Go Back   IceInSpace > General Astronomy > Observational and Visual Astronomy > Observation Reports

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
  #1  
Old 13-09-2018, 10:20 AM
ngcles's Avatar
ngcles
The Observologist

ngcles is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Billimari, NSW Central West
Posts: 1,571
Seeing Fritz Zwicky's ring (aka the Cartwheel Galaxy)

Hi All,

Just wanted to share one observation with you from an excellent night at home in the NSW Central West near Billimari. Very nice conditions, SQML reading was 21.88 at 11pm just before I made this observation with my new 63.5 cm f/5 Newtonian: Brontes.

After checking out the gorgeous near edge-on spiral NGC 134 in Sculptor, I remembered that Zwicky's Ring (aka the Cartwheel Galaxy or ESO 350-40) was only a few medium-powered fields away and not having observed it for almost two decades, decided to trip on over to see what could be seen.

I could spend a bit of time rummaging through a thesaurus for a short list of alternate adjectives but off the cuff, I'm going to go with: astounded. Seriously, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven but I guess I must be alive as here I am reporting the observation.

For those who aren't familiar (I'll forgive you if you aren't), the image depicts Zwicky's Ring. I had glimpsed it once before with my old 31cm telescope -- just barely detected it as a spot of fleeting gossamer but the view tonight was something for which I was not prepared.

At x260 and then x346, what I saw was ... a wheel. Seriously, I couldn't believe my eyes! Yes, it's still a faint galaxy but there it was: A faint & low surface brightness, slightly oval, closed ring, seeming about 1.25 arc minutes diameter with a darker centre (though not completely dark).

I spent about 15 minutes at the eyepiece and what else should I see? A faint star (the one on the right-hand edge of the ring in the photo) (that is roughly 17th magnitude BTW), but **additionally** (I counted 'em) five other (fainter) star-like points embedded in the rim of the thin doughnut -- four in the southern part of the ring and one in the north. In the attached photo (which is a Hubble Space Telescope classic), North is to the upper left and East is upper right, the four star-like points ran down the right-hand side of the ring below the star (this yellowish star is a foreground star in our galaxy) while the other was embedded in the left-side nearer the other two galaxies.

Oh, didn't I mention those other two galaxies (PGC 2249 & 2252) before? I could see both of them too as tiny spots of ephemeral mist. Those star-like points I saw embedded within the outward propagating ring of star formation at the edge of Zwicky's Ring are in reality, gargantuan star factories furiously pumping-out masses of mega and hyper stars.

WOW!!

All this observed from my Billimari front paddock ... front row but a mere 500 million light-years distance.

As I said: Astounded -- also delighted. Life achievement unlocked -- a hard-core deep sky observer's moment of nirvana!

Best,

L.
Attached Thumbnails
Click for full-size image (1024px-Cartwheel_Galaxy.jpg)
189.8 KB67 views
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 13-09-2018, 10:59 AM
Saturnine (Jeff)
Registered User

Saturnine is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Wollongong
Posts: 942
Thanks for sharing the excitment of your observations, must be so nice to live under dark rural skies where visual limits can be tested but having an 63cm scope is almost cheating.The views of most NGC / IC objects must be a relevation.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 13-09-2018, 02:23 PM
Tinderboxsky's Avatar
Tinderboxsky (Steve)
I can see clearly now ...

Tinderboxsky is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Tinderbox TAS
Posts: 669
Excellent “nirvana “ moment. Thank you for sharing.
Observing is facinating as one can have one’s own nirvana moments no matter the capabilities of the scope being used.
At 63cm and f5, you must be doing a lot of ladder climbing.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 14-09-2018, 05:49 PM
The Mekon's Avatar
The Mekon (John Briggs)
Registered User

The Mekon is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Bowral NSW
Posts: 677
Les, this is a stunning observation, and I can understand your elation.
It underscores the need to constantly be out there on the chance that the conditions will be just right. Myself I have yet to detect a galaxy in the 14th Mag with my 18" yet alone 15th so you despite your 7" advantage you are to be congratulated.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 17-09-2018, 07:40 AM
gaseous (Patrick)
Registered User

gaseous is offline
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 518
Awesome report Les, inspires the rest of us to aim for higher things (like rural properties and 25" scopes!)
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 23-02-2019, 06:25 PM
Insomniac
Registered User

Insomniac is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 39
Seriously impressive! Well done.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 27-10-2019, 11:03 PM
gaseous (Patrick)
Registered User

gaseous is offline
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 518
Finally had a quite reasonable night's seeing at Warwick on Friday, and attempted the Cartwheel Galaxy (PGC 2248) as described by Les, which has been on my mind for a year now. All I can say is, his 63.5cm scope must be a beast. With averted vision I could just barely make out the merest suggestion of an approximation of the faintest of faint gossamer smudges, but certainly no ring structure.

That being said, the rest of the night was awesome. The Horsehead was directly visible, if not particularly sharp. I'd only ever seen it once before, and that was with averted imagination. I've never seen Orion with such brightness, detail and clarity around the sweeping edges between light and dark - an oiii filter didn't seem to make a major difference. Picked up two moons on Uranus and one on Neptune. 47 Tuc through my 3D Denkmeier Binoviewers was astounding.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 28-10-2019, 11:15 AM
ngcles's Avatar
ngcles
The Observologist

ngcles is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Billimari, NSW Central West
Posts: 1,571
Yes, I know I'm blessed

Hi Patrick,

Quote:
Originally Posted by gaseous View Post
All I can say is, his 63.5cm scope must be a beast. ...

That being said, the rest of the night was awesome. The Horsehead was directly visible, if not particularly sharp. I'd only ever seen it once before, and that was with averted imagination. I've never seen Orion with such brightness, detail and clarity around the sweeping edges between light and dark - an oiii filter didn't seem to make a major difference. Picked up two moons on Uranus and one on Neptune. 47 Tuc through my 3D Denkmeier Binoviewers was astounding.
Glad to hear you had such a great session.

Must be a beast? Yes, it is. I count myself very fortunate to both own and use it. That acquisition 14 months ago was due to a number of curious opportunities and a highly cooperative and gentlemanly vendor that all "aligned" nicely to my advantage -- just at the right time.

I bought it second hand off Cloudy Nights. With 'scopes of this bulk, nearly all vendors refuse point blank to ship it at all -- period. Any distance. "If you want it, come pick it up".

I was prepared either for a two year wait to find a vendor who would consider shipping it to Australia or travelling to the U.S myself to take delivery and ship it myself. I found that ultra co-operative person at the very first attempt -- that's almost miracle territory.

In fact the vendor nearly bent over backwards to send it to me. After shopping around for about 10 days (and carting the 'scope to three different shipping firms) to find the best deal on shipping, he rang me telling me he was upset about how much it was going to cost (me) to air freight it half-way 'round the world and offered me my money back. I refused -- so instead he offered to absorb about 1/3rd of the shipping cost because he "felt guilty". I told him he should sober up and talk to his wife first and refused that offer too initially but he insisted and returned via Paypal about $1200 USD to me. He told me he thought the 'scope was simply destined to come to me and didn't want to stand in the way.

The second factor was it was practically brand new despite being eleven years old. The person who purchased it new unfortunately suffered a major health event while awaiting delivery and as a consequence never unpacked it or assembled -- let alone used it in the eight years of his ownership.

His widow sold it to the guy I bought it from (a family friend) just over three years ago (I've had it 14 months now) and he used it only five times. He loved it, but living in an urban environment had to transport it an hour's drive to observe and grew sick of that pretty quickly. He used the proceeds of the sale to me to put a deposit on a 24" ultralite-like f/3.2. So in the end it really was an absolute bargain. The optics are by John Hudek at Galaxy with a Strehl ratio of 0.94 and 1/28th wave RMS -- very good on paper without being outstanding, but I can't fault them based on the eyepiece view.

The brutal fact is, that while a 20" 'scope is very large by anyone's definition and gives fantastic views, 25" is nearly 2/3rds more light at the focal plane than a 20". In the old parlance: there's no substitute for cubic inches -- and it makes a significant difference. I don't think I have "super-eyes" -- they're good but not significantly better than most people. I am also fortunate that just a few months ago I had cataract surgery on both eyes and my vision is now much improved compared to earlier this year -- both in focus and transparent eye-lenses. Particularly the right eye.

I still use my 18" quite a lot, particularly when away from home because Brontes is not genuinely portable, is very difficult and tiresome to assemble and break down as a one man operation. Luckily my neighbour is also an amateur and helps when it becomes necessary.

I am similarly, very fortunate to live in very high quality observing conditions. Both 'scopes live fully assembled in a dedicated shed 80m from the house and roll just 8m out to a near pristine sky with the "worst" horizon being the north-northeast -- it is a 10 degree horizon and conveniently hides the distant light-dome from Orange (70km away). The balance of the horizons are less than 3 degrees (except behind the shed in the W). I'm not writing this with the deliberate purpose of making others jealous. I am simply blessed, (kissed on the whats-it by a fairy etc) lucky and very, very fortunate -- and I know that.

Best,

L.

Last edited by ngcles; 28-10-2019 at 01:31 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 28-10-2019, 07:09 PM
gaseous (Patrick)
Registered User

gaseous is offline
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 518
I'm not writing this with the deliberate purpose of making others jealous.

Well, (unintentional) mission accomplished! Great tale, and what a terrific vendor.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-12-2019, 09:54 AM
Rainmaker (Matt)
Excalibur Dobsonian

Rainmaker is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Canberra
Posts: 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by ngcles View Post
Hi All,

Just wanted to share one observation with you from an excellent night at home in the NSW Central West near Billimari. Very nice conditions, SQML reading was 21.88 at 11pm just before I made this observation with my new 63.5 cm f/5 Newtonian: Brontes.

After checking out the gorgeous near edge-on spiral NGC 134 in Sculptor, I remembered that Zwicky's Ring (aka the Cartwheel Galaxy or ESO 350-40) was only a few medium-powered fields away and not having observed it for almost two decades, decided to trip on over to see what could be seen.

I could spend a bit of time rummaging through a thesaurus for a short list of alternate adjectives but off the cuff, I'm going to go with: astounded. Seriously, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven but I guess I must be alive as here I am reporting the observation.

For those who aren't familiar (I'll forgive you if you aren't), the image depicts Zwicky's Ring. I had glimpsed it once before with my old 31cm telescope -- just barely detected it as a spot of fleeting gossamer but the view tonight was something for which I was not prepared.

At x260 and then x346, what I saw was ... a wheel. Seriously, I couldn't believe my eyes! Yes, it's still a faint galaxy but there it was: A faint & low surface brightness, slightly oval, closed ring, seeming about 1.25 arc minutes diameter with a darker centre (though not completely dark).

I spent about 15 minutes at the eyepiece and what else should I see? A faint star (the one on the right-hand edge of the ring in the photo) (that is roughly 17th magnitude BTW), but **additionally** (I counted 'em) five other (fainter) star-like points embedded in the rim of the thin doughnut -- four in the southern part of the ring and one in the north. In the attached photo (which is a Hubble Space Telescope classic), North is to the upper left and East is upper right, the four star-like points ran down the right-hand side of the ring below the star (this yellowish star is a foreground star in our galaxy) while the other was embedded in the left-side nearer the other two galaxies.

Oh, didn't I mention those other two galaxies (PGC 2249 & 2252) before? I could see both of them too as tiny spots of ephemeral mist. Those star-like points I saw embedded within the outward propagating ring of star formation at the edge of Zwicky's Ring are in reality, gargantuan star factories furiously pumping-out masses of mega and hyper stars.

WOW!!

All this observed from my Billimari front paddock ... front row but a mere 500 million light-years distance.

As I said: Astounded -- also delighted. Life achievement unlocked -- a hard-core deep sky observer's moment of nirvana!

Best,

L.
Les,
Every time I pass the Billimari turnoff I am reminded of this observation of the Cartwheel.... maybe one day I will see it in such detail

I did manage the Horsehead once again recently, this time from the CWAS site at Cookamidgera What started out as an evening observing through sucker-holes turned out to one of the most magnificent clear skies between midnight and 3.30am

Last edited by Rainmaker; 09-12-2019 at 12:23 PM.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +10. The time is now 04:24 PM.

Powered by vBulletin Version 3.8.7 | Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Advertisement
SkyWatcher Australia
Advertisement
NexDome Observatories
Advertisement
Bintel
Advertisement
OzScopes Authorised Dealer
Advertisement
Lunatico Astronomical
Advertisement
Meade Australia
Advertisement
Celestron Australia
Advertisement
Astronomy and Electronics Centre
Advertisement