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.

1 comment:

Jan Vanautgaerden said...

Hey Olivier,

I have to admit that I liked observing with you too and it is really very cool to be able to share your thoughts while observing together... we should do this more regularly!

In addition, we also observed Hickson 44 (all 4 galaxies easily visible in the 15"), NGC 4565 and NGC 3242. I'll put my observations on www.deepskylog.be soon...

Cheers,

Jan