Date: Wednesday 14th November. 2230-0430hrs
Scopes: 20” f3.6 Lukehurst Dob & Borg 107FL f5.6!
Night Vision: PVS-14 with Photonis 4g INTENS.
Night Vision Eyepieces: Plossl 55mm (f2.6 x11), Panoptic 35mm (f4.2 x17).
Filters: Astronomik 6nm Ha CCD.
The weather forecast showed there would be a slowly clearing sky later in the evening with a possibility of clear sky during the early hours so I made a tentative plan that involved using both the big dob and later the Borg 107 if the opportunity arose.
The clearing sky was late arriving and I did not get my first view of the departing moon (through a gap in the clouds) until after 9pm. I stayed in front of the TV for another hour and by 10pm there were stars visible with clouds remaining to the North and East.
After two barren weeks this was enough to trigger me to start getting changed and then carry my equipment down to the shed to make a start on the Milky Way overhead with the 20” dob.
Thoughts of the observer.
I thought that I would start with the conclusion/outcome of the evening which was that I managed to find and view 30 new Sharpless objects!
I am now looking through my six pages of notes taken over the 6 hours of viewing I managed last night. I was forced inside by an increasing wind, tired eyes and a few cold finger ends.
The night started with a three hour big dob session where I managed to collect nineteen new Sharpless objects as well as having a few memorable re-visits of some recently viewed with the Borg107.
- With the dob, the standout objects included the Sharpless cluster (sh2-254 to sh2-258), surprisingly the Crab nebula (sh2-244) gave a completely different view in Ha! The large size of the supernova remnant sh2-223 was wonderful. Finally seeing the huge circular nebula sh2-278 that circles around Polaris. And the amazing Medusa (sh2-274) which I have never managed to see before.
I then had a two hour session with the Borg 107 where I managed to collect another eleven new Sharpless objects.
- With the 4” frac, the standout new objects was sh2-265 which looked like a massively magnified Orion Nebula with a similar winged appearance but over a huge area much greater than the FOV at x11 magnification.
I also managed to put my finger on why the Monkey Head nebula (sh2-252) looked like a side view of Mickey Mouse with the frac – the mirror diagonal flips the image! Last night’s first view (for me) of the Monkey Head with the big dob and NV was astonishing. I just said “Wow” out loud – it was just like an image of a Neanderthal man. Later with the Borg 107, I was again treated to the alternative “frac view” of Mickey Mouse as “the penny dropped!”
Right let’s get into the detail of the new (to me) Sharpless objects.
Part1: Big Dob targets “some of the gaps” remaining in its Sharpless journey.
I had the TeleVue 55mm Plossl and Astronomik 6nm Ha CCD filter loaded.
Sh2-228 – a small bright patch. Averted reveals a fainter surrounding section too.
Sh2-226 – a small faint patch.
Sh2-227 – a large faint patch. When I turned down the gain intricate dark lanes/patches were revealed within.
Sh2-225 – a medium sized patch (next to a “W” star formation). The centre seemed to be a slightly brighter patch.
Sh2-242 – a medium sized bright fuzzy patch around a star. Star is offset, closer to one side.
Sh2-241 – Decent sized but faint triangular shaped patch with a small bright blob to the right hand side.
Sh2-233 – tiny patch around a star.
Sh2-247 – medium sized, easily seen patch.
Sh2-249 – very large patch. Faintish and seems to be falling away from a bright star above. Oblong shape with black vertical lanes within. Nice.
Sh2-254 to sh2-257 – A great target. A bit like Stephan’s Quintet but much easier! There are three patches in a line. The first is larger than the other two which were a similar size. I saw a tiny patch in between the first and second and slightly above them but I could not find the fifth member of the group.
M1 crab (sh2-244) – I was not expecting much from M1 but boy was I in for a surprise! The crab appeared to me as a “multi-celled organism” being totally made up of many small bright circles/bubbles throughout its whole surface area!
Sh2-223 – A very large supernova remnant. A large curve in the shape of a semi-circled can be traced but you need to nudge around as its very large.
Sh2-224 – Another supernova remnant. This one appears as a small curve seen close to a bright star.
Sh2-178 – Encouraged by Jeff Morgan, I finally remembered to point the big dob towards Polaris. I was rewarded by being able to trace the edges of what is a huge nebula that encircles Polaris at a large distance. The edges were easy to see and easy to nudge along.
Sh2-204 – Showed as a thick lane. This image looks like more of a curve so I will need to revisit for another look…
Sh2-274 Medusa – I managed just about to get down to the Medusa from my shed. There must have been a very tiny percentage of the big mirror on the target as it was very low behind the shed wall BUT what a lovely view! I saw a wonderful, bright crescent outline with jagged edges. It seemed to shimmer at the eyepiece.
Time to swap scopes.
By now, it was around 0130am, the skies had completely cleared and I was running out of new targets to challenge the dob (from its current location within the shed). So I packed up, returned my gear back inside. Unpacked and setup the Borg, then headed back outside. I had the Skywatcher AZ5 GTi goto aligned and was ready to start at 0230am.
Part2: Borg 107 fights back and shows that it has much to offer in the Night Vision Sharpless search.
Sh2-265 – Huge! It looked like a tsunami wave sweeping across the sky! It reminded me of the winged shape of M42 but this was on a completely new scale. It really is huge and I had to pan around even at only x11 magnification with the Borg. I could pick out black detailed section within the central section of the nebula.
Rosette – This is not a new target but I have to include it as the view through the Borg appeared to resemble the “face of a young puppy dog” (remember that its flipped by the mirror diagonal), I could see two black eye sockets, the nose and open oblong mouth. The only thing missing was the ears! I revisited a couple of times later for another look and the puppy dog was still there!
Sh2-280 – This is an easy patch visible just below the Rosette nebula. Patch seems to have 2 eyes in black sockets and averted vision shows that it extends out to one side.
Sh2-282 – Easily spotted just below sh2-280. More of a thin oblong shape.
Sh2-284 – a large easy patch below and left a bit from sh2-282.
Sh2-293 & sh2-295 – A visit to the Seagull nebula was next to try to spot two tiny Sharpless just off one of the wings. With averted I could make the tiny nebula out but if you did not know they were there then you would miss them (as I did on my previous visit).
Sh2-278 – This was very hard. With averted and plenty of effort then I can make out a faint curved shape.
Sh2-304 – Very large nebula. Long and thin. The edges can be traced. Very faint.
Sh2-312 – Huge squared! Lanes of nebula can traced over an immense area.
Sh2-306 & sh2-302 – I can see one tiny bright patch then just out of the fov I see a medium sized patch too. I was able to confirm that the medium sized patch was gum6 using the goto.
A night to remember
My Sharpless count now stands at 153 of 313. So thats nearly half way there...
During the night I revisited many other “favourite” objects with both of my scopes but I don’t have the stamina to write any more notes on them now as they have been described before.
I managed a handheld x1 viewing session once I had got all the kit packed away back inside and I performed a comparison between the 1.25” Baader 7nm Ha filter and the 1.25” Astronomik 12nm Ha filter as they were fitted directly to the front of the NVD with a 3D printed adapter.
- I concluded that the 7nm Ha filter provided more contrast and a little more detail as I scanned through Seagull, M42, IC434, Flame, Angel fish, Barnards loop, Rosette, Cone, Jelly fish, IC410/Flaming star, California and the Heart & Soul.
- I found the x1 nebula a little less giving than my previous night out so the conditions must not have been at their best, it was certainly windy by this time.
Edited by alanjgreen, 16 November 2018 - 03:53 AM.