I've decided to organize my Herschel 400-observing efforts into a singular thread.
This all began with the completion of the Messier catalog in September 2018 followed by the completion of my 20" Dob a month later. Since completing the 20" I've been undergoing a (semi-) concentrated effort to observe all of the Herschel 400 objects. As of tonight I am at 109/400 objects.
I'm not the most focused observer, so I tend to go off-course a lot. Expect to see a lot of Caldwells, Abells, and just NGC objects that don't belong to any other observing list. Thus, I've put the H400 objects starting on night #6 in bold font and the rest in regular.
I just obtained a voice recorder and will be using it for all sessions following tonight, so expect more in the way of notes soon.
I live in the suburbs. The NELM is 5, maybe 5.25 on a really excellent night. I have dumb neighbors who turn their lights on constantly even though I've informed them of my hobby. Oh, and there are trees everywhere. So far I've yet to take my scope to a dark site.
Unless otherwise noted, I use my homemade 20" f/4.5 Dob with a spray-silvered primary, with a Paracorr I and 20mm Lunt XWA for low power, 9mm Lunt for high power, and 5mm William Optics XWA for very high power. I also have a 14mm ES82 which I use sparingly and will probably replace with a 13mm Lunt in the coming months. I exclusively use a Telrad to find objects.
So it begins.
Night 6 - 12/26/18:
Weather: Passing, fast-moving clouds. Damp. Frost became a problem later in the session on the eyepieces.
- M15 - Nice resolution at high power. Didn't look for Pease 1.
- NGC 253 - I conclusively identified the Sculptor Galaxy - it turns out it's way east of where I thought it was. The core is bright, and the disk slowly tapers off into invisibility.
Paused for about an hour for dinner.
- M42 - Dark lanes stand out nicely.
- NGC 1977 - Easier to see than normal.
- NGC 1579 - This one was hard to find.
- NGC 2976 - Small, relatively dim galaxy near M81/82.
- NGC 2959 - Extremely small, barely nonstellar galaxy, but quite bright. Need to try higher power to see NGC 2961 next time.
I finished observing right around moonrise, mainly just because the frost was driving me insane. I need a dew heater.
Edited by Augustus, 26 December 2018 - 10:14 PM.