Two Quick Sessions in September 22nd and 24th 2009

Edit: I got these sketches up with their counter from the Digitized Sky Survey as I got the broken scanner to work.

I love fall observing, yet unless I have a break in teaching which I will have for the last two weeks of October during the week I am confined to the backyard so I can get in by 12:00a.m. and get my six hours of sleep.

So this week I was able to get two sessions in on Tuesday and Thursday (last night I was out until around 1:00a.m. My 16 year old daughter has taken it upon herself during the week to ask when I'll be done and then she gets up to help the "old dad" take everything down and to ensure I get to bed. It's cute but I wonder in 20 years how she'll treat me then!

I will post the sketches when I have time to scan them and more details on how to find these objects and the audio files . . . . which have some observing tips for beginners on them.

On September 22, 2009, using an Orion XT10 with seeing being around a 6/10 I observed the following objects:

NGC 6834 OC in Vulpecula
LM: 8.8
03:46 UT
13mm and 21mm Stratus @ 92x and 57x

Small open cluster at 57x shows 5 central suns that run through the center of the cluster with a hint of background glow. Averted vision shows hints of other stars wanting to come out. At 92x this cluster really shines and the cluster was fun to view. Strong hint of stars that seem to wink and peep in and out around the central run of the 5 bright stars. Strong viewing of the 5 central stars and of the lesser magnitude stars that are next to them. I would rate it as a poor star cluster in terms of number of viewable stars, but a nice object for a Herschel item.

NGC 6885 OC in Vulpecula
LM: 8.1
04:30 UT
21mm Stratus @ 57x
Seeing 6/10

A surprise open cluster that looks to be medium rich in terms of stars (60 +). 18, 19 and 20 Vulpeculae are very pretty in the 21mm Stratus at 57x and 20 V casts off light in a NW to SE tonight. This cluster seems to be dispersing and is rather open and the members are loosely gathered together when compared to other Herschel Open Clusters I've viewed. Was a wonderful object to sketch and I enjoyed doing that.

NGC 6885 from the Digitized Sky Survey

NGC 6940 Open Cluster in Vulpecula
LM 6.3
05:34 UT
21mm Stratus

Extremely rich open cluster that would be wonderful viewed at a dark site. Many asterisms and chains of stars run through this cluster. Many fainter stars in the background and many of various magnitudes. My favorite OC of this session.

NGC 6934 Globular Cluster in Dephinus
Seeing: 7/10
LM: 10.6
05:44 UT
13mm and 21mm Stratus @ 57x and 92x

Easy to find. Telrad to Epsilon Delphini and then down to the south to 2 stars (used the Sky Pocket Atlas on this one) and right above and to the right it sat. Hints of a very small core at both 57x and 92x. No individual stars are resolved. Irregular in shape with a irregularity on the west side at 57x. This has a stronger and more intense light on the western edge at 92x. No view of tendrils to my eye. Dark adaptation is a key on this and I am sure a darker site than my backyard might bring out more details.

From the Digitized Sky Survey (I didn't see this!):

Thursday September 24, 2009 Session

NGC 7009 Globular Cluster in Delphinus
LM: 10.6
03:40 UT
Seeing 8/10
13mm and 21mm Stratus

Used the Sky Pocket Atlas on all but one object tonight (that one required the Sky Atlas 2000). This globular sits on the outside of a right triangle asterism of 3 stars. Very faint though I'm sure the moon is not helping right now. At 57x I want to say a very, very small hint of a core, no individual stars and very diffused on the edge. At 92x the core requires averted vision but it is there, though very small. Dark gray halo around that core and it remains diffused. I never saw individual stars or hints of a tendril.

NGC 6910 Open Cluster in Cygnus
LM 7.4
04:20 UT
Seeing 8/10
13mm and 21mm Stratus

Easy to find. Telrad to Sadr in Cygnus and then look for a triangle asterism of 3 stars and follow the two on the long edge and just above you'll see an inverted Y or for this one a more wishbone type view. Thus I have nicknamed this OC the Wishbone OC because for me, it looks like a wishbone.
Cluster is not loose and there is a large brightness between 3 stars, two being yellow and one blue/white. This is a medium rich cluster and there are 3 distinct chains of stars forming that inverted Y or wishbone. A fun OC to view and I enjoyed sketching this one.

NGC 6910 from Digitized Sky Survey:

NGC 6866 Open Cluster
LM 7.6
05:10 UT
Seeing 8/10
13mm and 21mm Stratus.

This open cluster reminded me right off the bat of modified NGC 457 the Owl Cluster. Not totally, but it was similar to me. Not a very loose cluster and for me it is still rather tight. Variety of magnitude of stars are evident and I would estimate this to be a medium rich cluster in terms of stars. A wiggle or snake chain of stars runs north to south with a center cross section intersecting it. There is a hint of fainter stars wanting to peep out.

NGC 6826 "Blinking" Planetary Nebula in Cygnus
LM: 8.5
06:00 UT
21mm, 13mm Stratus, 5mm Hyperion, 2x Shorty Barlow
Orion Ultrablock NB Filter

I have been to this object many times but felt I needed to included it in my Herschel log and I'm glad I did. Probably my best views of this one came tonight. Telrad to 7 Cygni and the hop to 16 Cygni, two bright 6th magnitude stars in a double. Go SE and you'll find it without a filter. Filter will hid somewhat the central star but show more of the shape.
Mostly disk or rounded in shape with some irregularity on the northern and southern ends for me. Aqua bluish in color tonight. Edge is diffused even at 400x and the central star is visible with both direct and averted vision. At 400x the central star was constant and I got my best views of this object. Wonderful view tonight, so much so I had to sketch it yet again.

NGC 6826 from the Digitized Sky Survey:

NGC 7008 Fetus Planetary Nebula in Cephus
LM 9.9
07:18 UT
Seeing 8/10
21mm and 13mm Stratus, 5mm Hyperion
Orion UltraBlock NB Filter

This planetary nebula is definitely irregular in shape with a dark line in the eastern to north-eastern side, about 2/3 of the way over from the western edge. Edge is diffused and I see no color in this planetary. Distribution of light is irregular and it is stronger on the eastern edge. The central star is hinted at being present at 92x and at 200x I can see it with averted vision. I confirmed this after coming in last night. My Orion Ultrablock filter enhances this object. A fun planetary to observe and sketch. Edit: I doubted my observation of the central star but now feel that I indeed did see it based on this report
I have and do see up to 14th to a little bit more in my scope in magnitude of objects so at 13.2 the central star is very doable.

I enjoyed this
[url=]article [/url] on NGC 7008.

NGC 7008 from the Digitized Sky Survey

Well, then I knew my daughter would be coming up so I packed up and pointed at one of her favorite objects, the 7 Sisters as she prefers to call them which she observed for about 5 minutes. She is really waiting for Orion to come up sooner, yet knows it will be December before she can get a good look. Overall, it was a good two nights. I am heading back out tonight to go to a dark site. Hopefully I can scan my sketches in and post some. Clear skies to each of you.