Pit n Pole, Rush Valley Utah, West Desert, March 20-21, 2010

Well, I got in one other session before the moon interfered with driving 45 minutes to my local dark site in the West Desert of Utah.  If your interested in the views during the day time, if you go and search August of 2009 you'll find pictures and directions to this site. This site is a wonderful site. Dark Sky finder puts it in the Green because of glow from the north I would assume, but a club member told me on a reading the southeast, south, southwest and zenith come in as a gray to black reading. I'll have to get the actual reading (7.0 to 7.3 I believe but don't quote me on that right now).

All of my sketches in this entry are actual sketches with some enhancing in GIMP.  Yep, that freebie software. Why not use it and love it!

Edit: I am posting images for the Digital Sky Network for comparisons. Something I have done in the past but haven't.  Note,  based on input at from Jake Saloranta  I have gone back to my notes and updated NGC 3631.  I an issue at times with numbers and with items and flipping them. The arm in 3631 should be pointing eastward not westward. I have attempted to make the correction (and it is viewable on the original sketch). 

March 20th to 21st, 2010
Pit n Pole, Rush Valley Utah, West Desert
Conditions for the session remain the same so I will not quote them on each entry: Clear, cold, no wind, low humidity. Seeing 9/10, Transparency 5/5; Antoniadi Scale: I upon reflection.
Instrument on all observations: XT10
Eyepieces: 21mm Stratus as a finder, 13mm Stratus and 2x barlow. Magnifications, 57x, 92x, 184x.

Date: March 20th, 2010
Time: 03:57 UT or 08:57pm MST
Object: NGC 3184 Mixed Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major
RA 10h 18m 3s
Dec +41 25'
Mag: 9.4
Size: 7.5' x 7.0'
XT10, 13mm Stratus, 2x Barlow

I used my Sky Pocket Atlas to get to this object, foregoing O'Meara's charts and directions. Just easier for me tonight I guess.  There is a eleventh magnitude star to the north of the core, don't confuse it for the core. Averted vision shows with breathing technique (hyperventilating for a few seconds) a semi-bright core with a halo of diffusion around it.  There is a hint of an arm.  Averted vision also increases the size of this galaxy and brings out the eleventh magnitude star a little more.  Core is to the north of that star.  Good view at 92x.

Object: NGC 3198 Barred Spiral Galaxy in Ursa
Time: 05:44 UT; 10:44pm MST
RA 10h 19m 9s
Dec +45 33'
Mag 10.3
Size: 9.2'x3.5'
XT10, 13mm Stratus, 2x barlow, 92x & 184x

Easy to fnd from NGC 3184 using the Sky Pocket Atlas, which takes one right to this galaxy.  This is a beautiful, elongated galaxy, with an irregular shape.  Very diffused with the brightness at the center where the core should be but the core doesn't stick out.  Definitely seeing mottling along the edge. Averted vision shows a small and bright core, confirms the mottling.  Averted vision also shows an extended length to this galaxy. This is a fun object to tease to bring out more detail.  The galaxy runs north to south, and there are some smaller eleventh to twelfth magnitude stars nearby.

Date: 03/21/2010
Time: 12:17am MST/07:17 UT
Object: NGC 3310 Mixed Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major
Mag. 10.8
Size: 3.5'x3.2
RA 10h 18m 7s
Dec +53 30'
Instruments&Eyepieces: XT10, 13mm Stratus, 2x Barlow, 92x & 184x

The galaxy is just below a very bright star (sounds familiar eh?).  The galaxy appears similar to a bright planetary nebula. The core is very bright and stellar in its looks. The glow/halo around the core is like the nebulosity of a planetary nebula but is the actual galaxy as this one is face on.  The edges are diffused. Very round in shape, no other structure or detail is evident other than that which I have listed.

 Date: 3/21/2010
Time: 07:36 UT; 12:36am MST
Object: NGC 3556 or M108, Barred Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major
Mag: 10.0
Size: 8.1'x2.1'
RA 11h 11m 5s
Dec +55 40'
Instrument & Eyepieces: XT10, 13mm Stratus, &2x barlow; 92x & 184x

Been here before when doing the Messier and several others to just observe it.  Very long ellipse on this galaxy, lots and lots of mottling on this galaxy.  There are some dark patches going on. The core is stellar like and small, the galaxy is elongated with averted vision and more mottling are evident. There are also several dark patches around the core to observe.

M97 at this site is tremendous also. No filter is needed at all. The large round shape is brilliant with a hint of the eyes.

 Date: March 21st, 2010
Time: 08:30 UT, 1:30am MST
Object: NGC 3631 Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major
RA 11h 21m
Dec +53 10'
Mag: 10.4
Size: 5.5'x4.6'
Instrument & Eyepieces: XT10, 13mm Stratus, 2x Barlow, 92x & 184x

This is a faint galaxy with a very round halo, being face on I would assume.  Very bright core on this galaxy.  Core is really sharp and structure is evident.  The core is brighter than the halo surrounding it.  Possible arm to the north, curving around to the north, and it is small and tight. Some mottling is also evident. Very pretty galaxy to observe from a dark site.

I observed about 6 other objects this night, but they are not on the Herschel list (including M97) so I will post those sketches another time.  Cheers, may you have clear skies when you want them, and great seeing.

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