Old 18-02-2023, 11:28 PM
Dave882 (David)
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Observing Carina's Homunculus

I spent a couple of hours with the c14 down on the outskirts of Sydney this week (B4 sky) which compared to my home-sky is complete luxury. My main goal was to view comet ztf, which was worth the effort but certainly not as good as previous comets such as Leonard last year. With the ES82 30mm the coma was relatively bright but diffuse and not showing any hints of colour. Tail was very faint and the shape was only just discernable with averted vision.

It was however the ever-popular Carina who stole the show on this night! As soon as I landed here I was immediately taken by the view of the Homunculus Nebula - which was showing quite bright and clear. The dual lobes were clearly defined and a pastel tangerine colour. The colour was interesting as I've previously observed this from the B7 suburbs and it showed a much deeper red colour so perhaps a function of the LP or just general atmospheric pollution in Sydney.

I tried a few different eyepieces but the best view was had with the ES82 24mm yielding 163x mag. I was able to orientate myself by locating the 2+1 very small/faint stars just off the NE side. There was a small but clear 'spike' toward these stars emanating from the centre between the 2 lobes. the lower SE lobe was clearly brighter and appeared slightly larger too. It also exhibited a discernible dimple in its centre, a detail that I'd only once glimpsed before but was now visible for more extended periods with better seeing. The lobes had the distinctive hour-glass shape, but in moments of excellent seeing it became clear that the perimeter was not actually that smooth but quite irregular. The upper NW lobe showed less discernible detail and was dimmer.

My setup has a pretty small fov, but nestled into this same view was the keyhole, and it contrasted the homunculus perfectly! It showed clearly silhouetted against it's brighter background with some surprising but very subtle detail, quite lovely!

Definitely the best view I've ever had on the homunculus and the unexpected highlight for the night!
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Old 18-02-2023, 11:54 PM
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Atmos (Colin)
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A few years ago viewing the homunculus through Alan Wade’s 32” Red Back was something I’ll not soon forget. Pitch black skies, pretty decent seeing and a hella lot a aperture gave it that Hubblesque view that my 4” never quite matched
I noticed that the view from my 4” to 10” wasn’t drastically different, especially at the same magnification. The 10” had a brighter and certainly easier view but the 4” glass certainly held up well against the more aperture reflector.

I’ve photographed it several times since but I do need to get out and view it again.
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Old 19-02-2023, 01:48 PM
Dave882 (David)
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Hi Colin that must have been an awesome experience viewing through such a scope. Iíve also done a number of imaging runs on this target too but thereís something about getting it through the eyepiece that just captivates
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Old 19-02-2023, 04:50 PM
EpickCrom (Joe)
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Hi David.

Excellent observations report on the amazing Homunculus Nebula

To think we are seeing the outburst from the explosion 200 years ago, all encompassed within another nebula! Carina is one of my favourite constellations, so much going on in there!
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Old 19-02-2023, 10:15 PM
Dave882 (David)
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Thanks Joe. Yes itís hard to comprehend the magnitude of what we see out there sometimes. But what a glorious age we live in to be able to see it at all!!!
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Old 23-05-2023, 10:13 PM
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Zubenel (Wes)
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Hi Dave ,

A great report which I would , from the last time I observed the Homunuculus , say is a good achievement . I found the larger lobe has a smaller dimple/dark patch central to and towards the end of the oval . I saw mottling in the smaller lobe .Did you get the bi-polar jet towards the side with 2 x very small stars ? I had good to very good seeing (pretty rare in SE QLD) which allowed my 'Zamar" SDM pimped 20" F5 to take the magnification of the 9mm Nagler at 280 x. the 6mm Nagler was not as favourable though . I'm still processing the image which I took afterwards.. AP is a dark art. Pure visual has a magic of it's own..instant reward being one of them

Last edited by Zubenel; 23-05-2023 at 10:35 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 23-05-2023, 11:25 PM
Dave882 (David)
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Thanks Wes - I love observing the Homunculus - it's one of those targets that seems to deliver more and more detail the longer you stay with it.
Regarding the jet - I did pick up a spike out towards the side with the 2 small stars, small but distinct.

I'd totally agree with you the reward of visual observation is unparalleled for me. If I go somewhere dark - the imaging gear very rarely comes out. I've also spent quite a bit of time trial/error imaging the Homunculus and found that with anything but very short exposure (planetary-style) I couldn't replicate what I saw through the eyepiece. I finally got something I was pleased with here:


I've observed her a couple of times since this report, but haven't been able to get the same level of detail since.

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Old 24-05-2023, 09:09 AM
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gaseous (Patrick)
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Originally Posted by Zubenel View Post
AP is a dark art. Pure visual has a magic of it's own..instant reward being one of them

Perfectly said. Although you could have sunk the boot into AP a bit more....
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