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Is This a Dark Sky Challenge Nebula?

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#1 chemisted

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 06:24 AM

Last night I had a bit of fun.  I went out with my Micro with the Fujinon 50mm f/1.4 and 2" 7nm Optolong filter attached to enjoy Barnard's Loop, the Angel Fish and others.  As I was cruising from the California to Heart & Soul I detected a faint but unmistakable mist.  I was intrigued so I switched out the optics for my Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 with the Baader 6.5nm High Speed filter on board.  Sure enough the view was better and this nebula is large, at least 2 degrees in extent, but still quite faint.  There was no moon but clouds rolled in not much later so I don't know if thin clouds were affecting the scene or not.  I don't think so as all the standard nebulae were just as brilliant as ever.

 

This new discovery for me is Sh2-205 which straddles the Perseus/Camelopardalis border.  I am wondering if others have seen it and, if so, under what sky conditions.  As I said, it was faint but clear cut for me under pretty good conditions as I have no human-caused lighting interfering with my nocturnal outings.


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#2 bobhen

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 08:13 AM

I’ve tried just a couple of times using telescopes but so far I have not been successful. I think I kind of forgot about it.

 

I’ll have to put this back on my list and wait until conditions are optimum and use my 50mm handheld guide scope.

 

I live in Bortle 8-9 but can see the brighter sections of Barnard’s Loop with the 50mm and a 6nm Ha filter, so this could be a maybe.

 

Bob


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#3 chemisted

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 09:37 AM

Thanks, Bob.  These really big but very faint nebulae fascinate me.

 

Ed



#4 Mort H

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 06:00 PM

Huge nebula have indeed been a new, surprising and enjoyable discovery for me with NV.  Haven't seen Sh 2-205, but will have to put it on my radar screen and try for it!



#5 careysub

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 01:56 PM

Last few nights I have experimented with some wide field telescopes on and off mounts instead of camera lenses, with extenders and focal reducers.The instruments used were the venerable and popular Orion ST80 80mm F/5 refractor with the ScopeStuff dual speed focuser, the 60mm Antares Versafinder

F/3.78 (bought from ScopeStuff), and my repurposed broken Orion 9x50 correct image finder. In all the viewing I used the Antilia 3.5nm Halpha filter.

 

To start off with, I showed M42 to my wife, who is not into astronomy, using the ST80 and x2 PowerMate. It filled the view (1.4 degrees) while still framing it, and she was very impressed. Just for giggles I then swapped in my 27mm Panopic with a Thousand Oaks OIII filter to see what an unintensified view would look like, and I could barely see any nebulosity in comparison. IC 434 was very prominent, the Horse Head easily seen; the Rosette Nebula very distinct and rose like with easily seen features.

 

I then tried using my Antares x0.7 and x0.5 focal reducers with the ST80. There was not enough travel with the ScopeStuff two speed Crayford focuser I had on it to bring the x0.7 to focus, but there was with the x0.5. I wanted to look at the various Auriga nebulae which were directly overhead, and thus not accessible with my Portamount (people talk of "Dobson's hole" but few mounts work well pointing straight up). So I took the ST80 off the mount and used it spyglass style, lying down, lockiing the focuser, and it worked very well. This combo weighs 1650 g, about 50% heavier than my heaviest eyepiece or largest binocular, but with two hands, and lying back it was quite handy.

 

The California Nebula was spectacular in both the ST80 w/reducer and the Versafinder (similar FOVs, 5.4 and 4.8), perhaps the most striking of all of the nebulas I viewed those nights with these instruments.

 

But all of these nebulas were quite prominent and showed detail:

M42/M43 (no surprise)
IC 434
Flame Nebula
Running Man Nebula (Sh2-279)
Rosette Nebula

Seagull Nebula (Sh2-292, Gum 1) [lower in the sky where it is brighter and more important has brightness variations, so this is notable]

California Nebula

Flaming Star Nebula (and associated nebulosities)
Pacman Nebula
Heart Nebula
Soul Nebula
Sh2-171 and Ceb 214 in Cassiopeia

I had the Orion 50mm viewfinder on a Celestron C8 that toppled several years ago and the viewfinder hit the ground and snapped off the right angle eyepiece (but the C8 was fine). I saved the pieces thinking I would do something with them, and now I have. The 50mm plastic cap which had the right angle part broken off leaving a hole, which I enlarged with a Dremel to take a 1.25" tube. The Mod3 came to focus with the 1.25"-to-C adapter barely inserted in the hole, and adding a 0.75" spacer made it attach nicely. It is light and handy, and I will take it on trips with the Mod3 now.

It worked very well, and I could see all of the above in a wider field.

But what was most striking to me with all three instruments was how prominent both Barnard's Loop and the Eridanus Loop were. Though you cannot see the whole thing of either with any of these, you could see the band of the loop, with detail, and could trace the whole thing across 10 degrees of sky. Being able to actually see (rather than just detect) the Eridanus Loop was amazing.

The sky conditions may have been unusually good on the best two nights, pretty clear (but some cirrus in places), and we have been having Santa Ana winds, but apparently very transparent skies. This is supported by a third night when the nebulas did not seem quite so prominent.

 

The configurations successfully used were

ST80, FL 400mm, F/5 FOV 2.7 deg

ST80, Powermate x2, FL 800mm, F/10 FOV 1.4 deg

ST80, Powermate x4, FL 1600mm, F/20 FOV 0.7 deg

ST80, x0.5 reducer, FL 200mm, F/2.5, FOV 5.4 deg 

Versafinder 60mm, FL 227mm, F/3.78, FOV 4.8 deg
Orion 50mm finder body, FL 180mm, F/3.6, FOV 6.0 deg


Edited by careysub, 28 January 2022 - 09:56 PM.

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#6 bobhen

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Posted 29 January 2022 - 07:11 AM

 

 

But all of these nebulas were quite prominent and showed detail:

M42/M43 (no surprise)
IC 434
Flame Nebula
Running Man Nebula (Sh2-279)
Rosette Nebula

Seagull Nebula (Sh2-292, Gum 1) [lower in the sky where it is brighter and more important has brightness variations, so this is notable]

California Nebula

Flaming Star Nebula (and associated nebulosities)
Pacman Nebula
Heart Nebula
Soul Nebula
Sh2-171 and Ceb 214 in Cassiopeia

I had the Orion 50mm viewfinder on a Celestron C8 that toppled several years ago and the viewfinder hit the ground and snapped off the right angle eyepiece (but the C8 was fine). I saved the pieces thinking I would do something with them, and now I have. The 50mm plastic cap which had the right angle part broken off leaving a hole, which I enlarged with a Dremel to take a 1.25" tube. The Mod3 came to focus with the 1.25"-to-C adapter barely inserted in the hole, and adding a 0.75" spacer made it attach nicely. It is light and handy, and I will take it on trips with the Mod3 now.
 

The configurations successfully used were

ST80, FL 400mm, F/5 FOV 2.7 deg

ST80, Powermate x2, FL 800mm, F/10 FOV 1.4 deg

ST80, Powermate x4, FL 1600mm, F/20 FOV 0.7 deg

ST80, x0.5 reducer, FL 200mm, F/2.5, FOV 5.4 deg 

Versafinder 60mm, FL 227mm, F/3.78, FOV 4.8 deg
Orion 50mm finder body, FL 180mm, F/3.6, FOV 6.0 deg

Careysab –

 

Here are my notes from January 27. I was using an Orion 50mm Guide Scope, which I believe is most likely the same optic as yours. I used a 6nm Astronomik Ha filter. I live in Bortle 8-9 light pollution conditions so if I can see these anyone can. Temperatures were in the teens! So this was a short session but still productive. 

 

Bortle 8-9 light pollution, neighbor's lights all over the place and temperatures in the teens – gotta love NV. 

 

DEEP SKY: visual with the 50mm guide scope, 6nm Ha filter & the Micro

M42 & 43: Bight with extended nebulosity
1977: Surprisingly easy to see nebulosity surrounding these bright stars
Horsehead Nebula: Glimpses of the notch
Flame Nebula: Together with the Horsehead
Monkey Head Nebula: Easy and somewhat bright
IC 405: Flaming Star Nebula: Very large nebula
IC 410: Very large near the above nebula
Heart & Soul Nebulas: A BEST VIEW of these 2 Sprawling Nebulas
California Nebula: BEST VIEW the nebula spread beyond the field of view
281: Easy with its obvious notch
Lower’s Nebula: Dim but a pretty good size
Jelly Fish Nebula: Dim but spotted
Barnard’s Loop: the brighter sections were actually somewhat easy

Rosette Nebula: Large and Rose-like

 

Bob


Edited by bobhen, 29 January 2022 - 07:12 AM.

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#7 careysub

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Posted 30 January 2022 - 08:23 AM

Went out last night to repeat the observations and it was like that third night, with the nebulae not as prominent and detailed.

 

Clearly (and not surprisingly) transparency makes a difference. I will start a log of observations, and the ClearDarkSky nightly transparency forecast for my location to track this.



#8 Gavster

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Posted 30 January 2022 - 09:59 AM

Went out last night to repeat the observations and it was like that third night, with the nebulae not as prominent and detailed.

 

Clearly (and not surprisingly) transparency makes a difference. I will start a log of observations, and the ClearDarkSky nightly transparency forecast for my location to track this.

How bright did you find the Eridanus Loop compared to Barnard’s? In my experience it’s quite a lot fainter and much harder to pick up.



#9 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 30 January 2022 - 12:14 PM

Last night I had a bit of fun.  I went out with my Micro with the Fujinon 50mm f/1.4 and 2" 7nm Optolong filter attached to enjoy Barnard's Loop, the Angel Fish and others.  As I was cruising from the California to Heart & Soul I detected a faint but unmistakable mist.  I was intrigued so I switched out the optics for my Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 with the Baader 6.5nm High Speed filter on board.  Sure enough the view was better and this nebula is large, at least 2 degrees in extent, but still quite faint.  There was no moon but clouds rolled in not much later so I don't know if thin clouds were affecting the scene or not.  I don't think so as all the standard nebulae were just as brilliant as ever.

 

This new discovery for me is Sh2-205 which straddles the Perseus/Camelopardalis border.  I am wondering if others have seen it and, if so, under what sky conditions.  As I said, it was faint but clear cut for me under pretty good conditions as I have no human-caused lighting interfering with my nocturnal outings.

 

Good catch! I picked this one up a couple of years ago but have not been back since. From my observing log:

 

Nov 5, 2019, Z16, Home: Provisional score. This nebula is far too large for the 16 inch scope. Using spiral search I was able to trace around it it is fairly bright and easy to see. Come back with the epsilon or perhaps even the telephoto lens for this one.

 

A good strategy to find this is to use SkySafari’s Milky Way Hydrogen Alpha layer. Adjust opacity to taste, I like 50%. This will suggest areas to hunt, and not all of them will have catalog designations. That is how I tracked down the Eridanus loop (which I later learned had a Sharpless designation):

 

Oct 5, 2019, TMB 130SS, Home: The Western Barnard’s Loop! Almost put this on the Eye Candy List, not for Looks but for Novelty. A much fainter (and larger) version of Orion’s Barnard Loop. Faint but I can pick it up as far north as Nu Tau. The brightest section is just west of star HR 1257. From that point it can be traced south all the way to Eridanus and the star Rana where is spreads and branches.


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#10 careysub

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Posted 30 January 2022 - 12:39 PM

How bright did you find the Eridanus Loop compared to Barnard’s? In my experience it’s quite a lot fainter and much harder to pick up.

It is not as bright and is a bit narrower (though similar in width) and previously I was pleased to be able to detect it, which is a bit lower bar than visualizing it.

 

I found detection to be surprisingly easy. If you can see Barnard's Loop at all, then with a FOV a few degrees wide when you sweep across the Eridanus Loop you can see the band is there as it crosses the FOV. Sweeping back and forth at different locations long the loop can easily confirm that you are indeed detecting it. This is greatly helped by several convenient factors about its shape and placement. It is straight, it runs north-south exactly, and it is anchored at the top by magnitude 3.65 Gamma Tauri, and has mag 3.9 Nu Tauri embedded in it, and it almost exactly follows the 4 hour RA line between +10 and 0 declination.

 

The high transparency nights I observed were notable in that I could visualize structure rather than just seeing a band of distinct brightness, but this was not the usual case.


Edited by careysub, 30 January 2022 - 03:03 PM.


#11 Gavster

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Posted 30 January 2022 - 03:55 PM

It is not as bright and is a bit narrower (though similar in width) and previously I was pleased to be able to detect it, which is a bit lower bar than visualizing it.

 

I found detection to be surprisingly easy. If you can see Barnard's Loop at all, then with a FOV a few degrees wide when you sweep across the Eridanus Loop you can see the band is there as it crosses the FOV. Sweeping back and forth at different locations long the loop can easily confirm that you are indeed detecting it. This is greatly helped by several convenient factors about its shape and placement. It is straight, it runs north-south exactly, and it is anchored at the top by magnitude 3.65 Gamma Tauri, and has mag 3.9 Nu Tauri embedded in it, and it almost exactly follows the 4 hour RA line between +10 and 0 declination.

 

The high transparency nights I observed were notable in that I could visualize structure rather than just seeing a band of distinct brightness, but this was not the usual case.

Thanks. Here are two phone shots I took on the same night of Barnard’s Loop and Eridanus. Not the best conditions but Barnard’s Loop was impressive whereas Eridanus was more in the “ok, I’ve seen it”.

Attached Thumbnails

  • DBA5C00F-6A22-48D0-B7F3-9D8C63F9E5C1.jpeg
  • DBE7D8EB-4643-4EF1-A07E-9F501C1D042D.jpeg

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#12 careysub

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Posted 03 February 2022 - 01:30 AM

I have repeated my observations on multiple nights, checking the ClearDarkSky transparency (and seeing) ratings each night, and noting the weather conditions; and I have also been doing reading on atmospheric transparency and nebular viewing.

 

Indeed the nights when the nebulas are exceptional are the nights with the top transparency rating. These are also the nights with bone dry air because of the Santa Ana winds.

 

Transparency is correlated with water vapor in the atmosphere - the more water, the less transparent. The hygrometer/thermometer on my desk has the humiidity right now at... nothing right now and the nebulas are bright outside (at first I thought if was saying the humidity was 11%, but in fact it was displaying LL - for "below lowest limit").

 

It appears that with the Santa Ana winds blow, and the air is desiccated it is extremely transparent and the nebulas are glorious. It is also cold and windy and not that pleasant to observe in.

 

Oh, and the seeing is dreadful - the worst seeing rating on the CDS scale. Again those winds, massive turbulence and twinkle city. But it does not matter for nebulas

 

I hope the warm Santa Anas do this also.


Edited by careysub, 03 February 2022 - 11:23 AM.


#13 ButterFly

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Posted 03 February 2022 - 03:05 PM


Transparency is correlated with water vapor in the atmosphere - the more water, the less transparent. The hygrometer/thermometer on my desk has the humiidity right now at... nothing right now and the nebulas are bright outside (at first I thought if was saying the humidity was 11%, but in fact it was displaying LL - for "below lowest limit").

 

It appears that with the Santa Ana winds blow, and the air is desiccated it is extremely transparent and the nebulas are glorious. It is also cold and windy and not that pleasant to observe in.

Get to know the GOES maps animations provided by NWS.  Pacific Southwest seems most appropriate for you.  There are PDF guides that are very helpful when you scroll down in the animation view.  I find GeoColor, AirMass RGB, and Nighttime  Microphysics the easiest to correlate to observing conditions.  There are also direct water vapor maps, but the combo maps cover bases well.


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