Date: Thursday 13th December 2018. 1940-2230hrs.
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.
After a run of sessions with the big dob, it was time to get the Borg107 out and try to confirm some of my Sharpless objects finds with the smaller aperture scope.
I have created a spreadsheet of the Sharpless catalog objects with the sizes and Sky Safari locations together with a SAO star reference of a nearby bright star (these need to be confirmed as available in the Skywatcher SynScan handset too as not all SAO numbers are present).
I missed going out on Wednesday night having just had a wisdom tooth removed and therefore not wanting to get out in the cold. But tonight I was going out whatever…
Lets get ready to rumble.
At 1900hrs the sky was not too promising, there were visible stars to the East and North, but the West was clouded out and the south disappearing from the West. The wind seemed to be from the West so I was expecting the clouds to come over.
However, having spent the afternoon on preparation and with a printout to hand, I decided to get out and make a start as there are many Sharpless that the Borg has not yet attempted!
I setup the scope & mount indoors, attaching the dew strips and handset etc, then carried it outside in one go (its so light). I then had my eyepiece case (pre-loaded with what I needed) and my books and Ipad (in waterproof case) to set out on the patio table.
Setting up the 2-star alignment worked first time and my test of M34 put it just off centre in the Ethos 6mm.
I setup for night vision by adding the Astronomik 6nm Ha CCD filter to the diagonal and changing to the 55mm TeleVue Plossl & attached the PVS-14 with the TNVC afocal adapter.
Onto the Sharpless target list...
I started overhead at the zenith and then moved through my target list down towards the East/South East (where the sky was clearest). I attempted to enter the SAO number from my print-out into the SynScan handset (if it was present then great, otherwise if not then I needed to refer to Sky Safari and select another bright star close to the target and try that in the handset …). There were five targets where the chosen SAO was not in the handset but I was able to find a replacement without too much time lost, each time updating the print-out so I can fix up my spreadsheet today...
Sharpless targets seen by the Borg107 for the first time:
Sh2-204 – circular patch under 4 stars.
Sh2-205 – Huge “heart” shaped structure with a brighter curved edge. A small bright blob was seen half way down one side. Pretty faint but the edges can be traced.
Sh2-218 – A new one for me. Very large triangular shaped patch. Black shapes seen inside. One corner seems to extend out in a “open wings” shape.
Sh2-220 – California nebula appeared bright and fitted nicely in the fov. It was brighter along the outer edges and I could see the brightest central edge and the black eye opposite.
Sh2-221 – A large structure with traceable edges. It was narrow at one end, then expanded out to a wider opposite edge. There were lanes passing across at the larger edge that seemed to split the whole shape into two sections. Images this morning are similar but not exact, I will need to revisit this target.
Sh2-222 - A small bright blob around a star. Seemed to extend out more to one side.
Sh2-223 – Seems to be huge. Several curved edges seen. Seems to go up more than across. I see a square looking corner. Hard as there seems to be plenty of nebulosity around in this area.
Sh2-224 – Again, lots of nebulosity in this area. I see a small bright straight up section (going past a bright star).
Sh2-225 – Faint patch with a black area inside (I see stars making “3 corners of a square” shape).
Sh2-228 – small bright patch near to a star.
Sh2-227 – faint patch. Smallish size. Star pattern at the top looks like a “sword handle”.
Sh2-232 – Decent sized faint patch. Smaller brighter patch to the side.
Sh2-240 – Fills the FOV. Plenty of faint nebulosity. Black patch with some double stars within. Several black lanes running through.
Sh2-242 – small bright patch.
Sh2-241 – smallish faint patch above a star.
Sh2-243 – faint smallish patch with black central area with 2 stars.
Sh2-246 – A large patch, fills fov. 7 bright stars in staggered line running through inside a black lane.
Sh2-250 – A cloud of faint nebula surrounds 2 bright stars.
Sh2-268 – A decent sized patch. Black central shape with a star inside. A bit like a “poor man’s Rosette”.
Including some revisits of old favourites...
Sh2-252 – Monkeys Head looking great. Its upside down and if you turn the gain right up then it takes on the appearance of a side-on “Minnie Mouse”!
Sh2-248 – IC443 SN remnant. Nice bright curve seen, behind it are very faint tenticles of the Jelly Fish.
Sh2-249 – IC444 sits to the right of IC443. It’s a large black shape inside a spreading nebula patch. A bit like “the flame” nebula.
Sh2-254 – sh2-258 – I see three members of this group tonight. A large patch to the left and two similar smaller patches to the right.
IC410 - Bright patch with multiple dark areas within.
IC417 - Less bright patch with some additonal clusters and patches around the fov.
Flaming Star - A lovely quotation mark shape fills the FOV. I can just make out some of the brighter wisps within.
All good things come to an end.
By now, I was getting a little cold in my fingers and the AZ GTi had developed an unwillingness to slew into Orion. The clouds from the West had made their way mostly over the top by now too.
As a final hurrah, I manually slewed to the Flame and Horsehead (using the red dot finder) for a quick look - they both appear in the same fov, the horsehead is more than a notch but you cant hold the full head shape in direct vision at x11 magnification - then manually slewed up to the Rosette to see if I could see the “Head of a puppy” once again. The Rosette was not as bright as last time out but the “Puppy Head” outline was there!
The AZ GTi refused to slew into the Orion region at all! I tried choosing various NGC, IC, SAO numbers from within Orion, the handset would show “slewing” but the mount just did not move. If I chose any previously visited SAO of NGC then the mount happily made its way to that target but Orion was out of bounds! I have updated my mount software this morning and ordered a lead to update the handset software to hopefully rectify this strange issue.
Other than that, it was a pretty decent night. GOTO certainly makes the job of finding those targets much simpler and allows maximum time at the eyepiece.
As always, it helps to have a plan prepared and a nice list of SAO numbers to slew to is a real bonus.
Edited by alanjgreen, 14 December 2018 - 07:35 AM.