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Old 06-04-2010, 05:10 PM
astrospotter (Mark)
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Observation Report - 16 March 2010 - Part 2

PART 2: After observing the rest of the planned SMC objects and a few list objects in Part 1, this part covers many objects from planned observations selected from assorted well known southern sky lists. This was a very long night of observing.

All objects found with telrad sight except in SMC from Part 1 where manual hops were mostly used.


Arkaroola Tue 16Mar2010 Observations from 9:30pm till 3:50am. 21.5 Mag/ArcSec2

Observers: Mark Johnston, solo trip.
Arkaroola Location: 139 20 East, 30 18 South

NGC 4945 ESO 219-24 IRAS 13025-4911 PGC 45279 cmt: Ngc4945group: con: Cen lst: SSAL,C83
Glxy 9.3b 20.5x 3.8' 43 SB(s)cd: sp RC3 13 05 26.2 -49 28 15
12:05am 16mmNag 95x 20' length 6EL 45dPA Flaring out on NE end. SE edge appears to be faded from being regular in symitry. Brighter slightly in core but not obvious core. Some puffing out on the N end.

NGC 4976 ESO 219-29 PGC 45562
Glxy 11.0b 5.6x 2.9' 161 E4 pec: RC3 13 08 37.3 -49 30 23
12:10am 9mmNag 170x 1' len Has a more of a SCore then 4945. [PostNote: it is a lot larger]

NGC 4945A ESO 219-28 PGC 45380
MltG 13.0p 2.5x 1.3' 55 SB(s)m? sp RC3 13 06 33.3 -49 41 36
12:10am 9mmNag 170x Detection only, a very bright mag 4 star to S blots this out quite a bit.



GSC 8626:2809 SAO 238429 HD 93308 con: Car cmt1: HomunculusNebula:
Star 6.10 0.0.603 --- TYC 10 45 03.5 -59 41 04
12:25am 5mmNag 305x Very bright and yellow-orange distinct color. The 2 lobes are obvious right away. A faint glow surrounds the area with a size of 3-4'. The lobes themselves are tiny but the brighter one has a fairly sharply defined round abrupt cut to darkness. I am not getting much detail so will try this object again another night. The 14" SCT was an even worse view just now.


M 83 NGC 5236 ESO 444-81 MCG -5-32-50 con: Hya lst: M_RO
Glxy 8.2b 12.8x11.4' -- SAB(s)c RC3 13 37 00.3 -29 52 04
12:45am 9mmNag 170x 10' size and mostly round with structure. Out of the south is a broad protrusion of glow that then thins and continues curling to the west. Out of the West comes a strong protrusion with an arm then clearly separated and curling to the north. This arm appears to have a knot well out going west just before the turning point of the arm. Another closer in arm with a gap of darker area between the core and it is closer in to the core. The dark lane for this closer in arm is along the west and loops around over almost all the way up to the north to separate the inner arm. Something comes out of the north and rotates around over the east. This bar has a detectible darker lane running to the east of the core on down towards the south. A very light arm is seen well out from the core looping down towards the south. Three bright field stars with one, then a double, then another single one are to the East and there seems to be the very faint outer arm just detectible with movement and contrast from other side of these 3 stars. I discuss a possible knot out on an arm North of the core. Possible knot 3' NW of core on farthest out arm I can see there.

NGC 4609 Cr 263 con: Cru lst: SSAL,C98
Open 6.9 5.0' 40 10.0 II 2 m LYN 12 42 20.0 -62 59 36
1:05am 9mmNag 170x 5' len Flared Eifel Tower or 'A' look with two base points like tight doubles. In the middle bar are 2 stars. Up on the top [S] is a point star with farther up a few fainter stars just above. There is a tier1 star just off to the west as it it is the point of a triangular flag hung from the top (a 2x1 IsoTriangle with point to the west is the 'flag'). Very bright FStar 5' to the SSE, not part of this I bet.

Scope: 14SctF7 Went back to the dome to use the SCT as I had no telrad on 12" yet.

NGC 3195 ESO 19-2 Henize 2-44 Sanduleak 2-57 PK 296-20.1 PNG 296.6-20.0 con: Cha lst: SSAL,C109
Plan 11.5p 42.0" 15.3 3 STE 10 09 21.0 -80 51 34
1:20am 7mmNag Fairly solid. About 1' len. Not super distinct edge. Get the feel of a slightly darker central area but I do not detect the central star.

END TAPE 1 for this night at tape time 48:00

NGC 6101 con: Aps lst: SSAL,C107
Glob 9.2 5.0' 13.5 16.6 --- --- BAA 16 25 48.6 -72 12 06
1:59am 9mmNag 280x 5' size Faint. Very low concentration, only mildly more concentrated in center. [Said 170x 8' size but that is for 9mm in dob so scale to 5' for this observation]

NGC 6025 Cr 296 Mel 139 con: TrA lst: SSAL,C95
Open 5.1 12.0' 60 7.0 II 3 r LYN 16 03 19.1 -60 25 21
2:07am 16mmNag 156x 15'x8' NSxEW 80 stars. Very open, not concentrated. Stands out well. 6 tier1 stars, 12 tier2 and the rest dimmer. Looks like body of spider with forward leg to NW, couple legs out back.

NGC 6087 Cr 300 Mel 141 con: Nor lst: DM,C89
Open 5.4 12.0' 40 8.0 II 2 m LYN 16 18 54.0 -57 53 00
2:10am 9mmNag 280x 9' size. 30 stars, open. 2 Tier1, 8 tier2 and a the rest all dimmer ones. Medium range of magnitudes. Gives a feeling of a tall IsoTriangle pointing roughly NE. A triangle forms SW corner of base. Many triangles seem apparent.

NGC 6231 Cr 315 Mel 153 con: Sco lst: DM,TE,C76_RO
Open 2.6 14.0' 93 6.0 I 3 p BAA 16 54 09.8 -41 50 00
2:15am 35mmPan 71x > 100 stars. 5 Tier1, 20 mid-tier and hundred lower mag. Broad range of magnitudes and looks better than up north because it is so transparent up high. [PostNote: I describe a broader 1' field then discuss the smaller 6231 concentrated area as above]

NGC 6397 con: Ara lst: DM,SSAL,C86
Glob 5.3 31.0' 10.0 12.9 --- --- BAA 17 40 41.3 -53 40 25
2:20am 9mmNag 280x 4' obvious dia but thining continues after that. Non stellar but center is more concentrated for sure. Medium concentration. Circle of stars on west seems to encircle the central section. Lots of resolved stars as this thins out with space between stars.

NGC 6352 con: Ara lst: DM,SSAL,C81_RO
Glob 7.8 9.0' 13.4 15.2 --- --- BAA 17 25 29.2 -48 25 22
2:29am 9mmNag 280x 4' dia with very gradual fade from middle blanket. No resolution. Very low concentration. Fine powder. Much fainter than 6397. Has a mild feel of slight EL at 30dPA

NGC 6193 Cr 310 con: Ara lst: DM,C82_RO cmt1: 6193oc_6188neb:
Open 5.2 14.0' 14 5.7 II 3 p n LYN 16 41 20.4 -48 45 45
2:35am 9mmNag 280x < 40 stars perhaps. 2 Tier1, 5 Tier2 A few dozen more at most. Very bright double EW elongated like 20" spacing of equal mag in the center of cluster. Small number of stars in the cluster.

NGC 6188 RCW 108 con: Ara cmt1: 6193oc_6188neb:
BrtN 35.5x22.5' E+R SKY 16 40 52.0 -48 45 00
2:35am 9mmNag 280x 4' of apparent nebulous area. [PostNote: Actual nebuloscity is far broader in CCD photos]

NGC 6541 con: CrA lst: DM,C78_RO fav: F3
Glob 6.3 15.0' 12.1 15.3 --- --- BAA 18 08 02.2 -43 42 20
2:54am 9mmNag 280x 5' apparent diameter. Sugary appearance. Clearly more concentrated in the core with gradual fade. Not a highly concentrated look but mediuam concentration. Several resolvable stars. West edge may have slightly less outer stars than other edges. Trailing FS by 3-4' A string of stars seems to come out of South and going SSE. Another string comes out of west and generally goes off to the North.


NGC 6744 ESO 104-42 IRAS 19050-6354 PGC 62836 con: Pav lst: SSAL,C101_RO fav: F5
Glxy 9.1b 20.1x12.9' 15 SAB(r)bc RC3 19 09 45.4 -63 51 27
3:24am 16mmNag 156x 15' length 30dPA. Very concentrated core that seems slightly elongated NS. Some structure is presenting itself. 9mm not giving up much more. 9mm allows some dark areas to be made out. Transparency not so good as it is low.

NGC 6752 con: Pav lst: SSAL,C93_RO fav: F5
Glob 5.3 29.0' 10.5 13.8 --- --- BAA 19 10 51.8 -59 58 55
3:30am 9mmNag 280x 7' apparent size. Medium concentration. Several spikes of stars out of it. One spike out of NW. Loop of stars 2' dia comes out of N and loopw CW back into core. Spidery 5-star 3' out of SE. Leg out of SW bending south. In the center there is a 1' strong line of stars going E and another 1' strand going SSW.

trans: 5

NGC 5823 Cr 290 Mel 131 con: Cir lst: DM,SSAL,C88_RO
Open 7.9 10.0' 100 13.0 II 2 r LYN 15 05 30.6 -55 36 30
3:35am 9mmNag 280x 10' size. 50-100 stars. Fairly well defined cluster limits. Fairly open look. A few Tier1, Tier1 member on SW and one on far N. 20 or so Tier2 but not a huge range of mags.

NGC 5822 Cr 289 Mel 130 con: Cir
Open 6.5 39.0' 150 10.0 II 2 r LYN 15 08 01.2 -55 36 51
3:40am 16mmNag 156x < 50 stars, not very distinct. 4x size or more of 5822. Very broad area with much higher mag stars than 5823. Which stars are part of this cluster are difficult to say. I am not so sure what is part of this cluster and what is backdrop. May be a broader 40' area that has couple hundred stars. Not so sure.

3:50am Close down and very very tired.
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Old 07-04-2010, 07:31 PM
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Paddy (Patrick)
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Some great observing there Mark. You've certainly made the most of your trip. I"m very impressed by how you've found your way around the SMC. I find it a particular challenge.
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Old 08-04-2010, 03:48 PM
astrospotter (Mark)
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Answer: I use a map turned to match field

On Avoiding getting lost in SMC:
(I think I got lost a few time, especially in LMC)

A few years back I started to take a music stand into the field and it has magnets on it so I can first figure out where west is in my eyepiece cause that is where stars drift to in a short time. Then since I love the DOB that does not mirror the image I rotate the paper chart (or computer MegaStar chart) to match what I see. This is how I 'galaxy hop' back home (if you have ever visited virgo and so on you know it is 'nasty' place to get lost. All I had room for is the basic 'low cost' thin metal strip music stand down there due to suitcase limits so I taped charts to that with masking tape, messy but acceptable.

For SMC and LMC I had done paper DSS charts and in fact down there almost everything I had was paper charts so I could be fast as possible and not suffer too much dark adaptation loss from red-plastic over PC screen. In fact you can find the tons of stuff I put together at www.astrospotter.com (a USA web location) about 2/3 of the way down in a big Zip file or look at a folder with individual files (which is confusing) This I did as a 'backup plan' in case something happened to my charts. There too are my prioritized lists specific to my own goals (I did not get close to completing them but the idea was to have way more objects than I would get to in a prioritized list).

The other thing I have tried hard to do is never leave the scope alone for more than 20-40 seconds or you loose your reference from drift. Since I was talking into a little sony digital recorder (like for meetings) I did not have to write notes (which can take a lot of time in the dark).

So I followed a 'route' mostly in any given area of the SMC or LMC and mostly just had to not let the scope drift too far cause my typical field was 20-30' for most SMC and LMC things (also to save time in not changing eyepieces). My gain was seeing lots of stuff in such a short trip but my loss is I was not able to do size estimations on all those things in busy areas like SMC/LMC.

Just like in life, it is all about tradeoffs. The trip was such a rush for me and I loved cruzin the skies down in such rich skies.

Mark
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Old 10-04-2010, 05:01 PM
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Paddy (Patrick)
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Quite ingenious! I like the labeled DSS charts. How do you produce them? I can get DSS images centred on a designated objects but would love to know how to label a number of objects in one field. The Morel charts that I use are great for the LMC and I rarely get lost using them, but the SMC is a different story as there are lots of things that are not labeled.
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:05 AM
astrospotter (Mark)
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Labeled DSS charts using MegaStar

My main labeled chart tool is using MegaStar 5 that integrates with the RealSky DSS cd set. The real bummer is you just cannot find that CD set for RealSky any longer AND it is copyrighted so it is illegal to give it away! I was fortunate enough to find a used set of RealSky full north and south sky images so that is a very valuable tool. I am stunned that other supported charting programs still don't have integration with full DSS like MegaStar did AND it has to be a full DSS that can be purchased.

The SMC and LMC charts I took came about in different ways but the one I ended up using was a Jason Jennings image with my own overlays for labels
http://63.201.54.197/astrospotter.co...gs_Labeled.jpg Of course it is not ok to sell this image by Jason without his approval but I suspect it is ok to let you guys see it.

Above is not complete but the targets I wanted to observer are labeled. I stumbled on a lot of mystery clusters not labeled in the image in the dead-center of the SMC that are yet to be identified.
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Old 11-04-2010, 08:02 AM
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Thanks Mark.
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Old 19-04-2010, 03:41 PM
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An excellent explanation of how to prepare to avoid getting lost at the scope.

But how did you add the labels to the gfx. Did you use Photoshop by any chance?
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Old 22-04-2010, 03:29 PM
astrospotter (Mark)
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The low-budget approach to labeling charts

I was asked about the labels and I think it was for the SMC chart and other charts I setup to do deep south. There is a mix of labeling but if you are talking about hand-labeling then here is the real cheap way to do it that is as low budget as it gets (free). Some of my charts I may have just taken screen shots from MegaStar but many of them I added labels that looked like the megastar font OR just added them to real pictures.

An IceInSpace guy by the handle of 'Burt' did a 'most of lmc' photo that I labeled all myself as well called 'SouthernSky_LMCbenhc1_withAnnotati on.jpg' and you see his name in lower right for credit. I don't know who that was but thanks. My payback is the labels.

I have loved for years IrfanView (www.irfanview.com) for all sorts of low-budget fast fixup, crop, adjustments of normal and astro photos.

first load up some image (perhaps the smc). If you want to convert it to grayscale, set it to be 'negative' that is all first done using the 'Image' pulldown menu. For contrast, brightness, rgb adjust and so on other selections then in the 'Image' pulldown menu use 'Color Corrections'

At some point you then want labels. Find something to label and draw a little box where you want text using mouse. Next select 'Edit' pulldown menu and 'Insert Text Into Selection'. Here you type some text and select right, center, or left and of click 'choose font' which is yet another pop-up where you can select size and color of the font, generally black, white for these field charts then do 'ok' go get back to insert text pop-up still on the screen. On this menu you can put a check in 'transparent' or select a background for the font. I generally select opposite background of the font but often use 'transparent' if I don't want to destroy details that the text will be on top of.

The only trick is the size of the font you may have to play with because if you draw a box that is too small to hold the text the text gets really cropped off. Solution is then 'Edit' then Undo and then try again with 'Edit' Insert text into selection.

This can take hours for a big chart like a lot of my LMC and SMC ones (There are a ton of LMC charts mostly done one object at a time.

I really was out of control and all those charts took literally 2 months of many, many nights. But I got um now and they also helped me loads to be able to observe so many things in such a very short 5-night trip.
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Old 22-04-2010, 04:09 PM
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Thanks Mark. I have Irfan View but never thought of using it this way.
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