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Old 02-03-2010, 10:43 PM
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ngcles
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1000th post and Observing Report, 19th Feb 2010 Pt 1 of 2

Hi All,

Well, what better way to celebrate 1000 posts on IIS than with an Observing report? (In fact I've been saving No 1000 up for this very purpose!)

Our usual New Moon Saturday night, which would have been on the 12th February was washed out by a torrent of rain that fell on southern Sydney that weekend. So, desperate for a fix and needing to conduct a some bit of field testing on an eyepiece I'm reviewing .. and being a desperate tragic who needed to make some observations for a specific article about this time next year, as a late decision we took the odds for the 19th even though there would be a 4-day Moon that would set about 10.30pm.

Saturday the 19th was a fairly humid Sydney day and the cloud waxed and waned most of the daylight hours, but by 5pm (at home) it was almost completely clear, so packing the 'scope was a joy.

By the time I got to my spot in the southern highlands at 8pm ... you guessed it, 100% low, slow overcast. I set up defiantly ... and waited impatiently. I was pretty confident we'd get a clearing and we finally did.

When it was almost 10pm a few stars began to poke out and by 10.30pm, it was mainly clear sky. Not bad seeing, not as good as it could be -- but seemed to be slowly improving as the cloud evaporated. Not much dew, no wind.

Mars was as underwhelming as usual -- small, strong polar cap, a bit of detail here and there and spent a bit of time on a few fav PNE like NGC 2392, 3132, 2440 and IC 418 before I went to the Homunculus.

A magnitude estimate put it at 4.5 -- the same as a month ago. At x247 however it seemed to me a little different again ... (I know I seem to report this a lot but I do look at the Homunculus a lot). The brighter lobe has for about a decade had a family of very small dark spots snaking away from the central star. Maybe I've never noticed it before ... maybe it's a contrast effect but there seemed to be a new, very small very dark spot just above Eta so that Eta on that side of the hourglass seems to sit in a tiny black hole. Maybe it's not new, maybe it's just new to me or a "contrast effect" but keep an eye on it folks -- change happens here very quickly (in astronomical time-frames).

That done, I spent about half an hour road-testing an eyepiece and then decided to check out a few galaxies in Hydra before the bit of sky I really wanted to research for a future article was high enough.

So ... here's the galaxies, which included a couple of very nice, small spindle-spirals:

x185 27'

NGC 2561 Galaxy *
RA: 08h 19m 37.2s Dec: +04° 39' 25"
Mag: 14.1 (P) S.B.: ---B-V: --- Size: 1.1'x0.6' Class: SB?
P.A.: 138 Inclination: 5 R.V.: +4073 Source: RC3 *

This is a fairly small eg that isn't too hard to see. Small, slightly elong halo, oval in PA 150 40 x 20" growing broadly and slightly to centre with a small faint stellaring in the centre that is only just visible in the centre of the halo.



x185 27'
x247 20’

NGC 2590 IC 507 Galaxy *
RA: 08h 25m 02.1s Dec: -00° 35' 26"
Mag: 13.9 (B) S.B.: 13.4 B-V: +0.89 Size: 2.2'x0.7'
Class: SA(s)bc: P.A.: 77 Inclination: 6 R.V.: +4990

This one is pretty obvious in the ep, just to to the W of a small RA tri of mag 14 *s that is about the same size of the eg. Reasonable size, lengthened spindle-shaped halo in PA 90, 2' x 15" with a broad slight concentration to the axis nr centre where there is a small, weakly brighter streak-like core zone no real nucleus.



x185 27'

IC 510 Multi-Galaxy Sys *
RA: 08h 32m 10.8s Dec: -02° 09' 45"
Mag: 14.7 S.B.: --- B-V: --- Size: 1.0'x0.6' Class: SB
P.A.: 150 Inclination: --- R.V.: --- Source: RC3 *

This is a very small, faint and non-descript eg, no more than about 20" diameter, round patch 20" diameter grows slightly to centre without zones, core or apparent nucleus. No stars of note nearby or involved.



x185 27'

IC 514 Galaxy *
RA: 08h 35m 22.3s Dec: -02° 02' 49"
Mag: 15.3 S.B.: --- B-V: --- Size: 0.4'x0.3' Class:
P.A.: 166 Inclination: --- R.V.: --- Source: PGC *

This is a pretty tiny, extremely faint eg pretty much at threshold. There is a narrow "V" or "U"-shaped asterism of 6-7 *s open to the SSE just above it to the N that takes up a fair part of the field, mags 11 to 13th. The eg is toward the open end of the asterism. 15" diameter ephemeral scrap of haze with no structure apart from a weak central brightening.



x185 27'

IC 517 Galaxy *
RA: 08h 36m 22.2s Dec: -02° 03' 20"
Mag: 15.4 S.B.: ---B-V: --- Size: 0.5'x0.2' Class:
P.A.: 39 Inclination: --- R.V.: --- Source: PGC *

This is in a field adjacent to IC 514 (previous) and is basically similar in appearance. Very tiny ephemeral scrap of haze, maybe slightly larger, approaching 20-30" diameter brightening slightly to centre without nucleus.



x185 27'

NGC 2616 Galaxy *
RA: 08h 35m 34.1s Dec: -01° 50' 56"
Mag: 13.5 (B) S.B.: --- B-V: +0.99 Size: 1.5'x1.2'
Class: SAB(rs)0^? P.A.: 145 Inclination: --- R.V.: +9000 Source: RC3 *

IC 515 Galaxy *
RA: 08h 35m 31.3s Dec: -01° 54' 03"
Mag: 15.3 S.B.: --- B-V: --- Size: 1.1'x0.6' Class: S
P.A.: 30 Inclination: --- R.V.: --- Source: PGC *

IC 516 Galaxy *
RA: 08h 35m 50.7s Dec: -01° 52' 16"
Mag: 15.7 S.B.: --- B-V: --- Size: --- Class:
P.A.: --- Inclination: --- R.V.: --- Source: PGC *

PGC 24135 Galaxy *
RA: 08h 35m 41.7s Dec: -01° 45' 24"
Mag: 15.1 S.B.: --- B-V: --- Size: 0.8'x0.7' Class: Sb
P.A.: --- Inclination: --- R.V.: --- Source: PGC *

Of this group of four eg's, the dominant member is the NGC object. NGC 2616, not hard to see, no worse than mod faint, no more than 40" diameter, round with a * appended off the southern edge of the halo -- mag 15. Round, 30-40" diameter growing broadly and slightly to centre with no apparent nucleus.

IC 515 and -516 are to the S and ESE by about 3' each and look virtually identical, about 20" diameter, round growing broadly and slightly to centre. Both are faint. PGC 24135 is similar, but a little fainter and of lower SB to NGC 2616's N by 6'.



x185 27'
x247 20’

NGC 2618 Galaxy *
RA: 08h 35m 53.7s Dec: +00° 42' 25"
Mag: 13.0 (P) S.B.: --- B-V: --- Size: 2.4'x1.9' Class: (R')SA(rs)ab
P.A.: 140 Inclination: 1 R.V.: --- Source: RC3 *

This eg forms the RA of a RA tri with two =br *s to its NNW and ENE mags 10. The tri is about 2-3' long. Occasionally with DV it almost seems like a fuzzy star, with A.V it seems about 1.5' diameter low SB patch of haze growing slightly to centre but at centre is a small mag 15 stellaring surrounded with a little fuzz. Nice.



x185 27'

NGC 2662 Galaxy *
RA: 08h 45m 32.0s Dec: -15° 07' 18"
Mag: 14.5 S.B.: --- B-V: --- Size: 0.8'x0.8' Class: E
P.A.: 38 Inclination: --- R.V.: --- Source: PGC *

This isn't hard to see at all. There are two stars with which this eg forms a "hockey-stick" style asterism that looks like Alpha, Beta and Gamma Areitis (with the eg in the position of Gamma. Very small round eg, 30" diameter grows mod and evenly to centre where occasionally you get the hint of a very faint spot in the centre. Very diffuse edges.



x185 27'

NGC 2690 Galaxy *
RA: 08h 52m 38.2s Dec: -02° 36' 10"
Mag: 14.0 (P) S.B.: --- B-V: --- Size: 1.8'x0.4' Class: Sab: sp
P.A.: 19 Inclination: 6 R.V.: --- Source: RC3 *

This is a fairly small well defined spindle shaped eg in about PA 30, probably 1-1.25' x 10" growing broadly and mod to the axis nr centre where there is a small round or possibly oval in the same PA slightly brighter core but no apparent nucleus. Pretty easily picked up, reasonable SB.



x185 27'

NGC 2706 Galaxy *
RA: 08h 56m 12.3s Dec: -02° 33' 47"
Mag: 13.8 (P) S.B.: --- B-V: --- Size: 1.8'x0.5' Class: Sbc? sp
P.A.: 167 Inclination: 6 R.V.: --- Source: RC3 *

This eg is a couple of arc-mins W of a mag 12 * and pretty much in PA 0. The halo seems just a little longer on the N side. Spindle shaped eg about 1.5' x 10" growing broadly and slightly to the axis nr centre but no real core or nucleus. It seems to be that the N end is a little bigger (longer) than the S end.



x185 27'

NGC 2723 Galaxy *
RA: 09h 00m 14.2s Dec: +03° 10' 41"
Mag: 14.2 (P) S.B.: --- B-V: --- Size: 0.9' Class: S0^:
P.A.: --- Inclination: 1 R.V.: +3725 Source: RC3 *

This is a very small eg about 20" diameter, reasonable but not good SB. Round, growing slightly at first, but nearer centre more moderately to centre, but no real core, or zones. There is a mag 13.5 * just off the E edge, maybe 20" from centre and another fainter point just off the NW edge.

Cont ...
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  #2  
Old 02-03-2010, 10:44 PM
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ngcles
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1000th post and Observing Report, 19th Feb 2010 Pt 2 of 2

Pt 2 Cont …

x185 27'

NGC 2729 Galaxy *
RA: 09h 01m 28.7s Dec: +03° 43' 17"
Mag: 14.4 (P) S.B.: --- B-V: --- Size: 0.7'x0.4' Class: S0?
P.A.: 1 Inclination: --- R.V.: --- Source: RC3 *

This eg is more or less N from a mag 9-10 pair by about 3', they are in about PA 60 with about 20-30" sep (this is an unrecorded pair). Fairly LSB spot of haze about 30" diameter, round, grows broadly and slightly to centre without core or nucleus.



x185 27'

NGC 2729 Galaxy *
RA: 09h 01m 28.7s Dec: +03° 43' 17"
Mag: 14.4 (P) S.B.: --- B-V: --- Size: 0.7'x0.4' Class: S0?
P.A.: 1 Inclination: --- R.V.: --- Source: RC3 *

This eg is more or less N from a mag 9-10 pair by about 3', they are in about PA 60 with about 20-30" sep (this is an unrecorded pair). Fairly LSB spot of haze about 30" diameter, round, grows broadly and slightly to centre without core or nucleus.



x185 27'

IC 2420 Galaxy *
RA: 08h 51m 33.8s Dec: +03° 06' 02"
Mag: 15.0 S.B.: --- B-V: --- Size: 0.4'x0.4' Class: C
P.A.: --- Inclination: --- R.V.: --- Source: PGC *

This is a very tiny and very faint eg probably less than 15", nothing more than a tiny, consistent SB scrap of round gossamer.



x185 27'

IC 2432 Galaxy *
RA: 09h 04m 39.5s Dec: +05° 30' 43"
Mag: 15.5 S.B.: --- B-V: --- Size: 0.6'x0.3' Class:
P.A.: 128 Inclination: --- R.V.: --- Source: PGC *

This is again a very, very faint and tiny eg about 15" diameter, round and no evidence of central brightening and of consistent, very low SB. No stars associated.



x185 27'

IC 525 Galaxy *
RA: 09h 01m 22.6s Dec: -01° 51' 10"
Mag: 15.0 S.B.: --- B-V: --- Size: 1.0'x0.3' Class: S
P.A.: 11 Inclination: 6 R.V.: --- Source: PGC

This eg is in a pretty blank part of the field that is dominated by a long straggling chain of mag 10-12 * to its south. Probably slightly elong oval in about PA 0, 20" across if that, patch of consistent SB weak milk with no real central brightening.



That done, my thoughts turned to elsewhere. A short peek at Saturn turned into 15 minutes – the seeing was getting nice and I then lined up the first object I wanted to research, completed a very detailed observation and looked up to see …

CLOUD … forming everywhere at once. It wasn’t coming from anywhere. It didn’t seem to be going anywhere it just popped into existence in the same way as a large bar-tab (apologies to Douglas Adams). The sky went from 80% clear to 0% clear in what seemed like 2 minutes flat! Yes, all cloud is annoying, but this was particularly irritating because it was very low, thin enough to just see 1st magnitude stars through (but nothing else) and completely stationary. And, it stayed that way until we gave up the fight at 2.45am and packed up.

Of course, half-way through the disassemble and pack, a few breaks here and there started to appear and by the time everything was stowed, we set out for home under a pristine sky.

Astronomy is a hard mistress, is it not?

Anyways, 2 nice hours is better than 0 hours, isn’t it?

Thanks for putting up with me for the last 2 ˝ years on this forum and in particular thank you to those who regularly post here in the Observations Forum for you friendship.


Best,

Les D
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Old 03-03-2010, 07:09 AM
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Lismore Bloke (Paul)
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Yes indeed, what a way to celebrate 1000 posts than with an outstanding report. Congratulations Les. Hydra is a great area for galaxies, if you have the dark sky and aperture to see some of the fainter ones. Thanks for your advice and encouragement, I personally have gained much from that, and I am sure the other visual observers here will agree. So much more to learn though. That's the great thing about visual observing, it really is a journey of discovery, one that we can see with our own eyes rather than via cameras and technology. It still blows me away that I can gaze on a galaxy millions of k's away.
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Old 03-03-2010, 08:18 AM
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Congratulations of 1000 posts Les!!
Thank you also for the knowledge you pass on in your posts, much appreciated
Wow ... that was a lot of viewing, despite early cloud
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Old 03-03-2010, 08:46 AM
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Yes, thanks Les for 1000 interesting & informative posts! Your observations are building a massive database on IIS for visual observers now and in the future, and your meticulously crafted and well thought out replies on other threads regarding clarifications or as responses to queries are always a joy to read. Thanks for sharing! Dare I say it, but your 1000 posts are more like 10,000 when compared to the average information content/post on this forum, LOL! 20,000 compared to mine!

Great report again - ain't cloud wonderful? The capricious behaviour of clouds (clearing when you've packed up or given up, or in a broken sky the object you're after ALWAYS being behind cloud) is the only tangible evidence I've seen for a Supreme Being, albeit a vengeful and petty one. Anyway, I'll leave the rest to SAB on that subject...

Cheers -
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Old 03-03-2010, 09:44 AM
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What a report!!
Extra credit for slipping in the Doug Adams reference.
I've always enjoyed your posts.
Congratulations on the milestone.
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Old 03-03-2010, 10:55 AM
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Good stuff Les, your posts are always packed with a lot detail
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Old 03-03-2010, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob_K View Post
Yes, thanks Les for 1000 interesting & informative posts! Your observations are building a massive database on IIS for visual observers now and in the future, and your meticulously crafted and well thought out replies on other threads regarding clarifications or as responses to queries are always a joy to read. Thanks for sharing! Dare I say it, but your 1000 posts are more like 10,000 when compared to the average information content/post on this forum, LOL! 20,000 compared to mine!

Great report again - ain't cloud wonderful? The capricious behaviour of clouds (clearing when you've packed up or given up, or in a broken sky the object you're after ALWAYS being behind cloud) is the only tangible evidence I've seen for a Supreme Being, albeit a vengeful and petty one. Anyway, I'll leave the rest to SAB on that subject...

Cheers -
haha thanks Rob.... that actually happened to me once...it clouded over just after the session started, and as soon as I packed *everything* in............... clear as a freaking bell for the rest of the night. My blood pressure was about 9999 over 999....

Anyway, another excellent report Les, and what better way to polish off the ol' grand! i totally agree with you on Mars, too low and tiny to be interesting, always just a boiling blob here. We'll have to wait until 2018 to get the biggest opposition...almost directly overhead in Capricornus!

I've noticed those dark spots in the Homunculus aswell. The brighter Eta seems to drown out the light of the nebula making it somewhat more difficult to observe than before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ngcles View Post
CLOUD … forming everywhere at once. It wasn’t coming from anywhere. It didn’t seem to be going anywhere it just popped into existence in the same way as a large bar-tab (apologies to Douglas Adams). The sky went from 80% clear to 0% clear in what seemed like 2 minutes flat! Yes, all cloud is annoying, but this was particularly irritating because it was very low, thin enough to just see 1st magnitude stars through (but nothing else) and completely stationary. And, it stayed that way until we gave up the fight at 2.45am and packed up.

Of course, half-way through the disassemble and pack, a few breaks here and there started to appear and by the time everything was stowed, we set out for home under a pristine sky.

Astronomy is a hard mistress, is it not?
That is a well known phenomenon known as the "Melbourne factor".


Quote:
Anyways, 2 nice hours is better than 0 hours, isn’t it?
Yes.

Quote:
Thanks for putting up with me for the last 2 ˝ years on this forum and in particular thank you to those who regularly post here in the Observations Forum for you friendship.


Best,

Les D
Putting up with ya.....howz about enjoying your reports and contributions
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Old 03-03-2010, 10:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lismore Bloke View Post
Yes indeed, what a way to celebrate 1000 posts than with an outstanding report. Congratulations Les. Hydra is a great area for galaxies, if you have the dark sky and aperture to see some of the fainter ones. Thanks for your advice and encouragement, I personally have gained much from that, and I am sure the other visual observers here will agree. So much more to learn though. That's the great thing about visual observing, it really is a journey of discovery, one that we can see with our own eyes rather than via cameras and technology. It still blows me away that I can gaze on a galaxy millions of k's away.
Amen! Our eyes can't hang up, get errors or crash either
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:52 PM
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Les, congratulations on reaching the 1000 posts Milestone
And a 1000 informative posts they have been
I look forward to more of your observing reports which from time to time I print off and take to the eyepiece for a good night of DEEP SKY observing
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Old 05-03-2010, 08:48 PM
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Congratulations Les on 1000 posts and another great report. As others have said your posts are true gems. Not only are they very illuminating, but you provide constant support and encouragement. Looking forward to reading many more of them!
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