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Old 24-03-2023, 11:06 PM
dabbeldi
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Lovely observing night in dark skies

Hi All,

I had a great observing night on 17 March, one of those night where I get into the 'flow' and just keep observing, glued to the eyepiece, so i thought i'd share! I went to a place near Lake Mountain, VIC, a bit over 1 hour drive for me. It's meant to be Bortle 2 and is above 1000 m altitude, so a pretty good site. It's the third time I've been there.
Transparency was good, seeing not very. I took the 18 inch f3.5 SDM#118

I tend to pick targets by collecting ideas over time and saving them in an observing list, but I also just like to look at random things that show up on SkySafari. I also like to fall back to Bambury's 600 from time to time as there's a lot of great targets in that list.

I started the night by warming up with the Orion and Tarantula nebulae, always great sights, especially with the NPB filter.

Monoceros:
Rosette nebula - This is an object where the field of view of the 18 inch is to small. Nice to look at but it was better in my old 10 inch. Needed the NPB filter for best effect.

Centaurus:
Y-C 2-11 - a random find, relatively large and faint planetary nebula, nicely visible with an Oiii filter

Vela:
Eight burst nebula - lovely ring structure with Oiii filter

Antlia:
NGC 2997 - large, low surface brightness spiral galaxy with a small core, hint of spiral arms and possibly a bar (turned out to be just the extended core)

Hydra:
Ghost of Jupiter nebula: Lovely, bright, greenish and ghostly
NGC 3109 - This is an interesting dwarf galaxy, 4MLy years away, just at or past the edge of our local group. Seemed cigar shaped, faint and edge on
ARO 65 - another random planetary that i came across on the map. This one is impressively large (4 arc min), faint and right next to a bright star. It needed the Oiii to be seen.
Quasar CTS J01.03 - Listed as m16.2 and 11 Billion Ly away. Would love to see it because of its distance. I'm not 100% sure whether I caught it or not. I saw the m16.4 stars next to it with averted vision, but the quasar seemed to only come into view occasionally. I will try this one again when the seeing is better as I'm not sure enough about it. Or maybe it is just not as bright as listed and much fainter.
Hydra galaxy cluster - This is a fantastic galaxy cluster about 150 MLy away and I spent a good amount of time here identifying individual galaxies. I must have picked up around 25 galaxies listed down to m16.4 until I had enough and moved on.
PGC 83261 - galaxy right next the Hydra cluster. This one is listed as 940 MLy away, so would be my galaxy distance record.
M83 - Lovely view of the spiral arms

Centaurus, again:
NGC 4945 - this is one my favourite galaxies, it's large, nearly edge on and has a nice mottled structure to it. NGC 4976 is nearby,
Centaurus A - Best view of it so far for me.
Omega Cen - very nice as usual, but the stars seemed to be 'wavering' in the air, so the choice to stick to nebulae and galaxies was the right one because of poor seeing.
Ruprecht 106 - random globular cluster that seemed like a round brightening of the background milky way stars. Near distinct triple star. Overall comparably easy to detect (for a glob with a non-NGC name that is).

Corvus:
Antennae galaxies - nice little fortune cookie shape
Quasar HE 1211-1322 - m15.2 and 8.8 Billion Ly. Visible near stars of similar magnitude. Would clearly be my distance record. Or maybe not, because SkySafari lists a star of m15.5 in the same location. sigh, I'll keep chasing those distant quasars...

Naked eye:
When packing up after 1 am, the milky way pointed straight upwards, and the dark Emu was beautifully visible. I sat back and enjoyed the view for a while.
During the night I noticed a part of the sky in northerly direction that seemed a bit 'dirty' or like there was milky way where there shouldn't. It only occurred to me later that I must have seen the Gegenschein and zodiacal band. A first for me, YAY!

Overall an immensely enjoyable night that will give me my astronomy fix for the month. Let's hope the weather will allow another trip before winter.

There's more objects that I observed, but didn't take notes of all and don't want to bore the reader with more PGC numbers...
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  #2  
Old 25-03-2023, 08:22 AM
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Crater101 (Warren)
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Great report! Centaurus is always a rich field for observing, and I haven't looked at the Ghost of Jupiter for many a long age. Sounds like a superb night.
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Old 25-03-2023, 09:37 AM
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Tinderboxsky (Steve)
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Thoroughly enjoyed reading your report. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
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Old 25-03-2023, 10:03 AM
EpickCrom (Joe)
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Hi mate and thanks for posting your wonderful observing report!

Bortle 2 with an 18 inch dob sounds fantastic. You got to see some great sights, the joys of visual observing!

Wishing you clear skies
Joe
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Old 25-03-2023, 11:14 AM
Dave882 (David)
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Great report! Sounds like a fantastic night. Iím interested in this NPB filter it seems to be quite versatile as a nebula filter - better than a UHC?
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Old 25-03-2023, 12:36 PM
dabbeldi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave882 View Post
Great report! Sounds like a fantastic night. Iím interested in this NPB filter it seems to be quite versatile as a nebula filter - better than a UHC?
Yes, the DGM NPB is a good filter. I compared it to the Lumicon UHC and felt that the NPB showed a bit more. I preferred the red tinge of the NPB over the green tinge of the Lumicon. I bought it from the manufacturer in the US.
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Old 25-03-2023, 01:18 PM
Dave882 (David)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dabbeldi View Post
Yes, the DGM NPB is a good filter. I compared it to the Lumicon UHC and felt that the NPB showed a bit more. I preferred the red tinge of the NPB over the green tinge of the Lumicon. I bought it from the manufacturer in the US.
Thanks thatís very interesting cause I use the Optolong UHC for some targets but but yes that strong green hue is off putting. I might try this one out
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