Date: Monday 17th September. 2345 - 0300am.
Scope: Borg 107FL f5.6 (focal length 600mm).
Night Vision: PVS-14 with Photonis 4g INTENS.
Eyepieces: Plossl 55mm (f2.6 x11). Filters: Astronomik 6nm Ha CCD.
Sharpless Trek, the final frontier. These are the voyages of an astronomer with Night Vision… "A continuing mission: to explore strange new nebula; to seek out the arms of galaxies and resolve globular clusters to the core; to boldly go where no visual astronomer has gone before…”
Its Observing Jim, But not as we know it...
The forecast for last night was for a clear night with high winds. After a week with no action, I was not about to let a bit of wind keep me inside. (I have not been outside since 9th September, the weather here has been wet and cloudy).
I went out at 10pm and assessed the situation, the wind was quite strong. I decided too strong to open the shed roof so I would be going with the Borg 107FL. It was still pretty breezy on the patio, so I tried a few other places and decided to tuck in behind the greenhouse where the boundary fence and the shed would offer some protection. I still had the Milky Way from 20 degrees one side to 45 degrees the other side.
I went inside to gather all my gear and clothes for the night...
Make It So...
By 11pm it was a bit cloudy so I decided to wait… By 1130pm, I decided that I was going out anyway to get setup and let the scope cool.
It remained partly cloudy for the next hour or so, but I had enough stars to get the 2-star alignment completed on my Skywatcher AZ5 GTi at the second attempt (on the first attempt, all the 2nd stars disappeared behind clouds so I had to restart). I used the Ethos 3.7mm (x166) as my alignment eyepiece and made sure Altair & Polaris were defocused to large round blobs for the final UP and RIGHT alignment movements. “Alignment Successful” said the handset. I entered M13 and slewed over, to my surprise – it was there in the FOV!
I then got setup with the 55mm Plossl, 6nm Ha CCD filter and added the PVS-14 NVD. Ready…
Captains Log (Mission Achievements)
As most of my Sharpless targets are not available in the GOTO handset. I worked from Sky Safari and identified SAO stars in the FOV or as close as I could get. These allowed the GTi mount to get close enough to find the target. I have included the SAO star reference number with each target, should you wish to GOTO some of these Sharpless nebula yourself!
13 "new" Sharpless objects observed for the first time.
Sh2-133 (SAO019425) – Large faint patch. There was a faint “tail” coming away from the patch at an angle.
Sh2-137 (SAO019827) – Two thick curves lead to a black cave section. There is a small brighter area with a “triangle” shaped star formation. Worth another visit!
Sh2-134 (SAO034149) – Series of patches of varying sizes in a general 45 degree line. Small bright patch seen which could be sh2-135?
Sh2-160 (SAO020483) – Faint, large curve of nebulosity.
Sh2-161 (SAO020567) – Large faint patch. Bubble nebula and sh2-158 seen in the same FOV.
Sh2-221 (SAO039819) – Elongated blob, faint.
Sh2-216 (SAO039724) – faint shape.
Sh2-217 (SAO039799) – Small, easily seen.
Sh2-219 – Very small. Next to sh2-217.
Sh2-211 (SAO039799) – If you pan in the opposite direction from SAO 039799 then you come to a small, easily seen blob.
Sh2-215 (SAO024300) – Large, faint “crossbow” shaped. There is a small bright patch nearby.
Sh2-202 (SAO024054) – Very large, faintish patch near the Soul nebula.
Sh2-203 (SAO023991) – Large faint patch with a black cut-out to the left. There is a black hole shape to right hand side.
Captains Log (Supplemental)
Here are details of all the other objects observed during the session, with SAO reference if you want to use Goto...
Veil (NGC6995) – The Veil was good (I have seen in better in this scope). The western veil was only splitting into two “horns” at the top. The eastern was bright and all there. Pickering’s triangle was there with strandy detail within plus extra pieces at both sides. The thin thread was just about visible with the semi-circle piece to the side. The western was coming up over the top to the bright star. So, not too bad.
Propeller (SAO049336) – First time for the Borg. The propeller sits in a region with so much other nebulosity that it is only its extra brightness that makes it stand out. The “S” shape was obvious but the two cross pieces were hard to tie down. There is definitely a lot to be missed in this area with the tight FOV of the big dob!
Crescent (NGC6888) – small and bright. Just the semi-circular crescent was seen. The extra fainter bits that make the “9” were not seen.
Sh2-101 Tulip (SAO069116) – Bright small semi-circular filled in shape with two bright stars. Dark sections were cutting in the shape centre right.
Sh2-91 (SAO087385) – I caught a glimpse of a long thin curve while shaking the scope. I could not hold it in direct vision.
Sh2-94 (SAO068384) – nothing seen.
Sh2-86 (NGC6823) – This has become a challenge for me to see with its “Pillars of creation” type details. Tonight, the cluster was sitting in a very bright nebula patch. I could see a clear long black section to the side with a line of several bright stars within. I could see a second black patch inside the bright section with 2 stars inside. Checking images this morning, both of these “black” features are clearly seen and it seems the “pillar” is much smaller and deeper within the nebula. This maybe a feature that needs the big dob? Definitely a nice object to revisit.
Sh2-87 – Short thick lane of nebula above sh2-86
Sh2-88 – circular patch of nebula above sh2-87
NGC7000 NA & Pelican – The Pelican was lovely and clear. It was framed nicely in the FOV. The North American was much brighter and just larger than the FOV. I could see the brighter curves within but they were not standing out as well as previous visits. Still a great object though!
Sh2-119 (SAO050690) – A large object. Two thick vertical lanes with a smaller third to the side. They all seem to join together at the bottom and maybe on top too.
Sh2-118 (SAO051167) – nothing seen
Sh2-124 (SAO033665) – A large nebula with plenty of stars inside. Brighter centre section with a bright small curve.
IC1396 Elephant Trunk – My best views of IC1396 with the Borg 107 so far. The nebula was white and lush. There were several black areas seen within, most noticeably in one corner where three long black lanes were seen (opposite end to the bright star). The elephant trunk was seen after spending some time at the eyepiece and interestingly it was the outer trunk piece that was easier to see. The inner trunk took more averted to get it and hold it. The inner is always the easiest in the dob?
Sh2-129 (SAO033210) – Had an overall “bean” shape. Two brighter sections around the rim then dimmer sections seemed to make a “complete” shape.
sh2-154 (SAO020281) – Slightly elongated brightish patch. Sh2-155 “The Cave” is seen just to the side in same fov.
Sh2-157 – Wonderful “heart” shaped with lovely detail. Sits just to the side of the Bubble.
Sh2-190 IC1805 Heart – Superb. My best views to date. Lovely thick outer shape easily seen. NGC696 appears like a “large bubble” just off to the side. Bright star cluster within the heart looks like a “scorpion”.
Sh2-199 IC1848 Soul – Lovely foetus shape. Small separate patch under the “bottom”.
Sh2-185 IC59/IC63 – Disappointing after the view in the big dob. Small faint curve and separate larger curve close-by.
CED214/NGC7822 – Bright upside-down “egg cup” with varying brightness leads to a large thick “umbrella” section.
Sh2-184 NGC281 Pacman – Bright nebula. Dark “cactus” cuts into it. Another small dark section seen inside the bright nebula. Interestingly, there seems to be a huge black patch that “runs up the side of NGC281” that I have never noticed in the big dob?
Sh2-220 NGC1499 California – Superb views. Long bright parallel lanes. Interior has varying darker shapes along its length. I see the dark hole centre right and the bright corner centre left too.
Sh2-142 NGC7380 Wizard – Great. Bright with multiple black sections within.
Beam Me Up Scotty!
The winds blew for the whole session but had little impact on my viewing. I packed up at 0300 because I could see some clouds coming and did not want to have an “accident” carrying all the kit back inside...
Thoughts of the observer.
It was a great night that was made even better with the use of goto. I have not counted the targets observed but without goto it would have been impossible in just three hours to cover all these objects.
I really enjoyed my best ever views of IC1396 and I have added a few more Sharpless to the “must revisit” list – sh2-137, sh2-215, sh2-203, sh2-86 & sh2-129.
If you have night vision then why don’t you “boldly go” and look these up too?
Edited by alanjgreen, 18 September 2018 - 07:30 AM.