Old 23-05-2009, 09:28 PM
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Observation report 22/5/09

THE FIRST CLEAR NIGHT IN MONTHS!!! The DSE have ruined the last 3 new moons (to the hell with them), and then it's been cloudy and foggy and whatnot.....thus this was my SECOND night out this YEAR!

By a pure twist of fate, I wasn't rostered on to work this evening (normally I would be - and I would've finished at midnight), so, with a DSE-free sky and nothing to do tomorrow, I grabbed the oppurtunity like it was a battle between life and death. With a new moon, the scope of choice was my 12" dob, which has been sitting idle for literaly months.

Right, so I drag the 40 kilo beast on a rug outta my bedroom,out the door, through a dog infested deck, down 4 stairs and finally to rest in my little courtyard. The neigbours, who are notorious for blaring their lights for their stupid little dogs have put up a wall, which largely blocks their damn light. Hooorayy!!. Well it still lights the tall trees around my place, but it's much les worse than before. I hate my neighbours, but I thank them for this ugly wall they have erected...it's a disgusting piece of usless crap but hell it blocks most of their lights out

The 12" dob has been left to cool for 3 hours while I watch TV and eating Subway.....Now, the seeing was excellent by Melbourne standards, reaching 0/10, but transparency might've been dodgy judging by the grey/brown murk I spotted on the horizon during sunset. However, I had the impression that transparency ended up being quite good, although some of that might've been a false impression caused by the rich Carina-Scorpious- Sagittarius MilkyWay being directly overhead (which I havent seen for a year).

scope...12" dob
time: 9:30pm - 3:30am
seeing; 0/10
Transparency: 3/5

First Target....the NGC 3576 complex. Quite an awesome region located SE of the Eta Carinae Neb. The 12" resolved 5 components at 176x. The brightest was located at the southernmost point of the complex, and was distinctly wedge-shaped in appearance, with the point aiming towards the south. A mag 10 star lies just to the east. This region of nebulosity forms a chain with 2 other bright knots oriented North-south. The northernmost component is elongated N-S and curls and tapers off in a NW direction. A faint 4th blob is located just to the west of the main complex, and an fainter 5th blob lies just to the east of the brightest wedge-shaped component, on the opposite side of a 10th mag star. A dark lane was evident across the main structure, seperating the middle from the northernmost component of the nebulosity.

NGC 5170
Edge on galaxy in Virgo. 217x - faintishg, hint of needle-like structure, bright elongated core region in a NW/SE direction.

NGC 5746
217x - bright, large strongly elonged in a N-S direction, needle like extensions hinted at.

NGC 5084
Galaxy....Pretty tiny at low mags, although higher power revealed a bulging core and E-W extensions with averted vision. Nearby companion PGC 46489 seen with averted vision at 283x.

NGC 5792
217x - Non-descript ball of fuzz located just SE of a mag 9.5 star.

"Bug" Nebula NGC 6302
283x - very bright and large planetary nebula in scorpius. Elongated E-W, has a very bright central region, with what appears to be a dark lane cuttiing off the the eastern 1/3rd. The OIII filter revealed a bright knot in "detached" western 3rd, a filament stretching from the southern side of the bright core to the Northwest, and a second fainter filament stretching from the the northern side of the core to the northwest.

NGC 6357
Nebula in Scorpious....83x with UHC filter... small, bright elongated patch just northwest of Mag 7 star, and directly north of a mag 11 double star. Southern side has a sharply defined edge whereas the northern side is more diffuse. Higher magnifications ruined the view.

NGC 6334
Another nebulosity in Scorpius. At 64x with a UHC filter, a faintish haze could be seen around three mag 9-11 stars, arranged in a triangle with the top point pointing southeast.

NGC 6337
217x with UHC filter....planetary nebula in Scorpius, an almost perfect ring! The N/NE edge appeared slightly brighter than the rest of the ring, with a bright star just inside the NE edge of the ring. Increasing the magnification (despite horrid seeing) to 353x with the UHC filter revealed a brighter knot on the southwestern portion of the ring.

NGC 6445, "little Gem" nebula
At 217x, this planetary in Sagittarius appeared as a "squashed" ring, rectangular in shape, with the long axis orientated in a NW/SE direction. The interior is not quite hollow, being brighter than the background sky outside the nebula. With the OIII filter, the NW end appeared slightly brighter than the rest of the nebula.

NGC 6781
A large planetary in Aquila. 217x with OIII filter.... roughly circular, quite large and responds well to the OIII filter. I go the impression that this object featured a thick ring structure, but with the the southern, western and eastern sides of the ring are much brighter and thicker than the northern portion. The donut hole was clearly displaced toward the north and the inner "hollow" regions are brighter than the background sky.

By now it was 3am and I was getting tired...it felt good being under the stars again , I completely forgot what it was like thanks to Melbourne's disgusting horrible weather and those evil DSE crackpots.....

Last edited by pgc hunter; 23-05-2009 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 24-05-2009, 08:09 AM
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Lismore Bloke (Paul)
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Great report pgc hunter!

Glad to see that you had a good night for a change. We've still got the remnants of that flood-causing weather system hanging around. Plus a house that reeks because of sodden carpets that won't dry out.

What eyepieces do you use with your 12?
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Old 24-05-2009, 11:14 AM
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Glad you got to observe

Hi PGC & All,

A very good report much enjoyed. Sydney last night 23052009 (and I assume the SPSP) was all clouds so I guess we got the "Melbourne" weather.

What (who) is a "DSE crackpot??"

Yes, the NGC 3576 complex is a very nice target for medium-sized and large 'scopes and shows quite a bit of detail at moderate magnifications and particularly with a UHC filter.

NGC's 5170 and 5746 are very much favourite galaxies of mine too. Under a slightly better sky with 12" you will probably be able to make out the dust-lane in -46 at med-high magnifications. In 12" about x200 will work well. You will probably only see it adjacent to the core -- not so far out into the halo. Under a mag 5 sky in suburbia I could just make it out in my old 10". Not so hard under a "nearly dark" sky.

Also love NGC 6781, 6337 and 6302. Good to see you saw considerable detail in these objects. -81 as you have noted does have a displaced annular "hole" generally north -- I saw it displaced to the NW but it isn't particularly easy to judge directions in the EP in a dob. Well done!

6337 is certainly up there in my fav 5 PNe. Its thin ring appearance (unlike M57 which is a thick ring) and the line of stars across the centre is simply lovely.

Thanks for posting your observations -- I enjoy reading them! Hope you get some more clear nights.


Les D
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Old 24-05-2009, 12:57 PM
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G'day Lismore and NGCles,

Sorry to hear about your house Lismore Bloke, everyone is beating their chests about how we need rain blah blah blah, but too much of that is just as bad as a drought.....atleast in a drought your property won't be damaged....

I use Vixen LVWs in my 12". Great eyepieces, all focal lengths can be used in either 1.25" or 2" mode which to me is important because some of them don't reach focus at 1.25" in my scope, and they recieve overwhelmingly favourable reviews. Only problem is that they are hand grenades, but on my 12" weight is not an issue

NGCles, thanks for your comments I was mostly flying by the seat of my pants as my observation list which I drew up last month has become obselete thanks to weeks of Melbourne cloud and DSE horror. By the way, DSE stands for "Department of Sustainability and Environmnent", and these are the culprits for filling our skies with smoke over the last few months

I reckon NGC 3576 would be quite famous if it were placed in say the northern sky and not overshadowed by its obvious glorious neighbours in a region of the sky only accessable to only a lucky few percent of the worlds amatuer astronomers It is quite a spectacular object and certainly one of the most interesting and unique nebulae I have observed. Nearby NGC 3603 is very interesting aswell, with it's dark globule but needs good seeing and high mag to be fully enjoyed.

I was hoping to see the dust lane in 5746 but seeing was genuinely horrid so I suspect that played a part in washing it out.

I loved 6337 the instant I saw it, it was just a random pick from the star atlas and I was pleasantly surprised to see such a large, bright and awesome almost perfect ring floating among the richest starfields anywhere in the sky!

I'm surprised the "Bug Nebula" isn't more well known, it is large and very bright as far as planetaries go, and that's from a suburban sky. I'd bet if it were located north of the equator, it would be as well known as the Ring in Lyra, Because I'm sure it's larger and brighter and perhaps more detailed in moderate sized scopes.

That whole scorpious/Sag/Oph/Scutum/Aquila region is a fantastic place to hunt planetaries, if you manage to pull away from the mindblowing starfields in that area A lot of them are PK objects, but if you never never look, you'll never never know what you'll be greeted with Going by the HB and Millenium atlases, this area has the highest concentration of planetaries anywhere in the sky....and yes it is located south of the equator naturally
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