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Old 05-03-2011, 09:49 PM
Suzy's Avatar
Searching for Travolta...

Suzy is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Brisbane, Australia.
Posts: 3,683
Wow, what a great report Ron! So well detailed and explained.

Regarding NGC 3132: I too (tho my scope is smaller) found that low mag did nothing to bring this nebula to life, compared to what high mag and a filter does.
I'll have to tell Orestis to look here as he had no luck finding it. It's a tough one this one, looks so much like a star, and if it was right next to a really big bright star finding it would be so much easier than star hopping and looking for something whilst being unsure what it's supposed to look like.

I noticed at high mag. (120x) with a 10mm eye piece, that the outer ring to be a dark orange colour. I studied this for what must have been a good 30 minutes at least. The orange was very apparent when I turned away and looked back at it again. As seems to be the usual case I'm finding with these planetaries is that they really do have to be blinked out. I showed hubby, but he could see no orange ring that I could saw clearly see . I put this down to his eyes not being fully dark adapted as he came from bright lights inside the house to outside straight away. I also remember what I learned a while ago.. breathe, deeply. Oxygen helps the brain and in turn our eyesight (not too much deep breathing otherwise one could pass out ). Lots of breathing done in the final stages of that 30 mins. I can tell you.

If I didn't end up finding out that the Eight Burst Nebula was stellar looking, I think I would have gone mad finding it. It took me three observation sessions to get it. What made this object harder for me to find is that it wasn't on my Starry Nights software (which I use as a guide to star hop), nor is the finder scope on my dob yet as I'm currently using the red dot finder. Will hopefully drill some holes in tube soon. I think I'm a either a legend on that merit alone or just one determed wittle astronomer . What eventually saved my sanity was this (the second pic give some stars to hop) and shows just how stellar it looks.

Bit of interesting info on this from Wiki. I didn't know there were two stars involved in this neb.
mages of NGC 3132 reveal two stars close together within the nebulosity, one of 10th magnitude, the other 16th. The central planetary nebula nucleus (PNN) or white dwarf central star is the fainter of these two stars. This hot central star of about 100,000 K has now blown off its layers and is making the nebula fluoresce brightly from the emission of its intense ultraviolet radiation.
I'm sure your report will help many people that are trying to find this.

Regarding NGC 2440: This appears to be another tough candidate .
William Hershell described this as "a beautiful planetary nebula of a considerable degree of brightness, not very well defined." Which is pretty much spot on to your observations. Though the brightness factor I think could have something to do with the fact that he had a really really big telescope.
Within this is nebula is possibly the hottest known white dwarf star!
I'll know what to expect now, as I was going to add this one to my list for a future observing session.

Planetaries nebulas are tough little guys to get. And I've read that they're not recommended for beginners as they do take a fair bit of observing skills and are not appreciated as much by beginners. But I love them- bring them. I have all the determination of...of..of well, just do!
As these objects are difficult/faint, it really is helpful to get a well reported observation using different magnifications and filters as you did Ron, which will help many people. Thank you.

Last edited by Suzy; 06-03-2011 at 01:01 AM.
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