Sunday, January 30, 2011

Again supernova SN 2011B

Estimated magnitude: 12.6 (FWIW ...)

Jan 29, 2011 - around 22:00 UT
Sky conditions not very good, limiting magnitude below 5.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I want to see Supernova SN 2011B in Cameleopardalis – 28 Jan 2011

It’s cold tonight, but I haven’t been observing a lot lately, so here we go, together with Jan, observing in Boutersem. The sqm shows 20,03 at the start of the session, gradually improving to 20,12 at the end of the night.

I have a twofold objective for this night, first it’s to catch the supernova in Cameleopardalis, and then the last 2 Herschel II galaxies in Eridanus.

Location: Boutersem
Equipment: Obsession 18”
Eyepieces: 31mm Nagler, 13mm, 7mm and 5mm Nagler (all from Jan)
Nelm: above 5,0
Seeing: good

SN 2011B in NGC 2655 – galaxy in Cameleopardalis
An easy one. Immediately visible at 123x, even with direct vision, just outside the halo of NGC 2655. NGC 2655 has a bright core and a quite large halo. At 211x the galaxy shows also a stellar core. The supernova is still located just outside the halo. According to what I read on fora the magnitude is 12.5.

This is my 3rd supernova. Here is a summary of the ones I have seen:

•SN 2008Q NGC 524 Psc Feb 2008 observed with 8" Newton
•SN 2009dd NGC4088 Uma Apr 2009 observed with 18" Obsession
•SN 2011B NGC 2655 Cam Jan 2011 observed with 18" Obsession

The first objective is accomplished. But not the 2nd one ! The objects (NGC 1187 and NGC 1325) were already to low at the horizon, I’m too late !!! Culmination is at 7pm, and it’s now close to 10 pm. Bad planning … But there is hope, tomorrow the weather forecast looks good so I’ll try it again.

NGC 2359 - Thor’s Helmet – nebula in CMa
I’m always surprised how faint this object is. You need to take your time to see all kind of details. The first horn is easy to see. Jan saw the 2nd horn first and after some attempts I could see it too.

NGC 1999 – emission and reflection nebula in Ori
This is an overlooked object for obvious reasons (close to Orion nebula). Nevertheless it’s a nice object. It looks like a planetary nebula with a central star but It’s not. The very nice aspect of this nebula is the a black area, like a bite in a cookie, very similar to a partial sun eclipse.

Rosette nebula in Monoceros
Beautiful. The FOV of 31mm Nagler is almost completely filled by nebulosity, except the centre which is darker. The nebula is visible over the entire 360° with some area’s brighter than others.

NGC 2261 - Hubble Variable Nebula in Monoceros
Again an impressive site. The typical shape of this nebula is clearly visible. The brightest part is around the star, and then it fades slightly. Next time I’ll spend more time to look for more details.

M42 – Orion Nebula
Great, for the first time I could see a greenish color at the nebula just south of the trapezium (without using a filter). Observed at 155x (7mm Nagler).

NGC 2683 , galaxy in Lynx.
This is an fairly large galaxy in Lynx. Probably 8’ long. The surface is mottled. And a short dark lane at East side is pretty well suspected.

We have also seen
M46 and the planetary nebula, which reacts very well with an UHC filter.
Eskimo nebula,
NGC 2371/72,
M82 (Wow!!), M81 (but we could not see the spiral arms).

We ended a bit before midnight, more due to the cold than anything else. The sad thing about this place is that light pollution is getting worse, especially at the east side which is Tienen. This was not like that 2 years ago. I suspect it's primarily coming from the chemical industry there. Something to study more in detail and evaluate if actions can be taken. To be continued!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Slowly but surely I’m getting out of my observation burn out. I’m starting to read again about astronomy, spending time of forums. I’m even going to give a presentation to Urania: “Ik heb het Messier certifiicaat, wat nu?” And after so many grey days and night we have finally a clear sky – let’s go for it!

Location: Boutersem
Equipment: Obsession 18”
Eyepieces: 24mm; 16mm, Powermate 2,5x
Nelm: above 5,0 but certainly not 5,5
Seeing: good

The idea of the evening is to finish the Hershel II objects in Eridanus. But first some easy things to start with:

M36, M37, M38
M1 – at 211x quite some stars to see close to the edges.
NGC 40: central star, bright edges, star close one of the edges. One of my favorites.
The messiers in Orion: M42, M43, M78

Following objects are from Herschel II catalogue.

NGC 1187 – galaxy in Eridanus
Could not see it !! Also not after 2nd attempt!

NGC 1325 – galaxy in Eridanus
Could not see it !! Also not after 2nd attempt!

I already know I will not meet my objective.

NGC 1332 – galaxy in Eridanus
124x - elongated galaxy of 2' with a bright large core. Not an easy object due to low position.

NGC 1353 – galaxy in Eridanus
124x - elongated galaxy of 2' x 1' -difficult to seen, I can's see it continuously. A star visible south of the elongation direction.

NGC 1400 and NGC 1407 – galaxies in Eridanus
124x - round spot of 1' with a bright stellar core. NGC 1407 is larger and brighter than NGC 1400. It's 2' long and contains also a stellar core. Could not see IC 343 and NGC 1402, even at 211x

NGC 1507 – galaxy in Eridanus
124x probably seen as an elongated smudge of 3'
21x It remains diffuclt but I can confirm it as an object of 3' x 1'. It has a uniform visibility. There is a faint star located 2' from its west side. Observation becomes a bit easier while using a dark cloth as I can see it now during half of the time. A superimposed star is suspected.

Next one is not Herschel II, but nice little planetary in Orion

NGC 2022 – planetary nebula in Orion
211x - planetary nebula in Orion - at this power I the disc is elongated and I can see a slightly darker centre (as a ring). No central star but I suspect a faint star on its northern edge. I googled some images of NGC 2022 and indeed, there is a star there. Also Tom Polakis is mentionning this star.

Ended the night with planetaries such as M76, NGC 1514 (Taurus), NGC 1501 (Cameleopardalis), NGC 2392 (Eskimo), NGC 2371/72 (also in Gemini).

Have seen now 390/400 Herschel II objects.