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Old 07-12-2010, 05:49 PM
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Paddy (Patrick)
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Large Magellanic Cloud - through a surprise gap in the clouds

Dear all,

A pleasant little surprise last Thursday night - a brief gap in the clouds and a chance to try one of my LMC charts on a busy bit of that galaxy for the first time. And I was quite happy with the result. The chart - #5 - is only on the web site in unlabeled form. Hope to have it and a few others in labeled and printable forms in the next few days.

Here is my report on a busy and beautiful half square degree of sky and a quick Jupiter squizz- thanks for reading.

Jupiter

175X Unfortunately the planet is close to some trees, so seeing is poor but with brief glimpses of detail. Several thin lines of darker cloud are visible in the southern temperate bands and there is a little detail in the northern temperate area. I have the impression of a slight greyish darkening in the area where the SEB would normally be, more so than in my last observations about a month ago. But a long way short of a normal SEB. The NEB is very distinct with some obvious festoons.

LMC obs: About 2 degrees north of NGC 2070 is a broad equilateral triangle of stars obvious in the finderscope. The westernmost of these - 63 Dorado - is nicely placed in chart 5 and I use this as my starting point. If my charts were complete up to NGC 2070, cluster hopping would be a reasonable alternative. But I think this triangle will be a very useful navigation aid.

35’ to the south of 63 Dor (ie the “bar” side of the star) is the complex of clusters around NGC 2034/2041/2062, a very beautiful area of sky.

NGC 2041 OC in LMC
05h 36m 28.1s -66º 59' 23"
Visual Magnitude: 10.4

135X 2041 stands out as a small bright round and even disc of luminance with a somewhat grainy texture but with not resolvable stars. It is quite concentrated but with no distinct core – the luminance fades evenly to the edge. Perhaps 1’ dia. A shade to the north is an arc of stars, NGC 2034.

NGC 2034 OC in LMC
05h 35m 32.8s -66º 54' 13"

135X A distinct thick arc of many resolvable stars and haze, convex south towards NGC 2041. Very pretty with a bright clump of stars at its northern end and then becoming more patchy to the south. It is in the head of a much larger arc of stars and haze which extends more than one degree to NGC 2002 and which is also convex south. At the western end of 2034 is NGC 2027. Brightens considerably with UHC filter and the arc of 2034 becomes more distinct.

NGC 2027 OC in LMC
05h 34m 59.7s -66º 54' 59"

135X A small clump of haze which appears smaller and much fainter than NGC 2041. With averted vision is a distinct round haze, but appears stellar when viewed directly. Further to the west along this thick arc-shaped maze of stars are NGC 2006 and Shapley/Lindsay (SL) 538.

(There is some confusion about the exact identity of NGC 2006 – Mati Morel, Archinal and Hynes refer to the object that I describe below – a note on the NGC/IC project refers to NGC 2006 as a much larger cluster of stars to which the following two objects may belong.)

NGC 2006 & SL 538 OC in LMC

135X 2 small bright round knots of light looking a bit like a small pair of headlights, NGC 2006 being closer to the convex side of the large arc. They are only about a minute apart and each is about a minute across. About 10’ to the NW is NGC 2002

NGC 2002 OC in LMC
05h 30m 20.4s -66º 53' 03"
Visual Magnitude: 10.1 Object Size: 2.1'
135X Quite bright and concentrated, this OC appears as if it has one bright central star with many clustered very close to it. I think that this appearance of a central star simply reflects its concentration. 2002 is at the western end of the long arc of stars and nebulosity referred to above for which I can find no designation. UHC filter brightens some strands through this arc and in particular NGC 2034.

20’ roughly form 2006, past the convex part of the larger arc is a bright cluster NGC 2004

NGC 2004 OC in LMC

05h 30m 40.3s -67º 17' 10"
Visual Magnitude: 9.6 Object Size: 2.7'

135X I can see why so many of these objects were listed as globular clusters. This one is very concentrated with a distinct core with a rapid decrease in brightness to halo of haze and resolvable stars, so it looks like a mini NGC 104. A brilliant little jewel in the sky. A line drawn from 2041 through 2004 leads after 20’ to a long line of haze and stars which is the complex of clusters and nebulae comprised of NGCs 1974,1968,1955, SL 456 and Henize nebula 51

NGC 1974 OC + emission nebula in LMC
05h 27m 54.4s -67º 25' 34"
Visual Magnitude: 9.0

NGC 1968 OC + emission nebula in LMC
05h 27m 22.2s -67º 27' 50"
Visual Magnitude: 9.0

NGC 1955 OC + emission nebula in LMC
05h 26m 10.0s -67º 29' 51"
Visual Magnitude: 9.0

SL 456 OC + emission nebula in LMC

135X This complex is another very interesting patch of sky. 1974 is closest to NGC 2004 and is a moderately large dispersed group of stars and is irregularly shaped against a background of stars and haze. At the SW edge, there is then a gap in the resolvable stars and some diminution of the haze before reaching 1968 which is a roughly E-W linear scraggle of 8 or so stars against a matching haze. Another gap and then a brighter group of about a dozen stars almost in a stick figure formation, albeit headless again with a backdrop of nebulosity. This is 1955. After another small gap is a small clump of stars and bigger patch of haze, SL 456. The background haze to all these clusters is Henize nebula 51 with its various sub-groups.

A thin high cloud and morning flight put and end to my evening. I am well pleased with my charts.
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Old 07-12-2010, 08:03 PM
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ZeroID (Brent)
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Excellent report Paddy, you obviously know your way around up there and I like the detail of your reports on each object. Can't wait to see the finished charts as they appear.
Thanks
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Old 08-12-2010, 11:24 AM
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mental4astro (Alexander)
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You indeed are a fortunate man, Paddy, to be able to take advantage of a gap in the clouds "on top of a hill and dark skies".
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Old 08-12-2010, 03:05 PM
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Brilliant report as usual Paddy. Many thanks.
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Old 08-12-2010, 04:30 PM
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Oi there, what's this - observing the sky when the rest of us are under the clouds!!!

Excellent report Patrick, make the most of it.
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Old 08-12-2010, 04:47 PM
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Great stuff Paddy,

I can't remember the last time i saw the clear night sky.

Good to see your making the most of it.

Regards Orestis
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Old 08-12-2010, 08:40 PM
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Hey Paddy
Just one point, according to uran 2000, 2034 is a bright neb not an OC.

Malcolm
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:00 AM
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Hi all, it seems that classification systems and catalogues aren't perfect.
NED and Simbad classes NGC 2034 as an "association of stars".

http://nedwww.ipac.caltech.edu/cgi-b...o#Attributes_0

http://simbad.u-strasbg.fr/simbad/si...&QueryType=ned

Perhaps a nebulous look or glow is a cloud of unresolved stars. When does an "association" become a "cluster"?
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:07 AM
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A gap ??

Hi Paddy,

Excellent report mate that contained only one error: the title "... surprise gap in the clouds ..."

I'd contend that "surprise gap" is akin to a split infinitive or a redundant tortology. Any and all gaps in the cloud these days are "surprising" -- none are common, "garden-variety" or expected.


Best,

Les D
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:55 AM
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Paddy (Patrick)
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Thanks everyone for your replies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ngcles View Post
Hi Paddy,

Excellent report mate that contained only one error: the title "... surprise gap in the clouds ..."

I'd contend that "surprise gap" is akin to a split infinitive or a redundant tortology. Any and all gaps in the cloud these days are "surprising" -- none are common, "garden-variety" or expected.


Best,

Les D
Both a tautololgy and understatement. Shock might be a better word and of course as you say all gaps in clouds are now surprising/a shock. Thanks for the grammatical correction

Quote:
Originally Posted by barx1963 View Post
Hey Paddy
Just one point, according to uran 2000, 2034 is a bright neb not an OC.

Malcolm
I got the designation from the NGC/IC project web site http://www.ngcicproject.org/ which is a truly amazing resource and a huge undertaking. Definitely looks more like a cluster than a nebula. Your point raises a good question though - as Paul says when is an association a cluster?

The intro to the Night Sky Observer's Guide says "Stellar associations are loose aggregations of recently formed stars often but not...always within or near the clouds of...dust and gas from which their stars have just condensed. They frequently have one or more open cluster cores..." Seems to fit NGC 2034 nicely as it certainly contains a number of clusters. Thanks for the stimulus to read this again and learn something.
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Old 09-12-2010, 12:04 PM
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Excellent Patrick! I'm thinking of posting imaginary observation reports - what I would have seen if the cloud wasn't there.

Cheers -
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:25 PM
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barx1963 (Malcolm)
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Excellent Idea Rob!
Hey Mike and Mods, how about a new forum for "Fantasy Astronomy" for what we coulda seen but for the clouds, smoke, SWMBO, lack of a 50" scope etc.

Malcolm
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:44 PM
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Paddy (Patrick)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob_K View Post
Excellent Patrick! I'm thinking of posting imaginary observation reports - what I would have seen if the cloud wasn't there.

Cheers -
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Old 10-12-2010, 12:34 AM
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Well I did mention not so long ago that I thought it would be a good idea if we could put up past observation reports (that have never been posted)!

Or we could all get out our binos and aim for those gaps (like I did last night) and see what we can come up with for some reports.
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