February 15th 2009 Ngc 1553 & 2438 Planetary Nebula

My goal in tonight’s observation is to view the planetary nebulas on my list, as this would have to be a quick session. Clouds have passed and transparency is at a 3 with seeing at a 7. Wind was slightly up and then fading off as the evening set in. Please observe that the notes on my sketches are just notes. I make a formal written observation on a completely different form.

I began tonight by knowing I wanted to bag NGC 1535 in Eridanus. I use the telrad and went to Zaurak and hopped over to HIP19011. From there I hopped over 2 stars to the left and then up and to the right diagonally to HIP19608. Right above HIP19608 is a triangle of stars that is facing east-southeast. I went to the upper right corner star and put just started moving off to the NW. NGC 1535 is quite evident as a small grayish object with two stars that are close together next to it, and two a little farther apart to the south.

I used 53x to get me to NGC 1535 and then brought 92x when I got there. I observed the object for over twenty-five minutes making notes and admiring it. At 92x the nebula is oval/disk shaped (roundish) and the edge is diffused. I can see the typical gray/white but have caught hints of blue while observing at 92x. At 184x NGC 1535 holds magnification quite well and I actually tried 266x. Seeing conditions wouldn’t allow that tonight and the planetary became too blurry. At 184x I began to see more hints of blue and a brighter area near the center with a diffusion of light, almost like a halo around the brighter area.

NGC 1535 is around 1500 light years from us with an apparent magnitude between 9.3 and 10. It is very similar to the Eskimo Nebula and if your in the area, no. Before Eridanus fades into the spring sky make the time to go and view this object. If you’re into astrophotography take the time to make an image of this wonderful coin. I did not see a central star in my observation and it can be hard to see based on what I found on the web.

Here is my unrefined sketch of NGC1535 (I caught my error after posting and have corrected it from NGC1534 to its correct ID).

This link gives some quick info I included and a beautiful picture in color:

NGC 1553


After viewing NGC 1535 I decided to go back to M46 to try NGC 2438. I sent back using the 13mm Stratus at 92x and later used the 2x Barlow to go to 184x. Conditions remain the same as with NGC 1535, transparency is at a 3 and seeing is at a 7. The wind had died off by now.
Visually I could not see NGC 2438 through the eyepiece. So I took out the 13mm Strat and put my NB filter in. As soon as I looked through the eyepiece there was no doubt about seeing NGC 2438. She stuck out like a sore thumb. I took the filter off after viewing for about 10 minutes and I could now detect the planetary visually (or perhaps since I knew where to look my mind just made the connection) or so I believe. Putting the filter back in I viewed it as a grayish blob at 92x . Also, at 92x I can see a bright core or central star. The nebula stands out in the filter and is diffused across the diameter. Averted vision brings out more of the nebula itself.

At 184x the planetary nebula is even more diffused and is somewhat diffused, brighter on the west to southwest side. Also, what I thought was the central star is not, it is a member of the background cluster of M46 on its southern central side. There is no doubt that NGC 2438 is a foreground object in front of M46. Please see the link below this entry for why the planetary nebula is a foreground object.

This ended my observation on the 19th as I needed to go to work the next day and it was rather late. Please be aware that on the 15th I had observed and sketched M 46 and M 47 with other objects. I had seen both M 46 and M 47 but had not done a detailed enough observation or sketch.

My sketch of NGC 2438; non-inverted:

Info on NGC 2438. First image kinda of reminds me of the Ring Nebula.

NGC 2438 Link 1

M 46 and NGC 2438

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