Old 13-01-2010, 09:58 PM
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Paddy (Patrick)
Canis Minor

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Tripping around the LMC

Dear all,

Have spent a few delightful nights exploring the Large Magellanic Cloud. Here is my report. A tad long, I fear, but there is rather a lot to see and I've only scratched the surface. I found the LMC somewhat easier to navigate around than the SMC in spite of the plethora of objects, mainly because almost all of the objects are noted on the excellent maps that I was using. The Night Sky Observer's Guide Vol. 3 has a number of invaluable photographs of cluster complexes I found very helpful for working out what I was looking at.

Thanks for having a look.

Telescope 400mm f4.9 tri-dob reflector
Eyepieces 28mm UWAN, 17,13,9 mm Naglers, Paracorr
Guiding: Night Sky Observer’s Guide (NSOG), Mati Morel’s Visual Atlas of the Large Magellanic Cloud


Seeing 2/5 Transparency 5/7 clearing to 6/7 during the session.

I have spent from 2230 to 1145 waiting for bands of high thin cloud to disperse. I am just about to pack up when the sky clears enough to begin a journey through the Large Magellanic Cloud, with Mati Morel’s atlas and the Night Sky Observer’s Guide Vol 3 as my guides.

NGC 2070 Emission Nebula in LMC 175x What words can convey the magnificence of this nebula, its myriad folds and textures, its wonderful and subtle clusters, its maze of observing delight? I’m really only recording to make a statement of observing conditions before moving on to more digestible, less ineffable fields (could that mean effable ones? Is that a word?). Persistent high haze remains a problem, 30 Doradus is quite clearly visible as are some of the ring of fainter stars around it, but not nearly as many as I see on a good night. Still enough to give the impression of a ring. Nonetheless, the nebula is still quite spectacular with the many thin dark lanes still quite obvious and entrancing. I estimate a diameter of about 20’.

NGC 2060 OC + nebula in LMC. 175x This lovely cluster is very close to NGC 2070 and could be taken as part of the larger nebula. I am struck by the horseshoe shape of 2060 with the points of the shoe pointing roughly north. It seems most of the object is nebulosity with 7-8 resolvable stars around the rim of the shoe and a fainter nebulosity in the middle of the shoe. Appears to be 4’ across. UHC filter confirms that most of the haze is nebulous in nature.

Moving 25’ south to

NGC 2074 OC + nebula in LMC. 175x I find this a very beautiful piece of cosmic artwork, with a distinct reversed S-shaped nebulosity with a strand of 8 lovely faint resolvable stars following this shape. The length of this is about 7’ and about 3’ wide. UHC filter enhances this reversed S shape, the nebulosity brighter at the southern end, with a faint suggestion of nebulosity inside the S especially at the northern end, which seems a wider arc than the southern one.

Moving further south to

NGC 2077/80 OC + nebula in LMC. 175x This is a beautiful close pair of small circlets of haze. Both show up well with UHC filter, the easternmost one, NGC 2080 is significantly brighter. They nearly merge. There is an area of more diffuse nebulosity to the east of the pair. Both are less than 1’ across and are separated by about 1’ (a Sugar Glider calls). A few resolvable stars can be seen in NGC 2080.

Following a line made by NGC 2074 and 2077/80, a third area of haze is obvious – completing a very evenly spaced line of 3 with 2074 & 2077/80. This third complex is

NGC 2079/79/83/84 OC + nebula in LMC. 175x This is quite a spectacular assembly of nebulosity and faint stars. To me it actually looks like 5 objects rather than 4. 2079 is the brightest, another small, bright round nebulosity rather like 2080 and seems about 1’ dia, but with brightness between that of 2077 & 2080. 2078 appears fainter but larger than 2079, dia. about 2’ and contains about three resolvable stars. 2083 is larger and yet more diffuse with several stars. 2084 is also diffuse but with no resolvable stars. Together they make a square, but to me there appears to be a haze in the centre and I am unclear to which this belongs. I reflect that the term “knotty” used in the Night Sky Observer’s Guide is somewhat more romantic than the term pimply that springs to my mind. “Acneiform” could be more scientific sounding, but certainly would not do justice to these gems.

A short hop, 15’ the east of NGC 2074 is

NGC 2081 OC + nebula in LMC (NGC2091/2102). 175x Fainter than 2074, this is a disk of nebulosity and a ring of resolvable stars around the circumference. It seems about 5’ across and a suggestion of a slight point heading back towards NGC 2074. Appears to be a looser cluster than those observed so far. With UHC filter, the expanse of nebulosity looks larger and almost joining 2074. The haze with this filter seems to have a cone shape, with the point heading to a small knot of nebulosity. Removing the filter, I see that the tip of this cone is NGC 2091, which is about 5’ from the edge of 2081 as marked by the ring of stars. The knot that the cone points towards is NGC 2102. NGC 2091 is the fainter of the two, is slightly elongated with a granular texture suggestive of stars. Both are less than 1’ across, 2102 gives the impression of being a small clump of stars and nebulosity.

Following a line from NGC 2074 through NGC 2081 leads to a bright small patch which is

NGC 2100 OC + nebula in LMC. 175x About 3’ across, with a bright and elongated inner haze, with 3 stars on the north side and a roughly parallel line of fainter stars on the southern side. About 5’ away is a fainter glow which is NGC 2092.

I skirt around the eastern side of NGC 2070 I come to a faint haze of stars

NGC 2093 OC in LMC 175x About 15’ south of 72 Dorado, an irregular haze with scattered resolvable stars elongated S-N pointing back towards NGC 2070

To the north of NGC 2070 is

NGC 2042 OC + nebula in LMC. 175x A straggling cluster about 10’ long and about 5’ with a kink in the middle pointing back towards NGC 2070. Quite a few resolvable stars, some quite bright. On the side away from 2070 is a bright knot. The cluster looks to me like a sheet lifted in the centre towards 2070, creating a peak. Stars more noticeable than nebulosity. My UHC filter does not greatly enhance contrast, so although there is some nebulosity, it seems to me that stars are a greater component.

Visibility has improved greatly. Further skirting around NGC 2070, I come to

NGC 2044 OC + nebula in LMC. 175x (the field includes NGC 2060, back to the start) This an interesting object, with a T shape of nebulosity and stars, with a shaft pointing back towards NGC 2060 and the cross piece of nebulosity containing some fainter resolvable stars. Each component looks about 5’ long. Moving away form 2060 is less distinct patch of nebulosity and a few scattered stars.

Moving to 60 Doradus to the north of NGC 2070 and still outside the bar of the LMC I find a very interesting bit of sky.

On the bar side 60 Doradus is a line of interesting things. The first is

NGC 1953 listed as GC in LMC by Morel and NSOG 175x. Very compact and bright circle of haze <1’ across. Become fainter with UHC, suggesting that this object is composed of densely packed stars.

All the objects sound like important dates around this area (perhaps because I’m a baby boomer – what a strange expression).

Next in line is a complex of

NGC 1962/65/66/70 OC + nebula in LMC. 175x A much larger area of nebulosity about 5’ across, irregular with about 10 resolvable stars. I have the impression of the nebulosity forming an arrowhead pointing back towards 60 Doradus. This impression becomes clearer with UHC filter and I also note that there is a thin shaft of haze behind the arrowhead. The texture of the whole complex becomes more knotty with UHC with 2 particularly small bright areas on the side pointing to 60 Doradus

NGC 2001 OC LMC. 175x is the third in this line of treasures. A wide fairly loose cluster of stars with a loop pointing towards 1962 etc. and a thin strand connecting this loop to a clump of stars on the side away from the 1962 complex. Doesn’t look like much nebulosity. Appears 10’ long and about 5‘ wide with a very narrow neck in the centre.

At 1 am, my retirement from observing is forced by an early meeting in the morning, but as Mars is now visible between the trees, but still low, I feel compelled to have a look.

Mars 135x – very poor seeing, but I can discern a faint dark marking from the north-western edge of the planet and pointing in to the northern part of the disc. Viewing at 80x does not help much. Might have to wait for observing at higher altitude.
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Old 14-01-2010, 02:18 PM
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Replied in lmc 2 thread.
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Old 17-01-2010, 03:54 PM
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Dave47tuc (David)
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Patrick, Thanks for posting

I enjoyed the read, I felt like I was there observing with you well done.
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Old 18-01-2010, 08:24 PM
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Paddy (Patrick)
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Thanks, Dave.
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Old 24-01-2010, 02:20 PM
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pgc hunter
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Good on you for taking the time and effort for identifying some of the countless objects in there!

One can make a project out of the LMC there is so much to see
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Old 29-01-2010, 08:49 PM
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Paddy (Patrick)
Canis Minor

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Originally Posted by pgc hunter View Post
Good on you for taking the time and effort for identifying some of the countless objects in there!

One can make a project out of the LMC there is so much to see
Thanks Sab. I think I am making a project out of it. Its very satisfying.
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