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The Herschel 400 Quest

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#76 Tony Flanders

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 09:39 AM

I said:
 

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.


And Roger Corbett corrected me:
 

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.


He is quite correct, of course. If you ignore the presence of dust, then the total amount of light that you can see from any given galaxy would be unchanged if you could somehow reach out and twist it to any angle you wanted. Since the total light is constant, and the apparent area is bigger when a galaxy is face-on than when its edge-on, that means that edge-on galaxies generally have higher surface brightness than face-ons.

However, galaxies do have dust, and when viewing NGC 4565 -- or our own Milky Way, for that matter -- the dust happens to block out most of the galaxy's core, and therefore a large fraction of the total light.

It's the absence of a bright core that makes both NGC 4565 and M33 hard to spot, especially in light-polluted skies. In the case of NGC 4565 and some other edge-ons, dust is the culprit. In the case of M33, it's because the galaxy is a bit of a freak, with an abnormally small and faint core.


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#77 Redbetter

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Posted 02 September 2019 - 01:22 AM

Tony,

 

Both views are correct from what I have seen and I agree with you in particular about the potential blocking of the view of the bright core by dust being a complicating factor.  Edge ons run a range of surface brightness.  The "popular" ones often have high surface brightness, but there are a number that have more modest brightness.  On average the less dusty galaxies that happen to be near edge on should have higher surface brightness.  So the average is probably skewed.

 

There is another contrary element that I have noticed hunting for threshold galaxies with the 20" in dark skies:  aspect ratio.  For a given surface brightness I find that some of the most difficult galaxies to detect are edge on even when they should be detectable based on magnitude alone.  In images they might appear to be targets that would not be difficult compared to similarly bright ovals, but in practice this is often not the case when both are near threshold. 

 

My guess is that the eye can better detect a round or oval patch than what is becoming something more of a thick (or thin) line--particularly when there is little or no brightening of a core/bulge.   That is ironic because while the eye resolves bright high contrast lines (e.g. Cassini's division) , it is poor at resolving such lines when the brightness is low (threshold galaxies, resulting in far lower effective contrast.)  Perhaps another demonstration is represented by how difficult it can be to resolve photographically prominent dust lanes in edge on galaxies.  While we think of dust lanes as high contrast, the image brightness is still many orders of magnitude less than planetary. 



#78 Augustus

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Posted 22 October 2019 - 09:13 AM

Night 28 - 10/21/19:

 

It has been a long 2 months. Tonight I took the C9.25 XLT/AVX combo (technically owned by FCAS but it is de facto mine for now) to Ward; the C11 is simply too much of a pain to transport and set up to be worthwhile and its performance in the backyard is poor so it'll probably be sold soon.

 

Due to it being a Monday night, absolutely no one was there. You could hear the howling of coyotes and the screeches of foxes off in the distance, and I saw deer walking by numerous times.

 

Weather: Started out clear, eventually thin wispy clouds moved in.

 

Transparency: 8/10

 

Seeing: 3/5

 

Limiting magnitude: 6.25 at zenith

 

I observed the following Herschel 400s:

  • NGC 5005 - Very faint
  • NGC 5033 - Faint, small
  • NGC 5631 - Small, looked like a planetary nebula
  • NGC 6818 - Structure hard to discern
  • NGC 2985 - Small
  • NGC 2787 - Small
  • NGC 1501 - Big, some filamentary structure visible
  • NGC 7723 - Faint, glare from nearby star impedid things. Structure?
  • NGC 488 - Faint
  • NGC 524 - Faintish, globular-like
  • NGC 615 - Hardly above the trees, super faint
  • NGC 7606 - Very faint

I also intermittently looked at a few Herschel IIs:

  • Palomar 9 - Small, right next to a star. Some resolution. Interesting globular.
  • NGC 5308 - Elongated
  • NGC 5400 - Small, faint
  • NGC 5585 - Big, faint
  • NGC 6058 - Faint
  • NGC 6181 - Almost stellar
  • NGC 5879 - Small, faint
  • NGC 6166 - Not positive if I saw it.

Also looked at M13, M15, M31, M33, M51, and Saturn. M33 in particular was actually visible to the naked eye if you looked carefully and in the C9.25 it showed about ten HII regions and some faint evidence of its spiral arms.


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#79 Pete W

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 06:09 PM

Nice haul of fall galaxies.  Looks like you're getting into Cetus - lots of good stuff there. 

 

If you haven't already tracked it down, be sure to check out NGC157 with some higher magnification.  It looks weird in the 18"; curious what it looks like in the 9.25".

 

It may be worthwhile to give NGC613 in Sculptor the same treatment.  It's gonna be low for you (Dec -29!), but it has some fairly high surface brightness arms.  One of my favorites in the 18". 


Edited by Pete W, 23 October 2019 - 06:21 PM.

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#80 Augustus

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 09:38 PM

Night 29 - 10/23/19:

 

More C9.25, this time I only ended my session due to dew and because I have class at 8:30 AM tomorrow.

 

Weather: Literally freezing down in the valley. Fun.

 

Transparency: 9/10

Seeing: 2/5

 

I left my Herschel II printout at home, but I did get a few new H400s:

  • NGC 2655 - Small, dim
  • NGC 936 - Small, faint
  • NGC 7727 - No notes
  • NGC 246 - Big and puffy, but dim

Also, some other stuff:

  • Barnard's Galaxy - Dim, not really much to see
  • Veil
  • M33 - Lots of HII regions again
  • M31
  • M27
  • M45
  • Stephan's Quintet - 3 members visible
  • NGC 7331
  • M22
  • NGC 6781 - Pretty.


#81 Augustus

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Posted 05 November 2019 - 08:02 PM

Only another 10 days or so and I can get back to this......



#82 Augustus

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 03:01 PM

Night 30 - 2/19/20:

 

Last night I observed some new ones at the Westport Observatory before and in between public visitors.

 

Weather: Just above freezing. Moderate winds.

 

Transparency: 8/10

 

Seeing: 2/5

 

Limiting mag: 5.5

 

Scope: 16" Meade LX200

  • NGC 1084 - Mild elongation and structure present
  • NGC 1407 - Dim, did not look for nearby galaxies.
  • NGC 2301 - Pretty, rather bright/dense
  • NGC 2311 - Dim, loose
  • NGC 2335 - Mediocre
  • NGC 2343 - Low population of largely brighter stars
  • NGC 2353 - Good
  • NGC 2479 - Mediocre
  • NGC 2482 - Big, sparse
  • NGC 2489 - Good
  • NGC 2681 - Small galaxy. Clear distinction between inner and outer regions
  • NGC 2782 - Small, bad seeing didn't help
  • NGC 2950 - Very small
  • NGC 3079 - Gorgeous! Dim but very obvious structure. Some faint mottling visible.
  • M42 - Good as usual.
  • M82 - Good
  • Rigel - Nice split.
  • Venus - So low by the time we looked at it that it was hard to discern the phase.
  • M46 & NGC 2438 - Very nice


#83 Augustus

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 11:58 PM

Night 31 - 2/22/20

 

Took the C9.25 to Ward to try out the new Ethos eyepieces and bag some more Herschels.

 

Weather: Just below freezing. Low winds. Some clouds.

 

Transparency: 8/10

 

Seeing: 3/5

 

Limiting mag: 6.25

 

Scope: C9.25 XLT/AVX

  • Double Cluster - Very good, jet-black background and pinpoint stars with the 21E.
  • M42
  • M82 - Excellent
  • M81
  • C13
  • Comet C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS) - Tail evident.
  • M46/NGC 2438
  • Rigel - Nice split
  • Mirach's Ghost
  • M65 & M66
  • Venus
  • NGC 908 - Very faint
  • NGC 779 - Faint
  • NGC 524 - Medium sized, faint, companion
  • NGC 1022 - Faint, elongated, companion (NGC 532)
  • NGC 1052 - Small, medium-faint, companion (NGC 1047)
  • Somehow I missed NGC 1042 and 1035... whoops
  • NGC 2286 - Mediocre cluster
  • NGC 2482 - Decent cluster
  • NGC 2509 - Small, pretty cluster
  • NGC 2527 - Medium, sparse cluster
  • NGC 2539 - Medium, pretty cluster
  • NGC 2567 - Small, pretty cluster
  • NGC 2571 - Very sparse cluster
  • NGC 2613 - Very faint, long
  • NGC 2811 - Small, dim, moderate elongation
  • NGC 2964 - Medium-bright, elongated, 2 companions (2968 & 2970)
  • NGC 3166/69/65 - Nice trio. 3166 and 69 moderately faint, some elongation to 3166
  • NGC 3198 - Large-ish, moderately bright, elongated
  • NGC 3245 - Small. Did not see its companion
  • NGC 3277 - Very small
  • NGC 3294 - Moderately faint, some elongation
  • NGC 3310 - Moderately faint, tiny
  • NGC 3344 - Moderately faint, some rather bright stars in the way!
  • NGC 3395/96 - Small, could not discern 96 separately
  • NGC 3412 - Moderately faint, small
  • NGC 3489 - Small
  • NGC 3521 - Moderately faint, some elongation
  • NGC 3593 - Faint, some elongation
  • NGC 3607/8 - Moderately bright, 3608 slightly elongated.
  • NGC 3610 - Tiny
  • NGC 3613 & 3619 - Tiny, some elongation
  • NGC 3631 - Faint, small

84 to go!


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#84 Augustus

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 11:13 AM

Going to try to get at least 30 more tonight with the 16" LX200. 



#85 Augustus

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Posted 13 March 2020 - 10:39 AM

If you've seen my signature you probably have noticed I am up to 368/400 H400s. I am looking for my notes from the 23rd and will post them shortly.



#86 Augustus

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Posted 13 March 2020 - 04:06 PM

Night 32 - 2/23/20

 

Last night with the 16" LX200 at Westport before its decommissioning. There's a C14 Edge HD up in the dome now, unfortunately inaccessible due to coronavirus.

 

Weather: A bit above freezing, low winds.

 

Seeing: 3/5

 

Transparency: 9/10

 

Limiting magnitude: 5.5

 

Scope: 16" LX200

 

Herschel 400s

  • NGC 3893 - Moderately faint, structure?
  • NGC 3898 - Medium bright, near stellar
  • NGC 3729 - Dim
  • NGC 3982 - Small, dim, puffy
  • NGC 3998 - Small, medium brightness
  • NGC 4111 - Very elongated
  • NGC 2974 - Small, moderately faint
  • NGC 2627 
  • NGC 4085 - Small, faint
  • NGC 4026 - Small, medium brightness
  • NGC 3877 - Small, elongated, moderately faint
  • NGC 4102 - Moderately faint, near stellar
  • NGC 4051 - Moderately faint, some elongation?
  • NGC 4088 - Medium sized, moderately faint
  • NGC 4143 - Moderately dim, some elongation?
  • NGC 4151 - Near stellar, medium brightness
  • NGC 4346 - Small, moderately faint, moderately elongated
  • NGC 4414 - Small, puffy, low surface brightness
  • NGC 3686 - Very faint
  • NGC 3900 - Small, faint
  • NGC 3912 - Small, very faint, averted vision only, slight elongation
  • NGC 4278 - Small, moderately bright
  • NGC 4203 - Small, moderately faint
  • NGC 4448 - Faint, elongated
  • NGC 4251 - Small, moderately faint, elongated
  • NGC 4214 - Moderately faint, irregular shape
  • NGC 3810 - Low surface brightness, medium sized
  • NGC 4150 - Small, faint, elongated
  • NGC 4618 - Very elongated, medium size
  • NGC 3640 - Medium brightness & size
  • NGC 4274 - Small, faint
  • NGC 4314 - Near stellar (despite decent stated apparent size), faint
  • NGC 4245 - Small, faint
  • NGC 4350  - Small, moderately faint, elongated, companion(s)?
  • NGC 4473 - Medium bright, elongated, companion?
  • NGC 4450 - Faint, small
  • NGC 4419 - Moderately faint, elongated 
  • NGC 4030 - Very faint
  • NGC 4725 - Moderately bright, structure?
  • NGC 4477 - Moderately faint, smal
  • NGC 4429 - Small, elongated
  • NGC 4371 - Small, faint
  • NGC 4459 - Small, faint
  • NGC 4660 - Faint, near stellar
  • NGC 4179 - Faint, small, elongated
  • NGC 4526 - Faint, small, elongated
  • NGC 4654 - Very faint
  • NGC 4550 - Faint, small
  • NGC 4596 - Faint, small, elongated
  • NGC 4689 - Very faint

Herschel II

  • NGC 2170 - Very slight nebulosity
  • NGC 2346 - Dim
  • NGC 7354 - Faint, some structure
  • NGC 1587 - Dim, small, companion visible

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#87 Augustus

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Posted 22 April 2020 - 01:56 PM

I observed NGC 4361 the other night which looked pretty good in the 14.7". I also briefly passed NGC 4550. 


Edited by Augustus, 22 April 2020 - 02:01 PM.


#88 Augustus

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 03:22 PM

Night 33 - 4/22/20

 

First time trying the 14.7" for some Herschel hunting.

 

Weather: A bit above freezing, low winds, damp.

 

Seeing: 3/5

 

Transparency: 8/10

 

Limiting magnitude: 6.25

 

Scope: 14.7" f/2.89

  • NGC 4546 - Moderately faint, small
  • NGC 4697 - Moderately faint, elongated, small
  • NGC 4535 - Disk w/some sort of faint structure, moderately faint
  • NGC 4689 - Disk, elongated, moderately bright
  • NGC 4754 - Moderately bright, medium sized, some distinction between inner/outer regions
  • NGC 4762 - Moderately bright, large
  • NGC 4608 & 4596 - Some bar structure in both?

Edited by Augustus, 23 April 2020 - 03:23 PM.


#89 asterope62

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 04:14 PM

I finished the Herschel 400 last year, I recently started working on the Herschel 2 list and realized that (for many of them) I will need a bigger telescope than my 12.5" Dob.


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#90 Tony Flanders

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 06:43 AM

I finished the Herschel 400 last year, I recently started working on the Herschel 2 list and realized that (for many of them) I will need a bigger telescope than my 12.5" Dob.

I wonder. I'm working on the Herschel 2500 with my 12.5-inch Dob, and I certainly have a fairly high failure rate. But it seems to me that with modern mirror coatings, my 12.5-incher can't be all that far behind William Herschel's 18-incher. And he didn't have the advantage of knowing where to look.

 

Maybe what I really need is darker skies, not a bigger telescope. Though I'm sure a bigger telescope would be a big help.


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#91 KidOrion

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 11:58 AM

I completed the Herschel II last month using a 12.5”; a few of the more-southern objects were a bit difficult, but none were particularly so.
 

My dark-site skies range from 21.2 to 21.8 given the site and conditions. That’s probably the defining criteria for the HII.


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#92 asterope62

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 03:17 PM

Looking back on what I have observed on the Herschel 2 so far, most have been when I was in a very dark sky area, I guess that I will only work on it in those type of locations. 



#93 Eric David

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Posted 01 May 2020 - 07:40 AM

I completed the Herschel 400 i list in March 2019 and early this year began the Herschel 400 ii list.  I was very surprised how much more difficult the objects on the second list are.  Dark skies are essential.  I was in a very dark location in remote eastern North Carolina with a 13" dob and still had difficulty making out galaxies in Pegasus and Eridanus.  Then I went to a not-as-dark, but still dark site in the Blue Ridge Mountains with the 13" and again had difficulty with the galaxies in Cetus and Eridanus.  Most were just barely at the edge of detection using averted vision and moving the scope around to verify the location of the faint blur.  The other night here at my house in an orange zone, I hauled out my 18" Tectron dob and got 6 H 400 ii galaxies in Virgo before clouds moved in, but they were all also barely detectable.  My observing notes for the Herschel 400 i list:

 

http://www.starvergn...00_summary.html (near the top of that page are links to my notes for each object by constellation and Herschel #)

 

My observing notes for the Herschel 400 ii list (trying a different format this time):

 

http://www.starvergn...el_ii_list.html

 

For each object in the second list, I include a map showing my location, along with an overlay of the light pollution map.

 

Good luck to all who attempt the second Herschel list!  It's going to take me much longer to finish that one compared to the first LOL.


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#94 Augustus

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Posted 10 May 2020 - 11:22 PM

Night 34: 5/10/2020

 

It all ends....

 

Tonight I took the C9.25 XLT to Ward (didn't feel in the mood for the 10" and the 14.7" is being rebuilt), and bagged every single remaining H400 except NGC 157, which is currently behind the Sun. I'll go after it in a month or two.

 

Weather: Around 50 degrees, some occasional clouds.

 

Seeing: 3/5

 

Transparency: 8/10

 

Scope: C9.25 XLT

  • Venus - Good
  • M3
  • M51 - Some evidence of spiral arms, a couple HII Regions
  • Ghost of Jupiter - Kinda just a teal blob, was expecting more. Never actually seen this one before.
  • NGC 4027 - Dim, fairly large
  • NGC 4527 - Moderately faint, elongated
  • NGC 4536 - Very faint
  • NGC 4624 - Very faint
  • NGC 4697 - Moderately bright, dust lane?
  • NGC 4699 - Moderately bright, could see dust lane and ring structure!
  • NGC 4753 - Moderately bright, elongated, dust lane?
  • NGC 4781 - Small, faint
  • NGC 4845 - Faint, small, elongated
  • NGC 4856 - Moderately faint, small
  • NGC 4886 - Moderately faint, elongated, very pretty. Need to revisit with the 14.7".
  • NGC 4900 - Very faint, small
  • NGC 4958 - Small, faint
  • NGC 4995 - Small, faint
  • NGC 5054 - Very faint
  • NGC 5248 - Medium sized, faint
  • NGC 5363 - Moderately bright, small
  • NGC 5364 - Large, faint
  • NGC 5566 - Moderately bright, small
  • NGC 5694 - Tiny, faint sprinkle of stars.
  • NGC 5746 - Small, faint, and kind of washed out in the glare of a nearby star.
  • NGC 6118 - Very faint

Right as I nailed NGC 6118, clouds started to roll in ending my evening. Perfect timing.

 

It has been one amazing journey of EXACTLY 18 months to the day since I started this project. I have used nearly a dozen scopes ranging from 3" to 20.5" in aperture, gotten distracted with plenty of other DSOs and things along the way, and used more than half a dozen different books, charts, and GoTo systems to find all of these 399 faint fuzzies. 

 

With that said, now it's time for the next challenge: The Herschel 800. I'm thinking of doing an Arp/Hickson run-through as well, not sure quite yet. Really depends on how often I can get out to properly dark skies this summer/fall and whether I end up going for larger aperture than 14.7 inches.


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#95 Eric David

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Posted 11 May 2020 - 09:45 PM

Augustus, congratulations on finishing the Herschel 400 i list!  I see from your signature block that you already have 57 of the Herschel 400 ii objects LOL...  You're ahead of me, I only have 35 as of May 11 2020.  I'm hoping to get more this weekend up in the mountains if it's clear.


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#96 Knasal

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 08:39 PM

Way to go Augustus, and good luck on your next challenge!

 

Took me seven years to finish the H400 - you completed it in 18 months. Great work!

 

Kevin


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#97 WyattDavis

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 05:03 AM

Nice! Congrats Augustus.




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