Old 28-03-2008, 11:22 PM
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Obs Report, 28 March 2008

Short session tonight after a fairly stressful week work-wise, sort of a treat if you like….

Time: 9pm-10:30pm, Fri 28 March 2008 (UT+11)
Location: My backyard, Bright, Vic
Telescope: Tasco 4.5" f8 reflector on Alt-Az mount
EP: 21mm Celestron X-Cel
Transparency: Good – excellent, slight milkiness, mag 6-6.5 stars visible av
Seeing: Reasonable

Rup 106, mag 10.9 in Centaurus: Yeah I know, it’s only a 4.5" and this is a real toughie!! Well, this globular has interested me for a while, and I’ve had a shot before. Unsuccessful then, although there almost seemed to be something there, LOL! Tonight’s conditions were excellent but not perfect – I could just see mag 6-6.5 stars in averted vision, naked eye, but still I’m in town and you could see the 30 odd degree veil of paler light pollution around the horizon. Went to the spot, stuck in the fuzzy boundary between the veil and dark unfortunately, & identified the field from charts. Where it should have been, there were tantalising glimpses of ‘something’, which seemed to hold when I moved the scope backwards and forwards, but most of the time was not there. The glimpses were intermittent and not strong enough to claim I actually did see something, dammit. Spent about 45 min total time ogling the spot, in two separate brackets. Now I know that Paul from NZ posted a recent obs of Rup 106 saying it was very faint in a 13" under mag 6 skies, but I reckon with another half mag darker, I might just….

M95 mag 10.6, M96 mag 10.1, M105 mag 10.5, NGC 3384 mag 10.9 in Leo: A collection of bright, easy to see galaxies that almost fitted into the FOV. Referred to as the M96 Group, also the Leo I Group, 30-35 million light years away. In a small scope it is impossible to get any idea of structure – however, the Ms appeared oval in shape, and 3384 a flatter lens shape.

M83 mag 8.0 in Hydra: The Southern Pinwheel Galaxy. Great view tonight, small bright core and considerable faint extension visible. The ‘lopsidedness’ of this galaxy was noted, not quite the ‘half-moon’ described by some other observers, but pretty plain all the same.

"The Eyes", NGC 4438 mag 10.9 in Virgo: Started on the M galaxies between Denebola and Vindemiatrix, as they rose successively above the tree tops – saw M98, M99, M100 before moving on to M84 and M86. These latter two, mag 10.2 and 9.9 respectively, are quite close, and above & in line with them were two very close, tiny bright galaxies. It was only when I checked SN later that I found out they were called "The Eyes", quite a fitting name. There were numerous other dim galaxies in the vicinity, but I can’t be sure of their names. My eyepiece was fogging up (combination of breathing & dew, LOL) and faint moonlight was starting to trickle into the sky, so I gave up the hunt.

Saw heaps of other stuff while I was out (quick tour!) – NGC 5128, Centaurus A galaxy, was one of the best views I’ve had. Appeared the brightest I’ve seen it, and the dark lane the clearest, visible right through the galaxy. M104 Sombrero galaxy was tiny and bright, with the dust lane visible in averted vision. The Leo Triplet was a great sight too – the brightness of the edge-on spiral galaxy NGC 3628 is a good pointer to what the viewing is like I reckon. Tonight it was quite clear and bright.

Next session might be our regular local get-together at Porepunkah next Wednesday – who knows, might be a Rup kinda night….

Cheers -

Last edited by Rob_K; 30-03-2008 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 29-03-2008, 12:19 AM
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Location: Billimari, NSW Central West
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Hi Rob,

Good report mate though I think you will find Ruprect 106 is likely to be a bit beyond your 'scope -- I find it is an absolute threshold object in a 20cm f/6. It is afterall mag +10.6. Hector perhaps can cast more light on whether it might show in a 4.5". But, then again, 25 years ago conventional wisdom said the Horsehead Nebula (Barnard 33) was an utterly impossible visual target. Now it seems half the world has seen it -- so keep trying, you never know.

Cloudy here tonight. Hoping for clear tomorrow night for the ol' Earth Hour open-night at Sydney Oservatory. Then I'm off to Mudgee for a week (well, from Wednesday) of (hopefully) sleepless nights.

Rob wrote:

"There were numerous other dim galaxies in the vicinity, but I canít be sure of their names. My eyepiece was fogging up (combination of breathing & dew ..."

I must admit that I sometimes get pretty "breathy" looking at dim galaxies too !


Les D
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Old 29-03-2008, 07:43 AM
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Karlsson is offline
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thanks for the report Rob - good reading as always
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Old 29-03-2008, 10:11 AM
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Thanks people. Les, in a way, trying to see Rup 106 in my scope is a bit of a joke, but in another way it isn't. I've seen lots of dim things through the scope of course, but the 45 mins spent on Rup last night, and the previous time, was not wasted as it is a good effort in concentration, method etc.

I've only been seriously observing for a few years, and in that time I can chart a massive improvement in recognition that is still going on. The globular cluster NGC 4372 in Musca is a classic example - I could see nothing there the first few times I looked. Then suddenly it 'appeared' one night - extremely dim, right on the threshhold of vision I thought at the time. Over time, it became easier to see, and brighter, but still as a large, smooth, dim roundish glow. Last night, after staring for ages at 'the Rup spot', I flicked over to 4372 and for the first time ever there was a definite graininess to it.

So trying hard to see things that aren't there helps greatly in seeing things that are! Er, or something like that, LOL!

Anyway, it's all good fun! Now, about the Horsehead....

Cheers -
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Old 29-03-2008, 11:02 AM
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goober (Doug)
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Good one, Rob. Virgo and Coma B is next on my list, if this muck above ever clears. I'll add Rup 106 to my list as a dark sky target - we'll see what our bantam weight scopes can do with it
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