Old 24-12-2008, 12:18 AM
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Location: Bright, Vic, Australia
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Obs Report, 23/24 Dec 08

Nice clear night, so set up in the backyard. Cruised all the usual suspects, and saw a few new things. Just a small selection of old & new objects described.

Time: 11:30pm-12:30am, Tues/Wed 23/24 Dec 08 (UT+11)
Location: Bright, Vic
Telescope: Tasco 4.5” f8 reflector on Alt-Az mount
EP: 21mm Celestron X-Cel
Transparency: Good, some milkiness
Seeing: Fair; still conditions

Cetus A (M77), mag 9.7 galaxy in Cetus: Easy to see as a small bright glow behind a tiny field star. Presume this is the core of the galaxy – no dimmer extension visible.

NGC 1055, mag 11.4 galaxy in Cetus: Visible as a ghost of a glow, forming a triangle with two bright stars. Also has a tiny field star over it. Better in averted vision.

NGC 1535, mag 9.6 planetary nebula in Eridanus: Visible in 21mm EP as a tiny, bright, non-stellar object, perhaps with a slight hint of pale blue. Switched to 8mm EP, and it came up as a roundish dim white blob, with ‘ragged’ edges. At times, I thought I could see a tiny central star, but the seeing was playing up a bit.

144P Kushida, mag 10 (?) comet in Aries: Clearly visible as a small dim patch of grey beside two very faint close stars. Nice to get visual on this one, which I’ve photographed a couple of times recently.

M1, Crab Nebula, mag 8.4 planetary nebula in Taurus: Moderately large, oval-shaped glow, quite even. Have had better views of this one.

NGC 2024, Flame Nebula, mag (?) nebula in Orion: Easy to see, with and without Alnitak in the FOV. Dark lanes obvious, providing contrast with surrounding faint bright-nebulosity.

Nova Carinae 2008, mag 10.5 (?) nova in Carina: Again, something I had imaged and nice to get visual on it. Quite faint, no hint of colour. In the general vicinity (a few FOVs around), there are patches of bright nebulosity and and some beautiful open clusters. NGC 3532, a large open cluster, was brilliant!

NGC 2287, open cluster in Canis Major: One of my favourite clusters, fills over half the FOV in 21mm EP, with brilliant tiny stars! Not far from Sirius.

NGC 1904, mag 7.7 globular cluster in Lepus: Large bright centrally-condensed globular, with the dim extent more easily visible in averted vision.

Cheers -
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Old 24-12-2008, 12:38 AM
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ngcles is offline
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Location: Billimari, NSW Central West
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Jealous !

Hi Rob,

Good to hear from you again and good to hear your're still doing some faint but interesting stuff for your aperture range.

I'm jealous because nights in Sydney at this time of year are very frequently cloudy and humid. We had a reasonably clear one last night but I couldn't observe. Tonight we had a southerly and a storm front earlier and it is 100% cloud-out.

Mmmmmm ... NGC 1055 very much a fav at this time of year -- impressed you saw it in 4"!

Even more so, love NGC 1535. Someone fairly recently has "given" this one a "common name" -- the "Eye of Cleopatra". How her eye is different from anyone else's is a bit of mystery to me! Oh how I loathe the sport of dreaming up "common" names.

Here is a 2006 observation of NGC 1535 made with 46cm in very good seeing This is a sensational PNe (well a lot of them are) with serious aperture:

NGC 1535 Planetary Nebula *
RA: 04h 14m 15.8s Dec: -12° 44' 21"
Mag: 9.6 (P) Size: 60.0" Class: 4+2c
Mag C. Star: 12.1 R.V.: ---

x185, x317, x371 (Unfiltered, UHC & OIII)

This is a very bright and lovely simple disc (double-shell) PNe that responds strongly to the use of the UHC and OIII filters, but is probably the most aesthetically pleasing unfiltered in this aperture in these conditions. A circular outer disc about 60" diameter with very diffuse looking edges that grows evenly and slightly to centre. Then there is a strong and abrupt boundary to the inner disc that is 20" diameter -- much brighter but generally dimming weakly to the central * and contains some tiny (<2" dia) slightly darker patches within and a very small dim area just surrounding the central star at magnitude 12. Beautiful smoky-blue colour in the outer halo and brighter blue in the inner halo without the filter. Best at x317 unfiltered. A mag 13 * is in the outskirts 2/3rds of the way to edge on the W.

Love it! Hope to see it again in a few nights!


Les D
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Old 24-12-2008, 08:24 AM
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Stephen & I saw 1535 from Heathcote (ASV dark sky site) last Saturday in my 14". It was an exceptional night, good enough to see the Horsehead. Acting on a tip from an observing book, we cranked up the magnification all the way to 457x (via a Pentax XW 3.5). The concentric shells were beautifully clear. So don't hesitate to pull out those short-focus planetary eyepieces for this object.
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Old 24-12-2008, 09:13 AM

Coen is offline
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Location: Adelaide, Australia
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You mention NGC 2287 (M41) - always a favourite as one of the first objects I tried to hunt for (and succeeded) back when I had my first telescope.

There is a nice cluster near Tau just below the intersection of the "T" that is worth a look. The bright tau in the centre with a cluster all around that handles increase in magnification well. I read somewhere someone likening it to a mother hen surrounded by her chicks - an apt description. Not far is also the very nice double HJ3945 - fainter clone to Beta Cyg.
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Old 24-12-2008, 09:14 AM
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Thanks Les, Phil, Coen! Must admit, objects like NGC 1535 are the only ones that give me a twinge of aperture fever (or more correctly 'aperture envy'!), and thoughts go to one dark night at Snake Valley, cruising a number of small PNs with tnott's 16"! The rest of the time I'm happy with what I've got - there's just so much out there!

Thanks for your wonderful description of 1535 Les, and hope you get to eyeball it again soon!

Cheers -
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Old 24-12-2008, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by ngcles View Post
Someone fairly recently has "given" this one a "common name" -- the "Eye of Cleopatra". How her eye is different from anyone else's is a bit of mystery to me! Oh how I loathe the sport of dreaming up "common" names.
Well Les, it can't be any worse than adopting 'celebrities' in the naming of asteroids! I notice that near-Earth asteroids 17744 Jodiefoster, 19578 Kirkdouglas and 91287 Simon-Garfunkel will have closest approaches on January 3, 12 & 14 respectively!!!!!!

Cheers -
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Old 24-12-2008, 12:36 PM
Licensed to get drunk

Smirnoff is offline
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Hi Rob

nice report! Wets my appetite, but most of the time I'm either too drunk, or too drunk to go out

I've observed NGC 1535 at 625x in a 10" reflector one very good night last year. It was greenish in colour, had a bright inner section with some filamentary structure surrounded by a faint outer halo. Central star was easy, also attempted another star in the halo but that alluded me. One of my fav PNs
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Old 26-12-2008, 03:59 AM
Dylan (Dylan)
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Star watch

Star watching is really interesting and great fun too !
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