Old 18-07-2020, 07:18 AM
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Zubenel (Wes)
Awe and Wonder

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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: SE QLD
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Observation Report 16th June 2020

Observing Report Friday 16th June 2020
I've been chipping away at this one for a couple of weeks but had to get it out as tonight we return for another deep sky adventure.

The weather had been lousy last weekend on the new moon, so option B came into play with Friday night the 29th June 2020 our escape to a dark and hopefully pristine sky. I’d worked an extra 1 ½ hours in the “home Office” so left early after packing “Zamar” and all the accessories that make her work into the 4B the day before. With a tinge of excitement , actually too much excitement as it turned out I made a quick getaway only to take a call from number 2 son while cruising up the freeway “ Hey Dad ,is this your black duffel bag you left behind?“ 20 minutes later I found myself at the same location to when I took the call but now with the winter woollies that would be essential later in the evening.
While the trip out of the burbs took a little longer than planned (Silly me) the promise of a clear cool dark night peering into God’s creative expression melted away any anxiety due to traffic chaos .
As I climbed past Skipper Musk Treehouse lookout the view of the Sunshine coast revealed a little murk on the horizon . This wasn’t going to affect tonight’s proceedings. I traveled through Maleny and the traffic thinned for a pleasant drive North with views to the West looking down into the green Conondale Valley.
At 500 meters above sea level my friend's property looks down on a section of the sunny coast so the sky to the east isn’t perfect at Bortle 3 . but being at that elevation we were well above the murk that I had spied earlier. Climb a bit higher above the Bortle 2 skies revealed the stunning winter Milky Way .
After Phil and Dave arrived, we delayed the set up so that the lush green grass could be mowed to almost bowling green standard. We were most definitely being treated!
Set up came reasonably quickly with banter kept to minimum so we could all concentrate on what needed to be done while the Arc of Venus rose in the East. Phil was excommunicated to the other side of the vehicles due to being an imager. (I need to show him the all red setting on his Ipad)! The brightest stars began to break through the Sun's dimming glow in the atmosphere as it turned from crystal blue to dark blue and eventually black. Time to play. 😊
2-star alignment didn’t give me the pointing accuracy for some unknown reason so 2 more goes and I had it tracking pretty well.
Off into the universe we went.
With the Moon going down reasonably late it was higher in the sky than normal for us as such I used it to get a quick gauge of the seeing. I was somewhat impressed as I could split the central peaks of Crater Theophilus easily.
I favour Western DSO’s early in the session as we all know they won’t be seen till next season so in rough order we observed , The ghost of Jupiter PN, With the seeing so good the Lyra Double Double Epsilon Lyrae was easy with the 9mm Nagler at 282 x magnification showing the almost 90 degree differential in orientation and cleanly splitting the 2 sets of binary stars. One good advantage using a graphical planetary program is you stumble across objects you wouldn’t “discover” otherwise. This time however the open cluster I saw and slewed to was not so spectacular being Stephenson 1 ,with bright Delta 2 Lyrae involved.

While in the vicinity the Ring neb was nice and bright with extra detail and definition being teased out with the UHC filter.

On the Markarian Chain of Galaxies starting with the outlier Virgo A working my was around the curve of these Virgo SuperCluster galaxies I hopped from NGC4478,M88,NGC4477,NGC4443,NGC4458 and to NGC4438 & NGC5535 “The Eyes”. These seemed best through the 9mm Nagler Type 6 which brought out a little extra detail and definition than the 12mm Type 5. The Siamese Twins NGC4568 & NGC4567, M60 and NGC4647 was a nice pairing that I don’t remember viewing . Much more time needs to be spent in this vicinity with unidentified galaxies splattered around. A small slew over in Coma Berenices to the Black Eye galaxy NGC4826 /M64 showed a darkish ….black eye 😊 .. Better views had been had primarily due to the moon low in the West and not that far away.
Dropping back to the 20mm Type 5 we headed South and grabbed an old favourite The Jewel Box . A further reduction in magnification was required as I was itching to try out my new Kson O3 2” filter on the mighty Eta Carina Nebula using my faithful 35mm Panoptic . Wow just Wow. The level of detail in the filaments on the dark lane border near the open Cluster Trumpler 14 was next level not to mention the keyhole nebula. The eye just danced around in an attempt to correlate with my brain what was familiar and what was new. New experiences were being made! I changed the 35mm Panoptic back out after all had cycled through to the 9mm for some up close and personal with the Homunculus Nebula. Some dark areas on the larger lobe were visible and the bipolar jet by this stage was coming in and out a bit . Eta was sliding to the South West by this stage so it wasn’t unexpected that the seeing quality was not as good. Back to the 35mm Panoptic and using the ipad and Sky Safari I gave folks a tour around the great area taking in the Gabriela Mistral nebula, my old observing buddy Ron’s favourite Open cluster The Gem NGC3293. No evidence of the nebula seen in Deep sky photos was evident. Maybe a pipe dream?I haven't come across any reports of such.
Zamar’s long focal length doesn’t play the best with large objects so even the 35panotic doesn’t do NGC3532 justice. This massive open cluster commonly known as the Wishing Well in my opinion looks better through my Home built 10”F5. Literally diamonds in the sky!
The Core was rising from the smallish light band from the Sunny Coast, so Nebulae beckoned. but it seemed a shame to slew over other deep sky wonders. So we stopped off at a very curious Planetary nebula namely NGC5189 in Musca . The Spiral Planetary Nebula was thought to be an emissions Nebula until well into the 60’s. It looks like it could be a disrupted galaxy at a glance. Then I back tracked to ogle at Omega Centauri needing the 35mm Panoptic for a nice setting. Owls Eyes were looking back as usual. Never tire of this object! It’s said that Northern hemisphere observers plan trips down under just to see this object. Thinking about it, if I had the means I probably would too 😊
So, noticing the gas giants were rising nicely I thought I’d leave them a little longer. We then slewed to a not so easily observed Cats Paw Nebula NGC 6334. Without the UHC filter it was nary impossible to detect however on sliding in the UHC filter 2 of the 3 paws came into view with hints the of dimmest and most diffuse along with a slight rise in brightness using averted vision or as Astro Ron calls it, averted imagination haha. the Trifid Nebula, The Lagoon nebula, onto the Swan Nebula and finally the Swan Nebula M17 which has to be of my favourites. We viewed through the Astronomik UHC filter mostly, but I would introduce each without to give a nice comparison and a wow factor also. Finishing off the Emissions nebula” pub” crawl with the Eagle Nebula M16. The Pillars of Creation were visible with high mag and averted vision. On the way back to the Planets I stopped to show Phil one of my all-time favourite Barnard Dark Nebulae. B86, The Ink Spot has to be IMHO one of the greatest. Surrounded and nestled into the Large Sagittarius star cloud and being bordered by Open star Cluster NGC6520 the contrast is vast, beautiful and stunning. I remember this being a lasting image burnt into my mind after a QLD Astrofest . I carried in for weeks!! It also helped at the time, being given a visual challenge from old Astro Ron to view the close by Globular Djorgovski 2 which I was successful through the 10” but didn’t take the time on this occasion
Slewing back to the East I centered on Jupiter. I got excited when the bridge of my nose touched the rubber ring of the 12mm type 5 Nagler . The Great Red Spot seemed more Red than last season but the seeing must have gotten better as the detail within the equatorial bands was like the curves of Picasso’s Starry Night! Swirls and rills and twirls .. Spectacular. Phil exclaimed he had never seen it like that before and this from a man who had been a lifetime observer!
Next was Saturn. In the time we talked about what had just been seen and moving onto Saturn within those few minutes, the seeing turned it into a dinner plate. Unbelievable!! Not much time spent here!
In the meantime the Helix NGC7293 had been steadily rising so a nice view had been had since the moon had set. The UHC filter bringing in some of the extended nebula framed it nicely in the 20mm Type 5 Nagler.
Onto Cygnus and the wonderful Veil Nebula East /West SuperNova remnant complex though the 35mm Panoptic and the UHC filter again. I forget whom I gave the tour too but it was easily accomplished using Sky Safari 5 pro and the IPad controlling Zamar wirelessly.
The dew had descended like rain and everything by now was dripping wet. 1am came quickly by which time saw us packing up , tired but extremely satisfied that Heaven had Declared the Glory of its creator tonight loud and clear.
We kept an open hands-free phone conversation going on the way home to keep us awake. It works very well . Crawling into bed an hour or 2 before dawn was more than worth the effort, drifting off to sleep with stars still in my mind's eye hopping to repeat it again .
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Old 18-07-2020, 07:42 AM
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glenc (Glen)

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I enjoyed reading that Wes.
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Old 18-07-2020, 09:44 AM
nik_ozskyman (Nishant)
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That was a lovely read!
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Old 18-07-2020, 06:06 PM
Saturnine (Jeff)
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That's quite a sky tour, sounds like it was an enjoyable fun night.
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Old 19-07-2020, 01:44 AM
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Hi Wes,

Great read -- looks like you really enjoyed yourself.


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