November 7th 2009 Observing Session

November 7th, 2009

Scope: XT10, 21mm, 13mm Stratus and 5mm Hyperion

NGC 7727 is a Galaxy in Aquarius and was the first object I observed tonight. It has a listed magnitude of 10.6 and a size of 5.6' x 4'. O'Meara's directions in the guide were spot on and his small finderchart rocks. Use them on this object. NGC 7727 is a bright, small galaxy. It appears almost edge on to me. Slight structure is visible to the NE and the SE sections with diffusion from the core to the edge. The core is very bright, brighter then the rest of the galaxy.

NGC 136 is an Open Cluster in Cassiopeia. It has a limited magnitude around 9 and its size is 1.5'. This is a very small and very poor open cluster. I passed by it twice before recognizing it. 92x shows a halo with very faint stars around 13th magnitude. No chains are evident, and this is a very small and tight open cluster. Once was enough on this one.

The next object this night in my Herschel hunt is NGC 129, another open cluster in Cassiopeia. This cluster has a listed magnitude of 6.5 and its size is listed as 12'. It has an asymmetrical shape at 57x, almost an eclipse in shape. At 92x the cluster is very loose and looks to be dispersing. There are a variety of magnitudes but a rather rich open cluster. I estimate it to be at 150 to 200 stars, with more popping out. Nice open cluster.

NGC 7789 was the next open cluster and is located in Cassiopeia also. It's listed magnitude is 8.5 and its size is 5.0'. This is a large and beautiful open cluster that will be a fun challenge to sketch. I did not sketch it this night as I knew it would deserve some really dedicated time. I will come back and sketch this one. It is a very rich open cluster well over 400 to 500 stars, and is poorly detached, with a wide range of magnitudes evident. Core is circular in shape with a lot of stars just hinting at popping out. Truly beautiful and yes, Messier should have included this one!

NGC 7790 is another open cluster in Cassiopeia. It's listed magnitude is 8.5 and its size is 5.0'. This is a small open cluster that shows about a half dozen stars with a halo at 57x. At 92x the cluster's main stars take on a pentagon shape to me, with many stars fainter then 10th magnitude wanting to pop out. The cluster is very tight and some variance in magnitude is evident in the stars of this cluster. Upon further observation I discern a triangular shape at the core using averted vision.

NGC 225 is another open cluster in Cassiopeia. It has a listed magnitude of 7.0 and its size is listed as 15'. This is a very loose open cluster and at 92x this cluster also looks to be dispersing. It looks like a broken butterfly or a broken heart. There is some minor variance in stars are evident and there is a dark lane separating the two parts. This is a medium rich open cluster, with 50 to 100 stars. This was a fun and easy sketch.

NGC 381 was the last open cluster in Cassiopeia for this night. It has a listed magnitude of 9.3 and a size of 7.0'. This is a medium rich open cluster with many more hinting at wanting to come out. There is a variance in magnitudes in the stars and there seems to be a loose chain running north to south, with a bulb or circle of stars at the end. There is a glow of unresolved stars with averted vision and using a breathing technique.

November 6th Observing Session

This is my session from November 6th and from about 3 weeks ago. All observations were made with my XT10 using a 21mm, 13mm Stratus or 5mm Hyperion @ 57x, 92x or 240x.

First object was NGC 185, an elliptical galaxy in Cassiopeia. The listed magnitude is 9.2 with a size of 17' x 14.3'. At a dark site this galaxy showed far more detail then at home in my light polluted skies. No matter though, it takes averted vision to see this one and at home it took averted vision to verify it. Having seen it at a dark site helped in locating this one. It is roundish to elliptical in shape, and appears to be facing us. Very diffused edge and in the backyard no structure is evident. This one at a dark site takes averted vision and patience to get details. In the sketch I tried to make it very faint down to the bottom left.

NGC 278 isa Mixed Spiral Galaxy in Cassiopeia. O'Meara seems to imply that NGC 185 is a brighter galaxy than NGC 278, I disagree. I think NGC 185 is fairly large and thus its light is spread out where as NGC 278 is smaller and more bright. I am able to view this galaxy straight on with direct vision, though averted vision brings out more details. The galaxy is face on with no structure visible to me in a LP skies. A truly dark sky brought out a little more detail on this with a hint(?) of arms. The edge is diffused and at 92x the core is very bright and compact. Fun galaxy to get to and rather easy to find and locate.

A cavet on the next two items. I observed the next two items at a dark site (black) about 3 weeks or so ago and sketched them there. I did not record the observation so I went back to them this night to compare and contrast the two views. The sketches are rather larger then the should be but they do reflect detail that I was able to nudge out of these two objects.

NGC 7606 is a Barred Spiral Galaxy in the water carrier Aquarius. Listed magnitude is 10.8 with listed size at 4.4' x 2.0'. In the dark sky this galaxy was fairly bright, diffused and kinda of large for a Herschel galaxy. Averted vision helped with this one. In a light polluted zone where I live (border orange to yellow) it took averted vision for me to see it. In the LP it was still diffused but no core was visible. Easy to find, use a good atlas or O'Meara's directions are spot on. Looking at the sketch it is still too bright for me and if I redo it it will be a shade darker, not much, but a little darker. If I sketched it at home, it would be very faint.

NGC 7723 is a barred spiral galaxy in Aquarius. It has a listed magnitude of 11.2 and a size of 2.8' x 1.9'. At a dark site this is a rather bright, not the brightest but certainly not one of the faintest. It is elongated and has a tense, small bright core. Diffused halo with some structure visible with averted vision. In my LP at home as I state in the audio this is a very faint elongated or oval disk that requires averted vision and breathing in order to see it. NGC 7723 is one of those objects where the more I viewed it at either site, using averted vision the more I saw and discerned. At home the galaxy was basically diffused.

October 22 and 23 2009 Observing Session

Well, I'll attach the audio video part of the blog here. The pictures in the video are not in the right order but I'll post the sketches. To clarify in the video I state that I did not sketch a few items, what I did do was to place stars and take notes on the galaxies and/or cluster and then created digital sketches. My November 6th and 7th observations will be posted soon I hope (6th is done, I just need to finish doing the 7th).

All objects seen in this session in a XT10 with either a 21mm, 13mm Stratus @ 57x or 92x, or a 5mm Hyperion at 240x.

My first object this night was NGC 7380, an open cluster in Cepheus. Listed magnitude is 6.1 and size is 5.0'. Medium rich cluster witha definite triangle in shape. Kinda of reminds me of the Christmas Tree Cluster in Monoceros but not as large nor as pretty/stunning. I also see a vampire spreading its clock but perhaps that is because of the time of the year. Chains of stars help to form the triangular shape and there is some hint of nebulosity in this cluster.

Next was NGC 7510 another Open Cluster in Cepheus. Listed magnitude is 11.1 and its size is 7.0'. This is a wonderful and beautiful open cluster! Easily seen at 57x but best viewed at 92x though 200x is resolving more stars but won't fit the cluster in its FOV. This is one to sie and just observe in order to marvel at the details and beauty. It has a wonderful glow with a hint of so many stars wanting to blink out and be seen and to me it rather looks like a mouse starring at me. Rich Open Cluster based on the stars I can see wanting to poke out or that are just slightly showing and variance of magnitude of stars are evident. You can see a main chain of stars with two other chains intersecting this. SEE THIS ONE! I need to return to this and sketch it.

NGC 40 is my next object adn at 57x it was quite evident that that this was a planetary nebula. The central star is clearly visible with fuzziness around it. At 92x the object shoed more but it really gave details at 240x with the Orion Ultrablock Filter on it. This view showed the central star and a bow tie shape going NW to SE that is irregular in shape. The edge is high diffused and I could make out no color in this object.

NGC 7448 is a galaxy in Pegasus with a listed magnitude of 11.7 and a size of 2.5' x 1.0'. Very faint galaxy, I can just make it out by alternating with direct and averted vision. Core is the most visible and is bright and I can make out a hint of structure. Appears more face on to me with a diffused edge. Was much better at a dark sky location about 3 weeks ago.

NGC 7814 an Edge On Spiral Galaxy in Pegasus was the next object. Listed magnitude is 10.6 and size is 5.5' x 2.3'

NGC 7814 is an edge on spiral and the core here is the brightest and very evident in the eyepiece. Averted vision brings out more structure including a slight bit of mottling. Was a challenge to find and more of a challenge to observe. Fun.

NGC 7217 a Spiral Galaxy in Pegasus was the next object. Not hard to find using a good star map and O'Meara's finderchart is helpful on this one. Very faint spiral in my LP skies. Core is easy to resolve even at 57x. Core is sharp with a halo surrounding it that is diffused on the edge. This is a face on spiral and averted vision hints of structure, especially by looking at the star to the E - NE. If one is patient here, and uses averted vision there is evidence of structure that you can resolve and discern. After viewing it for some time I realized how large this galaxy really was. Don't rush on this one.

My last object this night was NGC 7331 a Spiral Galaxy in Pegasus. Listed Magnitude is 9.5 and size is 3.4' x 2.5'. Follow O'Meara's directions in his guide, they are spot on but use a different map as always til you get to his findermap. At 57x this lays north to south and the core is very bright as are the outer arms. 92x showed the core very stellar and hints of structure with some possible dark lanes. As I finished my sketch the clouds came in and though I wanted to stick with this, I couldn't. I felt rushed and feel I need to go back at some time. Nice fall galaxy.

Well that's it for this one. Took me longer than I thought to get it up. The 6th of November is ready if it copies over ok and the 7th I should be able to later this week. Clear Skis to each of you!