Old 05-10-2008, 01:34 PM
Its only a column of dust

žAB is offline
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Talking HUGE Night of Observing, 4-5th October

Clear skies and Saturday night don't often go hand in hand. Most of my Sat nights are spent getting drunk and watching TV shows with bad language and poor taste. But, surprisingly, this Melbourne Saturday nite was clear as a bell so I decided to make full use of it before the moon and weather puts a stop to everything for the next 2 weeks.

Before starting, I had to resolve a collimation issue with my 12" dob, involving shimming the focuser etc etc, I'm glad to say my collimation looks much better now.

The seeing was crap (surprise surprise), but transparency was stunning at worst! One of the most transparent nights I've ever seen at my location. A slight breeze kept the dew away for the first couple of hours of the session, but the breeze died, it became cold and the dew came right down. It was heavy, but not bad enough to put a halt to everything.

My @%$! idiot neighbour decided to flood my back fence with his stupid light several times yet again, what a moron, infact once while I was straining to see faint galaxies, he fires the damn thing up and I had to stop until he decided to turn it off God I hate that guy

Scope: 12" F/4.6 truss dob.
Time: 9pm-3:15am
Seeing: 3/10
Transparency: 5/5
Dew: Moderate-Heavy

While waiting for the moon to dissapear, I did a bit of globular hunting in Sag and Corona Australis. With Sag looming over my rooftop, heat radiation wasn't helping. Globular hunting is great fun in the 12", as alot of them show good resolution!

Very poor seeing (over my rooftop among other things) but at 176x festoons were obvious, as well as streamers between the two components of the SEB. A rift was visible in the NEB. Some ruffling in the belts showed during moments of "good" seeing. Looks like my collimation effort here payed off, one of the crispest views I've gotten of Jupiter despite foul turbulance.

A surprising showpiece! At 216x, this globular covered atleast 2/3rds of the FOV. The brightest stars are arranged in a "G" pattern over a mass of fainter ones. There is no condensed core, it's more of a sheet of stars over background haze. Resolution in this cluster was fantastic and I'm surprised it's rarely harped on about considering its size, resolution and brightness.

A globular belonging to the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy. Bright at 283x (really pushing it with the seeing), condensed core but no resolution. 3 stars were visible along the eastern side and another within the western edge. These are probably foreground stars.

NGC 6727
Reflection Nebula complex in Corona Australis. 2 bright stars set in a nebulous haze. Looks exactly like the view thru a joooooooooooood-over eyepiece. The two bright stars create the effect of a symmetrical "double" nebula. Nearby is a nice double star with equal mag components, named IC 4812 oddly enough,

NGC 6729
Another nebula just to the south of the aforementioned object. Elongated N-S, with a star at either end.

NGC 6723
This is actually quite a fantastic globular. At 216x, it was well resolved, with stars spread across a hazy disk. Located jsut over the border in Sag only 45' NE of NGC 6727.

Another nice Sagittarius globular. At 216x its outliers were well resolved with the inner 2/3rds of the cluster showing strong granulation. Has a slightly condensed core.

NGC 6541
Basically unheard off, this is an excellent globular cluster in Corona Australis. It is framed on 2 sides by 4 bright stars. Outliers easily resolved, and has a condensed core. I got the impression that there is a bar of stars across its core, aligned NE-SW.

I took a break here to wait the remaining 15 mins or so till the moon set, so I just inside to eat in preperation for the long haul ahead....

NGC 1291
Galaxy in Eridanus. A bright hazy ball at 176x, with a nearly stellar nucleus. A star lies just to the north of the core.

NGC 1487 / ESO 249-31B
Interacting galaxies in Eridanus. At 283x, it appeared as a faint L-shaped smudge just to the south of two mag ~12 stars. The 3 form a neat triangle. Took a bit of concentration to view the shape of this object, but a DSS image confirms the shape I saw.

NGC 1448
This galaxy in Horologium showed a bright elongated core at 283x, with faint extensions stretching in a NE/SW direction. A 12.4 mag star lies just to the SE of the core.


Abell 2806
Galaxy cluster in Phoenix. Easy to locate thanks to a mag 9.6 in the foreground. Observed the cluster at 176x and 283x. Spotted 5 galaxies in this group, of which NGC 212 and 215 were the brightest by far.

NGC 212
Faint, at mag 13.5, but not difficult. Located 3' North of a mag 9.6 star.

NGC 215
Located further afield on the SE edge of the cluster. This is the brightest of the group, easy at 283x, with a mag of 13.2

LEDA 128459
About 1.5' NW of the mag 9.6 star, this was the 3rd brightest galaxy in the group, it was faint but no too hard to spot.

LEDA 101135
Very faint, tiny galaxy paired with a mag 14.45 star. It was really only intermittantly visible at 283x.

PGC 128461
A bit of an outlier, located well northof the main group. Very faint, visible at 283x intermittently.

I also spotted a Mag 15.95 star (USNOA2 0300-00193517) at the very limit of vision at 283x. Another mag 15.45 star was actually not too hard to see!


Abell 2731
A galaxy cluster in Phoenix, only 5║ west of Abell 2806. Only spotted 2 galaxies, it is a rather poor cluster and the other members are extremely faint and/or tiny.

NGC 28
Required averted vision and concentration due to its tiny size. Nothing more than a tiny smudge at 283x, with a mag of 13.8.

NGC 25
Brighter than NGC 28 (mag 13.1), it was easier to see. A mag 15.35 star was visible just to the NE and a mag 14.5 star lies to the S.


NGC 87/88/89/92 group

NGC 89
Member of a tight group of 4 galaxies in Phoenix. Faint at 283x, I could hint at elongation in a N-S direction.

NGC 92
Brightest member of the group at mag 13.0, relatively easy at 283x, although just a non-descript smudge. The other 2 members, NGC 88 and 87 were hinted at, but I couldn't confirm a sighting.

While observing this group, I believe I momentarily glimpsed two mag 16.1 stars - these being USNOA2 0375-00106730 (mag 16.1) and USNOA2 0375-00106536. While unconfirmed, I did see something materialise for an instant at the location where these two stars are supposed to be.


NGC 1097
Bright galaxy in Fornax. Only the core was visible at 176x and 283x, but its tiny 1'x0.5' companion NGC 1097A was surprisingly easy to spot. The core of the primary member wasn't elongated as I expected due to it being a barred spiral, but was more like a fuzzy orb.

NGC 300
Very large, faint glow at 108x. Was hoping to spot some of its HII regions but no luck. THis one is for dark skies.

NGC 1566 - "Spanish Dancer Galaxy"
At 176x, this Dorado spiral was bright, but I could only see the faintest hints of its two arms. All in all, it appeared as a haze, elongated N-S with a stellar core.

NGC 1313
Galaxy in Reticulum. Easy to find due to its proximity to beta Reticulii. At 176x, I could see a prominant bar orientated N-S, appearing almost like a telescopic version of the LMC. I did spot one of its HII regions, a very faint knot NE of the central bar.

To Cap off the night, I decided to a look at Orion, now nice and high. M42 was fantastic, a wealth of deatil in the core, 6 trap stars easily visible - more like jumping out at you and with the UHC filter at 83x, I could trace a finger of nebulosity from the western wing all the way to 44 Orionis! Fantastic!

NGC 2024
Flame Nebula, quite easy at 108x, with Zeta placed outside of the field. Its shape and the dark lane were quite recognisable.

IC 434 / Horsehead Nebula
Now was the prime opportunity to try out my H-Beta filter for the first time. So, screw the filter into the 13mm LVW for 108x, drop it in, find the star HD37699 and its fainter companion which point almost directly at the Horsehead, concentrate, avert the eyes and there it is! Yes, I could see the FAINTEST dark indentation of the Horsehead! IC 434 was just visible as a very faint glow, and the Horsehead itself was extremely faint but it was THERE! I then tried the 17mm LVW + H-beta for 83x and the view actually improved very slightly. Awesome!

The LMC in a minute.....
By now it was well past 3am and I was getting tired, so I capped off the night with a low power, filtered sweep of the LMC. At 83x + UHC filter, the amount of nebulous knots was amazing. Alot of them actually show fascinating structure aswell, rivalling many objects in our own galaxy! Several of this nebulae seem to form clusters of their own, with 4,5, 6 objects clumped together! And there is so so many, spread over such a huge area - you could spend weeks in the LMC!

This would have to be one of the most fullfilling nights I had! Transparency as awesome as this doesn't happen too often....

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Old 05-10-2008, 01:58 PM
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Kevnool (Kev)
Fast Scope & Fast Engine

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What a great report sab, it was great reading and i enjoyed it heaps

on that note summer is here so i,ll wake ya up....cheers kev.
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Old 06-10-2008, 10:12 AM
Its only a column of dust

žAB is offline
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thanks Kev! It certainly was one of those 'rare' nights. Best transparency I've ever seen from my place. Speaking of summer, it's about 10C with ugly grey drizzle However some of the wetherheads on weatherzone reckon it'll get up to 35C on the weekend....

BTW, if anyone can help me with magnitudes for the LEDA and PGC galaxies, that would be appreciated.
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Old 06-10-2008, 10:15 AM
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erick (Eric)

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An impressive array of targets, SAB, congrats on the excellent night you had. Lots of things there I'll never glimpse, I suspect. I was out at Snake Valley Sat overnight. The sky was superb. We leveled out at -6 deg! Only a little low fog coming and going. When I looked at the Trapezium with Orion still relatively low, the E & F stars just jumped out, very clearly resolved. I don't think I've seen resolution on them that good before now! Thrilling. With a borrowed Ethos 13mm, saw stars resolved in 47 Tuc to the core! And so much detail in NGC 253. A great night, for sure!
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Old 07-10-2008, 07:36 AM
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glenc (Glen)

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Glad to see you had a clear night at last SAB and you used it very well to.
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:47 AM
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Clear Skys and Open Road

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Fantastic Job Sab, man I gotta find some time to get out there. Life always seems to get in the way. Great report, and I like the detail with which you describe your views. Well done.
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Old 07-10-2008, 04:42 PM
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The Observologist

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Another top report

Hi žAB & All,

Great report as usual mate.

Ditto your comments re M55 and NGC 6541. M55 is a magnificent example of the "open" style globular (ie one than hasn't undergone core collapse). They are much easier to resolve to centre and coupled with its relative closeness, size and brightness means it is a magnificent showpiece. It appears basically "fully resolved in 18 and 20" 'scopes with very little left-over haze.

NGC 6541 similarly is one of the great unsung gems of the sky. Much better than a great many Messier clusters. I think I posted an observation of it here recently. Similarly, I think the nebulae field in Corona Australis along with NGC 6723 is one of the best fields in the whole sky. You didn't report it, but did you also see the huge dark nebula Bernes 157 -- a very large and dark/opaque patch between the bright nebulae and the GC that extends around to near Gamma Coronae?? There is also a lovely mags 6.4/6.6 pair close-by in the same field -- Brisbane 14.

Attached is a lovely wide-field pic of the region -- I forget who took it (It was Scott Tannehill -- now I remember!).

And congrats on the Horsehead observation in the 12" -- well done!

NGC 1448 -- another great favourite of mine.

Great night!

Will post a few (well ... not a few actually) observations of my own from the last weekend in Sept probably tonight.


Les D
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Old 07-10-2008, 06:53 PM
Its only a column of dust

žAB is offline
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Hi NGCLes,

No I didn't see Bernes 157, I doubt the light pollution in my western sky would allow it to be seen, but to be honest I didn't actually look for it at all. Only dark neb I've seen is B86, a pretty sight even from here

I'm surprised by some of these rarely heard of southern globulars, they really do destroy most M globs and yet they are unheard off, even in literature they are rarely, if ever, mentioned. Take NGC 6752 in Pavo, supposed to be the 3rd biggest glob in the entire sky, but you hear more about those 14th mag Palomar fuzzballs lol!
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Old 08-10-2008, 04:12 AM
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glenc (Glen)

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I think Bernes 157 should be called Dunlop 559.
Dunlop named it in 1826, Bernes renamed it 151 years later in 1977.
I have this thing about people like Caldwell renaming things.
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Old 10-10-2008, 08:51 AM
Its only a column of dust

žAB is offline
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^^ That's interesting, it pretty much means that anyone can just re-name deep sky objects then. :crazy:

Excuse me for a couple of minutes while I write up my own catalogue
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