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Old 12-11-2007, 12:45 AM
你B
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Observation Report 11/11 - saw NGC 247!

Ok, after no observing for 3 weeks due to a combo of clouds and work, it was time. Finally. I left the scope outside to cool for about an hour while twilight faded. I tweaked the collimation and then went inside to eat. Conditions looked good, transparency and seeing both were favourable in the humid, still atmosphere. However, I was well aware of a forecast of morning cloud and drizzle for Monday morning so I was keeping my eyes out.

Scope: 10" GSO dob
Time: 9:30-11pm
Seeing: 6-7/10
Transparency: 4/5
Wind: nil
temp: 15慢
Dew: nil

47 Tuc
At about 9:30pm, I started off with the sky's best globular. At 39x, it showed full resolution. The 39x view was odd, as the centre of the cluster showed up as a bright, well defined orb made up of ruddy coloured stars while the outer areas were made up of loosely packed bluish stars. At 227x, the view was magnificent, full resolution to the core and the core itself was a hazy glow covered in minute pinpricks. Mum came out for a peak and was blown away! I upped the power to 454x, which is the highest I have, and amazingly, the image quality held. Infact, mum preferred the 454x view to the 227x view! Indeed, it was stunning - thousands of tiny pinpricks sprawled across the FOV with a velvet black sky and a misty core for a back drop. Once could carve lanes amongst the stars. And it's exclusive viewing for just us!

Tarantula Nebula
Another old favourite. At 227x, it's spider-like core was well resolved. Mum found it quite intriguing. Using the narrowband filter revealed miles of nebulosity surrounding the core. The core itself appeared to take on a greenish hue. I reduced power to 39x and now the nebula was accompanied by numerous knots and smudges. 3 cheers for the LMC! I then maxed out the power and the core loomed big in the FOV. It was a memorable sight, it just looks so cool, not for arachnophobics! Infact, for the second time now, mum said that the best view was at 454x! Now that must say something about the quality of the optics in this scope.

NGC 362
Visible in the 8x50 finder as a tiny nebulous knot, just to the NW of an equally bright star. At 39x, I could already hint at some resolution in its extreme outer regions, but remained a hazy orb for the most part. At 166x, the outer third was well resolved, with the inner half starting to show granulation. At 227x, it was still further resolved, and was a pretty sight, with an arc of bright stars within the cluster. Approx the outer 1/2 was resolved. A 454x view didn't show additional resolution over the 227x view, but there was no degredation either. A pretty object for larger apertures. While hunting for NGC362, I inadvertenly entered the SMC and was confronted with an array of nebulous knots and clusters. Nice!

NGC 121
Located immediately north of 47 Tuc, this globular lies 180,000 light years away and belongs to the SMC. At 39x, it was easy to pick out as a tiny hazy orb. Increasing the power simply increased the size of the hazy orb but was still interesting to view just from its statistics.

NGC 1365
This Fornax barred spiral has arms which are visible in an 8" scope. So I was eager to find it. I was surprised to discover nothing more than what I took to be its nucleus using magnifications of 104 and 166x. I was wondering if I was even at the right galaxy but according to the MSA I was. Maybe the light pollution here hides the spiral arms.

NGC 247
Alright, this prick of a galaxy has consistantly eluded mine, and several others' attempts to spot it. This object has been a hot topic in Doug's November 7 obs report, with those who tried to spot it - failing. Indeed, it is presented as an inviting, large symbol in the MSA. But that undermines the reality. I quote this line from Doug's Nov 7 obs report: "Stared for 5 minutes with my jacket over my head, nothing." So when I dropped in the TV 32mm plossl for 39x, I wasn't expecting much. But, to my surprise, there it was!!! A faint, stubby streak oriented roughly N-S, along the eastern side of a triangle formed by three 10th magnitude stars! I was ecstatic! I hurridly dropped in the 18mm Celestron Ultima to darken the sky and gave 69x and yes, there it was! A stubby, elongated smudge. I ran for my pencil and paper to record this historic moment I have sketched it and will post the sketch tomorrow.

NGC 55
Once I was finished making personal history, I nudged the scope to NGC 55. By now, it was about 11pm and the clouds were moving in. At 39x, it appeared as a rather bright streak. That's about all I could get in before the very low deck of crap moved in.

It was short, but definately a top evening session! And, no more messing with the secondary mirror after tonight's results!
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Last edited by 你B; 12-11-2007 at 12:00 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-11-2007, 07:04 AM
DougAdams
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He's back! Good stuff ... NGC247 huh?

The sky looked good early on, but we had friends over last night. I stuck my head out at midnight - clouds!
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Old 12-11-2007, 09:53 AM
你B
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Yep I won this round!

Forgot to mention, while observing 47 Tuc, by sheer chance a meteor tore across the FOV. It was an instant birght, yellow flash.
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Old 12-11-2007, 10:23 AM
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programmer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 你B View Post
Yep I won this round!

Forgot to mention, while observing 47 Tuc, by sheer chance a meteor tore across the FOV. It was an instant birght, yellow flash.
I was observing 47 Tuc the night before (10/11) and had 3 across the FOV during a short session, for a total of 8 that night. Certainly adds some extra thrills

Impressed at what you can resolve with the 10" GSO, which I also own, at higher powers than I tried on the night (or ever)! So 454X is equivalent to a 2.75mm f/l EP at 1250mm f/l of your Dob? What EP(s) did you use to get that magnification? I'm a beginner, but I stopped at 9mm (138X)! Image was still clear and no doubt I could have pushed it further, but I found the wider FOV nice on that object. Once I'm adept at collimating, and perhaps with a 10:1 focuser..
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Old 12-11-2007, 10:30 AM
DougAdams
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Yep I won this round!
Just remember I'm punching above my weight division
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Old 12-11-2007, 10:42 AM
你B
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Quote:
Originally Posted by programmer View Post
I was observing 47 Tuc the night before (10/11) and had 3 across the FOV during a short session, for a total of 8 that night. Certainly adds some extra thrills
wow that's awesome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by programmer View Post
Impressed at what you can resolve with the 10" GSO, which I also own, at higher powers than I tried on the night (or ever)! So 454X is equivalent to a 2.75mm f/l EP at 1250mm f/l of your Dob? What EP(s) did you use to get that magnification? I'm a beginner, but I stopped at 9mm (138X)! Image was still clear and no doubt I could have pushed it further, but I found the wider FOV nice on that object. Once I'm adept at collimating, and perhaps with a 10:1 focuser..
I use a 5.5mm Meade 5000 plossl and a cheap barlow to get 454x. Dude, 47 Tuc at 400+ mags is an unforgettable sight! You must atleast try Next up on my wish list is a Televue Barlow and 4 and 5mm Radians

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougAdams View Post
Just remember I'm punching above my weight division
The key to catching 247 is definately dark skies, owing to its very low surface brightness. Basically any light pollution will wipe it out. Last night was particulary transparent, that's probably why I was able to see it.
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Old 12-11-2007, 05:06 PM
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great report SAB, and congrats on finding ngc247. Man I gotta get me a bigger scope. Keep them coming.
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Old 13-11-2007, 12:11 PM
你B
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I think the good transparency was the key here. From a dark sky site, NGC 247 would be fairly easy I reckon.
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Old 13-11-2007, 12:31 PM
night-vision
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Another great report, Cheers SAB,

I was lucky enough to view the Tarantula Nebula for the first time through Louwai's scope on the weekend at Ballarat with a Ultra Wide EP
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Old 13-11-2007, 01:10 PM
你B
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^^ what size is that scope?
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Old 13-11-2007, 01:16 PM
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8", the EP is what did it for me though.
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Old 13-11-2007, 03:16 PM
DougAdams
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Just saw the sketch - very nice.

I was going to go after NGC 247 last night, but appeared a fog bank came in around 10pm! I'll try again tonight - I've bought out the heavy stuff - Cartes du Ciel finder charts!
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Old 13-11-2007, 03:28 PM
你B
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I was driving home from work at 12:45am and it was total overcast. This supposed "fine" week is turning into the traditional Melbourne climatic f**kup. I just want Saturday night to be clear - for the whole night for once!

NGC 247 WILL be a challenge, it's faint in my 10", and this scope is fully flocked and was sporting a flocked dewshield! My suggestion is stare long and hard, use averted vision, block external straylight. Doug, what size scope do you use for your DSO hunting?
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Old 13-11-2007, 05:14 PM
DougAdams
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 你B View Post
NGC 247 WILL be a challenge, it's faint in my 10", and this scope is fully flocked and was sporting a flocked dewshield! My suggestion is stare long and hard, use averted vision, block external straylight. Doug, what size scope do you use for your DSO hunting?
4" refractor - downsized from the 12" dob and have absolutely no regrets. I love seeing how far I can push it, plus I can chuck it (carefully) in the car.

I saw a guy on the train a few days back reading Sky and Telescope. I spoke to him for a couple of minutes - he runs 8 scopes!
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Old 13-11-2007, 11:43 PM
你B
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What make/model is your refractor?

8 scopes? Some people need to see a therapist for their addiction me thinks

I reckon NGC 247 would be visible in a 4" scope under dark skies. But any trace of light pollution will kill it owing to it's low urface brightness. Heck, my 4.5" newtonian gave amazing views of Eta Carina Nebula, M42 etc under pitch black skies near Mildura.
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Old 15-11-2007, 09:40 PM
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Hi 你B & All,

Great report. Ditto the coments above re NGC 247 -- it is difficult in _any_ 'scope from suburbia, in a good rural sky it is visible in 15x70mm binoculars without much effort. The issue is surface brightness.

Re the arms of NGC 1365, I found them not too easy in my old 10" at a good site, but invisible from suburbia in 10 & 12". The key is a dark sky and moderate magnifiication -- in a 10" about x125-x150. Only under a pristine sky, can they be seen in a quality 6-8" 'scope. In an 18" under pristine skies, it is to die for -- even the dark-lanes within the central bar can be seen at x247 ...


Best,

Les D
Contributing Editor
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