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Old 10-02-2008, 07:05 AM
žAB
Its only a column of dust

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Cool Early morning Galaxy hunt 10/2/08

Woke up at 3am this morning to do some galaxy hunting in Virgo and Corvus. Actually what I really wanted to do was to observe Jupiter. But Virgo was high up so I figured it'll be interesting hunting galaxies in the 10", something I haven't done before. I was eager to see how the scope would perform. Scope was outside cooling by 3.15 while I made some nice hot coffee. Was quite cool outside and dew began forming almost immediately. However, my scope is equipped with a dewshield so I wasn't worried.

Seeing this morning was a travesty. Period. Severe twinkling of Canopus and later on even Venus was twinkling when 20║ above the horizon However, the showers last night left us with superb transparency, the best I've seen in a while. Perfect conditions for my mission! The scope had only 20 mins to cool when I began. Collimation had not budged since last time and I didn't even need to tweak it. Sweeet.

Scope: 10" GSO dob
Time: 3.45am - 4.45am
Seeing: 2-3/10
Transparency: 5/5
Temp: 12║C
Dew: Very heavy

M104 Sombrero Galaxy
Wow! Absolutely superb in the 10"! Even at only 56x using the 22mm Vixen, its shape was unmistakable. The dust lane was visible as a thin streak across the bulging core. Increasing power to 156x, the dust lane was obvious, and the galaxy exhibited a spindle shape while averted vision bought out its big pudgy central area. Maybe it was the great transparency, but I was impressed.

In light of the awesomeness experienced viewing the Sombrero, I was eager to check out the Hamburger in Centaurus, but sadly it was exactly at the zenith, making it almost impossible to view it and still be able to handle the scope! Oh well, tonight looks like it might be clear....

NGC 4038/4039 - Antennae
NGC 4038: Size= 5.2x3.1', Mag=10.5, Surface brightness=13.3
NGC 3039: Size= 3.1x1.6', Mag=10.7, Surface brightness=12.2

Both galaxies visible as ovals joined at their eastern end at 156x, oriented at about 45║ with respect to each other. NGC4038 apppeared larger and brighter than 4039.

-------------------------------------------------------

Spent the next 45 mins or so just hunting around amongst a group of galaxies near 53 Virginis. The following objects are all located within 2║ of each other, centered at around RA 13h 15m, Dec -16║30'; but were observed individually.

NGC 5044
Size: 3x3', Mag: 10.9, Surface brightness: 13.3
Visible as a fairly obvious circular glow at 96x and forms a nice triangle
with a pair of 9th and 10th magnitude stars about 12' to its NE and NW.

NGC 5037
Size: 2.2x0.7', Mag: 12.5, Surface brightness: 12.9
Small, elongated smudge at 156x orientated NE-SW with a 12th magnitude star sitting at its NE end.

NGC 5035
Size: 1.4x1.1', Mag: 12.8, Surface brightness: 13.1
Small, feeble circular glow at 156x, located midway between two 10th stars.
Best seen with averted vision.

NGC 5049
Size: 1.9x0.6', Mag: 13.0, Surface brightness: 13.0
Small elongated haze orientated NW-SE. Faily faint but not difficult at 156x.

NGC 5046
Size: 0.8x0.7', Mag: 13.5, Surface brightness: 12.9
Tiny, faint circular patch of light located 3' SSW of a mag 9 star.
Best seen with averted vision.

NGC 5047
Size: 2.5x0.5', Mag: 12.6, Surface brightness: 12.8
Stongly elongated, almost pencil thin smudge at 156x.

NGC 5054
Size: 5.1x3.7', Mag: 10.8, Surface brightness: 13.6
Large, low surface brightness oval smudge orientated NNW/SSE. 3 or 4 faint stars involved.

-----------------------------------------------------------

By now it was perhaps an hour into the session and the scope was absolutely saturated with dew. Beads of water were running down the tube, as if it were soaked in rain. Just found some randoms before finishing off.

NGC 4536
Size: 7.6x3.2', Mag: 10.4, Surface brightness: 13.8
Large oval haze at 96x with a stellar core. Not as difficult as
surface brightness would suggest.

NGC 4527
Size: 6.2x2.1', Mag: 10.8, Surface brightness: 13.5
Strongly elongated E-W streak, quite easy at 96x. Tiny stellar core and exhibits brightening around the core region. Easier than NGC 4536.

Jupiter
Well as suspected, the seeing was horrific but got an outragous scene with the 4 moons and 2 background stars. See attachment...

All in all a good night was had, even though I was thorougly stoned from no sleep. I was quite impressed to pick up galaxies of only 13th magnitude (even lower surface brightnesses) and with these small faint objects also showing their form, from my suburban backyard. I suspect this scope could plow down to close to 15th mag at a dark site. This is definately a great galaxy hunting instrument!
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  #2  
Old 10-02-2008, 10:32 AM
Karlsson
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I thoroughly enjoy reading these: interesting observation report...
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Old 10-02-2008, 12:41 PM
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Ric
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A great report, it certainly looks like you had a great mornings observing.

Cheers
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Old 10-02-2008, 08:33 PM
žAB
Its only a column of dust

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Thanks gentlemen it was a most enjoyable session I'm still amazed at how well the Sombrero showed even though my skies are moderately light polluted

Will be doing it again tomorrow morning, this time have my sights set on the Spindle, M104, NGC 4945, NGC 3201 and the Hamburger. Might also pop by the Centaurus Cluster while I'm there. Also found a good article by Les Dalrymple in June 2003 S&T showcasing some challenging ESO galaxies in Centaurus. Will give that a crack aswell.
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Old 10-02-2008, 10:59 PM
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goober (Doug)
No obs, raising Harrison

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Nice job, SAB. I had my binoculars down at Lakes Entrance over the weekend. My wife and I went out onto the golf course at midnight, pitch black, and spent an hour bagging targets between the clouds. Centaurus A was fantastic in 10x50's, I fancy I could even make out the two halves. It should look fantastic in your scope.
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Old 11-02-2008, 07:00 AM
žAB
Its only a column of dust

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^^ wow if Centaurus A is that good in 10x50 glasses then I guess I should weld my socks to my legs I have sketched it using the 4.5" reflector (which seems to be next to impossible to collimate) and at 121x in that scope I have two halfs separated by a wide gap with a single star involved.

I wanted to go out this morning I overslept. No thanks to my dad who didnt let me sleep after last nights session just to send me shopping

so I went 2 days without sleep until now.

Next on my hit list is the Spindle Galaxy, M83, NGC 5128, NGC 4945, NGC 3201, Centaurus Cluster and a couple of other galaxy groups in Centaurus. I'm just busting to get out there! Tonight will be clear so its gonna be a sunset-sunrise marathon. The sky is already an excellent deep blue so transparency should be tops once again.

If my scope can pull galaxies of 13th magnitude in my mag 4.5-5 skies, then from a 6-6.5 dark sky site how deep could I go? 14th? 14.5?

Last edited by žAB; 11-02-2008 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 11-02-2008, 04:08 PM
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goober (Doug)
No obs, raising Harrison

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Quote:
Originally Posted by žAB View Post
If my scope can pull galaxies of 13th magnitude in my mag 4.5-5 skies, then from a 6-6.5 dark sky site how deep could I go? 14th? 14.5?
Only one way to find out - get out there

Weren't you going to be observing on a beach somewhere last weekend?

It's a pity you didn't get out last night (Sunday) - it was really good from my place. As I was going to bed around 1:30am, I put the head out. There was plenty of definition in the Vela-Crux Milky Way, from suburban Melbourne. Omega Centauri was easily naked eye, and I bagged Centaurus A with the same 10x50 binoculars. Doesn't beat the Lakes Entrance golf club though
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Old 11-02-2008, 04:38 PM
žAB
Its only a column of dust

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Quote:
Originally Posted by goober View Post
Only one way to find out - get out there
Yeah but I only have 2 Saturdays a month when thats possible, coz my parents need both cars for work and then there's the moon and good 'ol southern Victorian weather to deal with......and my parents wont let me go alone coz they reckon I'm gonna get killed by someone or something. I'm sure bad guys will find me in the middle of nowhere at a place few people even know exists or worse yet, drop bears might fall out of the sky and eat my eyeballs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by goober View Post
Weren't you going to be observing on a beach somewhere last weekend?
Yeah but it went from 0-overcast in 5 seconds about an hour before sunset. Classic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by goober View Post
It's a pity you didn't get out last night (Sunday) - it was really good from my place. As I was going to bed around 1:30am, I put the head out. There was plenty of definition in the Vela-Crux Milky Way, from suburban Melbourne. Omega Centauri was easily naked eye, and I bagged Centaurus A with the same 10x50 binoculars. Doesn't beat the Lakes Entrance golf club though
Yer thank my dad for that. Coz of his insistance that I'd do the shopping, I went 48 hours wihout sleep. He was actually pissed off that I was trying to sleep on the morning after I got in because shopping is more important. Even after sleeping 9 hours last night, I still felt like $%!#.

Oh well, looks okay for tonight. This residual cumulus cloud should die off once the sun sets. Usually does.

EDIT: Dammit, we have some high cloud. Looks liek with the wind turning northeasterly, alll the crud in NSW is getting dragged down here >

EDIT: yep now the whole state is blanketed in cloud. Unbelievable

Last edited by žAB; 11-02-2008 at 07:05 PM.
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