Old 16-06-2016, 05:26 PM
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Location: Renmark, SA
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Observations June 13, 2016

Headed out to the site second night running, hopefully this time better prepared. For snacks, no milk-based drinks, just tea and dry snacks. My stomach was happy the whole night. I couldn't find the battery for the heaters and fan so was having issues with fogged eyepieces later on in the evening.

The night was very cold, I had a thermometer with me and it bottomed out at just a shade above -5C with a nice layer of frost gear and ice on my gear, car, table, pencils everything! This was the coldest obs session I ever experienced. The moonlight was especially bright, quite an atmospheric experience with the freezing temps and surrounding semi-arid terrain. Even with the moonlight, the sky was "darker", i.e. more stars visible than back home in Melbourne.

Last time I was out with the 8", dirt got into the ground board affecting motions, so I've responded by getting an 8x10' tarp. I shelled out a bit more for a heavy duty one, this one has a silver and black side and rings for tent pegs. It doesn't crinkle up and make excessive noise when you walk on it, it's actually pretty nice and the black side is handy for observing purposes.

Date: 12-13 June 2016
Time: 8:00pm-4:00am
Scope: 12" F/4.4 dob
Seeing: Ant. II-IV
Transparency: 4/5
Dew: heavy frost!

Started off the night with some lunar and planetary while the moon was up. Collimation was a breeze thanks to the Glatter Tublug, this thing is genius, 30 seconds and you are aligned day or night. Got a sketch of Mars and Saturn which I'll post later. The moon was fantastic in this scope, very rich, crisp and sharp during steady moments.

From now on I wont post coordinates for the objects, as it eats up too much time, these can be looked up in a myriad of sources anyway, only the Magnitude.

NGC 6744
GX, Pavo, Mag V= 8.3, SB= 14.2

The big spiral in Pavo. Bright concentrated core at 102x, hints of a stellaring within the core. Large, low sfc brightness, diffuse halo of uneven sfc brightness, elongated roughly 3:2 N-S with an elongated N-S darker region adjacent to the core area on its SW side. Looking at a DSS image reveals this to be a gap between the central region and a spiral arm. Several faint stars superimposed on the halo.

NGC 7462
GX, Grus, Mag V= 11.7, SB= 12.8

Elongated 5:1 shard of moderately bright light at 166x seemingly protruding from a mag 10.7 star at its W end. Bright, thick central region, tapering off to the E and W in both brightness and thickness.

NGC 6928
GX, Delphinus, Mag V= 12.2, SB= 12.3

Small, fairly high sfc brightness, elongated 3:1 E-W. Seemed to have a slightly curved or irregular appearance at 265x. A mag 14 star was seen at its nothern edge. There is a tight clump of a half-dozen Mag 13-15 stars 5.5' E which appeared as a tiny scintillating haze, mimicking a non-stellar object.

Minkowski 2-9
PNe, Ophiuchus, Mag V= 14.7

Minkowski's Butterfly, this has been on my hit list for a while now but never did get around to it. Finally, I bagged it. Visible as a small, fairly faint narrow streak at 265x with a stellaring at the halfway point which is the mag 15.7 central star. Essentially the same view at 379x. Wasn't able to "split" the lobes at either magnification, basically they appeared blended into each other. Also was battling fogging eyepieces at this stage so the observation is not as thorough as I would have liked.

NGC 6193/6188
OC+BN, Ara, Mag V= 5.2

With my main workhorse eyepieces continually fogging up and now essentially useless, I decided to get a 30mm plossl (44x) and do some Milky Way sweeping. This eyepiece managed to fare better so I wasn't completely shut down. This is an open cluster and nebula combo in a lovely rich area.

The heart of the cluster is punctuated by a orange mag 5.7 star which sits at the head of a 'C'-shaped asterism of ~7-8 mag 7-10 stars. A lovely arc of twelve or so mag 9-11 stars curves from due west of the cluster through 90* to the south. The main body of the cluster could be traced in a rectangle aligned E-W, with the 'C' asterism in the NE corner, a mag 8.8 star in the NW corner and loose associations of around half-dozen mag 10-12 stars in the SE and SW corners.

A delicate haze of the NGC 6188 nebulosity appeared roughly rectagular in E-W, centered on the cluster. A UHC filter slightly enhanced the nebulosity, with low sfc brightness swaths extending N and NW of the cluster, giving the appearance somewhat of rabbit ears, with a brighter extension to the SW. Another faint clump of nebulosity was seen to the north in the vicinity of a tight row of four mag 12 stars, 6.5' S of mag 9 HD149967.

IC 1274-75
BN, Sagittarius

This is an extensive nebulous complex located due east of M8. At 44x it appeared as a large, faint irregular region of uneven surface brightness haze. A distinct flattened rhombus of several stars ranging from mag 7-10 sits at the NE periphery of the nebulosity. NGC 6559 appeared as a small slightly brighter patch in the south surrounding a pair of mag 10-11 stars. UHC provided slight enhancement, particularly of 6559 and a portion of the larger complex around mag 7.4 HD165921 and a mag ~10 pair 6.5' NE.

NGC 6526
BN, Sagittarius

The Millenium Star atlas shows this as a large nebulosity located just north of M8. However, this is evidently incorrect, as 6526 is actually a portion of M8. The TriAtlas also marks its position, but has no identifier. None of the CdC catalogues show it. DSS images show a faint extensive nebulosity set amongst a rich star cloud with rather definitive boundaries.

At 44x with UHC, there was a faint, irregular glow amongst a very rich star cloud north of M8 seperated by a wide dark void. The brightest several stars in the region form a large irregular 'C', open end facing north and within this 'C' was a darker void relative to the surrounding region. Without the UHC the starfield was ofcourse more vivid and I got the impression that the void was less distinct. I've attached a screenie from the TriAtlas with an arrow pointing to the region in this observation.

Also spent some time just sweeping the Sagittarius Milkyway. Have to say M8 and M20 were solid "wow" objects, with the UHC the details were practically photographic. Even at the lowest magnification without a filter, the dark lanes of the Trifid were all plainly visible. Was hoping to chase down more objects but fogging eyepieces really held me back.
Attached Thumbnails
Click for full-size image (ngc 6526.jpg)
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Click for full-size image (12062016 12scope.jpg)
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Click for full-size image (12062016 12scope2.jpg)
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Click for full-size image (13062016 frozenscope.jpg)
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Click for full-size image (13062016 frozenscope2.jpg)
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Click for full-size image (13062016 frozencar.jpg)
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Click for full-size image (13062016 thermo.jpg)
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Click for full-size image (13062106 frozentable.jpg)
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