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EAA Monthly Observing Challenge - October 2022

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#1 GaryShaw

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Posted 02 October 2022 - 02:10 PM

Welcome to the Fall Semester and to the CN October Observing Challenge … !

 

Frankly, some of the recent ‘Challenges’ have been a bit of hard work and I had been longing for some easier observing this month with some fun objects, especially ones that fall into my limited sky window and that don't keep me up too late.  Then Errol gave me some great news - he reminded me it was already ‘my month’ (again) to issue the Challenge... so now, I can make everything as easy as I had hoped it would be.

 

So, here we go, we have 6 lovely nebulae and 4 easy Galaxies to observe and learn from. Maybe a couple are a bit low and maybe a couple others might be easier later at night but, generally, they’re super manageable and, I hope, fun to go after…one is even a bit ‘different’ but don’t let that deter you.

 

Nebulae:
I think I learned last month that nebulae are the most fun when you use a FILTER. Most of us who take the easy way out, use a ‘dual band’ filter which haul in the hydrogen alpha and oxygen photons. The hard core folks (you know who you are) use straight Ha with narrow bandwidths around 4-7nm. Last month, I fell into a third category of folks who were too lazy to change their cameras from whatever tasks they had last been doing.

 

I think it would be interesting to see folks experiment a bit and post both color images with/without dual band filters and mono images with/without Ha filters – whatever combination is available and of interest to you. Whatever approach you take, could I encourage you to run your integrations much longer than you might normally do. I was amazed last month by how much detail I could tease out of some of the targets with a straight mono camera if I just gave it more time and some histogram fussing. Anyway, here's this month's target list:

 

N1  Eastern Veil Nebula (NGC 6995)  - makes bit of a transition from last month’s West Veil and a proper warm-up to this month’s Challenge

 

N2  Hubble’s Variable Nebula (NGC 2261) – would be fun to post several images showing the change in brightness over the month.

 

N3  Cave Nebula (SH2-155) – will reward the folks lucky enough to have Ha filters but 'dual-banders' will also do well.

 

N4  Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635) – my total favorite and its worth lots of time and fussing to reveal the full bubble 'circle'.

 

N5  Helix Nebula (NGC 7293) – here’s a case where time and patience will be rewarded – lots of detail, knots and globules to see.

 

N6  Pacman Nebula (NGC 281) – this will like your dual band filter and you’ll like all the dust, knots and globules it reveals – be patient, take time and tease it out.

 

Galaxies:

For most of us in suburban locations it’s a ‘toss-up’ whether we can get more brightness and detail by using a UHC (Ultra High Contrast) filter or just go bare – no filter at all. I’ve heard also that an AP-type luminance filter can work since it lets lots of starlight through but blocks some of the pesky, man-made photons. No matter what, depending on your target and your aperture, generous integration time, as with nebulae, will bring out details and a stronger sense of the galaxy's structure. Try going for less gain and more total time.

 

G1  Barred Spiral in Pegasis (NGC 7479) – at magnitude 10.9, this one is only going to reveal its sweeping outside arms and subtle, wispy short, interior ones with a fair amount of time, pretty-low gain and patient fussing with the black and mid level histogram sliders. Zoom in a lot to see the impact of subtle adjustments to these and the color sliders.

 

G2  Edge-on Galaxy in Pegasis (NGC 7814) – I’ve never observed this one but I bet that, for most of us, we start out getting just a fuzzy oval glow with a bright spot at the galactic core. So, our challenge is getting enough contrast between the glow of the overall oval so that we can bring out the dark central lane to highlight the core’s central ‘hot spot’. Sounds ok, might even be right.

 

G3  Pinwheel Galaxy in Triangulum (NGC 598) – rotate the filter wheel back to apply the dual band filter to M33 and you’ll be pulling in the reds and green-blues of star formation, a specialty of this galaxy. There are loads of both warm clouds of formation and cool clouds of mature stars, clumped together from our point of view. Give it time, have a coffee and let the details build up before making your final tweeks to the histogram and hitting ‘Save as…’.

 

G4  NGC 206 (OB 78) – this ‘star cloud’ is a long way gone - in the midst of the Andromeda Galaxy’s spiral arm structures. The final challenge this month is to capture an image of a few ‘individual stars’ within NGC 206 which is, in turn, within M31 – YOU CAN DO THIS ! ….but you probably need decent skies, a little help (see below) and a bit of aperture – not too much though, my 8” F4 was enough. I’ve attached an article, Resolving Andromeda - How to See Stars 2.5 Million Light-Years Away, by Bob King from S&T October 2016. Its a good read and will point out the way to find individual stars in NGC 206.

 

Hope you enjoy clear skies this October !

Gary

 

 

NGC206Article1.jpg

 

NGC206Article2.jpg

 

NGC206Article3.jpg

 

NGC206Article4.jpg

 

 


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#2 BrentKnight

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Posted 02 October 2022 - 02:30 PM

Weeeee....sounds like fun Gary!
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#3 Cey42

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Posted 02 October 2022 - 02:42 PM

Lots of favorites on the list, though I do find several of them challenging.

 

Here is the SkySafari observing list.

Attached File  CN Oct22.skylist   2.18KB   52 downloads

 


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#4 alphatripleplus

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Posted 02 October 2022 - 04:42 PM

Nice selection, Gary. Thanks.



#5 Mark Lovik

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Posted 02 October 2022 - 09:12 PM

I happened to do a couple of the October objects last night testing out a new EAA rig.  Then read this thread in the morning!

 

NGC 7479

27 minute view - EAA+

 

8" SCT  Night Owl Reducer  F4.23

ASI2600mc Pro   ROI mode, Gain450, 10s subs, 0C, darks, no flats

 

ngc7479 Sco Stack 164frames 1640s

Edited by Mark Lovik, 02 October 2022 - 09:25 PM.

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#6 Bob Campbell

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Posted 02 October 2022 - 10:43 PM

Great list, Gary

 

As luck would have it, I did the bubble, cave, and pacman nebulae just last night (10/1/22).

 

I'll get them all up here when I get a chance. In the meantime, here is the bubble:

 

Bubble Nebula 10/1/2022 Bortle 3 (Florence, AZ)

 

c6(f6.3)/asi294mc-pro(0C)/SW az-gti(eq)/zwo dual band filter.

 

10 sec sub, 350 gain, about 15 minutes total.  Flats and darks.

 

Sharpcap 4.0, save as seen, cropped.

 

The ZWO dual band does bring out the 3d effect, IMO.

 

Comments welcome!

 

Bob

 

bubble_10_01_2022.jpg


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#7 Xio1996

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Posted 03 October 2022 - 06:17 AM

Hi Gary,

 

Thank you for this month's great list of objects. 

 

Conditions were less than ideal in my neck of the woods. The clouds were rolling in and out and SharpCap's brightness filter was having a whale of a time stopping stacking as each new batch rolled across the field of view. It was still really enjoyable, and the session lasted from 23:00 to 03:00. A little tired this morning smile.gif

 

All observations are with a Celestron CPC-800, Altair Astro 294C (uncooled) and SharpCap. My flats went horribly wrong, so I was only using darks.

 

NGC 206 - Thank you for posting the S&T article on NG206, it was an interesting read. I loved the fine grains of blue against the dust clouds.

(120 frames x 15 seconds, gain 900, darks)

 

NGC206_Stack_120frames_1800s_WithDisplayStretch.jpg

 

SharpCap's Deep Sky Annotation was a great addition to the tool and the shot below highlights some of M31's Globular Clusters in the same view as NGC206.

 

NGC206_Stack_87frames_1305s_WithAnnotations.jpg

 

NGC 7814 - A lovely edge on spiral. The dust lane was very obvious and appeared to be pinched as it passed it through the bright core. The whole image is filled with faint 'puffs' of other galaxies. The brightest, IC5381 (540 Mly distant), being directly below the main target in the image. (122 frames x 15 seconds, gain 900, darks)

 

NGC7814_Stack_122frames_1830s_WithDisplayStretch.jpg

 

NGC 7479 - Thank you for this one Gary. A face on barred spiral, with those two main sweeping arms. When you zoom into the image you can see the knots of star formation in the bar and arms. No wonder Stellarium calls it the Propeller Galaxy! (122 frames x 15 seconds, gain 900, darks)

 

NGC7479_Stack_122frames_1830s_WithDisplayStretch.jpg

 

Once again, thank you for an interesting list. I will continue exploring the objects as the month unfolds and hopefully in better weather conditions.

 

Pete


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#8 Mark Lovik

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Posted 03 October 2022 - 10:56 PM

NGC 7814, Caldwell 43

Little Sombrero

 

12 minute EAA view

8" SCT @F4.8

ASI2600mc pro - 10 second subs, gain 450, dark, no flats, roi and clipped view

 

C43 S8o Stack 72frames 720s clipped
 
This looked good in the first 5 minutes with just a bit of noise.  IC 1581 is an intermediate spiral galaxy seen on the left side of the image. It looks much better if you click on the image
 
Edit - corrected F-ratio ... it was F4.23 with an original Night Owl reducer.  Previously I have used dual reducers for F3.7-F4.5 depending on back spacing.  I had also tried increased spacing with a single 6.3 reducer to get near F/5.  

Edited by Mark Lovik, 04 October 2022 - 09:03 AM.

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#9 Bob Campbell

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Posted 03 October 2022 - 11:53 PM

 

NGC 7814, Caldwell 43

Little Sombrero

 

12 minute EAA view

8" SCT @F4.8

ASI2600mc pro - 10 second subs, gain 450, dark, no flats, roi and clipped view

 

 
 
This looked good in the first 5 minutes with just a bit of noise.  IC 1581 is an intermediate spiral galaxy seen on the left side of the image. It looks much better if you click on the image

 

Hi Mark

 

How did you get f4.8?

 

thanks for any info

 

Bob


Edited by Bob Campbell, 03 October 2022 - 11:55 PM.

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#10 Mark Lovik

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Posted 04 October 2022 - 08:56 AM

Hi Mark

 

How did you get f4.8?

 

thanks for any info

 

Bob

See my edited post - it was F4.23.  This is the nominal F-ratio I get when a Night Owl reducer is placed all the way into a 2" visual back of my SCT and using the recommended back spacing.  This results in a pixel scale of 0.9" which is almost ideal for seeing in my area.  If you click on the image the correct value is used.  

 

4.8 is the nominal F-ratio of my 72mm scope with corrector -- must have had this on the brain when I posted last night ... sigh

 

My goal has been to get reasonable color views of galaxies in EAA timeframes.  This would be a great object with my AT72EDii and ASI178mm (monochrome) camera.  This is a fast combination: main difference is the faster speed of a mono camera, and I loose some effective EAA speed by increasing the resolution from a 1.4" pixel scale to a 0.9" pixel scale.  From previous testing last year, I would predict my little scope in mono is 20% faster than the current 8" view in color.  I may try to do this in a couple of weeks ... after the moon gets out of the way!


Edited by Mark Lovik, 04 October 2022 - 09:14 AM.

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#11 Mark Lovik

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Posted 04 October 2022 - 09:48 AM

M33 - 25 minutes using the same settings as the previous images

 

ngc598 M33  S8o Stack 150frames 1500s clipped
 
This was conservatively stretched to accentuate the active regions of the galaxy.  The outer nebulosity fades into the background, but the active blue and red (pink) regions are accentuated.  
 
M33 looked good within the first few minutes of viewing.  It was a nice night - so I kept viewing M33 by zooming into the galaxy and scanning across the different details resolved in the image.

Edited by Mark Lovik, 04 October 2022 - 10:00 AM.

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#12 Bob Campbell

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Posted 04 October 2022 - 10:04 AM

See my edited post - it was F4.23.  This is the nominal F-ratio I get when a Night Owl reducer is placed all the way into a 2" visual back of my SCT and using the recommended back spacing.  This results in a pixel scale of 0.9" which is almost ideal for seeing in my area.  If you click on the image the correct value is used.  

 

4.8 is the nominal F-ratio of my 72mm scope with corrector -- must have had this on the brain when I posted last night ... sigh

 

My goal has been to get reasonable color views of galaxies in EAA timeframes.  This would be a great object with my AT72EDii and ASI178mm (monochrome) camera.  This is a fast combination: main difference is the faster speed of a mono camera, and I loose some effective EAA speed by increasing the resolution from a 1.4" pixel scale to a 0.9" pixel scale.  From previous testing last year, I would predict my little scope in mono is 20% faster than the current 8" view in color.  I may try to do this in a couple of weeks ... after the moon gets out of the way!

Thanks Mark!

 

Bob



#13 PeterAB

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Posted 04 October 2022 - 11:17 AM

I was looking at the October challenge nebulae last night.    The sky was clear.   The moon shine reduced transparency to just under magnitude 4 naked eye.   Seeing good.

 

I am still experimenting with my TSFLAT2 field flattener from Teleskop Service.    I am getting good results with the working spacing set to 90mm.    The recommended spacing for my F 711mm scope is 111mm.    Results were poor at 111mm.

 

Astro Tech 102EDL, asi294mc, CG-5 ASGT, L-extreme filter, TSflat2 flattener.   SharpCap live stacked.  Gain 330.

 

All North up, east left.    1.5 x 1 degree view.

 

East Veil Nebula, NGC6992, NGC6995, C33.  780 seconds (26x30s)

1 East veil nebula Stack 26frames 780s
 
Cave Nebula, SH 2-155, C9. 1350 seconds (45x30s) 
C9 SH 2 155 Stack 45frames 1350s
 
Bubble Nebula, NGC7635, c11.  With open cluster m52 northwest corner.  570 seconds (19x30s)
C11 NGC7635 Stack 19frames 570s
 
Pacman Nebula, NGC281 1080seconds (36x30s)
NGC281 Stack 36frames 1080s

 

 

Peter

 

 


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#14 mjritchie

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 01:00 AM

Really short timeframes for these, around 10 min and less. C5@F7, 5 sec exposures stacked, gain 500 uranus-c osc
 
NGC7814:
NGC7814 113frames 592s WithDisplayStretch
NGC7479:
NGC7479 94frames 493s WithDisplayStretch

 


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#15 Bob Campbell

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 01:29 AM

I think this is the first helix nebula posted for this month's challenge.

 

10/04/2022 21:30-22:08 MST approx

 

Scottsdale AZ bortle 8 (I'm back from the bortle 3 I was at for a week or so) 85F

 

c6(f6.3)/asi294mc-pro(0C)/zwo dual band filter/sw az-gti(eq)/sharpcap 4.0

 

10sec subs gain 370, 2979 sec total. (setting file attached)

 

flats and darks

 

Can detect the thin outer blowoff, as well as the interior structure. Color is dominated by the H-alpha, as expected for this filter.

 

Save as seen, rotated in standard "eye" orientation, and mildly cropped.

 

 

Comments welcome!

 

Bob

 

Stack_275frames_2979s_WithDisplayStretchcomp.jpg

Attached File  Stack_275frames_2979s.CameraSettings.txt   1.14KB   10 downloads


Edited by Bob Campbell, 05 October 2022 - 01:32 AM.

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#16 Larry Mc

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 09:06 AM

Good Challenge object!

Here's my EAA observation of the super starcluster NGC206.

First, a wider field observation of M31, showing the location of NGC205. Then a cropped closeup of the starcluster.

 

Taken on 9/18/2022 at Cherry Springs State Park in PA during the BFSP.

(8" SCT optical tube @ f6.3 on an Atlas Gem, ZWO ASI294MC Pro camera with L-Pro broadband filter, 180 second subs, PHD guided, livestacked for 30 minutes using Sharpcap with dark & flat calibration frames pre-applied, and histogram tweaked on the fly).

Attached Thumbnails

  • M31-09182022.jpg
  • M31-NGC206-09182022.jpg

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#17 Larry Mc

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 09:09 AM

Then the Pinwheel Galaxy in Triangulum - M33:

 

Taken on 9/18/2022 at Cherry Springs State Park in PA during the BFSP.

(8" SCT optical tube @ f6.3 on an Atlas Gem, ZWO ASI294MC Pro camera with L-Pro broadband filter, 180 second subs, PHD guided, livestacked for 15 minutes using Sharpcap with dark & flat calibration frames pre-applied, and histogram tweaked on the fly).

Attached Thumbnails

  • M33-09182022.jpg

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#18 GaryShaw

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 09:15 AM

Nice work Bob and  Peter - you got pretty much the full circle of the Bubble. Both of you used dual band filters, the 294 mc and similar gain. We don’t know the F ratio of Pete’s AT 102 so I’m betting the very slight image differences probably relate just to histogram settings. 
 

Any chance you two have mono cameras to use for another go at the bubble?

Gary


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#19 Larry Mc

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 09:15 AM

Finally, here's my EAA observation of the Helix Nebula - NGC7293 in Aquarius.

The fine nebula detail and colors visible was outstanding in the inner oval. I could even see portions of the outer oval! It was an awesome EAA observation!

 

Taken on 9/20/2022 at Cherry Springs State Park in PA during the BFSP.

(8" SCT optical tube @ f6.3 on an Atlas Gem, ZWO ASI294MC Pro camera with L-eNhance narrowband filter, 10 minute subs, PHD guided, livestacked for 1 hour using Sharpcap with dark & flat calibration frames pre-applied, and histogram tweaked on the fly).

Attached Thumbnails

  • NGC7293-09202022.jpg

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#20 GaryShaw

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 09:29 AM

A brief note on Star Cloud 206 just to point out that there are just a few likely individual stars that lie within M31 visible in ‘206’. So, If you want to be sure you’ve captured a star within NGC 206, I encourage you to be sure to read the attached article by Bob King and use his images and descriptions to confirm you’ve captured an individual star. 



#21 BrentKnight

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 10:41 AM

Good Challenge object!

Here's my EAA observation of the super starcluster NGC206.

First, a wider field observation of M31, showing the location of NGC205. Then a cropped closeup of the starcluster.

 

Taken on 9/18/2022 at Cherry Springs State Park in PA during the BFSP.

(8" SCT optical tube @ f6.3 on an Atlas Gem, ZWO ASI294MC Pro camera with L-Pro broadband filter, 180 second subs, PHD guided, livestacked for 30 minutes using Sharpcap with dark & flat calibration frames pre-applied, and histogram tweaked on the fly).

Great capture Larry.  Have you done a comparison between no filter (or just the UV/IR) and the L-Pro?



#22 Larry Mc

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 02:28 PM

Thanks Brent!

I did a rough filter comparison a few years ago on M20.

(Though I was mainly interested in how parfocal the filters are). You can find a pdf link to the test on my Pretty Pictures webpage: http://stellar-journ...gallerytour.htm

Along with a lot of other EAA observations by object type.


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#23 BrentKnight

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Posted 07 October 2022 - 12:27 AM

I just got the Askar FMA180 and even with an almost full moon, I felt I had to try it out on something.

 

NGC281 40 frames 1200s (H alpha) WithDisplayStretch

 

NGC281 - The Pacman Nebula

Askar FMA180 @ f/4.5 + ASI294MM-Pro, Bin 1, 0° C | 30", 20', G400 | 4.66 x 3.41 deg, 5.31 arcsec/pixel | Optolong H-alpha filter | Live capture in SharpCap with Hot Pixel Removal and no flats

 

Moon still caused issues even with the filter in place.  I definitely need to use darks with this combination.

EDIT: I've never really noticed the curving extension or the dark area to the left of this one before.  It looks more like the Mushroom Nebula like this...

 

Sh 2 155 41 frames 2460s (H alpha) WithDisplayStretch

 

Sh 2-155 - The Cave Nebula, Caldwell 9

Askar FMA180 @ f/4.5 + ASI294MM-Pro, Bin 1, 0° C | 60", 40', G350 | 5.72 x 3.98 deg, 5.31 arcsec/pixel | Optolong H-alpha filter | Live capture in SharpCap with Hot Pixel Removal and no flats

 

The last time this one was in a challenge, it was pretty challenging.  It still is.  I will be capturing this one again when conditions are better.


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#24 alphatripleplus

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Posted 07 October 2022 - 07:22 AM

Brent, were you using the 7nm or the 3nm Optolong H-alpha filter?



#25 BrentKnight

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Posted 07 October 2022 - 07:30 AM

It was the 7nm one.


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