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  #1  
Old 23-08-2011, 03:39 AM
chich0 (Chris)
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Planetary Nebula

Hey guys,

Just wondering, what are the most beginner friendly planetary nebula? (easiest to view)

I am having trouble finding any Planetary Nebula, will any type of filter help?

10" Bintel Dob and using a 24mm Orion Stratus & 15mm Bintel/GSO Plossl

I have found galaxies etc but I am having a lot of trouble with Planetary Nebula, any help would be appreciated!!!
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  #2  
Old 23-08-2011, 08:40 AM
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Hi Chris,

Some bright planetary nebulae you could hunt down at this time of year are the Ring Nebula, Dumbbell Nebula, Blue Planetary and Saturn Nebula.
How much skyglow do you have? Larger planetary nebulae will have a lower surface brightness for a given magnitude.
Smaller ones such as the Blue Planetary have a higher surface brightness for the same magnitude.

Finder charts for each of these are in my Galaxy and Planetary Supplement.
Go to my website ...
https://sites.google.com/site/southernastronomer/
and select the second button at left.

Regards, Rob
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  #3  
Old 23-08-2011, 11:31 AM
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Hi Chris,

Back when I had a 6" scope I started a thread on getting some help in finding planetary nebulas. It was a very informative thread with some great tips and information.
You'll just need to work out from the suggestions within the thread what is currently observable in our skies at the moment.

http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...anetary+nebula


The Ring nebula (M57) is indeed an awesome sight, as is the Ghost of Jupiter and the Blue Planetary (the last two are so colourful and bright).

Start with low (around 20mm) to medium power (around 15mm) with your eyepieces. You'll soon work out how much power you can throw on them. From what I've come to learn and understand so far, OIII filters generally work better with planetary nebs, but with the brighter ones, you don't have to have a filter to see them (I don't use mine that often to be honest).

Within this thread (on the first page I think), pay particular attention to the post by Jacqui (Blue Skies)- she gives a mighty fine tip on observing them.
In fact, I think this thread is so wonderfully helpful, it deserves a bump.

All the best with your chase on pn's - they are worth it!
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  #4  
Old 23-08-2011, 12:05 PM
chich0 (Chris)
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Thanks for the replies!

I just think I have past them a million times and i am not sure what i am looking at, pictures off course are deceiving for new astronomers and i know there is no way they will look like that.

I tried finding the Saturn Nebula and the Blue Planetary near Crux but no luck.

Like i said i think i just keep missing them.

I will have a read of the thread! Thanks!
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  #5  
Old 23-08-2011, 12:37 PM
chich0 (Chris)
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As soon as nightfall comes i have about 3 hours to look for the Blue Planetary lol. Lets see how i go! (Again)
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  #6  
Old 23-08-2011, 12:40 PM
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NGC 6572 in Ophiuchus is quite good, as I recently discovered. Small and bright: should be an easy target in the 10".
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  #7  
Old 23-08-2011, 12:42 PM
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Chris, within the link I supplied, there are helpful maps including one for the Blue Planetary.

You have to take your time nice and slow searching for them in the eyepiece as they can be fairly faint. Make sure the object is high enough in the sky, say around 40 deg. and make sure the moon isn't around. That being said, The Ring Neb is fairly low and that is still an easy find, but being bright it's easier.
Sketches give a more realistic view of what to expect at the eyepiece. In general, you should expect just about all DSO's to be faint, that's why they're nicknamed "faint fuzzies", some are more so than others.
As you get more experience observing, these things will pop out at you much better as your eyes get trained. The main thing is patience at the eyepiece. In time to come, what was dim in the past, you'll refer to as quite bright!

Another helpful tip I can offer you is to read thru the reports section in the Observation forum (it's right at the top of the page). Here is a good example of a PN report by Paul. Reading these reports sharpens our skills and helps us know what to tease out and look for.
http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...ad.php?t=73566
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  #8  
Old 23-08-2011, 12:47 PM
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What magnification have you been using to find them all this time?

Finding the Blue Planetary: Go a straight line from delta crucis a few degrees (about the width of your thumb).

While you're in Crux, if you haven't already seen it, head to beta crucis and move left slowly only about a degree or 2 and there lays a most magnificent ruby red carbon star, hence nicknamed ruby crucis.
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  #9  
Old 23-08-2011, 03:01 PM
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Hello Rob,

I haven't seen your site before, what a beauty.
There are some great guides there that would
benefit any visual observer, not just beginners.
The maps are nice and clear. Well done!!

Cheers, Paul.
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  #10  
Old 23-08-2011, 04:08 PM
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I was about to post a simillar question re: planetary nebs, Ive also been having a tough time trying to find the blue planetary. Thanks for the tips Suzy, I'll give it another go as soon as the sky clears.

Rob, those charts are great, been using them for a while, thanks.

Davin
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  #11  
Old 23-08-2011, 04:59 PM
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Your most welcome Davin.

Take a look here at this Cloudy Nights link, it gives some helpful tips on chasing them down and there is an attachment file listing the brightest 100 PN's. Nice!

Rob's maps are fantastic!
I have them all printed out and put in plastic sleeves in a dedicated ring binder. I like his use of coloured stars to help with star hopping and he supplies a nice list of astro physics on each chart for the objects of interest.

Edit:
Grant (GEM) has also added a nice list of pn's in a recent thread of his. http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...255#post757255

Last edited by Suzy; 23-08-2011 at 05:10 PM. Reason: Added in Grant's link for some pn's.
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  #12  
Old 23-08-2011, 05:34 PM
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Re website and documents.

Thanks Suzy, Davin and Paul for the positive comments.
All documents (charts) are freely available for the promotion of education and interest in astronomy.

Regards, Rob
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  #13  
Old 23-08-2011, 07:30 PM
chich0 (Chris)
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All this time i have been using a 24mm eyepiece.

I just added a UHC filter and used my 15mm and moved the scope to the right from cluster NGC3766.

I don't know if I am seeing it still, but i have found an odd shaped starlight blotch that is blue, but it is similiar in size to a star, slightly bigger.

Would this be it?
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  #14  
Old 23-08-2011, 08:30 PM
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Probably - give it the 'blink' test. Look directly at it, then away, then back at it. If it appears to 'blink' on and off, that's it. A lot of planetaries are like this with low surface brightness and they look best in averted vision.

I was going to add that the Blue Planetary is a bit notorious for being hard to find, as it is very star-like.

For others to try, the Ring Nebula in Lyra is fairly bright, and I usually find the Dumbell large and easy. The Ghost of Jupiter in Hydra is a good one too, but it might be too late in the year for it, its a good Autumn object.
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  #15  
Old 23-08-2011, 08:46 PM
chich0 (Chris)
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Gave it the blink test and used a 9mm plossl, definitely it!

I don't feel so bad for missing it now, it is very deceiving!

Too bad i have work tomorrow such a clear night!
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  #16  
Old 23-08-2011, 11:21 PM
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Hi Chris

Here's a capture of the Blue Planetary I took a while back.

It's probably a lot brighter than what you will see, but it might give you an idea of what your looking for.

Hope it helps

Cheers
Attached Thumbnails
Click for full-size image (NGC3918-LSHO.jpg)
15.9 KB337 views
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  #17  
Old 24-08-2011, 06:09 AM
chich0 (Chris)
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Thanks for the help guys,

I found my first Planetary Nebula yay!!!

When i put the 9mm on, it was considerably larger then nearby stars and bluer. The blue wasn't as intense as your photo ric, but it was blue!



Now what to find next? lol
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  #18  
Old 24-08-2011, 07:36 AM
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Congratulations on bagging your first PN!

Now head for M57 (The Ring)- trust me you'll be tickled pink at the site of this one. Throw your 9mm on it. Very eeeeasy to find too.
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  #19  
Old 24-08-2011, 07:42 AM
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A helpful hint regarding PN...
They really do come in all shapes and sizes. Some are quite small and bright (like a Uranus or Neptune), others are faint and fuzzy, some are round, some are not, etc... Try to take note of the size before looking. If the PN is a few arc seconds - expect to need some magnification to be able to tell it from surrounding stars. If it is larger (and hence fainter for a similar magnitude), pick a moonless night and low power.
Other than the famous ones (Ring, Dumbell, etc...) I have come to observing PN rather recently, but the variety is amazing!

Using a 9.25" (235mm) SCT from the suburbs, from June until now I have observed the following PN from suburban Canberra:
NGC 5979, NGC 5189, NGC 6302, NGC 2867, NGC 3132, NGC 3242, NGC 4361, NGC 3699, NGC 3918, IC 4406, NGC 5882, NGC 6072, NGC 6153, NGC 6309, NGC 6337, NGC 6445, NGC 6369, IC 4406, NGC 5882, IC 4191, NGC 5189, M57, NGC 6572, NGC 6751.

I have given this list to let you know what a 9.25" is capable of from within town. I hope it helps in choosing some PN for others to tackle!
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  #20  
Old 24-08-2011, 08:01 AM
Archy (George)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robh View Post

Finder charts for each of these are in my Galaxy and Planetary Supplement.
Go to my website ...
https://sites.google.com/site/southernastronomer/
and select the second button at left.

Regards, Rob
Thanks Robh for the list. It will help me focus my observing.
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