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Old 24-09-2011, 05:49 AM
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Obs Report 21-22/9/11

Obs Report 21-22/9/11
Hi everyone,
I have been having great weather lately and couldn’t resist the temptation to do some quality observing under such pristine conditions although the seeing was quite bad.

Only about an hour after sunset I sought out my first target-

M57-Easily found between the 2 bright stars of the lyra’s parallelogram. At low power the ring shape is very prominent. The ring is elongated N-S. The middle (inside) of the ring has a hazy uniform brightness. The East and West parts of the ring are clearly brighter than the north and south ends.

IC 1296-Closeby to M57 located in between a trapezium like asterism. It is at the threshold of visibility and appears as a very faint smudge of light. Magnitude 14.8

Albireo-I have to say that this is my most favoured double stars to observe because of its vivid colour contrast and easy separation. The Primary is of Golden colour and the secondary of light blue appearance

NGC 7479-I decided to check out this galaxy after reading Paddy’s account of it but unfortunately the conditions were not up to it. It was low in the sky about 15* off the horizon and in the skyglow of Sydney, I think this is why I was unable to spot any spiral structure. The core and bar of the galaxy are easy to spot, the core is not star like but an elongated brightening of the bar. The bar is orientated N-S. No other detail observed.

Veil Supernova Remnant-At First this nebula seemed very faint but after a while the structure and detail appeared. The Western end of the Veil comes out of 52 Cygni a bright orange star.52 glows in the haze, the nebulosity crawls towards the south in a wavy finger structure. This is quite large filling the 26mm fov. The Eastern end of the Veil nebula is huge covering more than the 32mm fov ,It bulges towards the west with fair curvature .It has varying brightness with some bright regions of the arc showing up. There are many field stars adding to the immensity of the nebula. Observing the Nebula is very rewarding and after some time more and more detail is visible .Now, I wonder how this would look like though a UHC or O111.

NGC 253-IT has been quite a while since I have observed this amazing galaxy, and that was through the 5’’, so I was excited to observe it through the 12’’.Easily seen through the 8x50 finderscope as an elongated smudge. Low power frames the galaxy beautifully, It is elongated E-W, there is a bright almost stellar core. The whole galaxy is peppered in bright knots of nebulosity. The east side of the galaxy is significantly fainter than the western side. There is also little detail observed on the eastern side while the western side has an abundance of detail. There are 2 stars imbedded in the nebulosity to the west and east of the core to the side. There is significant mottling seen near the core with many bright HII regions and some dark strips which may be dark lanes. This has to be the most detailed galaxy that I have observed to date.

NGC 55-Since I observed Ngc 253 I thought I’ll give Ngc 55 a shot. Again low power bests frames this galaxy as it just as big in apparent size to Ngc 253.There is no distinct core but central brightening, it is Elongated SE-NW. This is an unusual edge on galaxy in which the core is not in the middle of the 2 sides of the galaxy with the Eastern side being almost twice as long as the Western side. The Eastern side fades out the further away from the core. Close to the Core on the eastern end there are 2 major bright regions and a few others further out. The western end has almost no bright regions but has a greater uniform brightness than the its eastern counterpart. This is another galaxy with an abundance of detail, sensational.

Uranus-Seeing conditions were quite bad and not much was visible for Uranus, a nice blue green disk. I think I may have spotted one of its moons as a tiny dot nearby to the disk but I’m not sure.

And so concludes the first nights worth of observing, and here is the 22/9/11 observations.

Pavo Galaxy Group- I thought of observing this galactic cluster after viewing an awesome image of the barred spiral Ngc 6872, though the limitations of the Human eye aswell as the telescope led to a negative observation of the arms. Steve Gottleib doesn’t mention them in his observations using a 18’’ scope. Still it was a chance for me to explore the galaxies of this region. I can fit all visible members within the FOV of my 26mm EP. The centre of the group is home to the brightest member Ngc 6876 a giant elliptical galaxy with a star like core, it had a bright star very close to its border. Not far to the East of Ngc 6876 is located Ngc 6877 a fairly bright roughly circular smudge of light. To the east of this, a little further out is located Ngc 6880 a quite bright galaxy elongated (SW-NE).To the NW of the main elliptical is the Barred spiral Ngc 6872, though all I could see is its bar orientated E-W pointing towards a fairly bright star and also a bright star like core imbedded in the bar. Directly to the North of the Bar of Ngc 6872 is IC 4970 a small patch of light. So all in all I observed 5 members of this galactic gathering and it was a lot of fun.

Also did some more casual observing cruising the Milkyway, great to be under the stars again but unfortunately it was short lived with a heavy blanket of clouds arriving yesterday afternoon as if they knew I wanted to observe.

Thanks for reading
Regards Orestis

Last edited by orestis; 28-09-2011 at 09:47 AM. Reason: spacing
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Old 24-09-2011, 10:49 PM
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michaellxv (Michael)
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Good to some reports coming in. I have been a bit slack lately and haven't been out for a while. I'm about to go out for a quick peek at Jupiter.

Great report, I get lots of ideas for targets reading through yours and others reports.
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Old 25-09-2011, 07:37 AM
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madbadgalaxyman (Robert)
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Orestis,

I was most impressed with the detail of your observations of NGC 253.

It would not surprise me if you were actually seeing dust lanes in this high surface brightness (by galaxy standards) object. (On perfect nights, I was sometimes able to glimpse the major dust lanes in M31)

I am not certain if the knots and "HII regions" you reported seeing are actually nebulae.
It does seem much more likely to me that, at the very limited angular resolution of the eye's "Rod" detectors (which is what causes the "fuzzy" appearance of galaxies in the eyepiece), the smallest features that we can visually detect in NGC 253 are likely to be:
- spiral arm segments
- star clouds
- and , perhaps, complexes which contain several giant nebulae together with their embedded clusters and stellar associations.

However, I am prepared to "eat my words", if necessary, as your retina seems to be inordinately sensitive, and perhaps the detectors in your retina that you use for night vision are more closely spaced than they are in other people!!

cheers, bad galaxy man

My impression, from photographs, is that the HII regions evident in NGC 253 are actually small;
hence my comment that they may be beyond the ability of the dark-adapted eye's resolution.

Perhaps it is best to compare our visual observations with a fairly modest photo of this galaxy:

Click image for larger version

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You see what I mean about seeing spiral arm segments and star clouds instead of individual objects within NGC 253?

Last edited by madbadgalaxyman; 25-09-2011 at 09:58 AM. Reason: more info
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Old 25-09-2011, 12:34 PM
SteveG (Steve)
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Great report Orestis. I was very impressed with your sighting of IC 1296 near M57, particularly in what you described as poor seeing. I consider it an observing challenge in a 14" to 18" scope from 36 degrees North latitude!

Here's how IC 1296 appeared to me in a 48-inch Dobsonian from Fort Davis, Texas a few months back --

At 375x this low surface brightness galaxy near M57 was visible with direct vision as a faint, fairly small, round, glow with a very small bright core and diffuse halo. At 488x it appeared fairly faint, fairly small, 40" diameter with a round, very small bright nucleus. Surprisingly, two faint, spiral arms were just visible extending from the nucleus! A brighter arm is attached at the south side and winds counterclockwise towards the SW. It was often visible with averted vision. The fainter arm on the north side curving NE required more effort and was only occasionally visible but confirmed. A mag 13.8 star is close west (26" W of center).

I have a short article on the Pavo Galaxy group (around NGC 6876) at Adventures in Deep Space with observing notes for 8 of the members.

See http://www.astronomy-mall.com/Advent...ce/sogalgr.htm

Steve Gottlieb
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Old 26-09-2011, 09:29 AM
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Paddy (Patrick)
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Superb observations and report Orestis. You have done well with some very faint stuff and teased a great amount of detail out of NGC 253. I can well imagine that NGC 7479 won't reveal spiral arms with sky glow to the north. You'll just have to come to the Border Stargaze next year. A perfect sky for northern objects! And very nicely written.
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Old 28-09-2011, 06:03 AM
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Thanks guys,

Madbadgalaxyman-You are most likely right they are probably star clouds instead of HII regions,but then if it is patchy like then it must mean there are a lot of star clouds or the dark lanes are blocking out the light.

SteveG-Thank you for your reply,Ic 1296 looks nothing more to me than a faint smudge,but your description of it from texas is awesome,Seeing arms in such a low surface brightness object.Wow.Aperture rules.

thanks again guys
regards Orestis
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