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Old 17-02-2008, 04:24 PM
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goober (Doug)
No obs, raising Harrison

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Observation Report: 17 February 2008

Location: Melbourne
Time: 3:10am - 4:45am

I woke up at 3am and glanced out the window. I could see Saturn and Regulus just past zenith, the moon had set, so I decided to stay up and try to spot some stuff from good old suburbia. If the scope hadn't been set up by the back door, I probably wouldn't have bothered. Glad I did.

I only took out the 24mm (23x), 11mm (49x) and 7mm (77x).

Saturn - very pleasing at 77x - steady image, one band visible, and hints of Cassini at the edges. Seen it many, many times before, but never get tired of just what a jewel it is.

Algieba - double star in Leo. Quite tight at 77x, but obviously a double. The colour of these stars is striking - a deep yellow/gold.

M65 / M66 - I want to do an overnighter from a dark sky sight and log a lot of the Leo / Virgo / Coma B. galaxies. I've never bothered from my backyard before, but now I'm more portable it's on the agenda. I practiced star hopping to the Leo Triplet and managed to see two of the galaxies from my backyard - quite happy with that in a 4". I'm not sure which was which, but one was quite elogated, while the other was more elliptical. I couldn't make out the third galaxy (NGC 3628).

Virgo cluster - well, I tried Hopped in from Vindemaitrix and got as far as M59/M60, but simply got lost. Not enough detail visible through the light pollution to keep on going. It looks like this would be enormous fun from a dark sky site.

M68 - easy to spot globular cluster in Hydra. Right next to a magnitude 6 star, and immediately obvious at 22x. 49x didn't reveal any additional detail - just a lumpy patch. 77x resolved around 10 stars in the halo. I felt this could have taken more magnification, and will explore further next time.

M104 - galaxy slap on the Corvus/Virgo border. Fun star hop via a triangle of three magnitude 6 stars, then through a close pair (binary?) to the object. Very bright, elongated galaxy that took magnification very well. Certainly could see the flying saucer shape, but couldn't confirm the dust lane - thought I could see it, but it may have been photographs talking.

M83 - galaxy in Hydra. Hopped in via an equilateral triangle of magnitude four stars that were just naked eye (that helped). I tried to spot NGC 5253 on the way (couldn't), but found M83 easily enough. A bright core surrounded by a milky, misty glow. I was quite surprised at how easy it was - appears to be a lot more to see here from a dark sky site.

M4 - welcomed back - rising in the east. Looked good several stars resolved, and the cat eye spine of stars was very evident.

Omega Centaurii - right at the zenith - bit of a struggle to get the scope aimed straight up, but worth the effort. One of the best views I've seen, amazing at 77x. Stars resolved everywhere, curves, streams, dark patches. Lovely.

Centaurus A - just couldn't get the scope pointed at it - the fine focuser device kept hitting the tripod leg. Pity - this would have been good, I suspect.

Jupiter - it's back - rising in the east. NEB and SEB were clear and showed detail, despite the low altitude. A few "moon-like" stars nearby, which looked a little odd.

Last edited by goober; 17-02-2008 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 17-02-2008, 05:21 PM
žAB
Its only a column of dust

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Once again a cool report Doug and another hit to keep me sane during the arduous wait until 3am tomorrow morning!

Btw, There's a great edge-on spiral galaxy called NGC 5078 about 4║ NW of M83, looks good in photos and has a listed mag of 10.8/ SFC brightness 12.8. Photos show a rather thick dust lane and a small nearby companion (IC879). Worth checking out I will tonight, but I'm sure some aspect of bloody Melbourne weather will step in to ruin my chances. The freaking wind is already picking up.
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Old 17-02-2008, 05:43 PM
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ngcles
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Hi Doug,

Nice report -- an enjoyable read.

The M65/M66/NGC 3628 trio are probably the best galaxiy trio in the sky, though the 4" will really struggle with NGC 3628 unless you are in pristine conditions.

You wrote:

" ... and got as far as M59/M60, but simply got lost. Not enough detail visible through the light pollution to keep on going. It looks like this would be enormous fun from a dark sky site."

And

" ... I want to do an overnighter from a dark sky sight and log a lot of the Leo / Virgo / Coma B. galaxies."

As a "galaxy lover", this area of sky is simply nirvana. I believe that the renowned glass-pusher Mark Suchting was once quoted as saying that he wanted to be "buried facing Orion" Well, when my time comes, you can point me in the direction Virgo/Coma.

When you do get to that "overnighter" from a true dark site, even with a 4" you will find after one night, that you'll have almost scratched the surface. More like a week of all-nighters will be needed to show you most of what's on offer for a 4". 10" ... a month, 20" ... 6 months.

Best,


Les D
Contributing Editor
AS&T
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Old 17-02-2008, 06:25 PM
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PhilW
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G'day Doug,

I enjoyed your report too. It demonstrates the capability of that astonishing little telescope of yours [an NP-101, for those unlucky souls who have not looked through it]. I don't expect to be able to see nearly as deep through my newly completed 4" RFT (made from a Surplus Shed objective).

I did get a marvellous view of Saturn at 2am this morning through my 14", perhaps the best I've ever had. The seeing was almost completely stable & the planet had that etched appearance.

Phil
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Old 18-02-2008, 08:19 AM
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goober (Doug)
No obs, raising Harrison

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Cheers guys, thanks.

Re: Virgo/Coma Bernices...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ngcles View Post
When you do get to that "overnighter" from a true dark site, even with a 4" you will find after one night, that you'll have almost scratched the surface. More like a week of all-nighters will be needed to show you most of what's on offer for a 4". 10" ... a month, 20" ... 6 months.
Absolutely ... I've never bothered from Melbourne before with my earlier beasts because of light pollution, and couldn't get them out of Melbourne. That will change
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Old 21-02-2008, 12:29 PM
Rob_K
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Well done again Doug! Nice variety of objects too...

Cheers -
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Old 23-02-2008, 12:31 AM
žAB
Its only a column of dust

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Quote:
Originally Posted by goober View Post
Cheers guys, thanks.

Re: Virgo/Coma Bernices...



Absolutely ... I've never bothered from Melbourne before with my earlier beasts because of light pollution, and couldn't get them out of Melbourne. That will change
You should've man! I reckon with your old 12" you prolly could've hit 13-13.5th mag atleast from your location.

oh and re NGC5078, it is actually a quite small elongated shard of light in my 10", not the big impressive oval shown in the MSA and images! Looks like the outer halo is infact very faint then.
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