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Old 18-08-2020, 01:07 PM
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mental4astro (Alexander)

mental4astro is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: sydney, australia
Posts: 4,860
I have found the Horsie to be a temperamental beast.

Unless transparency is good to excellent it can be very difficult and even impossible to spot it, regardless of aperture and dark sky.

This has been my experience with my 17.5". I have had nights when the Horsie was very easy to see without the use of filters. I've also had nights when it was totally invisible.

Below is my sketch of it with the 17.5" dob. The sketch covers a 2 field of view showing both the Flame and Horsehead. This particular night gave a good view of it. I was also able to make out the crook of the Horse's neck, giving a little more of the horsie appearance seen in photos.

Seeing the Horeshead can be described as an exercise of seeing black on black. The nebulosity the dark pillar obscures is dark in itself. The dark pillar itself is a small back notch that's been cut into this tenuous nebulosity.

One tip I have before attempting to view the Horsehead is gauging the quality of transparency with how much of the LMC I can see. The easier it is to make out the various structural elements of the LMC (the bar, halo, & the Tarantula neb), the better the transparency is and the better chance of seeing the Horsehead. If you are able to make out mottled structures around the Tarantula naked eye, conditions are really good!
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