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Old 12-02-2021, 09:51 AM
Startrek (Martin)
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Eta Carina and Homunculus

I was out last night observing with my 12Ē Goto dob ( first time this year ) and selected about 8 objects to view throughout the night including the Carina Nebula which was the last one
Tried a few eye pieces on Carina including a Delos 17.3mm and Ethos 21mm with a Paracorr type 2 CC , with and without a UHC filter , the views were pretty good at that magnification, plenty of detail through the clouds of nebulosity especially with the filter.
Just before packing up for the night I decided to give the Apollo 11 eye piece a try on a nebula at 136x magnification ( never thought to try this before due to the magnification) Focused on the centre and the Star Eta Carina and saw a small sphere shape behind the Star. It wasnít centred behind the Star, the Star was towards the bottom. It wasnít that bright but bright enough not to require averted vision, I could make it out clearly. I refocused a few times thinking it was focus or light scatter or something but no it was still there
For all those experienced observers ( in only a casual observer , spend more time on AP ) surely this couldnít be part of the Homunculus Nebula ??

Appreciate any advice what this could have been or in fact if it was the Homunculus nebula or a least one side of it ??

Thanks
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Old 12-02-2021, 10:18 AM
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GUS.K (Ivan)
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Hi Martin, definitely is. I can see two lobes plus the ejecta material between them and detail in the lobes at high power in my 18 inch scope. I have even seen the two lobes and ejecta material between them in a 7 inch mak in good seeing.

Last edited by GUS.K; 12-02-2021 at 12:19 PM.
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Old 12-02-2021, 03:55 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Ivan,
Thanks for confirming, I thought I wasnít going crazy
Iíve only used the Apollo 11 eye piece on the moon and planets so far which has been tremendous but never on nebula. Definitely not a trophy cabinet eye piece like some folk have suggested across the globe.Looking forward to using it on some others throughout the year , including Carina again before it moves on into Autumn/Winter
Gee my second exciting discovery with this scope and first with this eye piece
My first was seeing the trapezium in M42 and resolving the fifth star E in 2019 using the Ethos 21mm
Thanks
Martin
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Old 12-02-2021, 07:17 PM
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mental4astro (Alexander)
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Martin,

The Homunculus Neb is a surprising little object that is discernible as being non-stellar is appearance using little apertures. With just 100X magnification it can be seen as a little blob with an orangish hue to it.

More aperture and more magnification shows more and more structure/detail. It can take as much magnification as you would use with the planets - & like the planets, really good seeing conditions are a must to show detail. The two lobes at anything over 200X will show a mottled structure to it, almost "net like" texture to the lobes. The two lobes of the Homunculus can be seen as well, with one being distinctly pointing in our direction (and brighter) with the dimmer second lobe pointing away. I've been able to see the tutu like skirt of material that Ivan mentioned in my 9" Mak. However, the tutu is a difficult structure to show. It took me several nights of intense scrutiny of Eta Carina last April to finally have a night good enough to see the tutu.

Oh, and the Homunculus, like the planets, does not need a dark site to thrash it. It makes for an excellent urban skies target.

Below is a quick sketch I did of Eta Carina & the Keyhole neb back in April using a 9" Santel Mak & 14mm Vixen SSW eyepiece, 221X. As a sketch target it presents some challenges that no other DSO has, so I've been working on different techniques to best portray this tiny portion of the Eta Carina Nebula. This is a long term project I've set myself as I work my way to a sketch that says to me "Yep, that'll do nicely". I'm not there yet. This is the third study of Eta I've done in this development process. Some targets need special attention in order to produce the result that one wants.

Alex.
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Last edited by mental4astro; 12-02-2021 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 12-02-2021, 07:52 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Alex
Thanks for your expertise on the subject and excellent sketch too
It was a nice discovery after observing the Carina Nebula for quite a number of years now ( never really pushed past 86x magnification on this object )
Cheers
Martin
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Old 12-02-2021, 07:57 PM
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mental4astro (Alexander)
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MATE! What have you been doing all these years!!!! Not pushed past 86X with Eta Carina!!!!!

This sucker is so richly detailed that it screams "push me, ya whimp!"

Have you seen the dark pillars in it? Pushing the magnification past 150X helps a lot increase their contrast. For those who read this thread and have not seen the skeletal dark pillars in Eta Carina, I've been able to see them with an 8" scopes from my home in Sydney, dobs & SCT's. Increasing the magnification to around 150X is a big help here under light polluted skies.

Alex.
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Old 12-02-2021, 08:19 PM
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Atmos (Colin)
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I’ve been able to see the two lobes with a 4” at 150-200x but no real detail.
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Old 12-02-2021, 08:33 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mental4astro View Post
MATE! What have you been doing all these years!!!! Not pushed past 86X with Eta Carina!!!!!

This sucker is so richly detailed that it screams "push me, ya whimp!"

Have you seen the dark pillars in it? Pushing the magnification past 150X helps a lot increase their contrast. For those who read this thread and have not seen the skeletal dark pillars in Eta Carina, I've been able to see them with an 8" scopes from my home in Sydney, dobs & SCT's. Increasing the magnification to around 150X is a big help here under light polluted skies.

Alex.
Alex,
Shame on me !!
And I do all my observing down south at my retirement holiday place which is Bortle 3. On clear nights the Milky Way is painted across the night sky like Tiara
To be serious though, Iím only a casual observer so my time is spent roughly 80% Astrophotography and 20% Visual and the rest on minding grandkids , so even though Iíve been observing for over 4 years, itís doesnít add up to a lot of sky time overall. I still have a lot to learn about visual ( hence this post and thread ) I have a full set of Televue Powermates which I use for planetary imaging but rarely use them for visual, I think Iíll be using more for visual
I promise Iíll bump up magnification on all objects next time out
Thanks again
Martin
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Old 13-02-2021, 10:13 AM
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Enjoyed your observation report Martin,

Itís amazing the rabbit holes we go down, even after pursuing this hobby a while. Iím 100% observer (80% visual and 20% EAA), and Iíve never really taken my telescope to a dark sky. All my telescope adventures have been from Bortle 5 or worse! Hopefully my FS60 will change that (briefly has actually)

Orion and eta remain my favorites from my Bortle 5 home. The homonculus is still remarkable in the fs 60Q, and delightful in the es102 and c925.

Gregís flurry of eye piece threads have me hooked, not so much fir the EP reviews but the reintroduction of an imager to visual observation. And the analytics and descriptions that he brings from his imaging, as you have.

Best
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Old 13-02-2021, 04:01 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Hemi,
Thanks for your reply
One notable difference ( advantage) between visual and long exposure Astrophotography is that visual you donít really need a perfectly cloudless night , you can still have a great nights observing with passing sections of low and medium level cloud around provided seeing and transparency are ok
With AP especially pushing 5 minute subs , moving clouds banks can drive you bonkers and waist so much time and effort, but we do our best and struggle by
Nice chat
Cheers
Martin
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