Old 21-05-2018, 04:24 PM
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gaseous (Patrick)
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Weekend viewing

Over the weekend I used SkySafari/Synscan Wifi to trawl through the skies, not really aiming for anything in particular, but rather just honing in on each object as I panned across the screen, hoping to both find some hidden (to me at least) gems, and make a serious effort at logging my viewing sessions and upping my target numbers.

Happily, both were accomplished – I logged probably 75-85 objects over two nights, maybe 65 of which were new to me as they previously didn’t hold the “wow” factor needed to get onto a viewing list.
Viewing from suburban Loganholme less than 1km from the Hyperdome and highway, the light pollution isn’t great, but seeing was better than it has been recently, and the 16” dob was well cooled by the time viewing began. I was using a Baader 8-24 zoom for 75-225x magnification with a DGM NPB filter where required. A few of the highlights for me were:

NGC 6445 Crescent Nebula (mag +8.86 in Sagittarius) Quite a bright planetary nebula, slightly irregular in shape, and would probably benefit from higher magnification (if I could be bothered changing eyepieces) and darker skies.

NGC 6337 Diamond Ring planetary nebula (mag +12.0 in Scorpius). I didn’t even think it was worth trying any PN’s deeper than mag +10, but this was quite a nice little planetary nebula with a distinct “smoke ring” look which is a little spooky when you first see it, with a star visible inside the ring (if slightly offset from centre) with averted vision. I didn’t know this was called the Diamond Ring prior to logging it the next day, but the name is well deserved and I imagine would look even better under dark skies.

NGC 6268 Open Cluster (mag +9.5 in Sagittarius) A nice winding cluster with several bright stars reminding me of a snake.

NGC 3211 Planetary Nebula (mag +10.69 in Carina). Again, this was a surprisingly bright and easy to find nebula which would take higher magnification quite well I think.

NGC 3199 Bright Nebula in Carina (mag +11.1) Without having seen any prior photos, this presented as a small, moderately easy to see crescent shaped nebula. Subsequent on-line photos suggest that under darker skies, the more tenuous tendrils giving the nebula an oval shape may be apparent.

NGC 2867 Planetary Nebula in Carina (mag +9.69). This presented as an easily found small but bright disk with a distinct edge. Higher mags / darker skies might reveal a little more detail. No central star to my eyes.

IC 2553 Planetary Nebula in Carina (mag +10.39). This was also a small, easily seen and relatively bright planetary nebula, which with averted vision tended to have a slightly elongated structure.

NGC 6302 Bug Nebula in Scorpius. (mag +9.69). Probably one of the brightest planetary nebulae I’ve seen. It was easily visible without a filter, and even though a lot of the fainter nebulosity shown on the lobes in photos was missing, it still seemed almost like a small bright galaxy, with pronounced elongation and distinct brightening in the “core”. I’ll definitely be looking at this one under darker skies.

Rounding off the list are two Bright Nebulae in Carina, NGC 3579 (mag +10.0) and NGC 3603 (mag +9.1). With Eta Carina, the Running Chicken, etc in the neighbourhood, I’d never given these two nebulae much notice, but they were quite easily evident and I feel darker skies would reveal a lot more of the fainter tendrils. I see they’ve been imaged a few times in the past by IIS members.
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Old 22-05-2018, 07:12 AM
Tropo-Bob (Bob)
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I enjoyed reading your report.

I have memories of viewing the Bug Nebulae with my previous 12" Dob. I also thought it looked like a galaxy.
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Old 22-05-2018, 09:17 AM
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gaseous (Patrick)
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Cheers Bob, the purely visual side of IIS seems to lag badly behind all the AP posts. It's good to hear other people's opinions on what's good to look at.
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Old 22-05-2018, 07:21 PM
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Tinderboxsky (Steve)
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Excellent report Patrick.

Yes, active visual observers are definitely in the minority in astronomy these days, or at least those prepared to devote the time to reporting their observations. I have noticed the same trend in our Society here in Tasmania. All the buzz and activity centres around AP.

Than you for posting.
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