April and May have been quite challenging for me. We had some major life events that I won't get into here happen and in May, I have had a horrible respiratory virus and a skin infection. I couldn't get the material that I sketched on three observations to scan, but today I finally was able to use the old scanner. We are going to buy a new scanner/copier/printer at some point, just now sure when.
APRIL 5th and 6th, 2009
On April 5, 2009 I was able to view the following objects. I got in what was to be my last view until fall of M42 and it was really stellar that night. I used a UHC NB Filter and the shape of the nebula really came out. I took the filter out and the trapezium. Conditions were good enough to see the E star tonight and at 240x I could see both the E and F stars tonight. By the time I finished though forty-five minutes later at 10:00p.m. the E and F stars were really hard to see.
My next object was M-53, a globular cluster. I went to Denobola and then to CD 6 and then to CB 27. From CB 27 I went to CB 36 and then to Alpha CB and then east and M53 was easily seen. At 92x in the 13mm Stratus M53 appears as a faint fuzzy. The waxing gibbous moon I am sure is not helping with this observation. There are two stars close together to the northwest with a third star some distance to the left. A tight and bright core is clearly evident with diffusion around it as one looks out past the core. The core is a third of the halo and with averted vision I can see some lanes of stars coming out from the core.
April 6 was my double star posting that comes before this one.
Also on April 6th I observed the globular cluster of M3. Got there in a round about way. Used the Telrad to go to Arcturus in the constellation Bootes. From there I jumped to Muphrid and then jumped up to 6 Bootes. From 6 Bootes I went northeast diagonally to an elongated triangle or quadilateral. The northwest star up diagnonal shoed M3 sticking out and easy to see. I will have to return to his object when there is no moon to really grasp its full intensity. At 184x a strong core stands out with hundred of stars moltled. Averted vision brings out tendrils of stars which I tried to capture in my sketch. Also, using averted vision to the southwest brings out the most detail while observing this wonderful object. I have to say that in many ways I think I like M3 better than M13 in Hercules. Then again, I haven't looked at M13 since last summer/early fall.
APRIL 12th and 13th, 2009
On the night of April 12th and the morning of April 13th I was able to get some observing time in. I really don't like summer observing because of the issue of daylight savings. It's between 10:00p.m. and 11:00p.m. before I can start and if I want to observe on a work night that makes it difficult. Guess I need to learn to take some naps.
This night my first object that I observed was the galaxy M-91. I was using the eight inch dob with the telrad and my 21 and 13mm Stratus. I used the telrad to go to Vindematrix and then went west to a double (see the Sky Pocket Atlas). The nI went up diagonally to a star then over to a sideways triangle asterism whose top star is a double (appears to be). Next I went over to three stars that are north-south or up-down and then over from the middle star almost due east. I ran into M-91 and confirmed it by going to M88. M91 is a fuzzy blur at 92x and it appears face on. No mottling or structure is visible and the edge is diffused. The core is bright, small and tight. Hyperventalating helps to see the structure on this galaxy and its shape. No birght or dark lanes are visible. It does appear to have a tie fighter appearance to me and that is reflected in the sketch.
Starting around 12:09 a.m. I left M-91 and went and observed both M89 and M90. To find these I started at Vindematrix and jumped to the double next to it; see the SkyPocket Atlas on pg, 45. Then I went diagonally northeast to two stars next to each other and then down pass M60 and M59 to M58. From M58 I then went up to M89 and M90. M89 shows more details and has a very bright core with some mottling of dark and light. No lanes or hints of lanes could be seen, just some hints. M90 showed a bright core with diffusion of brightness around the core with hints of shape. M90 seems to sit almost northwest to southeast and is more edge on than M89. M89 appears to me to be face on.
After spending time with M89 and M90 I went to take a look at M49. Again I went to Vindemiatrix and hopped over to Rho Virgo which is an asterism of a triangle with Rho in the middle. I then went diagonally SE to another triangle asterism where I saw NGC 4526, a galaxy and observed it, but did not sketch it. Should of, perhaps next time. From NGC 4526 I sent north and then east to easily see M49. M49 is a large ellipitical galaxy with a bright center core surrounded by a halo with no details visible. No structure outside of the size and shape was visible either.
Here are my notes on NGC 4526: NGC 4526 is a lenticular barred galaxy that sits between two stars locaed and easily seen. NGC 4526 sits between those two stars that form a part of a triangle. It has a bright central core, white and roundish/circular with a halo surrounding it. Immedietly to the north is a star or a fainter galaxy perhaps (it is a star not a galaxy like M51)? NGC 4526 is similar to M51 in my opinion because of the star that seems connected to it. No matter what this is a nice looking object. The halo from NGC 4526 extends to just below the star -- the star could be a foreground (my guess) or a background star.
Next I came upon M64, the Black Eye Galaxy. I used the telrad to go to Vindermaitrix and then to Alpha Coma B by star hopping up to an asterism of three stars. From here I went southeast and M64 was very easy to find, it was straight down from the third star. At 92x M64 is a face on with a bright core and mottling of darkness to the northeast. There is a line that runs west to east of brightness from the western edge to the core. Definite hints of lanes are visible on this beauty. A wonderful item to observe. I did a sketch at 92x and at 184x.
My next observation came on April 29th and I observed several items, but only officially recorded one item, but it was one that has eluded me for sometime. Tonight I was able to bag M109, a galaxy in Ursa Major. I decided that even with a waxing crescent to take a shot at M109. The moon is almost down to the horizon (heading there quickly) and using the telrad, I went to Phelda. From Phelda I went to the three stars in a line that are south-west of Phelda. Using averted vision I spotted M109. It is rather large in shape and because of that, it is very faint. I have to wait until periods of seeing improve but in good periods I can make out a distinct core with a lot of haze and faint fuzziness around it. I returned after the moon set to sketch it and M109 gave up a few more details.
MAY 15th AND 16th, 2009
My next session was on May 15 and May 16, 2009. My first object was NGC 4147, a globular cluster in Leo. I used the telrad to Denebola and then went to CB 6 from which I went up to an astermism of three stars that form a triangle with the top star on the left middle, and the two other stars going up diagonally to the upper right and lower left. From the top star in the asterism (upper right from the middle or point star) I worked my way up and in the 21mm Stratus EP the golbular stuck out as a fussy. No mottling or stars are present at 57x , only a fuzzy ball. At 240x using the 5mm Hyperion I could make out the shape of the core with fuzziness around it. At 92x in the 13mm Stratus I got my best views. The core is bright and visible though no stars are visible on the core. Averted vision is best to distinguish size of this small globular. A nice change to the galaxies in the area. I'll add my image later on this but I do have a sketch.
On May 16 I went Spica and then went to Virgo 49. From V 49 I went to two stars down diagonally to the right, next to NGC 4802 then up to the star above it. From here I went to an astermism of a triangle with a third star on the left edge. From there I star hopped to three stars in a row then M104 came into view. At 55x I could make out the distinct shape and a bright core. At 240x conditions would only show a bright core. 92x shows both the shape of the galaxy, and the dark line down the center. This is a very fat and elognated galaxy. At first I could see only from the dark line up to the top half, then with averted vision the bottom half came into view. Both averted vision and direct vision brings out the details on this wonderful galaxy.
My next object was M101 around 12:44a.m. M101 is an easy object to get to, but very hard to see. I've missed it at least twice before. Tonight I used the telrad to get to Mizar and Alcor and then star-hopped on the four bright stars leading up up from the Mizar/Alcor pair. I went pass 83 UMa and the fourth star has three stars in a line next to it. The middle star in that line has a birghter star next to it/above it. That star forms another line of three stars and avoe these are three more. By connecting them they make a box. From that top corner star in the last in the line, follow out two more stars then down and you'll see M101. It is very important to be dark adapted when going after this galaxy because it is so big that the light is dispursed. I could discern a weak and faint core. No stars are visible or lanes at first. With averted vision I can discern the size of this face on galaxy and it is huge! By continuing to observe I could eventually discern lanes and some dust in them.
I have to say that if one is not experienced in seeing and finding really faint fuzzies than M101 is one to wait on until one has more experience. The core shows dull at times and then almost like a distant star with averted vision. This is one where a dark site would really help one to see this object in a lot of detail.
M4 was my next object. I used the Telrad to Antares, a beautiful orange star) and I looked in the finder and due west I could easily see M4. M4 is a wonderful globular cluster where many and various colors are present. Many stars are visible and at 55x it shows stars as individuals and with nebulosity around them. At 240x M4 shows the bright stars of the core and details in patterns. 92x shows the best details again and the shape of this cluster is clearly evident. This is not a typical globular in terms of a tight ball. There are stars that are around the center portion of this globular that look like they are part of the globular but farther out.
M80 Globular Cluster was my final item on the night of May 16/17, 2009. I used the telrad to go to Antares again and then to O Scorpius. From here I went to two diagonal stars that lead to M80. Another way was Antares to a triangle asterism below IC 4601 to a star below the triangle asterism. Then work back to the top star that is diagonal. Unlike M4, M80 is a tight and ball shape globular cluster, more typical of others I've seen. M80 has a bright central core with some stars showing on the edges at 92x. At 240x, M80 still shows a bright inner core but far more stars are no visible. A very fun globular to view.