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Old 09-01-2011, 05:05 PM
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Obs Report, Horsehead sketch 30/12/10

Well I managed to pull a rare observing session out of my hat just as the year was drawing to a close. After a record cloudy year, it was kind of ironic to get a clear night. The plan was to hunt some galaxies, then turn my attention to some morning planetaries in Carina. However, the seeing was an absolute basket case, but still had a successful night with a few nice galaxies under the belt. My plan to observe the managerie of tiny, bright high surface brightness planetaries in Carina was a bust though. Used the 12" dob for this session.

Scope: 12" F/4.4 dob
Time: 10:30pm-2:30am
Seeing: 3/10
Transparency: 4/5
Dew: very light
Temp: 14C

First port of call was NGC 1587/88/89 in Taurus. This is a lovely trio of galaxies with 1587/88 forming a nice tight pair, with NGC 1589 12' due north. All 3 were nicely framed in the 13mm lvw at 102x.

NGC 1587
GX, Taurus, RA 04 30 40, Dec +00 39 42, Size= 2x1.9' , Mag V = 12.8

NGC 1588
GX, Taurus, RA 04 30 43, Dec +00 39 53, Size= 1.8x1.0' , Mag V = 12.9

NGC 1589
GX, Taurus, RA 04 30 45, Dec +00 51 49, Size= 3.1x1.2' , Mag V = 12.8

Fairly bright at 167x, with a high surface brightness and a tight, dense core. Round. Increasing mag to 267x the core appeared nearly stellar and the galaxy slightly elongated NE/SW. Forms a pair with NGC 1588 1' E.

NGC 1588 is fainter than 87, featureless with a nearly stellar core at 167x but at 267x a slight condensation toward the core was seen.

NGC 1589 is located 12' N of the pair, with a Mag 13 star 50" ENE of the core and a fainter 14.5 mag star about 1' SW. Stellaring in core, elongated with faint extensions at 167x.

************

UGC 3214
GX, Orion, RA 04 57 56, Dec -00 07 33, Size= 4x0.6' , Mag B = 14.0

A very nice needle-like edge on spiral in DSS photos, so was keen to track this one down. Faint, but picked up fairly easily at 167x, basically appeared as a stubby spindle aligned NE/SW. Upping the power to 267x suggested a mild concentration around the core. A pair of 10th mag stars roughly 7' ENE and 5' W, and a triangle of faint 14-15th mag stars 1.5' NW of the core make the galaxy easy to locate.

************

MCG+00-12-54
GX, Eridanus, RA 04 36 30, Dec -02 52 00 , Size= 0.5x0.2' , mag B = 14.2

MCG+00-12-51
GX, Eridanus, RA 04 36 19, Dec -02 49 55 , Size= 0.6x0.3' , Mag B = 13.7

These two are the brightest of a group of 4 galaxies. The group is easy to find only 40' N of 4th Nu Eridani. Both objects were picked up with the 8mm LVW at 167x, with -54 being the easier of the two despite its smaller size and lower magnitude. -54 has High surface brightness and slightly brightens toward the core. Slight NE/SW elongation evident at 267x. Easy to find located about 1.2' due north of a mag 12.4 star.

-51 is a face on barred spiral and has lower surface brightness than -54 and as such appeared fainter than its neighbour. Basically visible as a faint, nondescript smuch. A mag 11 star lies just 40" SE of galaxy.

The other two members of this group are far too faint to see.

************

Next stop is a fantastic group of four galaxies with NGC 1721/1725/1728 forming a lovely tight trio with 4th member NGC 1723 located 10' N. This group is conveniently located in a fairly populated starfield with abundant reference stars, including mag 5.4 63 Eridani located only 1 N, which makes a good starting point for your starhop.

NGC 1721
GX, Eridanus, RA 04 59 17 , Dec -11 07 08, Size= 2.2x1.1' , Mag V = 12.8

NGC 1725
GX, Eridanus, RA 04 59 23, Dec -11 07 57, Size= 1.9x1.2' , Mag V = 12.8

NGC 1728
GX, Eridanus, RA 04 59 28, Dec -11 07 26, Size= 2x0.7' , Mag V = 12.9

NGC 1723
GX, Eridanus, RA 04 59 26, Dec -10 58 52, Size= 3.7x2.3' , Mag V = 11.7


The 5mm LVW at 267x ecompasses the trio of NGC 1721/25/28. A triangle of mag 12-12.5 stars nicely frames the group, making it easy to find. NGC 1728 is the brightest of the three, and appeared strongly elongated N/S with a high surface brightness.

NGC 1721
is the second brightest of the three, with a small, tight core and a NW/SE elongation. A mag ~14.5 star lies 50" NE of the core.


NGC 1725
lies midway between 1728 and 1721 and has lower surface brightness than the other two in the eyepiece, with a less condesned core.

NGC 1723
showed a tight round core with no other structure seen. Two mag 10 stars lie 2' N and 3' E with a 3rd 11th mag star 1.2' to the south. A mag 15 star was seen just outside the northern edge of the halo.

***********

NGC 2346
Monoceros, RA 07 09 22, Dec -00 48 24, Size= 60x50" , Mag V = 11.6

DSS images show a wonderful butterfly-shaped planetary, but this figure was not evident at the eyepiece. At 167x is appears as an oval haze around its 11th mag central star, orientated E-W. The view is reminiscent of what a star looks like thru a fogged over eyepiece. An OIII filter increases the definition of the oval haze. Increasing magnification to 267x brings no real improvement. When viewing this object, I couldn't help but replay the phrase "this is nothing like in the brochure" over and over in my head

NGC 2442
GX, Volans, RA 07 36 23, Dec -69 31 52, Size= 6x5.5' , Mag V = 10.5

Just as I was preparing to pack up, the sight of Carina high overhead prompted me to have a look at the so-called "Meathook" galaxy. One of the brighter barred spirals, I was keen to see if I could see any detail. At 167x, It presented a tiny, stellar nucleaus amongst a low surface brightness haze, however I could see hints of a bar extending in a NE/SW direction. That already makes the meathook more "impressive" than NGC 1365 from my location!

ESO 059-G011
GX, Volans, RA 07 38 12, Dec -69 28 27, Size= 1.9x1.1' , Mag B = 13.5

This galaxy is located only 10' NE of NGC 2442. Appearing small, elongated NW/SE with a starlike nucleaus at 167x. A 14th mag star 35" to the SW forms a "double" with the nucleus. However, upon inspection at higher power, this supposed "nucleus" turned out to be a 15th mag star superimposed right on the SW edge of the galaxy, not more than 15" from the centre. The galaxy increases very slightly in brightness towards the core.

NGC 2434
GX, Volans, RA 07 34 51, Dec -69 17 06, Size= 1.6x1.5', Mag V = 11.5

This is a lovely bright elliptical located only 17' NNW of the meathook NGC 2442. Nicely compact, round with high surface brightness at 167x and a near-stellar nucleus. 267x revealed a bright, tight core with a fainter halo. The galaxy is set in a nice field on the edge of an iscoceles triangle bounded by a mag 11 and 12 star to the north and a mag 11.5 star to the SSE. A 4th mag 11.5 star lies only 2' NNW of the galaxy. This galaxy has a much higher surface brightness than NGC 2442, and consequently much easier to pick up and makes a nice target for small scopes set in its nice starfield.

*****************

IC 434/ B33 Horsehead Nebula

The main objective for the evening was to finally attempt the Horsehead Neb. To gauge visibility, I first turned to the Flame Neb, which was quite easy, so the horsehead is in with a shot. Well, with the 17mm LVW (102x) and the H-beta filter in place, I'm glad to say I did see it! IC 434 was almost immediately picked up as a ghostly ribbon of mist. I could even see a slightly brighter strip of light in IC 434's southern end, just south of the Horsehead. The HH itself was just barely there, visible as a dark bay. The distinctive shape obviously was nowhere to be seen, but it was a thrill to actually see this thing from my backyard!

It's neighbouring reflection nebula NGC 2023 was plainly visible surrounding its 8th magnitude star.

below is a sketch of the horsehead:
Attached Thumbnails
Click for full-size image (hh.gif)
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Last edited by pgc hunter; 09-01-2011 at 07:30 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-01-2011, 05:10 PM
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kustard (Simon)
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Very very nice
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Old 10-01-2011, 08:06 PM
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Fantastic report Sab, many thanks. I also very much enjoyed the star descriptions around the objects. One day when I get good enough, I would like to include the surrounding stars in my reports as I feel it really completes the journey. Do you estimate the magnitude yourself or use a book?

As for the H/head, you got to be very happy with what you "saw" from your own backyard at that. I leave that one for the more experienced (for the time being). Elusive, mysterious little thing.
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Old 10-01-2011, 08:55 PM
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One busy night, Sab, and top of with a lovely cherry!
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Old 10-01-2011, 09:05 PM
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Fantastic as always Sab and well done on the HH. Had a try the other night when I was able to get the Flame and Running Man, but thenk the H Beta filter may the the needed accessory, or better eyes, or bigger scope or darker site...........??

Enjoyed the read, glads you are getting out!

Malcolm
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Old 10-01-2011, 09:09 PM
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Love your work Sab
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Old 10-01-2011, 09:09 PM
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Some great observations there Sab. Very impressed that you got the Horse in light polluted area with 12" scope. And as always, amazing what you can see in some faint galaxies. I'm intrigued that NGC2442 is better for you than 1365.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzy View Post
Do you estimate the magnitude yourself or use a book?
Good question - I often wonder this. And how do people estimate size - I find that I'm very hit and miss with this.
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Old 10-01-2011, 11:11 PM
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Congratulations on the HH, and topped it off with a sketch too. Well done.
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Old 10-01-2011, 11:19 PM
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Star magnitudes. I have been including references to mags in my reports for while. What I do is make an estimate myself then compare to the chart to get a clearer idea. I am starting to get reasonable at usually within 2 mags of figure on chart, usually estimate under. I find sometimes I like to spend a few minutes with a well known field, say Orion, Scorpius or Sag and cruise around practicing mag estimates, comparing fainter stars to known brighter stars and checking agianst the charts, should do it more often though. Also having a look at a few doubles helps with getting a feel for magnitudes.

Malcolm
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Old 11-01-2011, 12:32 PM
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Thanks all

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzy View Post
Fantastic report Sab, many thanks. I also very much enjoyed the star descriptions around the objects. One day when I get good enough, I would like to include the surrounding stars in my reports as I feel it really completes the journey. Do you estimate the magnitude yourself or use a book?

As for the H/head, you got to be very happy with what you "saw" from your own backyard at that. I leave that one for the more experienced (for the time being). Elusive, mysterious little thing.
I go on Wikisky to find magnitudes, but Aladdin is more accurate for that purpose. Unfortunately, Aladdin nowadays always seems to be spitting messages at me that I don't have enough memory on my ultra crap craputer so it takes decades to load up Never had this problem before but apparently they upgraded, making it useless in the process



Quote:
Originally Posted by barx1963 View Post
Fantastic as always Sab and well done on the HH. Had a try the other night when I was able to get the Flame and Running Man, but thenk the H Beta filter may the the needed accessory, or better eyes, or bigger scope or darker site...........??

Enjoyed the read, glads you are getting out!

Malcolm
I recommend using the H-beta, it'll make your job much easier. I can't see any sign of it without the H-beta. From your location you'll be able to see it with a H-beta equipped 12", but it is seriously faint/low contrast, think of comparing satin black and flat black paint, and get a good chart so you know exactly where it is relative to the nearby stars. btw, Looks like no observing until months end with all this cloud and moonage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paddy View Post
Some great observations there Sab. Very impressed that you got the Horse in light polluted area with 12" scope. And as always, amazing what you can see in some faint galaxies. I'm intrigued that NGC2442 is better for you than 1365.
From a light polluted locale, NGC 1365 is the biggest dissappointment! All I can see is a low surface brightness, non-descript blob of fluff, but clearly skies are critical in its observation as Orestis showed in his report with his 5". NGC 2442 should be a lovely target from dark skies. It appears to have a higher surface brightness bar than NGC 1365.


Quote:
Good question - I often wonder this. And how do people estimate size - I find that I'm very hit and miss with this.
That's one thing I always wondered aswell. Maybe they use a reticle or one of those micrometer eyepieces, or simply estimate based on the size of the TFOV?
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Old 12-01-2011, 04:57 PM
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For those who want to find star magnitudes, Cartes Du Ciel has a 3-part downloadable UCAC3 catalogue with 100 million stars to magnitude 16, but the downloads are huge, some 500megs each, so a total of 1.5 gig.

See here http://www.ap-i.net/skychart/en/download

http://www.ap-i.net/skychart/en/news/ucac3_catalog
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Old 12-01-2011, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pgc hunter View Post
Unfortunately, Aladdin nowadays always seems to be spitting messages at me that I don't have enough memory on my ultra crap craputer so it takes decades to load up Never had this problem before but apparently they upgraded, making it useless in the process
What a shame pgc, I reckon Aladin v7 is heaps better than the old one. Colour, easily scalable...

Nice obs BTW, congratulations!

Cheers -
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Old 12-01-2011, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob_K View Post
What a shame pgc, I reckon Aladin v7 is heaps better than the old one. Colour, easily scalable...

Nice obs BTW, congratulations!

Cheers -
Yeah it sucks, but like everything else, it is not designed for stone age bloody Flinstone era crash-tastic craputers like mine So I'm going to download those catalogues for Cartes du Ciel, that should cover everything I need.
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Old 17-01-2011, 07:14 AM
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Hi Sab,

Sorry I must of missed this thread somehow,nice observations and Congratulations on grabbing the horsehead,I have yet to try but I think it is beyond my scope but I have been able to clearly see the flame nebula close by.Nice sketch too.

cheers Orestis
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Old 17-01-2011, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orestis View Post
Hi Sab,

Sorry I must of missed this thread somehow,nice observations and Congratulations on grabbing the horsehead,I have yet to try but I think it is beyond my scope but I have been able to clearly see the flame nebula close by.Nice sketch too.

cheers Orestis
Hey Orestis , if you can see the Flame neb, you are in with a shot. Most people regard the visibility of the flame as an indicator for the Horsehead. I've heard reports of people with 4" scopes seeing the HH. I recommend you use a H-beta filter, it really helps alot. If you have a UHC, use it, as it's an improvment over no filter, but the H-beta is superior.

cheers
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Old 24-01-2011, 09:38 PM
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Hi PGC,

Very good report much enjoyed. Very good sketch of the Horsehead Nebula (IC434) that I think is an excellent guide to what it looks like through 12-14" 'scopes -- well done.

Well done too on the NGC 1721 group. I remember looking in on this cluster (I actually do remember looking at them) about 10 years ago with my 31cm. 'bout time I went back for another look -- nice group.


Best,

Les D
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Old 29-01-2011, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob_K View Post
What a shame pgc, I reckon Aladin v7 is heaps better than the old one. Colour, easily scalable...

Nice obs BTW, congratulations!

Cheers -
Finally downloaded the UCAC3 catalogues for cartes du ciel, goes to just beyond 16th mag so should be all I need from now on. So now got 1.5 million galaxies and 100 million plus stars at my disposal, no more messing around with online applets that fail thanks to my flintstone-era computer


Quote:
Originally Posted by ngcles View Post
Hi PGC,

Very good report much enjoyed. Very good sketch of the Horsehead Nebula (IC434) that I think is an excellent guide to what it looks like through 12-14" 'scopes -- well done.

Well done too on the NGC 1721 group. I remember looking in on this cluster (I actually do remember looking at them) about 10 years ago with my 31cm. 'bout time I went back for another look -- nice group.


Best,

Les D
Thanks Les. Someone on another forum remarked that he needed averted vision to see the sketch. My aim was to get the pencil shading as faint as possible within the limitations of this particular medium.
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