Sunday, May 25, 2008

Observations May 2008

It has been a while I have been posting some observations, but it does not mean I have been inactive. On the contrary, I have been observing a few times during May with my Obsession 18".
Here thhey are. Let's start with Friday May 2, 2008

Location: Boutersem
Equipment: Obsession18”
Eyepieces: 24mm; 16mm, Powermate 2,5x
Nelm: less than 5.0
Seeing: moderate

I decided first to increase a bit the pointing accuracy of the telescope. Argo Navis has a feature to do so with “Alt ref”. It means that you fine tune the angle at which the scope is aiming at Zenith. After a few alignments I seems that this angle is 89°71.

I started to look for M3 and M51 which is of course beautiful.

Hickson 44 – galaxies in Leo
At 127x (this is the 16mm eyepiece) I can see NGC 3193 with direct vision. It contains a stellar core, is almost round and I estimate it to be 2’ long. NGC 3190 is an elongated galaxy with a core – it’s 4’ long. I could not see the 2 other galaxies.

M100 – galaxie in Coma.
Did not really take notes of M100, but at 127x I could see NGC 4311 which is located near a double star. No core visible in the galaxy. NGC 4379 is a round smudge of 3’ and like the other I can’t see any core.

Next day I could also get the socpe out to observe . So here is what I saw on Saturday May 3, 2008

Location: Boutersem
Equipment: Obsession18”
Eyepieces: 24mm; 16mm, Powermate 2,5x
Nelm: better than 5.0
Seeing: moderate

M106 – galaxie in Ursa Major
This galaxy contains many HII regions which I wanted to look for. NGC 5471 is the brightest one and is located at the east side of M106. It is clearly visible at 84x as a round smudge. With an UHC filter NGC 5471 becomes very bright and is visible with direct vision. NGC 5477 is not visible at 84x.NGC 5461 and 5462, also at the east side of M106, is now and then visible with averted vision (84x with UHC). They seems larger than NGC 5471 but are much fainter. At the other side of the galaxy a few other HII regions becomes visible at 127x and with the use of an UHC filter. NGC 5450 and 5047 is visible as a long smudge. I can see it almost continuously with averted vision. NGC 5455, located at the south of M106 is a small smudge of light, not continuously visible.

Hickson 44 – galaxies in Leo
Yesterday I could see only 2 objects of Hickson 44, today I can add a 3rd one which is NGC 3185. At 211x NGC it’s a faint large oval smudge with a stellar core. Averted vision is required to see the galaxy. NGC 3193 is almost round and contains a large bright core. NGC 3190 is an elongated nebula with a core. It’s in same FOV as 3193. The 4th galaxy was not visible.

Hickson 61 – galaxies in Coma
The 2nd Hickson group of the evening; At 84x I can see easily NGC 4169 as an oval of 2’. NGC 4174 is visible now and then, with it’s 1’ it’s smaller than the previous one.
At 127x I can see continuously both galaxies and in addition NGC 4175 becomes visible as an elongated patch of light. The elongatin direction is NW-SE.
NGC4 173, the other elongated galaxy of Hickson 61 is not visible.

Coma Cluster (NGC 4874)
This is an area with a huge number of galaxies. At 127x is can see: NGC 4889: almost round – 2’ with a stellar core. NGC 4898 – round object less than 1’ large, no core. NGC 4874: round, fainter than 4889 – 1’ and again no core. At 211x a few other galaxies becomes visible: NGC 4869 – round – visible once in a while. NGC 4864 – round and also visible once in a while. NGC 4860 and 4865: these are 2 difficult objects – serious averted vision is required to see them – they are both round and around 0,5’ small. NGC 4886 is probably seen too.

NGC 4147 – globular in Coma
At 211x I can see some stars at the edges of the globular. The core is granular.

M97 – owl nebula in Ursa Major
At 316x and OIII filter I can see one eye, maybe the 2nd one. It’s a large disc with a brighter area at the east side.

M108 – galaxie in Ursa Major
Located near the owl. The dust lane is visible.

M57 – planetary in Lyra
Marvelous – the centre is filled with faint haze. Central star is not visible.

M13 –globular in Hercules
What can I say – this is breath taking.

Other globulars were M92 and M56. M92 is also a fabulous object in the 183.

This ends a very nice observation session.

2 days later it was once more clear. Monday May 5, 2008:

Location: Boutersem
Equipment: Obsession18”
Eyepieces: 24mm; 16mm, Powermate 2,5x
Nelm: 5,3
Seeing: moderate

Neighborhood of M99 – galaxy in Coma
NGC 4262, located north of M99 is an easy object at 84x. At 211x it is round with a very bright core.
M99 itself is a large object. It has a halo of 4’ which contains a core of an irregular shape. The core is around 2’ large. The halo seems circular and of equal brightness. I suspect a spiral arm at the west side.
IC 781 suspected at 84x but for sure seen at 211x. A smudge of 2’
NGC 4298, located east of M99 is a large oval at 84x. It’s 3’ and no core is visible. It’s located west of a faint star.
NGC 4302 is visible now and then. It’s an elongated object similar to a “cigar”. Maybe 2 times larger as NGC 4298.
At 211x NGC 4298 seems to have a core. A bright patch is visible in the galaxy. NGC 4302 remains equal in brightness.

Neighborhood of M100 – galaxy in Coma
At 211x M100 has a large core of 2’ and is irregular of shape. The core is surrounded by a halo of 6’ where 2 hints of spiral arms are visible.
NGC 4328; east of M100 is not continuously visible. It’s too faint to defite its shape.
NGC 4322 was not visible.

NGC 4567 – Siamese Twins in Virgo
Beautifull! I still remember this when I saw it in the Provence with my 20cm. Now the view is totally different and better. I see easily 2 large ovals coming together in a V-shape. Both have a core. The eastern galaxy (NGC 4568) is the largest one.
In the same fov I can see NGC 4564 as an almost round nebula with a large halo and a bright core.
West of the twins is NGC 4528 which is, at 82x an almost round smudge of light of 1’ with a core. It’s located next to a straight line of 4 stars. A bright orange stars is also visible. At 211x a star superimposed on the core becomes visible.
IC 3499 is not visible at 82x but rather at 211x. It’s an oval of 1, has no core and it needs averted vision to see it now and then.

M64 – blackeye galaxy in Coma
The dust line is visible with direct vision and is clearly not straight line.

M104 – Sombrero galaxy in Virgo
The dust line is clearly visible as a dark straight area, but the nebula south of this line is not visible. Maybe because the galaxy is already quite low in the sky.

And again, the next day it was clear. Unbelievable for Belgian standards.
Tuesday May 6, 2008

Location: Boutersem
Equipment: Obsession18”
Eyepieces: 24mm; 16mm, Powermate 2,5x
Nelm: 5,0
Seeing: moderate

NGC 2903 –galaxy of m9.0 in Leo
Large nebula of 8’ with a big bright core. The halo at the NE side is brighter and longer (211x)

NGC 2916 –galaxy of m12.1 in Leo
Is located close to NGC 2903. With averted vision this is almost a round object of 1’. No core. Located north of a faint star

Copeland Septet –galaxies in Leo
Copeland Septet is not visible at 84x. At 211 I can see 2 galaxies. NGC 3753 is almost continuously visible. It’s a round smudge without core. Perhaps NGC 3756 is visible; The other one, NGC 3746 is visible 50% of the time.

NGC 3758 –galaxy of m? in Leo
Located south of Copelands Septet. At 211x this is a round smudge of 1’ without any core. It’s located between 2 moderately bright stars.

NGC 3808 –galaxy of m? in Leo
This galaxy is located 50’ NE of Copelands septet. A round smudge, with averted vision visible for 50% of the time. No core.

PGC 83477 – galaxy of m in Leo
This galaxy is located 10’ South of Copelands Septet. At 211x this galaxy is almost continuously visible with averted vision.

You would think this is enough. No, 2 days later again a clear night. Thursday May 8, 2008

Location: Boutersem
Equipment: Obsession18”
Eyepieces: 24mm; 16mm, Powermate 2,5x
Nelm: 5,0
Seeing: moderate

Since now I’m equipped with a very dark cloth to protect myself from streetlights. It’s working very well if can avoid dew on the eyepiece

Copeland Septet – galaxies in Leo
With the dark cloth I’m trying once more Copeland Septet. This time I can see 6 galaxies (316x), whereas I could see only 4 the previous time. NGC 3753 is easy. NGC 3750 and 3754 are not continuously visible. NGC 3746 is now and then visible but rather obvious. NGC 3748 and 3751 are very difficult objects. It’s visible for maybe 10% of the time, but I’m certain to have seen it.

Abell 1367 – galaxies in Leo
This is a group in Leo containing many galaxies. At 84x I can see 4 galaxies.
- NGC 3861 is almost round, 2’ and contains no core.
- NGC 3842 located close to a bright star – round – easy – 2’ large. The core is visible at 211x.
- NGC 3837 is also easy to see. It’s 1’ and again no core. A core is visible at 211x.
- NGC 3860 is not always continuously visible. It’s round and is 2’ long. I could not see NGC 3860A, even at 211x.
At 211x more galaxies become visible:
- NGC 3845 is visible with averted vision – no core.
- UGC 6697 is also visible, without any core.
- NGC 3840 is very difficult – looks like a round object.
- NGC 3844 is now and then visible as a elongated smudge but without any core. The elongation is NE-SW.
- PGC 36589 is a round object smaller than 1’. No core and not continuously visible.

M97 – owl nebula – Uma
At 211x and without filter only 1 eyes is visible. The central star is however visible at this magnification. With an UHC filter the 2nd eye becomes visible. The 2nd eye is a difficult observation in mag 5.0 skies. Anyway, the view is really great, some parts of the nebula is brighter than the rest.

OK time for a break now.

Friday May 23, 2008

Location: Boutersem
Equipment: Obsession18”
Eyepieces: 24mm; 16mm, Powermate 2,5x
Nelm: 4.7
Seeing: moderate

Today it’s not perfectly clear but it has been a while I observed. I'm motivated enough to take everything out in the garden.

NGC 3079 – galaxie of m10.9 in Uma
Nice galaxy of 5’ long. 2 faint stars are located next to the galaxy. Another star at the northern tip. The centre looks a bit more larger. Searched for NGC 3073 (m 13.4) but could not see it.

Arp 313: NGC 3995 (m12.4) – 3994 (m12.7) – 3991 (m13.1) – galaxies in Uma
This is a nice trio (arp 313) of galaxies in Uma. At 84x I can see only NGC 3995 and NGC 3994. NGC 3991 becomes visible at 211x. NGC 3995 is the largest one (2’). It is oval and has no core. It’s continuously visible with averted vision. NGC 3994 is smaller but brighter than 3995. It’s round and has a bright core. I can see it continuously with direct vision. NGC 3991 is almost round and has no core. It’s a large as NGC 3394 but I can see it only 80% of the time. Those galaxies are located east of a bright start which is slightly orange.

NGC 4013 – galaxy of m11.2 in Uma
It’s a nice galaxie which is more than 4’ long. It seems to have a bright core but in reality it’s a foreground star. The dustlane was not visible.

Closed the observation session with M57; M13, M56.

I'm getting more and more used to the Obsession. Hopefully the next clear night is not long from now.

Clear Skies


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Observation March 30, 2008

This is my first observation report with my Obsession 18”. It will contain a list of observed objects with minimal explanations, as I’m still learning to use the scope and have not yet the patience to write everything down.

Location: Boutersem (Belgium)
Equipment: Obsession 18”
Eyepieces: 24mm and 16mm - Powermate 2,5x
Limit Magnitude 5.0
Seeing: moderate
Time from 21:00 UT to 24:00 UT

M51 – galaxy in Canes Venatici
The 2 spiral arms are well visible at 127x (16mm). I can see 3 stars superimposed on the galaxy. This is a very nice DSO

M101 – galaxy in Ursa Major
At 127x I can see several (at least 3) HII regions. Not sure if I have seen the spiral arms (as such). I need to learn to look for details and shapes, something I’m not used too. With my 8” scope the aim was to find faint objects – it was rarely the case that lot’s of details were visible. I have to acquire a new skill!

NGC 4631 (The Whale) and NGC 4656 (the Hockeystick) – galaxies in Canes Venatici
Magnificent. At 127x the whale takes more than half of the FOV of 38’. The shape is clearly recognisable. Also baby whale (NGC 4627) is clear visible as a “large” objects.
Same comment concerning the shape for the Hockeystick. I can clearly see the shape like on photographs. The brightness is not equal across the object. There is a brighter zone at the NW side.

M3 – globular in Canes Venatici
Again, a show piece. At 211x (24mm + 2,5 Barlow). Stars are well resolved, also in the core.

M64 – Blackeye – galaxy in Coma
At 127x the dark lane is clearly visible, even with direct vision.

M53 and NGC 5053 – globulars in Coma
M53 is a very nice object. Again plenty of stars visible at 211x. NGC 5053 is a difficult object. I have seen this one with my 8” in the Provence. Here with my 18” I can hardly see it.

NGC 4565 – edge on galaxy in Coma
Again a showpiece. At 127x the dust lane is visible. Again not easy for me, as this is the kind of things I need to learn to look for. But I can see it already better than 1 week ago.

Markarian Chain – galaxies in Coma
I really like this chain of galaxies. Today’s objective is just to find as many galaxies as possible, without really noting downs the details I could see. So here is the list that was visible at 127x: NGC 4305, 4306, m84, m86, 4402, 4387, IC3303, 1388, 4413, 4425, 4438, 4435, 4461, 4458, 4473, 4479, 4477, 4506. So 18 galaxies! There are probably more visible at higher power, but that’s something for next time.

NGC 4874 – Coma Galaxy cluster
At 127x I could see 4874, 4869, 4889 and 4898. Wanted to see more of them, but the Argo Navis had an issue, and tracking was disable. So I stopped observing at 00:00.

This was my 5th observation session. It’s really a good scope. Also the GOTO is working well as long as the 2 alignment stars are in the neighbourhood of the objects you’d like to see. But as aligning is a very quick process (much quicker than on my previous scope) it’s really not an isse.