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The Herschel 400 Quest

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#51 deepwoods1

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 07:13 AM

Ward may have been that good 30 years ago, not any more. Best I’ve seen is about 5.5 mag. Sadly sky conditions may have been the ultimate ruler last night, yet again. 



#52 Augustus

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 09:45 AM

Night 20 - 5/24/19-5/25/19:

 

First observing session at Ward Pound Ridge. Apparently there was a star party there last night instead of tonight because of some Science Channel filming. The film crew was annoying, didn't interact with us and all of the filming was well-lit and in a field a couple hundred feet away. They also summoned multiple Uber drivers which frantically drove around the parking lot with every light possible on, during one of the few clear patches of sky.

 

I got to look through some other scopes, mainly a 22" Obsession UC but also an 8" LX90 with a night vision biocular (not binocular, it's this weird thing where the field is all one lens - apfever can tell you more).

 

Weather: Relatively dry and warm, but lots of clouds. Closest it got to clear was about 30% cloud cover. Only got maybe 30-45 minutes of actual observing in.

 

Transparency (when it wasn't cloudy): 8/10

 

Seeing: 4/5

 

Limiting magnitude: 6.2 - yes, 6.2.

 

Antennae - I only got to observe these through a cloud, so they were fainter than usual, but both components were visible.

 

M104 - Probably was looking through a cloud at this too, still good. The 22" UC and the 8" LX90 with night vision showed a very faint companion - no idea what catalog.

 

M51 - Fantastic. Spiral arms somewhat obvious, at least one or two HII regions.

 

NGC 6229 - A nice small clump of stars, some graininess.

 

M13 - Very good. Got to look at it with a 22" Obsession UC as well as my 12". Oddly enough, the 22" did not show colors in any of the stars like I'm used to with such a large scope.

 

M81 - Faint spiral arm(s?).

 

M82 - Very good.

 

NGC 5982 - Visible, didn't look at it for long.

 

Porrima - Split with the 5mm XWA.

 

Jupiter - Behind the trees for my scope, but looked good with the 22" UC despite the frequent clouds.

 

Is Ward Pound the Bortle 3/4 site you were referring to? If so -- I don't think so! Here are two excerpts from John Bortle's description of Class 4:

 

M33 is a difficult averted-vision object and is detectable only when at an altitude higher than 50° ... The maximum naked-eye limiting magnitude is 6.1 to 6.5.

 

Can you really see 6.1-magnitude stars naked-eye at Ward Pound? Or M33?

 

My guess is that Ward Pound if much the same as my astronomy club's exurban observing site, possibly Class 5 on a great night, but closer to Class 6 by most counts. But it should be dark enough to spot all the Herschel 400 through a 12-incher, with a tiny handful of possible exceptions.

Definitely class 4. Limiting mag last night was about 6.2 (M13 was relatively easy naked-eye), and the transparency wasn't the greatest even when the clouds parted.

 

I would have no idea about M33; it's only visible in the morning right now.



#53 Redbetter

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 04:21 PM

On the light pollution maps that site looks Bortle 4 at best, likely more of a Bortle 5 and nowhere near Bortle 3.   I would expect clouds of any substantial altitude directly overhead to be illuminated from all directions.  

 

FWIW the naked eye limiting stellar magnitude is not all that sensitive to sky brightness, and varies so much from person to person as to not be very useful for classification on the Bortle scale.  I can go down to anywhere from 6.5 to 7.0 at an actual Bortle 3 site, but only reach about 7.0 anymore in Bortle 1 and 2. M13 is about 5.8 mag.  When I was young I could see 7.5 or even 8 at a pristine site.

 

Light pollution has an outsized impact on diffuse objects and that is why it is challenging to find them in Bortle 4/5 conditions.  Going from rural 21+ to merely 20+ MPSAS sky wipes out a lot of targets or makes others very challenging.


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#54 Augustus

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 12:45 PM

On the light pollution maps that site looks Bortle 4 at best, likely more of a Bortle 5 and nowhere near Bortle 3.   I would expect clouds of any substantial altitude directly overhead to be illuminated from all directions.  

 

FWIW the naked eye limiting stellar magnitude is not all that sensitive to sky brightness, and varies so much from person to person as to not be very useful for classification on the Bortle scale.  I can go down to anywhere from 6.5 to 7.0 at an actual Bortle 3 site, but only reach about 7.0 anymore in Bortle 1 and 2. M13 is about 5.8 mag.  When I was young I could see 7.5 or even 8 at a pristine site.

 

Light pollution has an outsized impact on diffuse objects and that is why it is challenging to find them in Bortle 4/5 conditions.  Going from rural 21+ to merely 20+ MPSAS sky wipes out a lot of targets or makes others very challenging.

The main light domes are to the northeast (Danbury) and south/southwest (NYC, Stamford). Clouds overhead are illuminated, but rather weakly.

 

I'm not arguing it's a Bortle 3, but I definitely think it's a Bortle 4. VIIRS 2015 data gives me Bortle 4, 20.64MPSAS. I get 19.58 at home.


Edited by Augustus, 26 May 2019 - 01:02 PM.


#55 Redbetter

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 03:51 PM

The main light domes are to the northeast (Danbury) and south/southwest (NYC, Stamford). Clouds overhead are illuminated, but rather weakly.

 

I'm not arguing it's a Bortle 3, but I definitely think it's a Bortle 4. VIIRS 2015 data gives me Bortle 4, 20.64MPSAS. I get 19.58 at home.

It looks fairly bright on the maps to me.  The park is a little over 2 miles in effective diameter from what I can tell, with homes all around in the satellite view.  Ridgefield (~25,000) appears to be just NE then Danbury beyond.   The whole NYC metro is only a stone's throw to the south.  The south/south east/east has the string of Stamford, Norwalk, and Bridgeport

 

The VIIRS 2015 data are a few tenths darker than what my meter reads on the best nights at sites locally.  Translating that I would put the 20.64 at about 20.4+ MPSAS on the best nights.  That would make it a poor Bortle 4 on the best nights with Bortle 5 being the norm on a typical good night.  Assuming the 2015 data are still representative it is likely a Bortle 4/5 transition area.  

 

This is analogous to the situation in my backyard which hits about 19.35 on the best nights, but is typically 19.1 to 19.2 on a good night.  I rate it Bortle 5/6 transition.  It is a weak Bortle 5 on the best nights, but a "good" Bortle 6 on a typical clear night.  With the number of schools and neighborhoods being constructed around at a rapid pace, completing the infill, it will be Bortle 6 in about two years. 

 

A local Bortle 3 site becomes a good Bortle 3 on the best nights, but a Bortle 4 on nights of poor transparency when it runs about 21.1 MPSAS.



#56 Augustus

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 04:07 PM

It looks fairly bright on the maps to me.  The park is a little over 2 miles in effective diameter from what I can tell, with homes all around in the satellite view.  Ridgefield (~25,000) appears to be just NE then Danbury beyond.   The whole NYC metro is only a stone's throw to the south.  The south/south east/east has the string of Stamford, Norwalk, and Bridgeport

 

The VIIRS 2015 data are a few tenths darker than what my meter reads on the best nights at sites locally.  Translating that I would put the 20.64 at about 20.4+ MPSAS on the best nights.  That would make it a poor Bortle 4 on the best nights with Bortle 5 being the norm on a typical good night.  Assuming the 2015 data are still representative it is likely a Bortle 4/5 transition area.  

 

This is analogous to the situation in my backyard which hits about 19.35 on the best nights, but is typically 19.1 to 19.2 on a good night.  I rate it Bortle 5/6 transition.  It is a weak Bortle 5 on the best nights, but a "good" Bortle 6 on a typical clear night.  With the number of schools and neighborhoods being constructed around at a rapid pace, completing the infill, it will be Bortle 6 in about two years. 

 

A local Bortle 3 site becomes a good Bortle 3 on the best nights, but a Bortle 4 on nights of poor transparency when it runs about 21.1 MPSAS.

We can argue about the exact rating all we want; the point is that it's darker than my yard by about a whole magnitude naked-eye. I still think it's Bortle 4, VIIRS 2015 data supports it being a Bortle 4, and if anything it's gotten darker around here lately thanks to the better cutoffs on the new LED streetlight fixtures (about half a magnitude here at home).

 

The nearest place that's as much of a step up from Ward Pound Ridge as it is from home to Ward Pound Ridge would be an hour and 15 minutes away in northwestern Connecticut, probably in a field somewhere. I'm going to investigate that this fall but it's a long drive and I don't have my license yet, and I'm pretty sure a random teenager in the middle of a field in the middle of the night is going to get some unwanted attention. 

 

The nearest true Class 3 area is Stellafane, which is obviously out of reach for a variety of reasons, or I guess maybe Block Island, but that latter requires a ferry ride and you're stuck there if conditions go south.


Edited by Augustus, 26 May 2019 - 04:12 PM.

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#57 deepwoods1

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 09:49 PM

Block Island has had fog every time I've gone there. Macedonia Brook State Park in Kent was DARK when I was 16 almost 40 years ago. Much brighter now, but darker than here. Try for the Overlook Camp area. It has the most open field there. 


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#58 Tony Flanders

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 05:21 AM

We can argue about the exact rating all we want; the point is that it's darker than my yard by about a whole magnitude naked-eye.


Can't argue with that! I suppose that somebody could mail you an SQM-L so that you can get objective readings from both sites, which you could then compare to other people's readings. Anyway, it sounds as though Pound Ridge is surprisingly dark considering that it's just 20 miles as the crow flies from the NYC border.
 

The nearest place that's as much of a step up from Ward Pound Ridge as it is from home to Ward Pound Ridge would be an hour and 15 minutes away in northwestern Connecticut, probably in a field somewhere. I'm going to investigate that this fall but it's a long drive and I don't have my license yet, and I'm pretty sure a random teenager in the middle of a field in the middle of the night is going to get some unwanted attention.


It's pretty easy to be invisible in a genuinely rural area. I imagine you could find some decent spots in Salisbury, CT or (better) Mount Washington, MA, both of which are quite dark considering that they're still quite close to NYC. You would definitely need a car, though. Nearer by, I'm sure that Fahnestock is darker than Pound Ridge -- though maybe not by enough to warrant the extra drive.
 

The nearest true Class 3 area is Stellafane, which is obviously out of reach for a variety of reasons, or I guess maybe Block Island, but that latter requires a ferry ride and you're stuck there if conditions go south.


If you're going as far as central Vermont, you might as well seek out a different site. Stellafane is mediocre due to the proximity of Springfield, VT. It also gets a ton of light from the Albany metro area, from densely populated southern NH, and Boston beyond.


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#59 deepwoods1

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 05:50 AM

We’re in the Northeast, we’re doomed. And domed. Light domes abound. I’m impressed at the dedication. I remember a time in the way back, before work, kids and life in general. Oh, and clouds! 

There’s a pull off on Rt. 22 in Boston Corners. Very dark. A few cars late at night though. Don’t look at the lights! 


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#60 Augustus

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 10:06 PM

Night 21 - 6/3/2019:

Was going to use my AstroFi 130 but the catalog on it is so limited that it is useless for serious deep-sky work - literally nothing is in there besides Messiers, Caldwells, and a few odds and ends. So instead I took out the Tak.

Weather: Clear, dry, chilly.

Transparency: 9/10

Seeing: 3/5

Limiting magnitude: 5

Looked at M13, M57, and a few other "usuals". New objects were galaxy NGC 2903, and globulars NGC 4147 and 5634.

Next chance I get it's back to WPR with the 12"......

Edited by Augustus, 04 June 2019 - 09:41 AM.

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#61 Pete W

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Posted 04 June 2019 - 06:36 PM

2903 is worth a revisit with the 12” under darker skies and high (200x) mag.  One of the better non-Messier spirals.


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#62 Augustus

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Posted 04 June 2019 - 06:39 PM

2903 is worth a revisit with the 12” under darker skies and high (200x) mag.  One of the better non-Messier spirals.

I figured. I think I may have observed it with the 16" a long time ago but I don't remember much of it and thought I should log it again.


Edited by Augustus, 04 June 2019 - 06:40 PM.


#63 Tony Flanders

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Posted 04 June 2019 - 08:13 PM

2903 is worth a revisit with the 12” under darker skies and high (200x) mag.  One of the better non-Messier spirals.

To my mind, possibly the most striking example of a barred spiral in the entire sky. Also exceedingly bright, much easier to spot than the average Messier galaxy.


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#64 Augustus

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Posted 22 June 2019 - 08:02 AM

Night 22 - 6/21/2019:

 

After 3 weeks of inactivity, I'm back in action with the new C11! Despite having a non-original corrector plate, this scope is amazing! Globulars are fantastic, and stars are still pretty sharp at 560x. The only aberration visible is around 1/6-1/8 wave of SA.

 

I'm aware that I'm "cheating" by using GoTo but for me it's about observing them in the first place and trees/other obstructions limit my time to catch a lot of objects.

 

Weather: Clear, somewhat damp (my observing lists I printed got wet but no dew on the scopes. Some clouds passed through but not in any direction I was observing.

Transparency: 9/10

Seeing: 4/5

Limiting magnitude: 5.25

 

I started with galaxies.

  • NGC 3414 - Slight structure visible.
  • NGC 4261 - Dim, fuzzy
  • NGC 4273 - Very faint.
  • NGC 4365 - Brightish
  • NGC 4570 - Almost stellar
  • NGC 4636 - Big, brightish
  • NGC 4624 - Not very bright
  • NGC 3395 - Dim
  • NGC 3504 - Small
  • NGC 4216 - Bright
  • NGC 4442 - Brightish
  • NGC 3365
  • NGC 3813
  • NGC 3665 - Faintish
  • NGC 3813 - Big, faint

After a while I decided to observe something besides galaxies.

  • NGC 7296 - Sparse-ish open cluster
  • NGC 6781 - Very small, teal planetary
  • NGC 6910 - Sparse open cluster
  • NGC 6834 - Dense open cluster
  • NGC 6823 - Dense-ish open cluster. Didn't look for nebulosity.
  • NGC 6664 - Big, bright open cluster.
  • NGC 6905 - Big, not very bright planetary. Ghostly in appearance.
  • NGC 6712 - Big-ish, very ghostly appearance. Decent resolution.
  • NGC 6517 - Smaller globular, not the brightest. Some resolution.

Interspersed were Messier objects:

  • M13 - Splendid. Resolved into many, many stars, as were the other M globulars. NGC 6207 had some structure.
  • M57
  • M3
  • M5
  • M92
  • M27 - Huge, filled the field even at "low" power (140x).
  • M80

Going to go after more H400s tonight.


Edited by Augustus, 22 June 2019 - 08:04 AM.

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#65 Augustus

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 04:27 PM

Night 23 - 7/27/2019:

 

Man, this is depressing... another month has gone by. Still, I've managed to reach 200/400! I'm halfway there!

 

Weather: Clear, some haze near the horizon. ~65 degrees F.

 

Transparency: 7/10

 

Seeing: 2/5

 

Limiting magnitude: 6

 

Brought the 12" to Ward Pound Ridge. Also used a 22" Obsession UC and a 14.5" f/5.2 homemade Dob with a Galaxy Optics primary a couple times. Considering that I spent half the night showing stuff to the public and being blinded by idiots who gave no warning when they pulled out, I saw a lot.

  • M57 - Excellent in both the 12" and 22". Hint of the central star in the 22".
  • M27 - Extremely bright with an OIII filter.
  • M16 - Hint of the Pillars visible with the UHC.
  • M17 - Excellent.
  • M22 - Excellent.
  • M13 - Excellent.
  • M51 - Some spiral arms, kinda hard to see.
  • M97 - Some structure.
  • M81 & M82 - Good.
  • M31 - Not amazing through the haze, but the dust lane was visible nontheless.
  • Double Cluster - Low and lots of haze in the way. Still decent.
  • NGC 7331 - Good in the 22".
  • Stephan's Quintet - At least 2 or 3 members visible in the 22", kinda hard to tell.
  • Witch's Broom (Veil Nebula) - Excellent in the 12" with the OIII.
  • Egg Nebula - Faint, but visible. Looked like two separate objects.
  • Caroline's Rose - Good
  • Pluto - Visible in the 14.5" and 12", confirmed its position with SkySafari. My first time seeing it.
  • Jupiter - Mediocre seeing meant it didn't look great. Saw an Io shadow transit.
  • Saturn - Iapetus visible, bad seeing again meant mushy views.
  • NGC 6790 - Saw this one in the 14.5", good.
  • NGC 6642 - Mediocre
  • NGC 6638 - Mediocre
  • NGC 6522 & 6528, the Double Globulars - A very interesting pairing! Not really resolvable and very low, but pretty nonetheless.
  • NGC 6569 - Mediocre
  • NGC 6558 - Dim
  • NGC 6624 - Mediocre


#66 Augustus

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 04:49 PM

Night 24/25: 8/2/-8/4/2019:

Weather: On Friday there was some forest fire smoke but it was cool and dry. Saturday night was warmer and way more humid.

 

Transparency: 6/10 Friday, 9/10 Saturday

Seeing: 3/5

 

Limiting magnitude: ~7

 

Stellafane! I used a 22" Obsession UC, 10" Sky-Watcher Collapsible, and 4" Explore Scientific ED102CF. Here is what I saw, in no particular order:

 

  • NGC 5466 - Mediocre globular with the 22".
  • NGC 6583 - Don't have any notes on this one.
  • NGC 6520 & 6540 - Mediocre open clusters with the 22".
  • NGC 6235 - Globular cluster right next to Jupiter, just visible in the 4".
  • Veil Nebula - Magnificent in all three scopes.
  • North America Nebula - Visible on Saturday night to the naked eye, saw it in the 4" as well.
  • M51 - Some HII regions and spiral arms visible in the 22".
  • Stephan's Quintet - 3 or 4 visible with the 22". Late Saturday night just before we were packing up, someone gave us a night vision eyepiece which we put in and observed all five with.
  • M33 - Spiral arms, about ten HII regions visible with the 22".
  • M3
  • M13
  • M92
  • M71
  • Dumbbell Nebula
  • M57 - Central star visible with the 22".
  • M4
  • M5
  • M6
  • M7
  • M8 - Fantastic with the 22" and my UHC. Lots of dust lanes.
  • M20 - Again fantastic.
  • M17 - Ridiculously bright with the 22", loops of nebulosity around the actual swan
  • M16 - Pillars of Creation visible with the 22". A first.
  • Double Cluster - Visible to the naked eye, great in every scope.
  • M31 - Again naked-eye visible. NGC 206 was resolved into stars similar to an elongated globular with the 22".
  • M101 - Visible with the 4".
  • IC 342 - Observed with the 22", not as faint as I would've guessed. Some sort of patch of fuzzy nebulosity was next to the core of the galaxy itself, I'm unsure as to what it was.
  • Pluto - Observed with the 22".
  • Mu Draconis - Observed with Sue French's 130mm refractor, pretty double.
  • Albireo
  • Crescent Nebula - Observed with Carl Lancaster's 18" Dob.
  • M15
  • M28
  • M5
  • Abell 2151 - Countless members with the 22".
  • NGC 6558 & 6569 - Nice pairing with the 22", no hints of resolution though - only saw it on Friday so maybe the smoke was the problem.

Overall, a lot of fun.


Edited by Augustus, 05 August 2019 - 08:24 AM.


#67 Eric David

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 08:34 PM

Augustus, I am enjoying reading about your H400 quest.  I started mine in November 2017 and finished this past March (2019), so it took me 17 months.  I live east of Fredericksburg, Virginia in a yellow zone according to the light pollution map on www.darksitefinder.com.  Almost half of my observations were made from my driveway using a 13" dob, a 120mm achromat, or a 6" achromat.  The remainder were made from an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is in a dark green zone.  When I went to the mountains, I exclusively used the 13" dob.  As Tony Flanders mentioned in one of his replies, I found NGC 6118 to be the most difficult object to see.  It took multiple attempts, even with the 13" in the mountains (it was low in the sky on both occasions).  The other object that gave me trouble was NGC 6144 in Scorpius.

My strategy was, as much as possible, to log the objects by constellation.  Why?  Because the list I downloaded from the AL website was organized that way lol.  Here is a link to a chart I made of my observations by date:

https://www.flickr.c...eposted-public/

The most number of observations for me was in June 14/15, 2018 ~ I found 87 H400's that night.  The second-most was 50 objects in September 5, 2018.  The last constellation I did was Draco, and the last object in Draco that I saw was one I had observed many times before, NGC 6543, the Cat's Eye Nebula.

I have started to put together a spreadsheet of the H 400 ii list, but have not begun that observing project yet.  I will have to travel to dark sites to see those objects, so I anticipate that taking much longer than a year and a half.

Best of luck in your continued quest!  I will keep checking in to see how you're doing.

Eric David

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#68 Augustus

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 08:50 PM

Augustus, I am enjoying reading about your H400 quest.  I started mine in November 2017 and finished this past March (2019), so it took me 17 months.  I live east of Fredericksburg, Virginia in a yellow zone according to the light pollution map on www.darksitefinder.com.  Almost half of my observations were made from my driveway using a 13" dob, a 120mm achromat, or a 6" achromat.  The remainder were made from an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is in a dark green zone.  When I went to the mountains, I exclusively used the 13" dob.  As Tony Flanders mentioned in one of his replies, I found NGC 6118 to be the most difficult object to see.  It took multiple attempts, even with the 13" in the mountains (it was low in the sky on both occasions).  The other object that gave me trouble was NGC 6144 in Scorpius.

My strategy was, as much as possible, to log the objects by constellation.  Why?  Because the list I downloaded from the AL website was organized that way lol.  Here is a link to a chart I made of my observations by date:

https://www.flickr.c...eposted-public/

The most number of observations for me was in June 14/15, 2018 ~ I found 87 H400's that night.  The second-most was 50 objects in September 5, 2018.  The last constellation I did was Draco, and the last object in Draco that I saw was one I had observed many times before, NGC 6543, the Cat's Eye Nebula.

I have started to put together a spreadsheet of the H 400 ii list, but have not begun that observing project yet.  I will have to travel to dark sites to see those objects, so I anticipate that taking much longer than a year and a half.

Best of luck in your continued quest!  I will keep checking in to see how you're doing.

Eric David

9 telescopes in all

 

Augustus, I am enjoying reading about your H400 quest.  I started mine in November 2017 and finished this past March (2019), so it took me 17 months.  I live east of Fredericksburg, Virginia in a yellow zone according to the light pollution map on www.darksitefinder.com.  Almost half of my observations were made from my driveway using a 13" dob, a 120mm achromat, or a 6" achromat.  The remainder were made from an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is in a dark green zone.  When I went to the mountains, I exclusively used the 13" dob.  As Tony Flanders mentioned in one of his replies, I found NGC 6118 to be the most difficult object to see.  It took multiple attempts, even with the 13" in the mountains (it was low in the sky on both occasions).  The other object that gave me trouble was NGC 6144 in Scorpius.

My strategy was, as much as possible, to log the objects by constellation.  Why?  Because the list I downloaded from the AL website was organized that way lol.  Here is a link to a chart I made of my observations by date:

https://www.flickr.c...eposted-public/

The most number of observations for me was in June 14/15, 2018 ~ I found 87 H400's that night.  The second-most was 50 objects in September 5, 2018.  The last constellation I did was Draco, and the last object in Draco that I saw was one I had observed many times before, NGC 6543, the Cat's Eye Nebula.

I have started to put together a spreadsheet of the H 400 ii list, but have not begun that observing project yet.  I will have to travel to dark sites to see those objects, so I anticipate that taking much longer than a year and a half.

Best of luck in your continued quest!  I will keep checking in to see how you're doing.

Eric David

9 telescopes in all

Interesting!

 

I use SkyTools and have been having it spit out optimized lists. The trouble is that SkyTools doesn't know where the tree line is, so at home I often have to skip the first couple dozen objects to the west!

 

I honestly didn't know about 6118 - I figure I'll bag that at Ward with the 12".



#69 Eric David

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Posted 05 August 2019 - 08:16 PM

I'll be curious to see how easily you are able to see NGC 6118 ~ you have younger eyes and maybe better skies too.  At 56 years old, my vision isn't what it used to be LOL.  I found that the visibility of the faint globular NGC 6144 near Antares is highly dependent on the amount of light pollution.  From my house, it eluded me no matter what scope I was using.  Even in the mountains on the Blue Ridge Parkway, I didn't get a great view.  A week ago, however, I drove up to Spruce Knob in West Virginia (elevation 4,832 feet), which is one of the darkest sites east of the Mississippi, and I was able to see it easily with my 6" achromat, and I could even detect it with my 20 x 80 binoculars.

 

My notes from the H 400 survey include many entries where I wrote, "I must revisit this object from a dark location," but that's going to take a long time unless I retire to Arizona soon!


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#70 Augustus

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 06:23 AM

Night 26 - 8/24/19:

 

Weather: Partly cloudy, it became overcast and rained around midnight.

 

Transparency: 8/10

 

Seeing: 2/5

 

Back at Ward, this time with the C11 because the 12" is undergoing some upgrades. Had a lot of trouble setting up... my SkyPortal adapter refused to work and the GoTos were quite far off for the first half hour until I did a bunch of recalibration.

  • M17 - Excellent
  • M4
  • M13
  • M15 - Good, later looked at it with highfnum's night vision eyepiece.
  • M22
  • M27 - Good, later looked at it with highfnum's night vision eyepiece.
  • M71 - Looked at with NV eyepiece, spectacular.
  • M8 - Great!
  • M51 - Mediocre
  • M82 - Good
  • IC 10 - Visible but dim.
  • Double Cluster
  • IC 342 - Just barely visible.
  • Neptune - Blue disk, Triton visible.
  • Saturn - Good.
  • Jupiter - Good, Europa transit visible.
  • Almach
  • M31 - Saw this while helping someone with their AstroFi 102.
  • M57

Most of the above objects were just to test conditions and the GoTo calibration. I tried to go after as many objects in Ursa Major as I could:

  • NGC 3941 - Some structure visible.
  • NGC 3726 - Some structure visible.
  • NGC 3938 - Dim
  • NGC 3675 - Structure visible??

Unfortunately clouds ended up obscuring most of the areas of the sky with any new H400s.

 

Might go back tonight......


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#71 Augustus

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 10:13 AM

Night 27 - 8/25/19:

 

More observing at Ward. The CGEM is still giving me issues with accuracy but it actually seems to be due to a mechanical issue with my diagonal not centering stuff - not the mount.

 

This time there were only 4 other people who were all off doing their own thing so I was able to observe unimpeded until the moisture got too annoying.

 

Weather: Partly cloudy, it gradually got hazy as the night went on.

 

Transparency: 8/10

 

Seeing: 1/5

 

Limiting magnitude: 6 at zenith

 

List below is not really in chronological order......

  • Caldwell 2, the Bowtie Nebula - Good
  • Jupiter - Mush
  • M57
  • M13 - Decent
  • M3 - Decent
  • M51 - Spiral arms sort of visible, hard to tell.
  • M63 - Dust lane sort of visible
  • M16 - Hard to see much of, but visible.
  • M17 - Mediocre
  • M15 - Decent
  • NGC 7889 - Decent
  • NGC 7331
  • NGC 5897 - Very faint
  • NGC 5576 - Faint, no detail
  • NGC 6304 - Some resolution
  • NGC 5746 - Quite faint, glare from nearby star didn't help. Dust lane???
  • NGC 6316 - Tiny
  • NGC 6293 - Brightish, mid-sized
  • NGC 6284 - Some resolution
  • NGC 5846 Group - Rather unexciting
  • NGC 6355 - Very faint
  • NGC 6287 - Very faint
  • NGC 6342 - Very faint
  • NGC 6401 - Very Faint
  • NGC 4800 - Faint
  • NGC 5273 - Faint
  • NGC 6356 - Big, some resolution
  • NGC 6445 - Shape sort of apparent, pretty!
  • NGC 5557 - Elongated
  • NGC 4041 & 4036 - 41 is small, faint, 36 is bigger and elongated
  • NGC 3045 - Small, kinda faint
  • NGC 6440 - Kinda faint
  • NGC 6544 - Faint, interesting background
  • NGC 5689 - Faint
  • NGC 5473  - Faint
  • NGC 5474 - Very faint
  • NGC 5676 - Faint
  • NGC 5322 - Faint, near bright star
  • NGC 6629 - Seeing didn't allow me to resolve much
  • NGC 3147
  • NGC 7008 - Medium-sized and medium brightness, didn't like my OIII filter
  • NGC 49 - Small
  • NGC 278 - Some structure apparent

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#72 Eric David

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 10:15 PM

Augustus,

Glad you've been able to get back out and resume your H400 project.  I see you noted the NGC 5846 group as "unexciting" ~ when I observed that galaxy from my driveway (not very dark skies), I did not even see any of the other galaxies in the group, not even 5850.  My notes say that I needed to observe this group from a dark site, but I haven't been able to do that yet.  I had the same impression as you did of the pair 4041 and 4036, but I saw them has having about the same surface brightness.  You noted that NGC 6356 appeared big, which I would corroborate based on my notes.  I did all of the Ophiuchus globulars on one night in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and my notes say that 6356 was the most impressive one of the lot.

Can't wait for your next update!

eric



#73 Roger Corbett

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Posted 30 August 2019 - 05:38 PM

Interesting project.  Never tried for the Herschel 400.  As to that, while I've probably seen all the Messiers, I've never done that as a checklist or logging.

 

I have wanted, though, to revisit the Messier 110 systematically with my rich field scope, the marvelous Astroscan.

 

An observation or correction about one statement.

 

"NGC 4565 is spectacular, but when all is said and done, it's an edge-on spiral, and edge-on spirals tend to have pretty low surface brightness"

 

As far as I've observed over the years -- and as confirmed by observing reports and expert commentary here and elsewhere -- edge-on spirals have GREATER surface brightness than face-on ones do.  

 

It's one of the reasons NGC 4565 stands out even from suburban skies and M33 can be hard for many observers.  I've enjoyed wonderful views of 4565 in a 7" and 10" even under LM 4-4.5 skies on transparent nights.  M33 is nice, too, when using a wide field view and knowing where it is; while definite, it remains ghostlike because of its low surface brightness and my semi-light polluted skies!



#74 Augustus

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Posted 30 August 2019 - 05:45 PM

Interesting project.  Never tried for the Herschel 400.  As to that, while I've probably seen all the Messiers, I've never done that as a checklist or logging.

 

I have wanted, though, to revisit the Messier 110 systematically with my rich field scope, the marvelous Astroscan.

 

An observation or correction about one statement.

 

"NGC 4565 is spectacular, but when all is said and done, it's an edge-on spiral, and edge-on spirals tend to have pretty low surface brightness"

 

As far as I've observed over the years -- and as confirmed by observing reports and expert commentary here and elsewhere -- edge-on spirals have GREATER surface brightness than face-on ones do.  

 

It's one of the reasons NGC 4565 stands out even from suburban skies and M33 can be hard for many observers.  I've enjoyed wonderful views of 4565 in a 7" and 10" even under LM 4-4.5 skies on transparent nights.  M33 is nice, too, when using a wide field view and knowing where it is; while definite, it remains ghostlike because of its low surface brightness and my semi-light polluted skies!

Must've written that a while back late at night or early in the morning, my mistake!



#75 Pete W

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Posted 30 August 2019 - 09:08 PM

 An impressive list of new Herschels!   7008 might be worth tracking down again.  With a UHC or OIII it’s an unusually-shaped planetary.  you using the C11?


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