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The Best of the Sharpless Catalog (Night Vision)

NV observing report
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#1 alanjgreen

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 06:19 AM

Introduction

I purchased a Night Vision Monocular in April 2018 to attach to my TeleVue eyepieces and use for astronomy purposes.

Initially I purchased an Astronomik 6nm Ha filter (I later switched to a Chroma 5nm Ha filter) to allow me improved views of many visible nebula but I discovered that I now had access to a whole new world of previously invisible (to me) nebula.

I discovered that many of these were in the “Sharpless” catalog and began a journey to see how many of the 313 catalog objects I could find/observe?

 

I wrote an article in the Webb “Deep Sky Observer” (Issue 181) detailing my joy and initial efforts to observe these Sharpless objects.

 

Last week, I observed my 303rd Sharpless object. Of the ten outstanding, one does not exist (sh2-214) and nine and very low on my Southern summer horizon (and will be left for a Greek holiday sometime in the future!) so I am ready to publish my findings in the hope that they may assist others who wish to try the same route in the future...

 

 

Finding the Sharpless Objects

 

Before you can observe an object, you need to find it and get it into the eyepiece (sounds obvious)…

My main scope is a 20” push-to Dobsonian which I attach to Sky Safari 5 Pro and push to my chosen targets.

 

I soon discovered that the Sky Safari database only contains 249 entries (of the 313 objects) and a small number of these are in fact erroneous or duplicates. In all, I have had to locate 75 Sharpless objects manually…

 

I would like to call out the book “The Astrophotography Sky Atlas” by Charles Bracken at this point, as my search would have soon been abandoned if it had not been for this book and its great tables of Sharpless object data (at the back). With this data and the galaxymap online explorer, I was able to use sky co-ordinates to mark nearby stars (in Sky Safari) and then hunt around that area to finally find and record an accurate positional star!

 

Many Sharpless objects are huge and so I also employed a second wide-field scope, a Borg 107FL, which I paired with a Skywatcher AZGTi GOTO mount with SynScan handset.

 

As I found the Sharpless objects, I recorded the nearest SAO catalog star (from Sky Safari) and then used this on the GOTO mount to get the Borg107FL on target. Unfortunately, I discovered that the SynScan handset does not hold the full SAO catalog, so once again there was some “on the fly” rework needed to get the nearest SAO that was in the handset identified and recorded!

 

 

The Best of the Sharpless catalog

 

Many of the Sharpless objects were underwhelming at the eyepiece (when compared to objects like the Rosette, Gamma Cygni or the Orion nebula) but when you consider how faint and small some of these objects are then there is more to this than just the “visual beauty” perceived at the eyepiece.

 

However, there is no denying that many Sharpless objects are very beautiful and interesting at the eyepiece and in many cases are equal or better that the more well known and photographed Messier nebula objects. There are a small number of Sharpless objects where I struggled to find more than a couple of images on the internet as I tried to confirm each of my sightings from the eyepiece (comparing my sketches to the limited images available).

 

I am now ready to publish my “Best Of Sharpless” list, it is entirely based on my own perceptions so feel free to disagree with the objects that I have selected, I will not be offended.

 

My goal is to inspire just one person (who has an Ha filter) to turn their scope to one or more of these objects and for them to observe an object that they have never seen before!

 

What follows is a data table of 115 Sharpless objects (the "best of" according to me).

 

For each object the table shows:

  • Sharpless Reference,
  • Physical Size,
  • Scope Used (B=Borg 107FL, D=20” Dob),
  • SS Star Ref (A "Sky Safari" object that I located manually at the Sharpless objects location),
  • Goto ref (Closest SAO, NGC, M object for use with GOTO mounts),
  • Catalog Name (The more famous objects already have a name)

sh1.jpg

sh2.jpg

sh3.jpg

 

Here is the raw Excel file 

Attached File  Best Of Sharpless v1.xlsx   36.97KB   121 downloads

 

Go on, give them a try!

Alan


Edited by alanjgreen, 06 October 2019 - 10:40 AM.

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#2 j.gardavsky

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 07:35 AM

Hello Alan,

 

this is a great initiative of yours, to observe all Sharpless nebulae!

 

I am still working on the Sharpless the classic way at the eyepiece, no night vision monocular, but also hunting the Lynd's and DWB's not included in Sharpless.

 

Can't compete with you, as my count at the EP is just 124, and through the binos 89,

with one exception all of them from our suburban-to-country backyard.

 

Clear skies,

JG


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#3 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 12:56 PM

Outstanding! Thank you for the hard work that went into this. It will be interesting to compare notes with my smaller (16" scope).

 

Your earlier spreadsheet has been a big help to me in picking up some of the stragglers. Making good progress, 259 so far (plus what I got last night). Mainly the fall/winter ones remain but unfortunately a few in Scorpius and Sagittarius too.

 

More than a few have been quite tough from SQM 20.5 skies, and one or two appear to be "missing". More sleuthing required, but it has been fun.


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#4 alanjgreen

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 04:22 PM

Outstanding! Thank you for the hard work that went into this. It will be interesting to compare notes with my smaller (16" scope).

 

Your earlier spreadsheet has been a big help to me in picking up some of the stragglers. Making good progress, 259 so far (plus what I got last night). Mainly the fall/winter ones remain but unfortunately a few in Scorpius and Sagittarius too.

 

More than a few have been quite tough from SQM 20.5 skies, and one or two appear to be "missing". More sleuthing required, but it has been fun.

Let me know the refs of the ones you are struggling with?

 

There are some real toughies, including some tough very faint reflection nebs and also some really tiny patches around single stars come to mind...

 

I can check my observing notes for any hints and help I can offer...

 

I can say that some took several attempts to tie down so don’t expect to get them all first time.

 

sometimes, you think you have found them or have several options as to what may be the one, only to look on the internet at images and find that it was one of the things you saw. Then you can revisit and claim success.

 

Even worse some of the Sharpless objects only have one or two images available on the internet (they are so rarely viewed) making exact matching difficult (you are not guaranteed to see the whole object) which is why I started sketching star patterns and shapes to help with the screen comparisons next day.

 

Alan



#5 slavicek

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 04:18 PM

Alan,

thank you for your efford and for sharing it with us. I will add "the best of Sharpless" to my observing list. I am still fine tuning my NV set up so I am bit behind with observing but I hope I will use one of your lists soon. Unfortunately, besides observing, one has to spent some time to make living too...  :-)


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#6 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 06:48 PM

Let me know the refs of the ones you are struggling with?

 

There are some real toughies, including some tough very faint reflection nebs and also some really tiny patches around single stars come to mind...

 

I can check my observing notes for any hints and help I can offer...

 

I can say that some took several attempts to tie down so don’t expect to get them all first time.

 

sometimes, you think you have found them or have several options as to what may be the one, only to look on the internet at images and find that it was one of the things you saw. Then you can revisit and claim success.

 

Even worse some of the Sharpless objects only have one or two images available on the internet (they are so rarely viewed) making exact matching difficult (you are not guaranteed to see the whole object) which is why I started sketching star patterns and shapes to help with the screen comparisons next day.

 

Alan

 

Thank you Alan!

 

You're right, internet images are both a blessing and a curse. At first I was not using them. When I look at my descriptions and compare to photos later, it is usually a very gratifying confirmation that I did indeed get the correct object.

 

To finish the list (up to 266 now) I will need them, because mostly the hardest ones remain.

 

Unfortunately, the issue is both scale and orientation. On the faint ones, trying to decipher the surrounding star field can be a challenge. But I have tried it on a few of the hard ones, and it can be helpful.

 

It certainly has been fun and rewarding but as you say many of them are rather unremarkable. I'll have to go through my observing log spreadsheet for totals, but initial thought is I have many fewer than 110 that earn scores of 4 or 5 on my 5 point scale.

 

But pre-NV that list would be considerably smaller!


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#7 Pcbessa

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 01:18 PM

I also cannot compete with night vision!

 

But I observe with my 10" Dob from a dark location, so I am blessed with good conditions to see sharpless nebula, even if most non-NGC sharpless nebula are quite faint.

 

My list of total nebula (Messier, NGC, Sharpless, etc) is around 75, of which about 20 are non-NGC sharpless nebula.

 

I think the brighest, as far as I can recall, is Sh2-157, the Lobster Claw, in Cassiopaea. All others are quite faint. But the easiest ones, after the Lobster Claw, are Sharpless 134 and 135 in Cepheus, Sh2-112 near Deneb and the Tulip Nebula in Cygnus. 

 

The Cave Nebula, Sh2-155 is as faint as the Horsehead nebula in my experience. This meaning they are rather faint but somehow easy to see in very dark skies.

 

Thanks for sharing this great list.

 

Hello Alan,

 

this is a great initiative of yours, to observe all Sharpless nebulae!

 

I am still working on the Sharpless the classic way at the eyepiece, no night vision monocular, but also hunting the Lynd's and DWB's not included in Sharpless.

 

Can't compete with you, as my count at the EP is just 124, and through the binos 89,

with one exception all of them from our suburban-to-country backyard.

 

Clear skies,

JG


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#8 jerryyyyy

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Posted 09 March 2021 - 02:50 AM

Hi, I just ran across this post and have been collecting the Sh2 Objects for several years now.  I am in an urban location and felt this would be a worthy HA project.  I have done a bit over 200:

 

https://www.astrobin...llections/1559/

 

I started with a Tak 180 ED that gave me a wide field but have been using a Stellarvue 130 that gets those smaller ones. 

 

I also started doing the Abell PNs, which is a much smaller list, and discovered I could get down to some of the lower ones if I did some gymnastics with my system. 

 

Anyway, wonder if people are still working away on their projects as this post is pretty old.... send me a question if there are any queries on those images. 

 

Here is my latest (#284):

 

RGB_HA_small.jpg


Edited by jerryyyyy, 09 March 2021 - 02:59 AM.

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#9 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 09 March 2021 - 01:47 PM

Hi, I just ran across this post and have been collecting the Sh2 Objects for several years now.  I am in an urban location and felt this would be a worthy HA project.  I have done a bit over 200:

 

https://www.astrobin...llections/1559/

 

I started with a Tak 180 ED that gave me a wide field but have been using a Stellarvue 130 that gets those smaller ones. 

 

I also started doing the Abell PNs, which is a much smaller list, and discovered I could get down to some of the lower ones if I did some gymnastics with my system. 

 

Anyway, wonder if people are still working away on their projects as this post is pretty old.... send me a question if there are any queries on those images. 

 

Here is my latest (#284):

 

attachicon.gifRGB_HA_small.jpg

 

Funny you mention that.

 

I have completed all but seven entries of the Sharpless catalog using my NV eyepiece. After playing around with using a cell phone with my NV eyepiece, I got the bug. Ordered the ASI2600 mono camera.

 

And imaging the Sharpless catalog is a project high on my list!



#10 ButterFly

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Posted 09 March 2021 - 07:22 PM

Rounding off the Sharpless catalog Wikipedia page would be a much appreciated gift to humanity.  The Abell Catalog of Planetary Nebulae can be all yours!



#11 Pcbessa

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 04:51 PM

Excellent, I am still doing the Sharpless with a simple conventional eyepiece with my 10". I saw about 30 to 40 and most in dark skies.

I wonder how cheap is a NV eyepiece these days...
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#12 GeezerGazer

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Posted 16 March 2021 - 02:51 AM

I have photographed just 46 of them with my phone, but mostly the brightest and easiest of the Sharpless catalogue... except for Sh2-27 because it was so big with such a low surface brightness.  Many of the fainter Sharpless require a pretty dark sky, even with NV and 3-3.5nm filter.  I think I'll use jerryyyy's astrobin images for confirmation!  Very nice work there.  


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#13 j.gardavsky

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Posted 18 March 2021 - 02:56 PM

As of March 7th, 2021

 

I have 113 Sharpless (besides the Messier-Sharpless), in the range Sh2-28  up to Sh2-311

and 102 genuine Lynds LBN - not included in Sharpless, NGC, IC, or other catalogs.

 

 

The other 150 emission and reflection nebulae, high galactic lattitude cirrus, galactic equator nebulae (G), and molecular clouds, are from the catalogs:

Ced, DG, DWB, G (clumps with just the galactic coordinates), Gaze-Shajn [GS55], IC, IFN, Kh (Khavtassi), MBM, MDW, Mel Bartels, MW, NGC, Simeis, UT, vdB

 

It goes slowly the classical visual way through the binoculars and refractor, still without NV,

 

JG



#14 chemisted

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Posted 18 March 2021 - 08:23 PM

Thanks for the summary! Can you tell us about a few of your favorite observations?

#15 j.gardavsky

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Posted 19 March 2021 - 09:32 AM

Thanks for the summary! Can you tell us about a few of your favorite observations?

Hello Chemisted,

 

should this question have been towards me, then I have started some documentary sketching in

https://www.cloudyni...sort_order=desc

 

Clear skies,

JG


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#16 catalogman

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Posted 20 March 2021 - 09:36 AM

 

<snip>

 

Last week, I observed my 303rd Sharpless object. Of the ten outstanding, one does not exist (sh2-214) 

 

<snip>

 

 

Sh 2-214 is listed as GN 04.18.0 in the AGN (size 240").

 

Maybe you meant Sh 2-14? Sharpless objects that the AGN lists as not found on the POSS are

14, 79, 96, 177, and 218.

 

-- catalogman


Edited by catalogman, 20 March 2021 - 01:07 PM.


#17 alanjgreen

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 01:52 AM

I have had a few “likes” recently on this post - thanks.

 

anyway, I notice that this post does not contain my FULL SHARPLESS OBJECTS location tables, so here is a link to my other post that has a (1) excel sheet embedded with ALL the objects and their Goto references etc and (2) a Sky Safari observing list of all the sh2 objects too...

 

https://www.cloudyni...observing-list/

 

hth,

Alan


Edited by alanjgreen, 08 April 2021 - 01:57 AM.

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#18 alanjgreen

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 01:54 AM

Sh 2-214 is listed as GN 04.18.0 in the AGN (size 240").

 

Maybe you meant Sh 2-14? Sharpless objects that the AGN lists as not found on the POSS are

14, 79, 96, 177, and 218.

 

-- catalogman

No, I mean sh2-214 as stated.

 

According to the book “the astrophotography sky atlas” sh-214 does not exist, I have looked for it at the location given in this book and I also found nothing, maybe the location of sh2-214 is somewhere else?


Edited by alanjgreen, 08 April 2021 - 01:54 AM.


#19 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 03:38 PM

No, I mean sh2-214 as stated.

 

According to the book “the astrophotography sky atlas” sh-214 does not exist, I have looked for it at the location given in this book and I also found nothing, maybe the location of sh2-214 is somewhere else?

 

 

I typed the coordinates for Sh 2-214 into SkySafari, turned the Milky Way layer to h-alpha, 100% and nothing suggests itself.

 

Maybe a search of photographic atlases?

 

My guess would be some type of positional error by Stewart Sharpless.



#20 catalogman

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 05:18 PM

In the updated Sharpless catalogue of (Blitz/Fich/Stark, 1982), Sh 2-14 (not Sh 2-214) is listed as "NOT FOUND".

 

(Marsalkova, 1974) guesses that Sh 2-14 is the object at RA = 17h 27.9m, Dec = -29d 57m (1950.0), but this is

the globular H-P 1.

 

OTOH, Sh 2-214 is illustrated in the AGN (Vol. I, p. 36) with the I.D. GN 04.18.0 = S 214 = Marsalkova 39 = LBN 735. It's real!

 

I think there's a typo in The Astrophotography Sky Atlas.

 

-- catalogman


Edited by catalogman, 09 April 2021 - 06:53 AM.


#21 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 12:19 AM

In the updated Sharpless catalogue of (Blitz/Fich/Stark, 1982), Sh 2-14 (not Sh 2-214) is listed as "NOT FOUND".

 

(Marsalkova, 1974) guesses that Sh 2-14 is the object at RA = 17h 27.9m, Dec = -29d 57m (1950.0), but this is

the globular H-P 1.

 

OTOH, Sh 2-214 is illustrated in the AGN (Vol. I, p. 36) with the I.D. GN 04.18.0 = S 214 = Marsalkova 39 = LBN 735. It's real!

 

I think there's a typo in the The Astrophotography Sky Atlas.

 

-- catalogman

 

LBN 735 does show up in Sky Safari (as does Sh 2-214).

 

How interesting! Sounds like a fun challenge for later this year.



#22 catalogman

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 11:54 AM

Then a challenge is what you'll get -- in the AGN, Sh 2-214 looks
more like a dwarf elliptical than a nebula.

 

For an even greater challenge, try 79, 96, 177, and 218. The AGN says
that they can't be found on the POSS yet they are real in the BFS,
so I guess most of their emission is in H-alpha rather than visible light.

 

-- catalogman




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