#1  
Old 10-03-2008, 09:32 PM
goober's Avatar
goober (Doug)
No obs, raising Harrison

goober is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 793
Observing near Snake Valley: 9 March 2008

Observation Report: 9 March 2008

Location: Smythdale
Time: 9:30pm - 1am
Seeing: Pickering 5
Transparency: ~ magnitude 5.5

After the hide and seek session with the clouds the night before at Snake Valley, today was much clearer, with temperatures around 36C for most of the day. My wife and I were out hiking around Linton and Ballarat for most of the day, and ended up with thumping headaches when we got back around 4pm.

I popped the painkillers and hit the sack for a couple of hours to try and get fit for Snake Valley, night two. Feeling lousy, I packed the scope in the car and headed off for the campsite, but only got half way. Just felt too sick, turned back, popped more painkillers, and went to sleep.

Got up at 9pm and felt a bit better, although still pretty seedy. Went out onto the veranda and saw the skies had cleared. Rather than try to get back to the Astro Camp, I set up on the lawn next to the cottage and observed from there.

Centaurus A - galaxy in Centaurus. Still quite low, but an excellent view. Bright, although the lane wasn't obvious. I revisited the object three hours later when it was near the zenith, and was blown away by the view. Two obvious halves, with the lane apparent with direct vision. With averted vision I could glimpse photo like detail. Very pleased with the view with my scope.

NGC 4945 - galaxy in Centaurus. Saw this the previous night but wasn't sure what detail I was seeing as I played with the cloud cover. This is a large, bright object, around 25' long and very pleasing in the scope. There is definite brightening in the centre.

NGC 4976 - galaxy in Centaurus. Right next to 4945 above. Dim, slightly elliptical. Looks stellar with direct vision, lengthens with averted vision.

NGC 5102 - galaxy in Centaurus. This galaxy is right on top of Iota Centaurii. Very easy to see in the glare of nearby Iota. A small galaxy, bright core, appears to extend E/W with averted vision. About 6' long(?).

NGC 5286 - globular cluster near M Centaurii. Observed this several times in the past with dobs. A bright cluster ~ 10' from M Centaurii. 3 stars resolved off the NE edge at 108x.

NGC 1977 - nebula in Orion. I thought I spotted dark rifts in this nebula the previous night with Phil's 26mm Nagler. Tonight I tried with my 24mm Panoptic and saw the same features. Dark lanes or folds in the clouds, which I assume is what becomes the "running man" feature in photographs of this regions.

M44 - open cluster in Cancer. I could see a strange, misty cloud to the north that I'd never seen from Melbourne. I couldn't recognise what it was, and figured it had to be some passing cloud, except it wasn't moving. Mrs. Goober had joined me outside at this stage so we swung the scope over and I realised that it was M44. It really is quite an eerie naked eye sight. Large cluster full of bright members.

M67 - open cluster in Cancer. Mrs. Goober and I then viewed M67. So easy to bag these from dark skies with the Pocket Sky Atlas. You can virtually see every star plotted with the naked eye - position the scope and boom! You've got it. Nice, rounded cluster with around 20 stars resolved at low power, and one orange member very evident. Mrs. Goober said it resembled Pacman, and I could see it once she'd said it. A concave shape to the cluster, as if it's gobbling stars ahead of it.

I then showed my wife the objects I'd already viewed - 5286, 4945, 5102 (she saw all of these easily). We did a quick flip through the Small Magellanic Cloud at 23x, and took in 47 Tucanae and NGC 362 as well.

Mrs. Goober went back inside, which tripped the outdoor sensor lights. My dark adaption!

When I adapted again, I could see Leo through the trees...

M95 - galaxy in Leo. Couldn't pull a lot from this object, flattened disk, dimmer than it's companion M96.

M96 - galaxy in Leo. Easily into the same field as M96 - large, bright core, didn't appear to be symmetrical, slightly elongated shape.

M105 - galaxy in Leo. This appeared to be a large hazy blob, but a bright blob! No detail, no elongation. Very close to M95/M96.

NGC 3384 - galaxy in Leo. Right next to M105, and almost a twin. A fairly bright, circular glow. Just not quite as bright as M105.

M65 - galaxy in Leo. A nice, easy to spot, slash of light. Bright core, obvious elongation.

M66 - galaxy in Leo. Brighter than M65 to me, with a star superimposed on it. Nearly identical elongation and orientation to M65.

NGC 3628 - galaxy in Leo. Very close to M65/M66. Large, dimmer galaxy, almost rectangular in shape, long and not very tall. Orientation at right angles to other two galaxies. Very easy to see.

NGC 3521 - galaxy in Leo. I read about this in O'Meara's Hidden Treasures a few weeks ago. Buried deep below Leo's hind leg near Sextans. Easy to bag near 69 Leonis, which was naked eye. Wow, beautiful galaxy. Bright, sitting in the middle of a chain of 5 magnitude 6-8 stars. Elongated core, and I fancy I could pull detail out of it. How did Messier miss this?

Leo I - dwarf galaxy in Leo. Sue French said this was possible in a 4", by placing Regulus out of the FOV and staring intently. I tried it, and had it on the exact spot plotted via my MSA nearby. I couldn't see it, and frankly would have been amazed and delighted if I had.

NGC 3242 - planetary nebula in Hydra. Easy to find near Mu. A large, blue planetary at 49x. Took power well, but didn't give me a lot of detail - perhaps some unevenness across the face of it. I went all the way up to 270x to try and pull out the central star, but couldn't. The Ghost of Jupiter, if Jupiter was blue!

NGC 3115 - galaxy in Sextans. Great! Beautiful elongated galaxy, bright extended core. Fainter extensions to the N/S. Very good at 49x and 77x.

NGC 4038/4039 - interacting galaxies in Corvus. Been curious about this one, and what it would look like in a 4" scope. Basically, not much. An obvious but dim smudge of light between two faint stars. It looked slightly lopsided, but that's it.

Pencil Nebula - nebula remnant in Vela. O'Meara threw down the challenge in the latest Astronomy magazine to bag the Pencil in a small scope. With Vela at the zenith, I gave it a try. Put c Velorum in the finder, and navigate a truly confusing star-hop to a quadrangle of stars - confirm I'm there in MSA - yep. Stare intently for 10 minutes before giving up. No Pencil Nebula for me.

M104 - galaxy in Virgo. The Sombrero was viewed twice - early on and three hours later much higher in the sky. The later view was stunning, although not as stunning as I thought it may be. I always anticipate it will be larger, for some reason. Still, nice elongated E/W galaxy with hints of the lane appearing. It seemed clearer at 77x.

M68 - globular cluster in Hydra. Just off the constellation of Corvus. Bright cluster, resolved around 10 stars. A lumpy, triangular core with a dark lane across it (although I could only see the lane fleetingly - couldn't hold it - imagination?).

M83 - galaxy in Hydra. This object blew me away. A beautiful bright nucleus surrounded by a halo of milky white light. Initially circular, further study showed some flattening on the southern edge. Around 15' across. Seemed to be best at 49x, but also excellent at 77x. Fabulous galaxy.

Last edited by goober; 11-03-2008 at 03:24 PM. Reason: typos
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 10-03-2008, 11:44 PM
erick's Avatar
erick (Eric)
Starcatcher

erick is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Shoalhaven Heads
Posts: 8,472
Not a bad spot, is it Mr Goober. A bit more Ballarat light to the NE than Snake Valley, otherwise pretty good. Yes, have to get all those cottage lights off to be safe. Dark skies, no one else close and a fresh cup of coffee only metres away. I like it.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-03-2008, 11:55 PM
ngcles's Avatar
ngcles
The Observologist

ngcles is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Billimari, NSW Central West
Posts: 1,570
Hi Doug,

Again, a very interesting report -- you certainly saw a heck of a lot and seem to have had a ball. Bushwalking? A worthy pursuit, but in the circumstances I would have spent that time at a star-party looking at the back of my eye-lids!

You wrote:

"NGC 3628 - galaxy in Leo. Very close to M65/M66. Large, dimmer galaxy, almost rectangular in shape, long and not very tall. Orientation at right angles to other two galaxies. Very easy to see."

Very impressed you picked this up with relative ease in the 4" -- Bravo! I think it is one of the best edge-on galaxies in the sky and has one of the most interesting dark lanes.



You wrote:

"NGC 3521 - galaxy in Leo. I read about this in O'Meara's Hidden Treasures a few weeks ago. Buried deep below Leo's hind leg near Sextans. Easy to bag near 69 Leonis, which was naked eye. Wow, beautiful galaxy. Bright, sitting in the middle of a chain of 5 magnitude 6-8 stars. Elongated core, and I fancy I could pull detail out of it. How did Messier miss this?"

How did it elude Messier & Co? I can only conclude that no Comet Messier observed passed it (and took him there) during Messier's active observing career. That is how nearby M65 and 66 were discovered. But how does this account for his collaborators also overlooking it? We wonders, aye we wonders.



"NGC 3115 - galaxy in Sextans. Great! Beautiful elongated galaxy, bright extended core. Fainter extensions to the N/S. Very good at 49x and 77x."

Excellent -- NGC 3115 is a far too often overlooked galaxy. I think from memory it is up there in the top few in surface-brightness magnitudes in the whole sky (has a S.B magnitude of 10.8/sq arc-sec). For comparison, M104, ordinarily considered a very high S.B galaxy is 11.6. NGC 3115 is one of four galaxies you can see with certainty from the Sydney CBD (Sydney Observatory) in an 8" 'scope. The others are M77, M104 and NGC 7213 -- which is very close to the 2nd magnitude star Al Nair (Alpha Gruis).


You wrote:

"Pencil Nebula - nebula remnant in Vela. O'Meara threw down the challenge ... ... Stare intently for 10 minutes before giving up. No Pencil Nebula for me."

I'm not surprised for one -- personally I'd have thought about 15-20cm of aperture to be the absolute minimum so don't be despondent at all. Steven O'Meara must have "Superman's eyes" me thinks!



You wrote:

"M83 - galaxy in Hydra. This object blew me away."

Me too and on a regular basis in virtually all sizes of telescopes under a dark sky, it is a pearler. Good to see you picked up the "flattened side" to the halo. I remember someone wrote (O'Meara again possibly??) that the overall shape was a bit like a gibbous moon. A very apt description.

Best,

Les D
Contributing Editor
AS&T
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 11-03-2008, 10:56 AM
goober's Avatar
goober (Doug)
No obs, raising Harrison

goober is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 793
Quote:
Originally Posted by erick View Post
Not a bad spot, is it Mr Goober. A bit more Ballarat light to the NE than Snake Valley, otherwise pretty good. Yes, have to get all those cottage lights off to be safe. Dark skies, no one else close and a fresh cup of coffee only metres away. I like it.
Eric, yes it was a great little spot for observing. Nice grassy areas, plenty of room. I didn't notice any light pollution, but I was tucked right up against the cottage, and the view to the north from about 45 degrees down was blocked by the trees. I only saw the objects in Leo and Cancer as they moved through a handy wide gap.

We were in the first cottage ... if and when we do it again, we'll go for the second one. Bit more secluded
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 11-03-2008, 11:21 AM
goober's Avatar
goober (Doug)
No obs, raising Harrison

goober is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 793
Quote:
Originally Posted by ngcles View Post
Hi Doug,

Again, a very interesting report -- you certainly saw a heck of a lot and seem to have had a ball. Bushwalking? A worthy pursuit, but in the circumstances I would have spent that time at a star-party looking at the back of my eye-lids!
Cheers Les. Sleep would have been good, but it's a trade off. I like to keep the other half happy and entertained during the daylight hours.


Quote:
"NGC 3628 - galaxy in Leo. Very close to M65/M66. Large, dimmer galaxy, almost rectangular in shape, long and not very tall. Orientation at right angles to other two galaxies. Very easy to see."

Very impressed you picked this up with relative ease in the 4" -- Bravo! I think it is one of the best edge-on galaxies in the sky and has one of the most interesting dark lanes.
I couldn't make out the lane, but the object itself was very easy to see. Pat, pat... good scope.


Quote:
You wrote:
"NGC 3521 - galaxy in Leo...."

How did it elude Messier & Co? I can only conclude that no Comet Messier observed passed it (and took him there) during Messier's active observing career. That is how nearby M65 and 66 were discovered. But how does this account for his collaborators also overlooking it? We wonders, aye we wonders.
I noted at the time the naked eye view of that area of the sky is fairly dull - a few stars around mag. 5. Not a lot of reason to sweep a scope through there, I guess. Great galaxy for a small scope, though.

Quote:
"NGC 3115 - galaxy in Sextans...

NGC 3115 is one of four galaxies you can see with certainty from the Sydney CBD (Sydney Observatory) in an 8" 'scope. The others are M77, M104 and NGC 7213 -- which is very close to the 2nd magnitude star Al Nair (Alpha Gruis).
I thought NGC 253 would be on that list...

Quote:
You wrote:

"Pencil Nebula - nebula remnant in Vela. O'Meara threw down the challenge ... ... Stare intently for 10 minutes before giving up. No Pencil Nebula for me."

I'm not surprised for one -- personally I'd have thought about 15-20cm of aperture to be the absolute minimum so don't be despondent at all. Steven O'Meara must have "Superman's eyes" me thinks!
Not despondant ... I only have to look at O'Meara's drawings to realise just what I'm up against
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-03-2008, 01:45 PM
你B
Its only a column of dust

你B is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: New Iceland
Posts: 761
Great report, makes me wanna go out but I cant Was going to this morning but I was tired, and when I did get up at 5.30 (too late!!) it was anyway overcast!

Your description of M83 is interesting - as not alot can be seen from the city! In my 10" it is basically a bright core with a very faint hazy non-descropt circular envelope. I MUST take my 12" to a dark sky site! While you were in the area you should've checked out NGC 5078, which from the city looks like a small elongated, spindle shaped haze but I suspect it would be a fairly impressive sight from the country due to its large angular size and dark lane.\

During your Observation of M105/NGC3384, did you spot the fainter and elongated NGC 3389? Other good galaxies in the immediate area are NGC 3338 and NGC 3377. Leo I (UGC 5470) actually looks like a rich globular with very faint stars on SIMBAD, appears to stand out better than other dwaf galaxies so maybe possible with a 4-5" under truly dark skies. Might give it a shot with my 12" but my northern sky is pretty light polluted and I'd be surprised if I see anything.

M104 always amazes me - I can see the lane at 56x in my 10", at higher mags it is sensational - one of the best, IF not THE BEST telescopic galaxy in the entire sky.

There's ALOT of great galaxies in the Hydra/Centaurus/Leo/Virgo region for a 4" under dark skies!! I made a list of the best ones which I will check out next time I can go outside.

Re the Pencil Nebula - don't feel bad, I can't see it with my 12" from where I am.

Btw, going hiking in 36 degree weather before a full night of astronomy is not smart my friend

Last edited by 你B; 12-03-2008 at 02:08 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-03-2008, 03:12 PM
goober's Avatar
goober (Doug)
No obs, raising Harrison

goober is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 793
Cheers SAB, I must have missed 3389 in the field. I'll look for it next time, along with 5078, from dark skies. My view to the north was very tight, I basically observed Cancer and Leo objects through a narrow gap in the trees - it was about "15 minutes" in time wide, as they moved through it.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12-03-2008, 04:21 PM
你B
Its only a column of dust

你B is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: New Iceland
Posts: 761
Hey Doug

NGC 5078 is actually easy to spot from my suburban location with the 10", altough it appears MUCH smaller than the big impressive oval in the MSA would suggest. Worth a try from the city. It has a small companion - IC 879 but it is very faint and out of reach for a 4".

A few decent galaxies lie nearby - NGC 5101, 5061, 5084 and 5068.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +10. The time is now 07:18 PM.

Powered by vBulletin Version 3.8.7 | Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Advertisement
NexDome Observatories
Advertisement
Bintel
Advertisement
OzScopes Authorised Dealer
Advertisement
Lunatico Astronomical
Advertisement
Celestron Australia
Advertisement
SkyWatcher Australia
Advertisement
Meade Australia
Advertisement
Astronomy and Electronics Centre
Advertisement