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11/26/2009

November 18 2009 Observing Session

Edit: I was working on two posts at once and the way blogger works I am not able to load the 25 and 26 session before the 18th. Last night's session is below this one so you know.

Well, I was able to get out yet again and do some galaxy hunting but on this session I forgot my digital recorder so no digital recording on this one. I'll get the rest of those up this weekend for the other posts.



NGC 613 is a Galaxy in the constellation Schulptor.
RA 01 h 34.3 Dec. 29 25 m.
Listed Magnitude 10.0 Listed Size 5.3' x 2.6'
XT10
13mm & 21mm Stratus
Seeing 6-7/10 Transparency 3/5



















This was a difficult object because the galaxy sits so low and the observer at my latitude is looking through a lot of atmosphere to view it. At 57x the core is somewhat detectable with averted vision, but it comes and goes, and it is surrounded with a whisper of a halo around it. At 92x the core takes on what I call an elliptical shape with the core being brighter in the S.W. and the N.E. Edge is diffused and no modding or other details are evident.

I tried to capture the faintness of the galaxy but also to show how it looked in the 13mm Stratus. I could define the shape basically and the core I saw here and there, but not enough to include in the sketch.


NGC 246 Planetary Nebula called The Skull
Constellation: Cetus
R.A. 00 h 47 m Dec. -11 d 52 m
Listed Magnitude: 10.9
Listed Size 4.6' x 4.1'
XT10 21mm&13mm Stratus, 5mm Hyperion
Orion Ultrablock Narrowband Filter























O'Meara's directions are spot on but with the conditions I was in this was a very hard object to locate at first. Very faint and then it came out as I used averted vision even with the filter. 92x shows the two crescents that I have tried to capture in the digital sketch. 240x showed the western portion of the nebula is much brighter than the rest. A challenging but fun object.

This is a case where I like the sketch did at the eyepiece so much more than my digital recreation based on that sketch. Someday I'll be able to afford a scanner that will allow me to really do a good deal with scanning and posting a good realistic version of my sketches. This sketch captures the two crescents without their slight break at the top. The 12th magnitude star is visible in this PN.


NGC 157 Mixed Spiral Galaxy
Constellation: Cetus
R.A. 00 h 34.8 m Dec. -08 d 24 m
Listed Magnitude 10.4 Listed Size 4.0' x 2.4'
Seeing 7/10
Transparency 3/5
XT10
13mm & 21mm Stratus























This spiral galaxy is in the middle of two ninth magnitude stars. It requires averted vision to see but is still a very faint object doing that. 92x showed the better view with more of a halo evident with diffused edges and with some spiral stucture evident. No other details are evident to me. Would be a fun one to come back from a true black site and observe.

I tried to show a slightly brighter core than the halo for I observed that and the hint of arms. These arms stick out too much for me but they kinda of give the impression I'm looking for so I left them. Looks like a swimmer to me.





NGC 596 Mixed Spiral Galaxy
Constellation Cetus
R.A. 01 h 32.9 Dec -07 d 02 m
Seeing 7/10
Transparency 3/5
XT10
13mm & 21mm Stratus























Theta Ceti is the starting point for this object and then follow O'Meara's directions and his small finder map. At 92x the core is bright and round and brighter than the diffused halo around it. Slightly tilted NE to SW averted vision is a must to view this object.

The sketch is done to show what averted vision can show you. Without it this object is a very faint and very easy to pass over if your not looking correctly or in the right spot.


NGC 584 Lenticular Galaxy
NGC 596 Galaxy
Constellation: Cetus
RA 01 h 31.3 m Dec -06 d 52 m
Seeing 7/10
Transparency 3/5
XT10
13mm & 21mm Stratus
























NGC 584 is avery small and faint galaxy, that requires yet again averted vision to see. I actually passed over it before bagging it. At 92x the core became visible and is of the same brightness of the halo on outer edge.

My sketch reflects seeing NGC 584 which is the more rounded galaxy on top with NGC 586 which is more edge on and the bottom galaxy. Both really do take averted vision to see and some patience. Keep your viewing eye dark adapted and be at a dark site.


NGC 615 Edge On Barred Spiral Galaxy
Constellation: Cetus
R.A. 01 h 35.1 m Dec. -07 d 20 m
Listed Magnitude: 11.6
Listed Size 2.5'x 1.3'
Seeing 7/10
Transparency 3/5
XT10
13mm & 21mm Stratus























This is a very small galaxy with a star like core at 57x. At 92x the core shape of the galaxy elongates. Diffused halo around the core is longer then the core as viewed with averted vision. Not a spectacular sight, faint, but viewable because of its small and condense.

Sketch tries to reflect the diffculty of seeing this object. I know if I tilt my monitor back and forth the object gains in brightness and fades and that's a good way to view this object.

That's all from this session. These are some very fun but challenging objects.

November 25th and 26th 2009 Observations

Well, last night I was able to get out. Conditions were good with the moon just past first quarter and was able to get in some carbon stars and some open clusters from my Herschel List. The moon was behind the mountains to the west of where I live by 12:45a.m. or so and I then went after some galaxies. I only targeted four items from my Herschel List and only did four items because I spent about an forty minutes on each sketching after observing them for about twenty minutes each.

I've really debated whether I want to "rush" through and nail the Herschels in a year, or take my time, sketch them and record those sketches. Well for now I will continue to do both. I know O'Meara and others say get through them quickly, but I don't want to do that. The key will be if I have enough observing time to follow O'Meara's plan. O'Meara only focuses on three or four objects in a night, but that is having six or seven nights to observe under good conditions. Unfortunately here in northern Utah, we have not had that many good nights for observing. So, if I can follow O'Meara's plan and combine a couple of nights into one night I think I can sketch by hand and still get through the list. If I can't and this project takes two years, that's fine with me. I have other items to supplement the Herschel 400 with.

All observations were made with my XT10 using either a 21mm Stratus or a 13mm Stratus at 57x or 92x. I go have digital recordings and will add these sometime in the next week.

NGC 720 Elliptical Galaxy
Constellation: Cetus
11.26.09
R.A. 01 h 53 m Dec. -13 d 44 m
Listed Magnitude: 10.2
Listed Size: 4.3' x 2.0'
Seeing: 7
Transparency: 4
XT10
13mm & 21mm Stratus























Easy to find. I used the Sky Pocket Atlas to get to Baten Kaitos in Cetus and then down to a four square asterism you can see in the atlas. From the bottom right star I followed the right part of a V to the btoom star on that side and then diagonally down to NGC 720. At 57xthe cores is somewhat bright with a faint halo around it. Looks like a roundish to elliptical planetary. That changes at 92x the cores shows slightly stronger with a cigar shape halo. Either way it requires averted vision to see this object. Very faint object.

My sketch tries to capture the faintness of this object, the brightness of the core over the surrounding halo.

NGC 779 Edge On Spiral Galaxy
Constellation: Cetus
11.26.09
R.A. 01 h 59.7 m Dec. -05 d 58 m
Listed Magnitude: 11.2
Listed Size: 3.4' x 1.2'
Seeing 7/10
Transparency: 4/5
XT0
13mm Stratus























Easy star hop. Go to Baten Kaitos and then up to a slanted triangle asterism. Go to the top left (or right in a dob EP) corner star. There are two stars going straight up and down and follow them up to two stars going east to west. The galaxy is between those two stars and slightly up. To verify location go to the west and you should see three stars in a crooked line with the upper two closer together than to the bottom.

Very faint galaxy that runs N. to NW to S to SE. Brighter core at 92x with a diffused halo. I only found this by using a breathing technique, using averted vision and moving the scope by tapping it. Then it came into focus and I could focus on it. So patience helps on this object as well.


NGC 7686 Open Cluster
Constellation: Andromeda
R.A. 23 h 30.1 m Dec. +49 d 08 m
Listed Magnitude: 5.6
Size 15.0'
Seeing 7
Transparency 4/5
11.25.09
XT10
21mm & 13mm Stratus
























This was the first object of the evening or night since the moon was still up somewhat. This is a large and rich open cluster with a variance in magnitudes easily visible. There is a large orange star in the center of the cluster and it forms a right triangle with two other stars. One corner star is a bluish white and is a double with a pretty orange star next to it that is fainter. No dark lanes are visible. There is a hint of stars wanting to peep out and if you increase the size of the image you'll see that. I was please with that affect (look at the yellow/orange star that dominates).

Wonderful cluster and I encourage others to view it!


NGC 7662 Planetary Nebula The Blue Snow Ball
Constellation: Andromeda
R.A. 23 h 25.9 m Dec. +42 d 32m
Listed Magnitude: 8.3 Central Star is variable from 11.5 to 13, average at 12 to 12.5
Seeing 7/10
Transparency: 3/5
XT10
21mm & 13mm Stratus & 5mm Hyperion
Orion Ultrablock Narrowband Filter























Love this fun fall object! 92x shows the snowball with some off blue color, almost a greenish color. At 240x the views are the best. A sharp core is evident as are two outer shells with a dense inner ring around the core. As I mention above the central star is variable from 11.5 to 13 magnitude, with the average between 12 and 12.5. I have seen it once but not tonight, I need just a darker site because of conditions tonight. Fun object, if you haven't been here, get here before its gone.


NGC 772 Spiral Galaxy
Cosntellation: Aries
RA 01 h 59.3 m Dec. +19 d 00 m
Listed Magnitude 9.9
Listed Size 7.1' x 4.7'
Seeing 7/10
Transparency: 4/5
XT10
21mm & 13mm Stratus
11.26.09
























This is a face on spiral with an elliptical shaped core. The western arm is very faint with a hint of modeling. Averted vision is a must on this one and the only way I captured it. No stars are evident, and no dark lanes. This is one to return to from a dark site! I will come back to this one.


This session took longer as I mentioned because I took my time to really sketch these at the eyepiece. I will continue to translate them in a digital format since that reflects better online than my sketches that I do at the eyepiece until I learn how to get these sketches scanned better. I hope you have enjoyed this one, I enjoyed viewing. Clear skies to you, and Happy Holidays or whatever you choose to celebrate. Happy Thanksgiving also!