Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine observation

My wife loves me! She gave me as a present a clear night on Valentines day, and not only this, she let me observe!

The sky is indeed clear, although not very transparent. It’s difficult to see all the stars of the little dipper. I estimate it’s just nelm of 5.0. The weather is still quite cold, this night is going to be below zero again.

Date: Valentine 2009
Location: Boutersem (at home)
Equipment: Obsession 18”
Eyepieces: 24mm; 16mm, Powermate 2,5x
Nelm: close to 5.0
Seeing: moderate
Time 21:30Hr UT to 0Hr15 UT
Temperature: below zero

I was wondering if I was going to have the same kind of issues during start up like last time. This time not, the battery of the Argo Navis was fully charged, and the altitude cable was hanging loose. Quikc start this time.

The warm up exercises were M1, M42, M43 (nice, but less structure as last time), M78.

And now the real work with Herschel II. I expect this to be tougher due to somewhat worse conditions that usual. I intend to start with Draco:

NGC 4236 is a huge galaxy of 23’ which I have not been able to see.

NGC 4250 – galaxy in Draco
Observed at 124x, this is a round spot of 2’ with a moderate bright core. It’s located north of a triangle of 3 starts, of which one seems to be red.

NGC 4256 – galaxy in Draco
NGC 4256 is a nice edge-on galaxy, in the form of a needle. It’s 4’ long and less than 1’ wide. The core is bright (124x). The view is even nicer at 211x. The core seems to be a bit wider.

NGC 4133; 4291; 4319– galaxy in Draco
At 124x NGC 4133 is an oval of 2’ with a faint core. I can see it only with averted vision around 90% of the time. Located 20’ north of a bright star. More to the east is NGC 4291, which is an oval of 2’ in which 2 faint stars are visible. NGC 4319 was not visible at 124x, which confirms that conditions are not too good, as I have seen this object quite easily previously. However at 211x I can see it as an oval of 3’ without core.

NGC 5879 – galaxy in Draco
NGC 5879 is still quite low in the sky. I can see this galaxy with averted vision as an oval spot of 3’. Maybe a hint of a very faint core.

Looked for the 2 missing Herschell II objects in Puppis. NGC 2467 is still too low. NGC 2525 is high enough in the sky, but I cannot see it, nor at 124x, 211x or 316x. This must be a difficult one as no-one has seen this object in deslog.

NGC 1980 – nebula in Orion
Could not see the nebula around iota Ori. This bright start is a nice triple star (2 faint companions)

NGC 2639 – galaxy in Uma
NGC 2639 is at 124x an almost round spot of 2’ with a large bright core

NGC 2756 – galaxy in Uma

NGC 2756 is at 124x an almost round spot smaller 2’ without any core. It’s visible only 80% of the time.

NGC 2805; 2820; 2814 – galaxy in Uma
NGC 2805 is a very difficult target. I think I have seen it during at 124x a few moments but I’m not totally sure. I will have to redo this observation. To the NE is a very nice edge on galaxy of 6’ x 1” (NGC 2820). No core visible. At 211x NGC 2814 is visible as an elongated spot of 1’, close to a bright star.

NGC 2880 – galaxy in Uma

NGC 2880 is at 124x a bright galaxy. It’s an oval of 2’ with a bright core, which seems to be slightly off centre.

NGC 3073; 3079 – galaxy in Uma
NGC 3073 is located close to NGC 3079. This last one is very nice object which I had observed also in December 2008. It’s the famous galaxay which is bended towards the east. At 124x, this bending was visible during this night of not so good conditions. A little bit to the west is NGC 3073 which is a round spot of 1’, only visible at 211x.

NGC 3065; 3066 – galaxy in Uma
At 211x these 2 galaxies are in the same FOV. NGC 3065 is 2’ with a bright core. NGC 3066 is smaller, fainter and has no core.

NGC 3225 – galaxy in Uma
This is a difficult one at 124x. I have seen it only during a few short moments. At 211x it’s visible 80% of the time as an oval spot of 2’.

NGC 3319 – galaxy in Uma

Another difficult galaxy in Uma. I can see it during short moments as a large but very faint smudge of light of 3’ (124x)

NGC 3359 – galaxy in Uma
At 124x this is an easy object. It’s a large oval of 4’x2’ with maybe a faint core.

NGC 4271– galaxy in Uma
At 124x this is a round spot of 1x with stellar core.

NGC 4290– galaxy in Uma

At 124x this is an oval spot of 2’, without core. NGC 4284, 5’ west, is not visible, not even at 211x.

Up to here for the quite Herschell II list. I ended the night with some show pieces such as M81, M82, M46 and its planetary nebula, M35 (beautiful !!!), Eskimo, NGC 2172 (planetary in Gemini)

It was cold, conditions where not great, but at the end I was once more happy to have seen so many new objects.

HII: 195/400

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