Old 26-02-2012, 03:22 PM
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Observation Report, 24 Feb 2012

Time: 11pm-12pm, Fri 24 Feb 2012 (UT+11)
Location: Bright, Vic
Telescope: Tasco 4.5" f8 reflector on Alt-Az mount
EPs: 8mm & 21mm Celestron X-Cel (43x and 112x)
Transparency: Fair-good, some very light haze making and breaking
Seeing: Fair-poor

Fixed my broken red-dot finder and took the scope out to do an alignment – sky reasonably good so it would have been a shame to waste it! No charts, just a bit of a cruise around.

Planetary nebulae:
NGC 3918, Blue Planetary in Centaurus: Took a punt on the position of this pn and it took me a while to find it. At 43x tiny but obviously not star-like. At 112x a larger disc with no detail visible. Quite bright but I was disappointed that I didn’t seem to pick up the usual bluish tint.
NGC 3132, Eight-Burst Planetary in Vela: Also took a punt on the position of this and lucked out with the pn dead centre of field! At 43x just a tiny fuzzy-looking star but at 112x showed the bright central star in a nice white shroud, averted vision strengthening the view. Lovely object but seeing was rippling the edges a little. Often think of the high-mag view of the delicate shell structure through Tim Nott’s big scope at Snake Valley a few years ago – stunning!

Just did a cruise around a few of the ‘biggies’! NGC 5236, Southern Pinwheel Galaxy or M83 in Hydra was quite nice, a large face-on galaxy that was showing a decent amount of faint extension. I viewed NGC 4594, Sombrero Galaxy or M104 in Virgo at 43x and 112x, nice & strong in both views and with the dark lane faintly visible in averted vision. NGC 5128, Centaurus A in Centaurus, was fairly underwhelming although the ‘Pacman’ small-scope view was clear with the dark lane penetrating one side. NGC 4945 in Centaurus looked great, a large ghostly ‘cigar’.

Open clusters:
Viewed a few of the best that Carina has to offer. Can’t go past NGC 3532, a large dense bright cluster that must be one of the best in the night sky. NGC 3766 was smaller but showed a lovely depth to it – nice and dense with a flush of bright stars and the tiny pinpricks of dimmer stars seemingly beneath. NGC 2516 out from the False Cross has a rich collection of bright stars. All viewed at 43x. If I’d had my 40mm EP out with me I’d have also viewed 3532 & 2516 through that.

Globular clusters:
NGC 5139, Omega Centauri in Centaurus, what else!?! Viewed at 43x and 112x, what a wonderful object, a lustrous sparkling cocoon of millions of stars! Saw NGC 4590 in Hydra, a moderately condensed, small bright globular, as well as NGC 4372 and NGC 4833 in Musca. Love the Musca globulars, such contrast between the two in size and condensation.

Finished off with Mars and Saturn but not much to see with focus difficult to get at 112x because of the seeing. However it was my first view of Saturn for the ‘season’ and wonderful to see the ring plane opened further. I managed to glimpse some banding on the disc but the Cassini Division was a bit out of reach under the conditions.

Cheers -

Last edited by Rob_K; 04-03-2012 at 10:17 PM. Reason: Wrong number for gc in Hydra...
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Old 26-02-2012, 04:00 PM
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Shark Bait (Stu)
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Nice observation report Rob. I am going to have to start keeping a decent log of what I observe.

I saw NGC 3132 with my own eyes for the first time a week ago. The seeing was unusually good and I was surprised how much more could be seen with the use of an OIII filter and averted vision. The temptation to look directly at the object is hard to resist though. PN's will be on the menu from now on.
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Old 02-03-2012, 08:44 PM
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Paddy (Patrick)
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Sounds a very enjoyable evening Rob and well described.
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Old 02-03-2012, 09:43 PM
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Thanks Stu & Patrick. Pity the supernova in NGC 4945 had faded off to beyond the reach of my scope.

Cheers -
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Old 03-03-2012, 01:04 PM
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Thanks for posting your obs Rob. I agree with you on Centaurus A, I never found it to be particularly "in your face", even with an 8". Ofcourse, the dark lane is interesting but because the galaxy is low surface brightness, it is not quite as superlative as the folks on CN make it out to be
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Old 03-03-2012, 02:34 PM
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Looks like you had a great night Rob. Was that globular M68 = NGC 4590?
NGC 3132 is a great PN.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:15 PM
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Thanks pgc & Glen.

Originally Posted by glenc View Post
Was that globular M68 = NGC 4590?
Oops, yeah, typo there, thanks Glen. Will alter first post.

Cheers -
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