Saturday, February 16, 2008

Observation February 10, 2008

It’s again a nice sky this evening. I wanted to look back to the supernova in NGC 524. Yesterday evening I was looking at the wrong place. So this time I printed out a picture of NGC 524 together with its surrounding stars and the supernova. I could first not see it but after a while, when my eyes were well adapted to the dark, I found it at 156x. It was visible for around 20% of the time; this to say that it was not that easy. It's the first supernova I see !!

After this nice achievement I decided to do some planetary nebulas.

Location: Boutersem (Belgium)
Equipment: Celestron Advanced Newton 20cm F5
Eyepieces: 24mm and 16mm - Powermate 2,5x
Limit Magnitude 5.0 to 5.3
Seeing: moderate
Time from 19:00 UT to 21:00 UT

IC 3568 – baby Eskimo – planetary nebula of mag 10.4 in Camelopardalis
At 64x I can see a small disc. The object forms a triangle with 2 other stars which are fainter than the nebula. It reacts very well on a OIII filter. Ay 154x the disc becomes very obvious. I can see a bright core surrounded by a dimmer edge. No more details with a OIII filter.

PK 147+4.1 - planetary nebula of 10” of mag 13.8 in Camelopardalis
Not visible at 64x nor at 154x. But with an UHC filter it becomes visible after a while (154x), so the nebula reacts with a slow response time to a filter. I can see now and then a small disc. Afterward I could see the nebula also without filter.

PK 147-2.1 - planetary nebula of 7” of mag 13.4 in Perseus
Not visible at 64x nor at 154x without filter. At 154x with UHC I can see a stellar object with averted vision. It’s visible 80% of the time.

PK 131-5.1 - planetary of mag 14.8 in Perseus: not visible at any magnification

PK 198-6.1 - planetary of mag 12.2 in Orion: not visible

PK 197-14.1 - planetary of 57” of mag 13.9 in Orion
At 104x with UHC it’s visible 50% of the time as a very faint disc.

NGC 2022 - planetary of 32” of mag 11.5 in Orion
I can see a disc but the ring (so the dark centre) is not visible (154x)

Flame nebula
This was like yesterday well visible at 64x with UHC filter.

This was 2 hours well spend. Happy to have seen 4 new planetary nebulas (I had observed NGC 2022 already once in 2005)

Clear skies

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Deepsky observation on Feb 9, 2008 with Jan Vanautgaerden

According to the weather forecast, Feb 9, 2008 was the warmest day ever on a Feb 9 in Belgium. It was indeed a very nice day with temperatures around 16,5°C.

The night was clear too, although a lot colder. I have been observing together with Jan Vanautgaerden, a very active deepsky observer from Belgium. Jan brought his 15” Obsession with him (lucky me). We have been observing in the fields of Boutersem, on a place where we are not bothered by streetlight and where on top the sky is completely free towards the south.

Transparency was very good, probably close to mag 5.5. I have been observing with my 20cm Newton but did not take notes this time. So all this is based on memory …

All observations are with the 20cm except otherwise noted.

NGC 524 – galaxy of mag 10.3 in Pisces
We started by observing NGC 524 where a supernova has been detected. We used the 20cm scope, not the Obsession because it was not yet installed. Unfortunately, I thought the supernova was in the centre of the galaxy. Apart from the core nothing was visible there. The truth is that the supernova is lying more NE from the visible edge. Need to repeat this for next time. The galaxy itself is not that easy at 64x. 154x is the optimal magnification. Now the galaxy is an easy target, oval and the core is visible. BTW, NGC 524 is a Herschel I (one) object.

I tried to do some Herschel II objects in Eridanus, but nothing was visible.

NGC 2366 – galaxy of mag 10.5 in Camelopardalis
This is also a Herschel II object. A few weeks ago I was not able to see it from my garden, but this time I got it. Not at 64x but at 104x. It’s a long smudge SE of a faint star.

I have to admit that Herschel II list is not getting me really motivated for the moment. It’s really too much at the edge of what I can see with my scope. It’s nice for a while, but not for every night. So what I’ll probably do is to continue Herschel II one in a while between some other observations. So I decided to continue with some other stuff.

Perseus A cluster – NGC 1275 – galaxy in Perseus
NGC 1275 is easily visible at 104x. Also NGC 1278 was visible. I could not detect NGC 1272.

NGC 2359 – Thor’s Helmet – Canis Major
This one I have observed with my own scope and with the 15” Obsession. Thor’s Helmet is a favourite object of Jan. It’s a real nice object which is not really known, maybe because M42 is in the close neighbourhood. With my scope I could almost see a complete circle, together with a part going from east to west. This was of course much more obvious in the 15” scope, where the complete disc became visible. Observation was done with an OIII filter.

NGC 2362 - open cluster in Canis Major
This is a very nice cluster lying around the bright star Tau Cma. Lot’s of fainter stars visible.

We tried to look to Sirius B with the Obsession. Sirius B is around 8” separated from Sirius A. It was not visible. We did not try that hard, though.

Another double star is Rigel, also at 8”. This was separated at 154x with the 20cm scope. Forgot to note the colours.

Orion Nebula M42 and the Trapezium
A beautiful object in the Obsession. We could see with this scope the 6 stars in the trapezium. But also with the 20cm scope we managed to see the 6 stars at 156x. I had seen already 5 stars with my scope but never 6 stars. Mission accomplished today!

NGC 1999 – emission nebula in Orion
Special object. Impressive with the Obsession. A bright circular part, a darker centre, and again a brighter part. With the 20cm scope we could see the 2 bright parts at 154x.

NGC 2024 – Flame nebula in Orion
Observed with the Obsession. Quite strange because it was better visible without filter than with filter. The opposite was true for the 20cm scope. Where the two parts were visible with an UHC filter

NGC 2237 - Rosette Nebula in Monoceros
Again, beautiful with the Obsession. Almost the whole ring was visible with an OIII filter. But also without the aid of any filter, the object was visible. Here also I could see it easily with filter with my scope. Several parts of the ring became apparent. I’ve never seen it so well with my scope. Truly a very good observing session.

NGC 2264 - Xmas Tree in Monoceros
I never succeeded to see the nebula with my scope, but Jan has already seen this one in La Palma. So he knows well where to look, ie at the base and East of it. The issue with the base is the presence of glare, so we were never sure if we have seen some nebula there. We think we have seen some nebula at the east side but I don’t think both of us would put our hand in the fire for it.

Now we went to the other side of the sky, direction Ursa Major

M81 – M82 – galaxies in Ursa Major
M81 and M82 are impressive in the Obsession. We tried to look for the spiral arms of M81 but without success. M82 was also not bad at all in the 20cm. The dark lane was easy.

M92 – planetary in Ursa Major
One eye visible with the 20cm (without filter). It’s very nice in the Obsession where more structure is visible. Probably 2 eyes visible.

We aimed also the 15” to the trio of galaxies in Leo (M66, M65, NGC 3628). Amazing! We ended the night around 1am with observations of M51 (the spiral arms were visible in the 15”), the Whale (with the 20cm) and the Hockeystick, which was very difficult to find with the 20cm. The very last object was M64 where we could see the dark lane with the 20cm.

So although I took a break concerning the Herschel II list I had a very nice observing session together with Jan. It’s very nice when you can observe with a “buddy” and talk about what you see. And comparing views with 2 very different scopes is fun too.

Clear skies to all of you.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Observation February 2, 2008

It has been a while, but finally it’s a good night to observe. During the last week there were a couple of good nights, but I have been so busy at my work that in the evening I was not really in a good shape (and mental mood) to observe. Age is getting its effect on me.

But today (Saturday) we continue the Herschel II program. The counter is at 93 so hopefully we’ll reach 100 after this session.

Location: Boutersem (Belgium)
Equipment: Celestron Advanced Newton 20cm F5
Eyepieces: 24mm and 16mm - Powermate 2,5x
Limit Magnitude: 4.9
Seeing: moderate
Time: from 18:30 UT to 22:30 UT

Comet 46P/Wirtanen
But before observing the deepsky objects, let’s start first with a comet. Today comet 46P/Wirtanen goes through its perihelium. At 42x I can see an almost round smudge of 7’. A slightly brighter core is visible. The visibility enhances at 64x. The object reacts very well to a deepsky filter. Now the core is easily to see.

NGC 1663 – open cluster in Orion
This is a difficult object. It’s by the way not correctly located in my planetarium software. I had to search on the DSS image to indicate the correct location on my finder chart. At 154x I can see with averted vision some 5 to 10 starts in an area of 10’. It’s a loose cluster situated north of a little arc of 3 bright stars.

NGC 7762 – open cluster in Cepheus
At 64x I see 10 stars of moderate brightness in an area of 15’. It’s a very loose cluster. At 154x a small concentration of 5 stars (5’) is visible in the centre of the cluster.

NGC 7419 – open cluster in Cepheus
At 154x 4 stars are visible with averted vision at the east side of a triangle of 3 stars, of which one is quite bright. That one is slightly orange.

NGC 1184 – galaxy of 12.4 in Cepheus
At 104x it’s once in a while visible with averted vision. It’s an elongated smudge of 2’ in the direction NW-SE. No core. The galaxy becomes better visible at 154x.

NGC 1175 – galaxy of 12.8 in Cepheus
A very difficult object. A few times visible at 154x. Located between 2 stars but they don’t form a straight line.

NGC 1193 – open cluster of 12.6 in Perseus
not found

NGC 1207 – galaxy 12.7 in Perseus
I have seen a little smudge on the right place but only 1 time. I could not repeat the observation so I cannot consider this as a certain observation

NGC 1605 – open cluster of 10.7 in Perseus
Nothing to see at the location of this cluster.

NGC 890 – galaxy of mag 11.30 in Triangulum
At 154x this is a elongated smudge of 2’ – almost continuously visible. No core visible. Located east of a triangle of 3 faint stars.

NGC 925 – galaxy of 9.9 in Traingulum
This is a large galaxy of 11’x6’. I’m not sure if I have seen it.

NGC 1060 – galaxy of mag 12.0 in Triangulum
Visible now and then with 64x. Somewhat better visible at 104x. A smudge of 2’ without a core.

NGC 2367 – open cluster in Canis Major
This is an open cluster of 10’. At 64x I can see 2 bright stars and a few faint ones. No more stars visible at 154x

NGC 2374 – open cluster in Canis Major
This open cluster is 20’ large. At 64x there is a mix of quite some moderate bright stars and faint stars. I guess I can see something like 40 stars. It’s a moderately concentrated cluster. SW of the clusters there is an area of 5’ with a higher concentration of stars.

NGC 2359 – Thor’s Helmet- emission nebula in Canis Major
At 64x without filter it’s not visible. It becomes apparent with a deepsky filter. It’s a nebula of an irregular shape of 10’ in which a few stars are visible. The shape is hard to define. Optimum magnification is 104x (again with deepsky filter). The nebula seems to consist out of 2 parts, of which the northern part is the most bright one. I did not use an OIII filter because I thaught this was a diffuse nebula.

I stopped around 22:30 UT. I have been able to see 9 Herschell II objects which means 103 out of the 400 have been seen. Not bad.

Clear skies to all of you