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Old 04-01-2008, 09:16 AM
žAB
Its only a column of dust

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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: New Iceland
Posts: 761
Morning Session 4/1/2008

Woke up at 1.45am to find clear skies and only light wind, in contrast to last nights gale force bedlam.

After only around 3 hours sleep, I was positively stoned. So yer I lugged the 10" Dob outside, discovered that the collimation had literally not budged from the previous session (which is great ) but it looked a little bit off so I played around with it for a while.

While waiting for the scope to cool, I got my torch and found I am infested with many species of spiders! I've found several orb weavers and almost walked straight into a web of a big one which was suspended between my deck and an overhanging tree brach Also found a huntsman, a couple of white tails, several black house spiders and perhaps most disturbingly, a large number of Redbacks scattered around my pool. I counted perhaps 10.

Well I began observing at around 3am.

Scope: 10" GSO Dob
Temp: 17║C
Seeing: 2-3/10
Transparency: 3/5

It became evident that the seeing was extremely poor, as focusing stars above 200x became impossible. So instead of having a cry, I settled on a low power tour of the Eta Carina region

IC 2948 - Running Chicken Nebula
Now this object has eluded all my attempts to see it when observing with a 4.5" reflector. So now, armed with a flocked 10 incher and a narrowband plugged into the 22mm LVW, I gave it crack. Also by now the crescent moon was up, so the sky was not as dark as it could've been. The 22mm LVW gives me 56x and a field of 1.14║. I tracked it down by centering on Lamba Cantauri. From there, I centered the small group of stars around V871 and around it I could see the nebula! It was rather obvious actually, and appeared as a large haze over the area. Checking a photo conforms that I had indeed seen the brightest portion of the nebula.

Gum 39
Another emmission nebula located about 45' WNW of Lambda Centauri. Tried it at 56x and 96x with the filter, but couldn't confirm a positive sighting. Perhaps when the moon is absent I'll give it another shot.

Eta Carina Nebula
I observed it at 56x with and without filter. The difference is incredible With the filter I have not a 10" telescope, but a 20"! The filtered view was just mindblowing, I could see a wealth of detail in the brightest portion, mottling, shading and the dark keyhole nebula stood out like a sore thumb I could trace the entire cloud to its full dimensions, like what one sees on the photographs. Just amazing. Even though the moon was well above the horizon!

NGC 3324
Used 56x with the filter on this nebula. It appeared as a rectangular haze, orientated N-S with a well defined curved edge making up the northern side.
Also in the same FOV is the nice tight open cluster NGC 3293. At this time I also did an unfiltered sweep of the region at 56x - just astounding!

Ced 122
Certainly wasn't expecting to see anything of this huge ghost of a nebula. I hunted down the star M centauri and using 56x with the filter, I slowly swept the area. Interestingly, in the field between the dim open clusters Cr271 and Ru166, I could detect a very slight brightening of the background sky. Moving the scope a bit helped identify its presence. A dark nebula lies within the cloud, and indeed this was visible as a slighter darker region. However this Nebula is very faint and needs patience. I could just barely see it. It really was only a very slight brightening of the sky. I spent about 30 minutes on this object just studying the field making sure i could actually see it.

NGC 5189 - Spiral Planetary
Stumbled upon this inadvertantly while studying the area around Ced 122. Actually bright at 56x with the filter and it resembled a barred spiral galaxy. It had a central bar with what looked like stubby 'arms' angled at 90║ to the bar and streaming away in opposing directions. This bright area was surrounded by a fainter haze. Didn't try higher mags as the seeing was genuinly poor this time round.

Took a short break here. Was annoyed to discover a spider has woven a strand of silk across the inside of the dewshield! My god, even when I'm observing, these little critters are a risk. Not only that, but a moth and a mosquito also found their way inside the tube. Man, observing is becoming hazardous

Saturn
Seeing was so poor that focusing was basically impossible even at 156x. However, the 5 moons that were visible were arranged in a neat line. One was so close to the rings, perhaps only a ring-width away.

I
'd say I had a great morning's stargaze, there's nothing like a low power tour of our fabulous southern skies when the seeing doesn't deliver
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  #2  
Old 04-01-2008, 10:53 AM
goober's Avatar
goober (Doug)
No obs, raising Harrison

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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Wonderful stuff - most of these objects had me running off to the star atlas. Hope you break the sketch pad out again this year!

Sounds like you have an infestation. When I observe at home, I have bats flying over all the time.
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  #3  
Old 04-01-2008, 10:27 PM
Rob_K
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Bright, Vic, Australia
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Excellent report žAB! Wonder you don't burn your retina out at low powers, lol! New moon is approaching so there's some good extended viewing on offer (spiders permitting).

Cheers -
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Old 05-01-2008, 08:06 AM
žAB
Its only a column of dust

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Location: New Iceland
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I was outside last night aswell and the mosquito situation was truly appalling. Eventually I went crazy and came back inside.
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