Saturday, January 31, 2009

First session in 2009 - one of the most productive

January 30, 2009

This is the 1st observation session of 2009. Jan and I went to observe a couple of hours in Roosbeek, where we enjoyed a very clear sky, probably close to nelm of 5.5. I had some troubles to start with such as a weak battery for the Argo Navis. It did power up but had an erratic behavior. Luckily Jan has some spare batteries I could use. The next issue was related to the azimuth encoder. It did not provide any signal to the AN, which was due to the cable. Not well connected in the AN due to too much stress on the cable. But once those issues were solved I could start a very productive session, with an observation of 49 deepsky object (including showpieces), 3 comets and Saturn. A lot of observed objects resulted with a quite poor description. You cannot get them all …

Location: Boutersem (Charly)
Equipment: Obsession 18”
Eyepieces: 24mm; 16mm, Powermate 2,5x
Nelm: close to 5,5
Seeing: moderate
Time 23:00Hr UT to 2Hr00 UT
Temperature: -2°C

First some showpieces, then we’ll go ahead with Herschel II

M42 – M43 – orion nebula
I’ve never seen M43 that well. The nebula is split in 2 by a dark lane. The southern part, in which a bright star is located, has some structure, the most obvious part being east from the star. (124x)

NGC 1977 and NGC 1973 – running man nebula
Easy to see. NGC 1973 is a nice round nebula around a bright star. Same for NGC 1977, which is bigger. Did not look for NGC 1975.

M46 and NGC 2438 – open cluster with planetary nebula in Puppis
At 124x the ring shape of the planetary is easily noticeable. A faint star is visible close to the centre.

Eskimo Nebula

M35 and NGC 2158

NGC 2158 is resolved at 124x.

I find this object usually dull, but tonight it’s different. It’s well visible and the shape is irregular. An uneven surface brightness inside the nebula can be glimpsed. A few stars are visible at the northern edge. No filaments were visible. On a night like today I should redo this object and spend more time on it.

NGC 3156 – galaxy in Sextans

The only Herschel II object in Sextans is a galaxy of mag 12.1 located a few minutes NW from a bright star. It’s not an easy one aat 124x as I can glimpse it only 80% of the time. It’s an oval of 2’ without core. 30’ north east are 2 nice galaxies: NGC 3169 is with its 2’ almost round and has a bright core. NGC 3166 is larger (3’) and is an oval with a very bright core. NGC 3165, mag 13.9, was not visible, not even at 211x. This is not totally surprising as the contrast reserve is -0.22.

NGC 3158 – galaxy in Leo Minor

Leo Minor contains 4 Herschel II objects of which one I have already seen. Tonight we go for the other 3 ones. NGC 3158 is an easy target at 124x. It’s an almost round smudge of 2’ without core. To the south there are 2 other small galaxies of which NGC 3163 is easy to see. It’s a round spot without core. The 2nd one is NGC 3159 and is very difficult at 124x. It looks quite stellar. 211x gives a more comfortable view. Now NGC 3159 is visible as a round spot with a core. The core of NGC 3163 becomes also visible at 211x. South from NGC 3158 is NGC 3160, which was only visible at 211x, but remains difficult. It’s a very thin galaxy, like a needle, of 2’ long located between 2 bright stars. Unfortunately I did not look for the other galaxies in the neighborhood because they were not printed on my finder charts (too low power).

NGC 3254 – galaxy in Leo Minor
This is a “stand alone” galaxy in Leo Minor. Observed at 124x it’s a large oval spot of 3’ with a small, moderately bright core. 2 bright stars located at its east.
NGC 3424 – galaxy in Leo Minor
NGC 3424 is an elongated galaxy with a faint star on its east ends (124x). AT 211x the galaxy becomes longer and is extending further than the little star. So in reality, this star is located on NE edge on the galaxy, somewhere in the middle between the centre and the end. 5 minutes NE is NGC 3430, which is a large spot of 4’ without core (124x). On the opposite side of NGC 3424 is NGC 3413, which I could see only at 211x. It’s an elongated spot of 1’ without core. Finally there is a nice pair of galaxies on the west side of 3424, NGC 3395 and NGC 3396, or Arp 270. These are 2 oval spots quite uniform in brightness, both with a stellar core. NGC 3395 is somewhat larger than its twin brother. Both galaxies are forming an angle of 100°.

NGC 2269 – open cluster in Monoceros.
NGC 2269 was the only Herschel II object missing in Monoceros. It’s a open cluster of 5’. It’s composed of an NE stroke of 5’ long, containing 10 bright and moderately bright stars. NE are a few more stars (5).

NGC 2283 – galaxy in Canis Major
It’s 2nd time I’m hunting this one, but again, I cannot see it. It must be indeed a difficult one, because there are no logs in dslog. I guess this will be something for in the Provence.

Now follows a long list of galaxies in Uma

NGC 3516 – galaxy in Uma
NGC 3516 is at 124x a small but bright nebula of 1.5’ with a bright core. It’s located between 2 bright stars.

NGC 3583 – galaxy in Uma
NGC 3583 is a large bright nebula of 3’ with a faint core. NW is NGC 3577 which I can see at 211x. It’s a small round spot of 1’. Difficult object.

NGC 3622 – galaxy in Uma

At 124x, NGC 3622 is an elongated nebula of 1,5’. A very bright star, 20’ south, is interfering with the observation.

NGC 3642 – galaxy in Uma
This is a large bright nebula of 2’ with an obvious core. 35’ SW is NGC 3610, a galaxy of 2’ with a prominent core (124x). I saw this one with my 20cm in 2007.

NGC 3652 – galaxy in Uma
At 124x this is an easy one. It’s a 2’ elongated nebula (4:1) without core.

NGC 3669 – galaxy in Uma
(124x) NGC 3669 is a nice elongated nebula (5:1) of 2’ long. No core. To the west there are 3 other galaxies. NGC 3625 is an elongated spot of 1’. It’s a difficult target. NGC 3619 is a round spot of 2’ with bright core. Finally, NGC 3613, a bit towards the north, is very bright oval galaxy with an extremely bright core. It looks similar to M31. I have a little anecdote here: realizing this was similar as M31, an observation I did with my 20cm popped up in my mind. During this nights observation I remember I saw once an object also very similar to M31, so I was wondering if this would be the same galaxy. And yes, my note in http://www.deepskylog.log/ from 21/02/2007 is indeed confirming this. It’s funny that even after observing 1000th of different objects and having seen most of them only once, there are some of them stored for ever in my memory.

NGC 3668 – galaxy in Uma
An easy to observe oval of 2’ with a faint but large core (124x)

NGC 3683 – galaxy in Uma
(124x) An easy elongated spot of 2’ with a faint core. I did not look for the galaxies in the neighborhood.

NGC 3756 – galaxy in Uma
(124x) NGC 3756 is a large but blurred oval of 4’. It’s in same FOV as NGC 3738, smaller and brighter as NGC 3756 but still large with its 3’ length. It looks like it has a bright small core a bit off centre. Further north is NGC 3733 which was only visible at 211x. Although it is 3’, it is so faint that I cannot determine the shape. It’s close to a disturbing bright star. I can see it only 10% of the time.

NGC 4013 – galaxy in Uma

(124x) NGC 4013 is an elongated galaxy of 3’ with something that looks like a star on the NE end. I’m not sure what it is because there is no star printed on my finder chart. This is a strange observation because this is not corresponding to other observations. Or I’m getting tired and I’ve seen only half of the galaxy (the star being in fact the bright core), or I’m looking to a wrong object (which I don’t believe).

NGC 4047 – galaxy in Uma

(124x) Small round spot of 1’ with a faint core.

NGC 4062 – galaxy in Uma
(124x) WOW! A very nice, large galaxy of 5’ with thick central area and 2 tapered ends. These 3 area’s are all equal in size. Uniform brightness.

NGC 4096 – galaxy in Uma
(124x) This is again a nice elongated galaxy of 5’ with two tapered ends. Interestingly, the core is not located centrally but more to the north. The SE side of the core is thicker than the other side. It’s really not a symmetrical galaxy. The core contains a stellar nucleus.

NGC 4100 – galaxy in Uma
(124x) NGC 4100 is also an elongated galaxy of 5’ (4:1). A nice object which I had already seen with my 20cm.

NGC 4144 – galaxy in Uma
(124x) An elongated galaxy of 5’. The southern edge (which is maybe the core) is brighter and uniform in brightness. An interesting object.

NGC 4157 – galaxy in Uma
(124x) Once again, a spectacular edge on galaxy. This one is 6’ large and has an elongation ration of 5:1. Brightness is not uniform. Core looks slightly positioned more towards the east.

This concludes the quest of Herschel 4 objects. Like always I like to end with showpieces.

M82 (and M81): unbelievable what I can see. A prominent dark line a lots of structure and bright knots.

M51: The 2 spiral arms are clearly visible with some bright knots in each of them.

NGC 4565: edge-on in Coma – dark lane is visible

Hickson 44 (in Leo). The 4 galaxies are visible. NGC 3193 and NGC 3190 are easy. I see NGC 3185 only from the moment when Jan tells me where to look. And NGC 3187 is a faint but doable object.

We ended the night with an observation of Saturn. The rings is almost edge on which is a spectacular view. At 500x the ring in front of the planet is visible as a fine line. At least 3 moons are visible.

During the night I saw also 3 comets through the scope of Jan.

1 comment:

NiteSkyGirl said...

One of the readers of my blog sent me your page and WOW you got so much observing in that was fantastic and fun to read and picture my experiences through my telescope. I'm hooked now. On my site i have the latest news on the comets under ' tonight's sky'

wow love your writing of your observations, really enjoyed reading it.