
What else did I see?
Sh2-101 Tulip – Had a couple of decent views of the Tulip between the clouds. This really is a nice bright object with some black lane detail within. It sits within a huge region of nebula lanes and its easy to spend several minutes nudging around in this region!
Gamma Cygni – Wonderful views of lush deep nebula with tiny black details occasionally discovered.
Sh2-119 – Wonderful long thick bright lanes of nebula lead up the right hand side, fainter nebula see over the top to a bright curvy section. As I nudge down the other side, I think of the shape of “Africa” as I reach a bright corner section and then pass through some fainter stuff back to the start. This is a big nebula well beyond the FOV of the 55mm Plossl.
Propeller – I managed to see the propeller but it was a case of line it up and wait for the view to brighten as gaps appeared in the clouds. The “S” shape was clear and the “cross and intersection” pieces were much fainter but they got better after a while…
Veil – Wonderful views around the whole structure.
Sh2-129 – A thick lane (with black details on the edges and within) goes up and swings right over the top (through a fainter section). Horseshoe like almost.
Sh2-132 – Great. Very bright “mountain regions” of nebula interspersed with black “lake/valley” areas. This of course is the “mane” section of the much larger Lion nebula (which covers a huge area especially in the big dob).
Wizard – The flying horse was clear within the bright nebula structure.
Pacman – Best view for a while, the “Angel” was back, as was the “Cactus” arm. With closer inspection, it is a black patch (with a star) that’s helps give the Angel a thin waist. The Angels wings over the top were nicely defined too.
CED214 – Again, a really nice detailed view. Its main section appears like the face of a “space invader” with two bright “eyes” peeping through. The larger “Sausage” nearby was much fainter.
Sh2-173 Mask – Cloud affected but I saw a curvy faint patch shape. Something circular and black inside. Faint nebula surrounding.
Thoughts of the observer.
It was one of those stop, start sessions that was offering just enough encouragement to stay out there. As I look back at my notes, then I did see a decent selection but I was disappointed at the time I made my way back inside.
There was a bit of wind about and that at least kept the dew off but humidity was very high and I left the dehumidifier running (as usual) after I left.
I did try for sh2-91, sh2-94 & sh2-96 (second Veil) but the clouds were really interfering and although I did pick up the “odd lane” here and there, it was not worthy of reporting here.
Roll on the next night out…
Edited by alanjgreen, 10 September 2018 - 09:46 AM.