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More on the galaxy season (from a LP garden)

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#1 Gavster

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 03:05 AM

I have to say that Spring isn’t my favourite time of the year to observe. With the Milky Way low in the sky, there seems to be a lot more emptiness in the night sky from a LP site. But there are lots of galaxies and also plenty of globular clusters to try to find...
Last night I had a very pleasant (and pretty warm - makes a change) 2 hours observing session. I was in my back garden (sqm 18.4, about as good as I get in SW London) with my new c11 edge. I used a 0.7x reducer with a 55mm plossl and night vision monoculars to get about 40x magnification and a 1 degree fov. Stars were really nice and sharp to the edge of the field of view.
I started with an old favourite m81 and m82. Both fitted into the fov nicely, showed decent structure and I could see nice mottling in the middle of m82. Without the night vision I could barely see m82 at all, a very significant jump up in views with the NV tonight.
I also accidently spotted close by m81 a new galaxy for me, ngc 3077, I didn’t realise there was another quite bright galaxy near this pair. Then I went for another favourite, the needle galaxy which showed the dark lane clearly and had some really nice extension filling about half the fov. M104 (Sombrero) also showing the dark lane clearly. Definitely the best views of galaxies I’ve ever had from my back garden.
Given the pretty good transparency (for London!) I decided to go through the April telescope house sky guide (Deep Sky Delights in Canes Venatici)
It was basically a galaxy fest and I spotted all of those listed apart from Ngc 5173 (which I think was just a bit too small to spot clearly for the magnification I was using)
So galaxies observed were m51(whirlpool), ngc 5195, m63 (sunflower), m94, ngc 5005, ngc 4631 (whale- nice shaped galaxy), ngc 4657, ngc 4656, ngc 4244 (silver needle galaxy - lot fainter than the needle it seemed), cocoon (ngc 4485 and ngc 4490, interacting galaxies, very interesting to observe), ngc4449, m106 (nice spiral). So 18 galaxies in all.
Finally I moved on to some globular clusters and, my, they were good last night.
I started with m3 which surprised me by just how bright and impressive it was compared with the galaxies I had been observing. M13 was predictably awesome, propellor sticking out very clearly. M92, m12 and m10 were all clearly resolved as well.
A final quick look at the crescent nebula just peeking over the neighbours roof and then the clouds arrived. But it was past midnight by  then...

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • B9C58C70-59D3-42D3-A912-68DC9BECF32B.jpeg

Edited by Gavster, 26 April 2019 - 02:17 AM.

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#2 GeezerGazer

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 10:35 PM

Very nice report Gavster.  I agree, mid to late summer is always a bit more interesting, but this is THE season for tiny targets!  

 

Is this a new C-11 Edge?... I thought you had a C-11 Edge last year.  Geez, that's a good looking mount!  Love those Panthers.  

 

I also ran into NGC 3077 using my 140 frac at a green zone last year.  But I didn't take a photo... I should have. 

 

With 1° FoV, you should be able to get both M97 and M108 within the same frame too.  I took this photo using my ST 120/Mod 3C last year, ISO 125, 1/3s exposure, averaged 15s, iPhone 6+ w/NightCap.  The 4.5" aperture limited light collection... and, of course, with no filter the stars are bloated because it's a Franhoffer, but on a straight line from 12 to 6 o'clock, you can see both the Owl and the galaxy.  I need to retake this using the 8" Newt and my iPhone XR!  It would make a "prettier" picture!  I no longer use the ST 120 for unfiltered images; the Newt provides much tighter stars because there's no chromatic aberration.  

 

IMG_E1028.jpeg


Edited by GeezerGazer, 01 May 2019 - 10:40 PM.

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#3 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 10:26 AM

I have to say that Spring isn’t my favourite time of the year to observe. With the Milky Way low in the sky, there seems to be a lot more emptiness in the night sky from a LP site. But there are lots of galaxies and also plenty of globular clusters to try to find...

 

Nice report! When life serves up lemons, make lemonade.

 

I'm not a big Galaxy Guy either, a 16" scope just isn't sufficient (IMHO) to really play that game. But even at that aperture there are some nice spirals (especially the ones with dust lanes) and NV helps quite a bit!

 

Good tip on NGC 3077. I observed that one in 2017 with my old Zambuto f/9 and marked it as good potential for a larger scope, just haven't circled back to it yet.

 

And of course Globulars are almost always rewarding NV targets. I was thrilled with how much granularity I was able to get on the Intergalactic Wanderer (NGC 2419). NGC 5466 is also a great one. NGC 5053 is nice, the core is not strong but it is still well resolved and looks like a rich open cluster.


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#4 Gavster

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 11:22 AM

Very nice report Gavster.  I agree, mid to late summer is always a bit more interesting, but this is THE season for tiny targets!  

 

Is this a new C-11 Edge?... I thought you had a C-11 Edge last year.  Geez, that's a good looking mount!  Love those Panthers.  

 

I also ran into NGC 3077 using my 140 frac at a green zone last year.  But I didn't take a photo... I should have. 

 

With 1° FoV, you should be able to get both M97 and M108 within the same frame too.  I took this photo using my ST 120/Mod 3C last year, ISO 125, 1/3s exposure, averaged 15s, iPhone 6+ w/NightCap.  The 4.5" aperture limited light collection... and, of course, with no filter the stars are bloated because it's a Franhoffer, but on a straight line from 12 to 6 o'clock, you can see both the Owl and the galaxy.  I need to retake this using the 8" Newt and my iPhone XR!  It would make a "prettier" picture!  I no longer use the ST 120 for unfiltered images; the Newt provides much tighter stars because there's no chromatic aberration.  

 

attachicon.gif IMG_E1028.jpeg

I did get a standard c11 last year but it’s at our second home in the much darker skies (compared to London) of the English south coast. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised about how well the c11 works with the reducer/55mm plossl/NV combo

particularly on smaller targets like galaxies. I also find the c11/panther setup much quicker and easier to setup than my 16 inch dob. I’ve wondered for a while what the c11 edge would be like compared to the c11 and decided to get one for London. It’s been very successful although I found I needed to get the light path close to the optimum 146mm for sharpest stars at the edge of the fov. With the edge 0.7x reducer I use a Baader 1.25 bbhs diagonal that just about enables the full 40 degree fov of the NV monocular to be visible with the 55mm Plossl and gives me close to 146mm lightpath. 

I much prefer taking the phone snaps of my visual observations at dark sites so I think I’m going to swap them over and take the c11 edge to the south coast for sharper edge stars. Hoping to get down there soon for some early morning views of Cygnus including Nan, Crescent, Wizard, Cocoon,  Veil etc  but at a much larger scale than I can manage with my 4/5 inch scopes.


Edited by Gavster, 02 May 2019 - 11:24 AM.


#5 GeezerGazer

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 11:56 AM

So you now have a C-11 and a C-11 Edge.  Very nice.  

 

I was out last night for 4 hrs. before clouds rolled in, taking images of most of the Spring Messier's and decided (based on your observation) to remove the barlow in my 208 Newt and put in the ASA reducer which gives about a 1.7°... in an effort to put M81/82 and NGC 3077 in the same FoV.  So here was the result at f:2.8, using the iPhone XR w/NightCap, ISO 125, 1s exposure averaged for 25s, formatted & compressed to fit here... M82 on the R, M81 lower center, and the wee NGC 3077 on the upper L:

 

IMG_4487.jpg


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#6 GeezerGazer

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 12:08 PM

I did look up NGC 3077 when I got home, finding that it is a small (1.6 million solar masses), disrupted elliptical galaxy, about 12.8 million LY away.  Its irregularities are believed due to gravitational interaction with its neighbors, M81/82.  


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#7 Gavster

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 02:05 PM

So you now have a C-11 and a C-11 Edge.  Very nice.  

 

I was out last night for 4 hrs. before clouds rolled in, taking images of most of the Spring Messier's and decided (based on your observation) to remove the barlow in my 208 Newt and put in the ASA reducer which gives about a 1.7°... in an effort to put M81/82 and NGC 3077 in the same FoV.  So here was the result at f:2.8, using the iPhone XR w/NightCap, ISO 125, 1s exposure averaged for 25s, formatted & compressed to fit here... M82 on the R, M81 lower center, and the wee NGC 3077 on the upper L:

 

attachicon.gif IMG_4487.jpg

Love it Ray!



#8 REC

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Posted 04 May 2019 - 01:11 PM

I have to say that Spring isn’t my favourite time of the year to observe. With the Milky Way low in the sky, there seems to be a lot more emptiness in the night sky from a LP site. But there are lots of galaxies and also plenty of globular clusters to try to find...
Last night I had a very pleasant (and pretty warm - makes a change) 2 hours observing session. I was in my back garden (sqm 18.4, about as good as I get in SW London) with my new c11 edge. I used a 0.7x reducer with a 55mm plossl and night vision monoculars to get about 40x magnification and a 1 degree fov. Stars were really nice and sharp to the edge of the field of view.
I started with an old favourite m81 and m82. Both fitted into the fov nicely, showed decent structure and I could see nice mottling in the middle of m82. Without the night vision I could barely see m82 at all, a very significant jump up in views with the NV tonight.
I also accidently spotted close by m81 a new galaxy for me, ngc 3077, I didn’t realise there was another quite bright galaxy near this pair. Then I went for another favourite, the needle galaxy which showed the dark lane clearly and had some really nice extension filling about half the fov. M104 (Sombrero) also showing the dark lane clearly. Definitely the best views of galaxies I’ve ever had from my back garden.
Given the pretty good transparency (for London!) I decided to go through the April telescope house sky guide (Deep Sky Delights in Canes Venatici)
It was basically a galaxy fest and I spotted all of those listed apart from Ngc 5173 (which I think was just a bit too small to spot clearly for the magnification I was using)
So galaxies observed were m51(whirlpool), ngc 5195, m63 (sunflower), m94, ngc 5005, ngc 4631 (whale- nice shaped galaxy), ngc 4657, ngc 4656, ngc 4244 (silver needle galaxy - lot fainter than the needle it seemed), cocoon (ngc 4485 and ngc 4490, interacting galaxies, very interesting to observe), ngc4449, m106 (nice spiral). So 18 galaxies in all.
Finally I moved on to some globular clusters and, my, they were good last night.
I started with m3 which surprised me by just how bright and impressive it was compared with the galaxies I had been observing. M13 was predictably awesome, propellor sticking out very clearly. M92, m12 and m10 were all clearly resolved as well.
A final quick look at the crescent nebula just peeking over the neighbours roof and then the clouds arrived. But it was past midnight by  then...

Is that a Night Vision scope on the back of that scope of yours in the picture?



#9 Gavster

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Posted 05 May 2019 - 04:48 PM

Yes. I use it afocally so you have the 55mm plossl that goes into the diagonal with the NV monoculars attached to the top of the Plossl 




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