Sunday, March 1, 2009

Observing comet Lulin and Herschel II objects.

The last day of February. It’s not a marvelous sky, but it’s good enough to get out and look for Comet Lulin and do some observations.

Dat: Feb 28, 2009
Location: Boutersem
Equipment: Obsession 18”
Eyepieces: 24mm; 16mm, Powermate 2,5x
Nelm: close to 5.0
Seeing: moderate
Time 20:30Hr UT to 23Hr15 UT
Temperature: do-able – must be around 5°C

I started with Comet Lulin. I’ve seen many nice pictures on the mailing lists, so it’s about time to view it myself. Its located close to Regulus. At 84x times I can see a core, with a bright nucleus, surrounded by a large halo. The halo is quite larger at 124x (forgot to quantify). I taught I have glimpsed the tail, but when comparing my drawing with someone else’s, the direction does not match.

The sky is still not very good, but I decided to go for the Herschel II objects in Hydra.

NGC 2765 – galaxy in Hydra
Difficult too see, probably due to bad conditions. I can see it only 20% of the time at 124x. It’s a spot of 1’ without core.

NGC 2889 – galaxy in Hydra
NGC 2889 was only visible at 211x as a round spot, larger than 1’. Visible 20% of time.

NGC 2855 – galaxy in Hydra
Also this one was only visible at 211x but it’s an easier one than NGC 2889 as I could see it almost continuously (90%). The shape is almost round and contains no core. It’s a bit bigger than 1’. It’s located south of a bright star, which seems to be a double star with faint companion. According my atlas this is indeed a double star (HD 80801) with a 14.7 companion at 8.97” of the primary.

NGC 2781 – galaxy in Hydra
Continuously visible with averted vision, NGC 2781 is at 124x an oval of 1’ with a faint core.

NGC 2610 – planetary in Hydra
Could only find NGC 2710 it at 211x. It’s very well visible as a stellar object. I can even see this one with direct vision. I don’t see it like a disc, although according deepskylog this planetary is mag 13.0 and is 38” large. Did I see only the central star? I will have to redo this observation. Once located, I could see it (central star?) at 124x with direct vision during 80% of the time.

NGC 2986 – galaxy in Hydra
This is a very difficult galaxy. At 211x I could see a few times “there was something there”, but that’s all!

The other galaxies in Hydra are still too low, so I tried once more to look after NGC 2525, the galaxy in Puppis. Once more, I could not see it.

I decided to go for some galaxies in Ursa Major, of course all of them being Herschel II objects.

NGC 4605 – galaxy in Ursa Major
This is a very nice object. At 124x the size is 5’x2’. It is a bit larger in the middle. The edges are fainter, especially the SE one. AT 211x the SE edge seems to be sharper than the other one. Also, some structure is visible in the middle of the galaxy.

NGC 5204– galaxy in Ursa Major
This is an easy object to see at 124x. The galaxy is 3’x2’ and looks a little bit brighter in the middle.

NGC 5308– galaxy in Ursa Major

At 124x this is an elongated spot of 2’ with a very bright core. It’s becoming bigger at 211x, up to 3’ which is due to its faint edges.

NGC 5430 – galaxy in Ursa Major

NGC 5430 is visible at 84x as a small spot. At 124x this is an oval of 2’ with a faint core.

NGC 5443 – galaxy in Ursa Major

NGC 5433 is located in a trapezium of 4 bright stars. At 124x it is visible during 80% of time as an oval of 22. It has a faint core.

NGC 5448– galaxy in Ursa Major
At 124x this is visible as an oval of 3’x1’. It contains no core.

NGC 5480 & 5481 – galaxy in Ursa Major

The last object of the evening is a nice pair of galaxies, NGC 5480 and NGC 5481. Both are visible at 124x as 2 spots, a little bit elongated but without clear direction in the elongation. Both galaxies have no core. The view is better at 211x. Now both elongation directions are clearly defined. NGC 5481 is brighter and has a large core. NGC 5480 is smaller with a faint core.

I ended the evening with a last view on Comet Lulin. I have seen now 208 Herschel II objects, more than half of them!

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