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Failed 1st attempt- The Blue Snowball

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#1 Frisky

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 01:39 PM

I'm under Bortle 6 skies and have a 120mm achro. I'm thinking I should be able to see the Blue Snowball, but I failed to find it last night. A check with Stellarium showed I wasn't quite looking in the right spot. That's usually the case when I fail to find something. I'll give it another shot and will also soon be heading out to near Bortle 3 skies. When I get in the right spot, will I be able to see it under Bortle 6? It looks to be under magnitude 8, and I've found mag 8 objects.

 

Joe


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#2 Astrojensen

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 01:55 PM

You'll EASILY be able to see it under Bortle 6 skies. It's REALLY bright. But you might need to look for it with a bit of magnification, like 100x or so, since at or under 50x, it looks just like another 8th-magnitude star. 

 

Once you've found it, heap all the magnification on it you've got. Last Saturday I observed it with my 4" ED at 716x and it was still bright and easy to see at this magnification, plus it showed a sizeable disk with a slightly darker center and a bright rim around 2/3rds of its edge. 

 

Another, similarly bright planetary nebula high in the sky right now, which I recommend taking a look at, if you haven't already, is NGC 6543 in Draco. 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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#3 aa6ww

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 02:53 PM

Thomas is right, you need some magnification to recognize it as not being a star, but it does take magnification well once you find it. The name sure fits this object perfectly also.

...Ralph
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#4 Migwan

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 03:02 PM

....and NGC 6826, Blinking Planetary Nebula.  

 

jd


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#5 Sky_LO

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 04:05 PM

I love this object - It is like a little celestial ping pong ball 

Very fun. 

 

Good luck getting it.  There isn't much nearby to it so it can be tougher to find. 


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#6 Frisky

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 04:19 PM

Thanks folks for the replies. Thomas, I was at 40X. I'll up magnification. I also want to mention I just found the Blinking Planetary too. I'll look for NGC 6543.

 

Joe


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#7 Sky_LO

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 04:48 PM

There is a whole family of other similar little ball nebula's - they are very cool. 

 

I had been looking for the Saturn nebula for a several months last year and finally got it. 

Once you see one, then you know better what this kind of object looks like

They get easier to find once you have a better idea  of what you are looking for.  

 

ngc 6818 little gem nebula

ngc 6572 blue racquetball 

ngc 7009 Saturn nebula

ngc 6543 Cats eye

ngc 7027 pink pillow

 

Cats eye and pink pillow have a larger / fainter nebulosity field around them as well.  

 

-Lauren    


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#8 Frisky

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 06:17 PM

Sky LO- I'll look into all of those. Thanks! 

 

Joe



#9 Migwan

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 06:28 PM

Come winter, there's the Eskimo Nebula (NGC 2392).   Oh yea.  Hit it with all you got.  

 

jd


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#10 earlyriser

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 06:51 PM

I can usually identity bright planetary nebula at low power by their intense blue color. The Blue Snowball should stand out for this reason.


Edited by earlyriser, 28 August 2019 - 06:52 PM.

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#11 Frisky

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 07:01 PM

I'll look for blue on low power before I raise the power. Oh, I've found the Eskimo Nebula, many times, and it's a favorite of mine! 

 

Joe



#12 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 08:49 PM

Another colorful planetary nebula that's currently visible is NGC 6210 in Hercules.


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#13 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 09:16 PM

I suppose we can attribute NGC 6210's Turtle Nebula nickname to the HST.

 

https://apod.nasa.go...d/ap981028.html


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#14 Frisky

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Posted 29 August 2019 - 01:10 AM

I'm writing all these down and will look them up. Tonight, I finally got out to darker skies. The road I was taking to my brother's place was closed off for late night paving, so I had to head north and observe only 3 miles from town instead of 10 miles out. Still, I was outside the city light dome and saw thousands of stars I can't see in town! I immediately found the Butterfly Cluster! It's hidden behind trees in town. What a beauty! I finally found the Whirlpool Galaxy and was shocked to see it is larger than I expected. Found M110 for the 1st time! It was faint, even in the country. I found three new globs that were hidden behind trees in town. The Double Cluster was glorious compared to in town. I didn't look for the Blue Snowball, but I plan to head back out to the 10 mile site, as they finish the road tomorrow. I went well over 200 objects found now. I have until March 17th to complete my 2nd year and hopefully break 300 objects found. 

 

Joe


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#15 Sky_LO

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Posted 29 August 2019 - 11:47 AM

Joe, sounds like we are about at the same observing milestone. 

I recently broke the 200 object mark as well on my way to 300 !!! 

I am at 14 months of observing. 

 

Fun Stuff  

 

Eskimo Nebula - yes yes jd !  another fun small ball .    


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#16 Frisky

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Posted 29 August 2019 - 12:28 PM

I'll be at 18 months on September 17th. My problem with adding to my list is houses and trees. I can only see about 30% of the night sky. So, I have to start heading out into the dark, open spaces. Anyway, chasing 300 objects is gonna be fun, lol! I want to complete it before my 2nd year is up. I could do it in a night if I just concentrated on individual stars, but that's no fun. Gotta get stuff like the snowball! Oh, go after the moon features too, as one has to learn the moon and can add dozens of features fast!

 

Joe



#17 Chesterguy1

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Posted 29 August 2019 - 01:11 PM

Funny that this topic came up. I don't typically spend a lot of time of PNs, but last night I looked at The Little Gem, Saturn and Blue Snowball Nebulas. All were seen easily without filtering at 75X and were better at 112X. I even tried 191X and decided I preferred the 112X. The observations were done with my SW 120 ED. I'm in a Bortle 5 zone.

 

 

Chesterguy


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#18 havasman

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Posted 29 August 2019 - 01:43 PM

Thanks folks for the replies. Thomas, I was at 40X. I'll up magnification. I also want to mention I just found the Blinking Planetary too. I'll look for NGC 6543.

 

Joe

These very bright planetary nebulae are THE prime targets for maximum magnification for any observer not limited to lunar and planetary observing by poor LP conditions. In fact I find much higher magnifications more useful for PN observing than for planetary observing.

Magnification over 1000x is useful from a good site in good conditions, revealing detail unseen at large exit pupils and sometimes exposing new perspectives on a PN.

Try exit pupils in the 0.5 - 0.7 range and see what you think. Then double the magnification with your Barlow and look carefully again. I expect you'll be surprised. Your long-ish focal ratio refractor should work very well at those levels. Some high mag observing is facilitated by large and medium-large apertures. PN are not those.


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#19 Inkswitch

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Posted 29 August 2019 - 01:53 PM

These very bright planetary nebulae are THE prime targets for maximum magnification for any observer not limited to lunar and planetary observing by poor LP conditions.

 

I wouldn't let LP stop you.  Before I moved to dark skies I was inside the beltway of Columbus OH and these small PNs hold up well if you apply aperture.  I observed quite a few NGC PNs with my 300mm, I otherwise rarely used the big scope in town.


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#20 payner

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Posted 29 August 2019 - 04:25 PM

I'll offer NGC 6905 in Delphinus as a good PN. Depending on aperture and dark adaptation, it can definitely be blue.


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#21 Frisky

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Posted 30 August 2019 - 02:26 AM

I got out tonight at what should have been the darkest skies I've been to at nearly Bortle 3. It turned out to be awful, so I didn't look for planetary nebulas. My brother lives on a highway, and car after car came by with those blinding LED headlights. I was extremely annoyed. He has a gravel road behind his place that has little to no traffic, but the low southern skies might be hidden behind trees. I'm going to find a good spot in the country and sit alone, looking for PNs. I ended up showing my brother some of the stuff I've seen 1,000 times and not trying for anything new. 

 

Joe



#22 IMB

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Posted 30 August 2019 - 12:44 PM

Yesterday I had a good luck with the club's dark site. My typical experience with the site places it in the Bortle 5 category. The site suffers from a large light dome in the south, and usually some amount of haze is present. When I started my observations around 9 pm, there was noticeable haze, but by 1:30 am the haze cleared. For the first time at this site I could see M31 with just my eyes and M33 was visible in a 8x50 finder. The Milky Way from Cygnus to Perseus was very prominent and detailed.

 

I performed observations with my 120 mm ED doublet. For star hopping I used Masuyama 85 32 mm (28x, TFOV 3 degrees) and ES82 18 mm (50x, TFOV 1.6 degrees). For detailed observations I used ES82 11 mm (82x), 6.7 mm (134x), and 4.7 mm (191x). I had 2" and 1" 1/4 DGM NPB filters at my disposal.

 

During the session I observed six planetary nebulae out of six attempted:

 - NGC 6781 (Snowglobe Nebula),

 - NGC 7009 (Saturn Nebula),

 - NGC 6818 (Little Gem Nebula),

 - NGC 6572 (Emerald Nebula),

 - NGC 6543 (Cat's Eye Nebula),

 - NGC 7027 (Magic Carpet or Pink Pillow Nebula).

 

For each PN I used all five eyepieces listed above with and without a filter. This was my second observation of NGC 7009. I saw NGC 6543 for the second time, but for the first time with my scope (the first observation was last Saturday 8/24 with Rob Teeter's 20" dob). I observed the other four PNs for the first time.

 

The most difficult observation was of NGC 6781. I did it early in the session when it was hazy. I had to switch eyepieces many times until I finally saw it with averted vision. I confirmed its presence with a filter. The other five nebulae were much brighter. I could see them in the 18 mm eyepiece, and some of then in the 32 mm eyepiece. These PNs stood out from the surrounding stars by their brightness and "fat" appearance.

 

I observed an interesting phenomenon with NGC 6543 and NGC 7027. I viewed these two later in the session when transparency was excellent. On a short time scale their brightness and apparent size were going up and down, as if they were blinking (I'm talking about direct vision, this has nothing to do with the Blinking Planetary that becomes apparent under averted vision, but disappears under direct vision). At the same time all regular stars remained perfectly still. One look at the star field, and you know which one is a planetary.


Edited by IMB, 30 August 2019 - 12:45 PM.

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#23 Frisky

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Posted 30 August 2019 - 10:47 PM

Nice list! I'll soon be heading back to darker skies (close to Bortle 3 but still 4) and am going to take charts of all those you and others listed and see what I can find. 

 

Joe


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#24 jtsenghas

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 08:23 PM

One trick I've used on occasion to help to identify smaller emission nebulae while I'm still at relatively low power, is to use a nebula or OIII filter in FRONT of the eye lens of a lower power longer eye relief eyepiece. By waving the filter between my eye and the eyepiece, the stars almost blink out in intensity, but the emission nebulae only dim slightly, standing out a lot more in contrast. After I satisfy myself with this blinking method, I move on to higher power eyepieces with that nebula centered in my field. Depending on the object I may use that filter in that higher power eyepiece. 


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#25 tchandler

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Posted 02 September 2019 - 08:29 AM

The Blue Snowball is bright but it’s not huge. I’ve observed it with my 120/900 refractor under bortle 6 skies, but it involved a lot of sweeping. To help me find it, I like to use the hockey stick- shaped asterism called Frederick’s Glory, composed of four faintish stars: lambda, kappa, iota, and psi Andromedae. Omicron And, although not part of this asterism, helps too (and you’ll be observing a defunct constellation too, which is somehow suited to observing a defunct star). These stars will be easier to find from your darker site.

 

I think you’ll be very pleased with the view when you eventually track down this little puff of star schmutz. 

 

Good luck.


Edited by tchandler, 02 September 2019 - 08:33 AM.



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