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Old 28-12-2009, 08:15 AM
Rob_K
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Obs Report, 28 December 2009

The sky cleared beautifully at about 2:30am this morning after a dirty, cloudy evening, and as I had the camera out shooting for comet 81P Wild, I decided to drag the reflector out on the back lawn. Glad I did, as it was a chance to reconnect with a few familiar objects not seen in evening skies for a while. Frequent checking of the LCD screen meant light adaptation was not quite up to scratch so nothing adventurous was attempted! Tasco 4.5” f8 reflector with 21mm Celestron X-Cel eyepiece; transparency excellent; seeing poor. Objects seen included:


Comet 81P Wild in Virgo: No trouble picking up the position after imaging the field! Quite difficult to see in direct vision, just a tiny faint glow that was nonetheless fairly strong in averted vision. Around mag 10 now, and at times it seemed to contain a star-like point – may have been picking up the inner bright coma. No sign of the tail.

Leo Triplet, galaxies in Leo: M65 & M66 were bright little oval glows, but the fainter streak of NGC 3628 took a short while to come into ‘focus’. Light adaptation more than anything. Beautiful trio of galaxies that fit neatly in the field with the 21mm eyepiece, a sight that was hard to leave.

M104, Sombrero Galaxy in Virgo: No charts, and this was about the only object I didn’t hit first-up, but quickly located it panning about. Lovely little bright gash against the dark sky! Good sense of the shape of it, but couldn’t quite get the dark lane, which I’ve seen before.

NGC5128, Centaurus A, galaxy in Centaurus: Haven’t seen it for a while, a nice roundish glow which at first it gave the “Pacman” view typical of a small scope. Eventually I was able to see the dark lane right through the galaxy.

NGC5139, Omega Centauri, globular cluster in Centaurus: What can ya say that hasn’t been said before, stunning!

Saturn in Virgo: First view this ‘season’, not that great because of poor seeing. Titan was plainly visible. Even at 47x it was difficult to focus, and a brief attempt with a Barlow only emphasised the shimmer. But still an inspiring object and it will be interesting to watch the ring plane open in the years ahead.

Mars in Leo: Very disappointing, just a tiny, bright, reddish shimmering ball! Didn’t bother powering up.


Cheers -
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Old 28-12-2009, 08:19 AM
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jjjnettie (Jeanette)
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Excellent report Rob.
Thanks for taking the time to write it up.
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Old 28-12-2009, 08:58 AM
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Thanks Rob, sounded like a good night, and always good to catch up with the old favs.
Fingers crossed for a good comet for us for 2010!!
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Old 28-12-2009, 09:05 AM
Rob_K
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Thanks jjjnettie, Liz!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liz View Post
Thanks Rob, sounded like a good night, and always good to catch up with the old favs.
Fingers crossed for a good comet for us for 2010!!
There's not much predicted, but I'm sure Rob McNaught or Gordon Garradd will come to the rescue!!

Cheers -
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Old 28-12-2009, 09:12 AM
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Thanks for the obs report ,enjoyed reading it .
I have a 130mm aperture telescope and have not viewed through a larger telescope but am consistently amazed at what this small aperture can produce.

I am a beginner and have not seen any comets as of yet,so your description of 81 p has inspired me to try and look for it,just wondering if i would be able to find it. How big is it? Where abouts is it in virgo ,can't find it in stellerium.

Do you know of any comets that are viewable through my scope in the evening sky?

I have not seen the leo triplet but can't wait until i get my first glimpse of them.i have seen the dust lane in m104 in good seeing,took a lot of patience though.

Thanks a lot for a great report,
orestis
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Old 28-12-2009, 09:44 AM
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Crap mate, it's been a while since you graced this board with your reports! good to see you back.

Surprised to see some of the Virgo galaxies are already well placed for morning observation..last time I was outside observing Spica was setting in the west (cough*clouds*cough).

I hear ya about the seeing, absolute trash here aswell Must be our latitude in the roaring 40's.
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Old 28-12-2009, 09:45 AM
Rob_K
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Thanks for your comments Orestis! I'd imagine you have access to some pretty good dark skies in the Southern Highlands, and 130mm will let you see heaps of stuff!

Comet 81P Wild is a bit challenging for a small scope at the moment - the key is nailing down its exact position so you know precisely where to look. There are many galaxies in its general location. At the moment, with the moon intruding, your only shot would be early morning in the next two nights. If your planetarium program doesn't show it, there are other options. Here's a link to a finder chart, although the scale isn't as small as you'd like it:
http://cometchasing.skyhound.com/comets/81P.gif

The days are in UT though. So at a point marked 29/12, that would be 11am on the 29th for us.

You can also find its exact location by generating an hourly ephemeris for the comet, and then finding that point on your planetarium program, to show you what the field looks like. Not as complicated as it sounds, but takes a bit of getting used to. Times are always in UT (Universal Time). You'd go here, and click the link to go to personalised ephemeris (in the paragraph under the "Ephemeris" heading):
http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/iau/Ephem...ets/0081P.html

Comets brighter than mag 9 are much more in our range, but we have a bit of a shortage of them at the moment!! This site here can keep you up to date on what's happening in the world of comets:
http://www.aerith.net/index.html

Good luck with your observing!

Cheers -
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Old 28-12-2009, 09:48 AM
Rob_K
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pgc hunter View Post
Crap mate, it's been a while since you graced this board with your reports! good to see you back.

Surprised to see some of the Virgo galaxies are already well placed for morning observation..last time I was outside observing Spica was setting in the west (cough*clouds*cough).

I hear ya about the seeing, absolute trash here aswell Must be our latitude in the roaring 40's.
Cheers pgc! Not really that I haven't been observing (when the c____ds have allowed), just too lazy to write it down!
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Old 28-12-2009, 01:09 PM
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Thanks Rob for the info will try and have a go at it when these clouds(has been cloudy all week)clear up.
Yes it is pretty dark up here in the southern highlands but when i look to the north east i can see the glow of sydney lights ,so glad to live in a dark location.
If your too lazy to write why not tape record your obs and then post them up here,the next day.just a suggestion.

clear skies to all observers,
orestis
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:40 PM
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spacezebra (Petra)
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Hi Rob

Good to see that you arrived home safely - great report!

Cheers Petra d.
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Old 04-01-2010, 05:10 PM
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Paddy (Patrick)
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Thanks for the report Rob. I always have that sense of first observing of a planet for the season - so full of anticipation of seeing an old friend, combined with the foreknowledge that the seeing will be dreadful and its just a taste of what is to come.
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Old 09-01-2010, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
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Thanks for the report Rob. I always have that sense of first observing of a planet for the season - so full of anticipation of seeing an old friend, combined with the foreknowledge that the seeing will be dreadful and its just a taste of what is to come.
isn't that just the truth!!!!
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