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Hey! Have You Seen All of the Brightest Planetary Nebulae?

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#1 SNH

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 02:50 PM

I love planetary nebula (PNe) – but not because they show a plethora of detail in telescopes (um, they don’t), but because they constitute the brightest nebulae for small telescopes and binoculars. So two years ago, after having viewed all of the PNe that I knew of that were brighter than magnitude +11.0, I undertook a survey to find those that were visible with only a 2-inch (50mm) telescope. I thought that with such limited aperture I would be able to make a quick project of it and maybe even find a few that I had missed that were binocular visible.
What I discovered was really surprising – I was able to see a full 75 that weren’t visible in my binoculars!! So here is a link to my recently “finished” project 100+ Planetary Nebulae Visible with Small Telescopes and Binoculars. I’ve put the word finished in quotation because I plan to double check the visibility of a few PNe come September and expect to need to make an accompanying Excel spreadsheet for people in the coming month. So I’m currently holding the pdf in my Google Drive, but after I finalize it in autumn, I’ll try and find a permanent home for it on the Internet.
So I hope it inspires some of you to go after many of the brightest PNe – irregardless that many are nearly stellar – because they’re not hardly making any new ones!!!

 

Scott

 

EDIT: Here is a link to the Excel spreadsheet I promised!


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#2 Astrojensen

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 03:00 PM

Most impressive work, but I wonder why you have included NGC 604 and Mrk 71 on the list, when they're not planetary nebulae (and have, to my knowledge, never been catalogued as such, either)? And what about the white dwarfs? 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark



#3 TOMDEY

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 03:20 PM

Hi, Scott... Cool! I am certainly most interested, and planetaries are toward the top of my ~To Do List~

 

But my motivation is different: I got my... 36-inch telescope up and running fine, with great views that handles high magnification wonderfully. And realized that "little" planetaries should sure look great with this thing... and show structure and color. So, looked at a few - WOW!

 

I'll use your list for hit list!    Thanks!    Tom



#4 SNH

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 03:22 PM

Well, Thomas, I'm going to resist quoting from my article and just say that I explain why in the paragraph titled "Bonus Objects". But I will say that it's part of my philosophy to not get stuck in one area but to realize that there are other amazing objects out there for a small telescope owner. In every publication I've made, I've included a few "bonus objects" (objects that weren't my main focus) to remind the reader that there is always more out there. I love observing for that reason!

 

Scott


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#5 Sasa

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 07:29 AM

Excellent work, Scott. You saw more planetaries then me (71) in apertures smaller than my smallest telescope! Small planetaries are favorite target of mine as well as they are not affected that much by light pollution. Not only that they are visible in small apertures, but you can see surprising level of details in few of them in very modest apertures. Here are just few exaples through (slightly) larger apertures (63 and 82mm) to encourage more people to try to discover their  beauties:

 

ngc6543.jpg   NGC6572.jpg  

 

NGC7027.jpg


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#6 Feidb

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 08:07 AM

Working on them. Slowly but surely (and don't call me Shirley).


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#7 TOMDEY

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 10:08 AM

Well, Thomas, I'm going to resist quoting from my article and just say that I explain why in the paragraph titled "Bonus Objects". But I will say that it's part of my philosophy to not get stuck in one area but to realize that there are other amazing objects out there for a small telescope owner. In every publication I've made, I've included a few "bonus objects" (objects that weren't my main focus) to remind the reader that there is always more out there. I love observing for that reason!

 

Scott

A good philosophy! Every ~observing session~ I make a point of viewing some old friend targets, then concentrating on a ~class of objects~, then making sure to view some ~new objects~ ... and finishing up with a couple of splashy traditional favorites that everyone else always is looking at. I especially like to include one obscure target that no one else ever visits!   Tom



#8 Araguaia

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 05:44 AM

Great work!  33 planetary nebulas have made it into my "favorites" list.  All show detail and most show some color.  Every once in a while I go on a PN binge and observe a couple of dozen, sometimes adding one or two to my list.


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#9 REC

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 11:36 AM

Love them as some have color to them. Great list, thanks!



#10 Feidb

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 08:59 PM

I've seen 89 planetaries so far, according to my database. All from a variety of catalogs including Abell, Messier, NGC, IC, whatever.



#11 eps0mu0

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 12:42 PM

This is a nice effort... I don’t have a 2” scope, but this is a good list for those of us with larger scopes who are not accomplished observers, and those of us in light polluted environs.

This is another very nice observing list for PNe’s, and nicely laid off... it complements the nice pdf published by Massimo Zecchin.

Many people will probably point out objects that should have made the list... my suggestion is a fairly bright, but small object, IC418 in Lepus. Of course, I don’t know what it would be like in a 2”, but if I can see it pretty easily, then I am sure the 50mm refractor aficionados would have no problem with it.

And... they are making new ones! just at a very slow pace, compared to our lifetimes.

Regards,

J.F.



#12 SNH

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 11:28 AM

This is a nice effort... I don’t have a 2” scope, but this is a good list for those of us with larger scopes who are not accomplished observers, and those of us in light polluted environs.

This is another very nice observing list for PNe’s, and nicely laid off... it complements the nice pdf published by Massimo Zecchin.

Many people will probably point out objects that should have made the list... my suggestion is a fairly bright, but small object, IC418 in Lepus. Of course, I don’t know what it would be like in a 2”, but if I can see it pretty easily, then I am sure the 50mm refractor aficionados would have no problem with it.

And... they are making new ones! just at a very slow pace, compared to our lifetimes.

Regards,

J.F.

Yes, it may surprise people that I didn't include many like IC 418 (which is like my favorite PNe!). The reason? Because it's one of the 24 that I've seen in my 7x35 binoculars. And so I simply left a link to my previous eBook publication that lists all those 24.

And yes, they are making new ones. IC 4997 (another I've seen in my 7x35s) is one of the newest I know of!!

 

Scott



#13 CounterWeight

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 08:30 PM

Have not kept good track of how many I have seen but I really like them too for all reasons mentioned above.  I used to go by Hynes book, and or the Webb Society book, then planetarium software came along and they are standard diet.  I love showing to folks when I outreach try to include 1 or 2 along with other type objects depending on time and season.



#14 payner

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 01:31 PM

Hey Scott: Thank you for making available your excellent PN guide.



#15 SNH

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 04:47 PM

Okay, so I did a few tiny tweaks of the PDF and have now finished the Excel spreadsheet of the 75 PNe I saw with my "2-inch telescope". All the links are still at the top in the very first post but have been updated by the moderator!

 

Scott


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#16 CrazyPanda

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 05:22 AM

I've been doing a similar exercise where I've been going through each constellation and cataloging every Messier and NGC planetary nebula, as well as rating them on a 0-5 scale so I can go back and know which ones are interesting enough to spend more time observing, and which ones I want to prioritize when I eventually get an aperture upgrade.

 

I've done all of the summer constellations visible from my location, with the exception of Scorpius (that will have to wait until next year). I'm going to resume the fall season objects at the next new moon cycle.

 

I also want to go through and try for some of the IC and PK planetaries. While most are too small or faint for my scope/skies, there are some that are even more obvious than NGC planetaries.

 

It's been a fun observing exercise and there have been quite a few surprising gems that I didn't even know about until I literally went through the sky object by object to see all of them.




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