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11/28/2010

Findercharts for December and January Targets

Still working on making my list to start the Herschel 400 II and other NGC items in the same constellation. That is going to take a few more weeks. This weekend was one of just constant go. Wednesday I had to snow blow and then I took in one of our cars to get the snow tires put on it. I also ran errands that day. Thursday was Thanksgiving here in the U.S. and I hope that each of you who celebrate it had a wonderful time. Friday was semi clear with clouds increasing so I chose not to go out as we went and saw the new Harry Potter film and did some shopping (disappointed in the film, very much follows the book but that made for a boring experience in some ways). Saturday was Christmas setting up in the house and then time for some tubing (here is a link if you don't know what it is; yes, we do go to Solider Hollow between Christmas and New Years as a tradition, the teens love it but you can go other places if you know where). Anyway, it snowed yet again today and the forecast is not good for the next week. Saturday I may be able to get out and get a session in, I hope.

So here are some of my findercharts from Starry Night Pro for objects that I need to go after. I missed more than I thought so here are some open clusters that hopefully will glow in the night sky, clear and crisp. Simply click on the chart to make it larger or to make it to where you can print it off. Sorry that the XX14i and the 13mm Stratus are labeled, I thought I had taken it off but it came back on, and I don't want to wast the paper to correct it.

























































































































































































































































































11/23/2010

Andromeda: born out of a massive collision?

Andromeda: born out of a massive collision?

A study that shows that M 31 was created by a merger with another spiral galaxy. Link shows a model and allows you to explore. A second part of the study shows tha Magellanic galaxies may have formed from the tidal tail that was created when the galaxies were merging six billion years ago. I thought this is a very interesting study and was glad to find it. Enjoy! By the way, can you tell I'm under cloudy and snowy skies?

New Observing List Coming

Well, I'm finding that I am starting to wind down on the Herschel 400, well at least until April when the spring objects come back. I'll probably try to nab some come February as they rise late in the night.

So I posted over at CloudyNights about starting the Herschel II list and got some really good feedback. I have decided to do the Herschel II list but to supplement it with NGC items that are not on either the Herschel 400 or II list and to supplement my planetary nebula viewing with some Abell viewing. I am going to work on a list this week so that come new moon in December, I am ready to observe. I'll be going by constellation and listing my objects that way. So by this weekend I'll have a new list up with findercharts in case anyone is interested.

Other than that, it is just snow, snow, and more snow here. Nothing much to do. Work is fine, family life is fine so hopefully things just stay that way. Here's hoping you have some clear skies where you are. Happy Thanksgiving!

11/14/2010

Observing Cassipeia A Information

Not a good weekend for me. I started itching yesterday and having pain and so I went in to the local clinic at the hospital that is run by my insurance company. Looks like shingles. I have to follow up tomorrow with my primary care physician. So I haven't done any more with the digitalizing of my sketches, but will as I feel better. Instead, I can surf the net and look things up and I have picked up another target that I want to go after next new moon cycle IF the local weather cooperates. It is Cassiopeia A.

Yeah, right Jay, I may hear some say. In higher scopes like a 18" or a 20" it is viewable so in the 20" Obsession I will be able to see it. Well, I've read about a 16" scope seeing it so I figure I'll also try the 14" and even my XT10. I really want to compare views on this one between the three scopes. Each scope will get its own sketch (if the object or part of the object is viewable in the aperture). I believe the 20" will show it without a problem and I believe the 14" will also show it. The 10" will be the one that I am not sure of.

So, to provide the information I have found on visually observing Cassiopeia A, I am going to link to the various sources I have found.

The first is by Steve Gottlieb (he made the observations over at the NGC/IC Project) which he posted over at Cloudy Nights. I really admire Steve and his years of observing and since I get to the Bay Area from time to time since I have family there, I hope perhaps to someday meet him. Here is the link to his post on visually seeing Cassiopeia A over at Cloudy Nights.

Please note the post by Uwe from Germany who states
in answer to a question about seeing it in a 10 inch scope if that is possible: "Yes it is. A few nights after I could observe the SNR with 16" I tried it with 10". With UHC and 143x a friend and I could hold a faint glow with averted vision. We could not see the longish shape." So in the right conditions in a dark site with good seeing, my XT10 should detect it.

Here is Reiner Vogel's site from Germany's post on viewing a couple of SN remnants including Cassiopeia A I recommend looking at his ATM scopes, they are very cool (go to home and then look at his scopes).

Here is a link to a sketch of Cassiopeia A done in a 16" scope. I'm surprised by the brightness and detail in the sketch, but all reports show this is not a super hard object. It will be interesting to see for myself.

Please see the finder charts listed in thread over at Cloudy Nights. Here are the images:

These are the charts that John T. from Austin Texas posted over at Cloudy Nights.















































































































So give it a try, as stated in the thread, you'll never know if you can see it in your scope unless you try. Remember that the OIII filter helps as did the UHC filter. Please post a comment if you see it in your scope or part of it. It would be interesting to keep track of observations on this one I think.

11/12/2010

Digital Sketch of NGC 7354 and NGC 7479

Here are the digital sketches of these two items. More to come.


NGC 7479 Spiral Galaxy in Pegasus





































NGC 7354 Planetary Nebula in Cepheus






































NGC 1535 Planetary Nebula in Eridanus, "Cleopatra's Eye"




































NGC 7635 Emission Nebula in Cassiopeia






































NGC 281 Pacman Nebula. I like the original sketch of this one better.








































NGC 1407 & NGC 1400. This is really close to the EP view in my opinion. I like this version.







































NGC 908 Spiral Galaxy in Cetus:








































NGC 1232; I need to return to this galaxy and give it more time. I was begin to speed and rush on this object to get the Herschel 400 items in I wanted/needed. I did not show the original sketch on this item. It was done in black ink.








































NGC 1055 Edge on Spiral Galaxy in Cetus








































NGC 1022 Barred Spiral Galaxy in Cetus

Of all my digital sketches this one seems to be a break through. By playing with the curves and other items I really feel that this image really, and I mean really matches my vision of what I saw when looking at NGC 1022 through the 14mm Pentax XW. I invite you to click this image to really take a view of it.








































NGC 1052 and NGC 1035 Galaxies in Cetus









































NGC 1084 Barred Spiral Galaxy in Eridanus

Again, I think I have a breakthrough for me and I really like how the last 3 galaxy digital renditions came out. Hope you enjoy viewing them.













































































11/11/2010

Observing Report November 2nd, 2010, November 4th, 2010 NGC 7479, NGC 7354, NGC 7635, NGC 281, NGC 1535, NGC 1407 and NGC 1400, NGC 908 & more

Well, I did get out on November 2nd, 2010 and November 4th and 5th, 2010 out at Rush Valley in Utah. I wasn't able to stay out to long on the night of November 2nd, and was asked to move along that night due to some law enforcement that was going on near to where I had set up that night. I have never had that before! The were polite and explained the situation and that it would be unsafe potentially for me to stay. So at 11:30p.m. MDT time, I packed up and considered moving, but decided instead to just head home. I'll say based on the information and I cannot discuss it in detail, I will not head back to that site!

On the night of November 4th and the morning of November 5th, I went with my friend George to Rush Valley to Pit n Pole and had just a terrific night! Seeing was rated as Antoniadi III to 30 degrees above the horizon. From 30 degrees up it went from an Antoniadi II to an Antoniadi I over the course of this wonderful evening. Dew did not become an issue until around 2:00a.m. and that is when the temperature fell below freezing and hit the dew point at 30 degrees. Frozen dew was the result. At 2:30a.m. we packed up and at 3:00a.m. left.

I have not done any major digital renditions of my sketches, just processed the raw ones and am posting those here. I'll have time this weekend to process the digital versions using these base ones and will post them. So enjoy these, I truly enjoyed making them. Now we have cold, snow and storms so I am guessing it clears for full moon! As long as new moon the first week of December is nice and clear, even if it is cold!

I have finally figured out my intelliscope feature and it is working wonderfully! I still mainly star hop but it is nice to know it is working great. All three sessions, the one with the open clusters I shared, the one with some galaxies on the 2nd, and then the session on the night of the 4th and 5th was just fantastic! The key for me is using my 10mm or 14mm Pentax XW and knowing what the intelliscope considers centered, and then jumping to some well known and large objects (right now I am using M31), and then centering the object and hitting FCN and then Enter and Enter again to align. I don't do more than 2 or 3 of these and then I find I can get any object, a bright Messier or a small NGC object in the field of view if not centered. My large warp factor of 24 I was getting was because my altitude encoder had come loose and I needed to tighten down my screws there.

On November 2nd, 2010, I spent time in Pegasus hunting galaxies there. Spring may be the king of galaxy season, but there are some nice galaxies to be seen in the fall also. I did not sketch all of these (actually only NGC 7479) but intend to make this a sketching project of these galaxies. These were observed with the XX14i and a 20" Obsession . . . yep, I had the big boy out with my brother in law that night. As I was with my brother-in-law my notes are much shorter, and focused on comparing the views of the 14 to the 20. The Obsession won, and its motions are by far better, but the 14 for what it is, a mass produced dob, held up really good. The optics held up and performed really well, with only a nudge of detail given by the 20" which I would expect with the larger mirror and over premium quality. Perhaps my brother-in-law summed it up best when he said "The 14 holds up really good and is a good workhorse in the field for its cost. The 20" by far is better, but then again the cost is that much more." Also, I am finding how much I dislike ladders but I do believe I found a cure. I own a Little Giant ladder and they fold part and have a plank that goes between them. Well, my brother-in-law and me figured out a way to combine the two Little Giants I own with a small seat that allows us to get to height while also sitting to sketch and to view. It needs some refinement but I do believe we are on to something here.

NGC 7463 Galaxy in Pegasus. Visual Mag. 12.7. XX14i Faint, elongated east to west, rather small.
20" Larger, brighter and still elongated east to west. Easier to make out the companions to this galaxy and get them in the same FOV.

NGC 7448 Galaxy in Pegasus. Visual Mag: 11.5
XX14i: Bright, especially in the center fading as you move out. No core is discernible. Runs NNW to SSE.
20" Obsession: Very bright, more elongation is evident, stellar core is discernible. Runs NNW to SSE and the fainter edges extend out a little more.

NGC 7454 Galaxy in Pegasus: Visual Mag. 12.2
XX14i: Small, bright stellar core is easy to view. Galaxy is faint, no discernible features evident.
20" Obsession" Core is the highlight here as it has a stellar core, surrounded by a fainter halo and then a fainter halo that comprises the galaxy. More detail is definitely viewable at the core.

NGC 7619 Galaxy in Pegasus: Visual Mag. 12.2
XX14i: Core is very evident, easily seen and is pretty bright overall. No major details.
20" Obsession: Very bright core, center of core is stellar. Diffused out halo with diffused edges.

NGC 7479 Spiral Galaxy in Pegasus. November 2, 2010; 7:50p.m. MDT; XX14i, 20" Obsession, 10mm & 7mm Pentax XW; Antoniadi II, Transparency 3/5;

In the XX14i I first saw what appeared to be just a straight galaxy with a bright central region. With averted vision and as I became more dark adapted I could discern the arms as they turned against the core and central region of the galaxy. The Obsession 20" showed the structure right off and I could see more of the spiral structure. The XX14i did pretty good though. This sketch is done with the XX14i. I'll add the 20" sketch tomorrow.
























November 4th, 2010 was just a really good night. Clouds threatened at first but as predicted by clear sky clock and by myself, they cleared out by 8:00p.m. and I was up and observing. This night I really had to observation lists to go by. The members of the Herschel 400 I needed were in Cetus and Eridanus which would not be in prime viewing until around 12:00a.m. So until then I decided to go after some planetary nebula and emission and reflection nebula up in Perseus and Cassiopeia. If I get a request or time, I will post my finder charts I made for these objects if anyone is interested. My finder charts for the Herschel worked like a charm, right on!

1. Object: NGC 7354 Planetary Nebula in Cepheus. Date: 11/4/2010; Time: 8:33p.m. MDT; Conditions: Clear & Cold; Seeing: Antoniadi I; Instrument: XX14i; Eyepiece: 7mm Pentax XW; Filter: OIII and UHC & Ultrablock.
Notes: This is a bright and easy to find planetary nebula. There is a 12th magnitude star next to it (estimating on the star magnitude). The PN is bright, grayish in color with some hint of blue. and surrounded by a circle of nebulosity. Disk shaped with a diffuse edge. The distrubtion of light is irregular, and much brighter on the NW to W edge then on the SE to E edge. My UHC filter really makes this object stand out and shows far more of its overall shape. The OIII filter shows more of the central star, which blinks in and stays for several seconds and then fades out. The OIII does this it seems by darkeing the nebulosity. Fun object to observe.






























Object: NGC 7635 The Bubble Nebula in Cassiopeia/Emission Nebula; Date: November 4th, 2010; Time: 10:07 p.m. MDT; Location: Rush Valley, Pit n Pole Utah; Conditions: Clear & Cold; Seeing: Antoniadi I; Instrument: XX14i: Eyepiece: 14mm Pentax XW; Filter: OIII
Notes: This is a bright nebula that sits or has a star in it and is part of it. Mag. 7 star causes some challenges but with averted vision the bubble can be seen or hinted at. I did not label directions on the sketch, so that ruins it but it seems to me that the SW-SE edge of the nebulisty is brighter than the NW to NE edge of the nebulosity. This is probably due to the star and solar winds I would guess. Rather large and there appears to be a dark lane on the SW edge in my view. Both the OIII and the Ultrablock filter helped but not a lot.

























3. Object: NGC 281 PacMan Nebula in Cassiopeia: Date: November 4th, 2010; Time: 10:57p.m. MDT: Location: Rush Valley, Utah, Pit n Pole: Seeing: Antoniadi I; Conditions: Clear and Cold: Instrument: XX14i: Pentax XW 14mm;
Notes: Diffused edge to the nebula. Northeastern edge is the brightest. Dark lane giving the pacman mouth it seems or it could be my mind remembering the image. A bright star is lighting up the nebula. Ultrablock filter works the best. The OIII filter dims the nebula.
























4. Object: NGC 1535 Planetary Nebula in Eridanus: Date: November 4th, 2010; Time: 11:55p.m. MDT: Location: Rush Valley, Utah, Pit n Pole; Conditions: Clear & Cold; Seeing Antoniadi I; Mag. 9.1; Instrument: XX14i; Eyepiece: Pentax 7mm XW; Filter: UHC;

I've been here before and it is one of my favorite PN's. Is disked shaped, with a light bluish green outer shell. Outer shell is almost oval at times, going east to west. Inner shell is disk shape and diffused. Bluish-teal color. Very tine hint of the central star. My UHC and the Ultrablock show a better view to me than the OIII on this object. YMMV.

























5. Object: NGC 1407 Elliptical Galaxy in Eridanus: Date: November 5th, 2010; Time: 12:25p.m.; Location: Rush Valley, Utah; Pit n Pole: Conditions: Clear & Cold; Seeing: Antoniadi I: Mag. 9.7; Instrument: XX14i: Eyepiece: 10mm Pentax XW;
Notes: NGC 1400 and 1407 share the same F.O.V. NGC 1407 has a bright inner core and is surrounded by a diffused halo. No real structure is visible. The edge is diffused on both sides. No stars or structure is visible. It is easy to tell that this is an elliptical galaxy. NGC 1407 is the larger galaxy in the sketch, near center and NGC 1400 is the smaller galaxy on the left.



























6. Object: NGC 1232 Spiral Galaxy in Eridanus: Date: November 5th, 2010; Time: 12:42a.m. MDT; Location: Rush Valley, Utah, Pit n Pole: Conditions: Clear, Cold; Seeing: Antoniadi I; Instrument: XX14i; Eyepiece: 14mm Pentax XW;
Notes:
A bright inner core, with a very diffused outer region. Hint of a possible arm on the north side, extending from the western edge and bending back north towards the east. No other structure viewable. No sketch was made though I will return to sketch it.


7. Object: NGC 908 Spiral Galaxy in Cetus; Date: November 5th, 2010; Time: 12:48a.m.; Location: Rush Valley, Utah, Pit n Pole: Conditions: Clear and Cold; Seeing: Antoniadi I; Mag. 10.4; Instrument: XX14i; Eyepiece 14mm Pentax XW;
Notes: Another faint and fuzzy galaxy. Very easy to tell its a spiral though. It is elongated west to east. No dust lanes or structure is evident to me. Averted vision shows a bright and somewhat stellar core.



























8. Object: NGC 1055 Spiral Galaxy in Cetus: Date: November 5th, 2010; Time: 01:04a.m. MDT: Location: Rush Valley, Utah, Pit n Pole: Conditions: Clear & Cold; Seeing: Antoniadi I; Mag. 10.6; Size: 7.3' x 3.3'; Instrument: XX14i; Eyepiece: 14mm Pentax XW;
Notes: Spiral galaxy and averted vision shows a brightening on the northern edge. Edge is diffused with some possible structure, mottling or dust lane on the central part of the galaxy. No core is visible. Nice galaxy. Triangle asterism of 3 stars are underneath it.




























9. Object: NGC 936 Barred Spiral Galaxy in Cetus: Date: November 5th, 2010; Time: 01:20a.m. MDT: Location: Rush Valley, Utah, Pit n Pole: Conditions: Clear & Cold; Seeing: Antoniadi I; Mag. 10.2; Size: 5.7' x 4.6'; Instrument: XX14i; Eyepiece: 14mm Pentax XW;
Notes: Bright inner core, almost appears stellar at first but it grows larger as you view it. Surrounded by diffusion and the edges are diffused. Hint of a bar or lighting near the core is evident. No arms or dust lanes evident, just areas of lighter and darker. I'll return to this one! Note, it may appear in the sketch that I saw structure, I did not. It is how the sketch came out after scanning and processing. The actual sketch shows more of a diffusion around a oval shape halo with areas of darkening and brighter areas of light and shades.
































10. Object: NGC 1022 Bared Spiral Galaxy in Cetus; Date: November 5th, 2010; Times: 01:36a.m. MDT: Location: Rush Valley, Utah, Pit n Pole; Conditions: Clear, Cold, temperature dropping; Seeing: Antoniadi I; Mag. 11.3; Size: 2.7' x 2.7'; Instrument: XX14i; Eyepiece: 14mm Pentax XW;
Notes: Extremely faint galaxy. It takes a good dark sky and I don't think I could see this in a light polluted zone. Stellar core is surrounded by diffusion. More round though it does appear elongated at time. At this point I began to rush to try and get my list done.





































11. Object: NGC 1052 Spiral Galaxy in Cetus; Date: November 5th, 2010; Time: 01:50a.m. MDT: Location: Rush Valley, Utah, Pit n Pole; Conditions: Clear, Cold and temperature dropping, humidity rising; Seeing: Antoniadi I; Mag. 10.5; Size: 2.5' x 2.0'; Instrument: XX14i: Eyepiece: Pentax XW 14mm;
Notes: Bright stellar core, surrounded by a diffused halo. Small galaxy in size, no spiral structure is seen. Face on galaxy. No dust lanes. NGC 1407 is in the sketch and it has a diffused cigar shape with no inner core visible. Some possible mottling.












































12. NGC 1084 Barred Spiral Galaxy in Eridanus: Date: November 5th, 2010; Time: 02:06a.m. MDT: Location: Rush Valley, Utah, Pit n Pole; Conditions: Clear, Very Cold (around 22 degrees F), humidity rising fast; Seeing: Antoniadi I; Mag. 10.7; Size: 3.2'x1.9'; Instrument: XX14i; Eyepiece: 14mm Pentax XW;
Notes: Elongated SW to NE. Bright stellar core and a hint(?) of an arm on the SW end, curving to the NW based on bulges I am seeing. Edge is diffused and the core is surrounded by a faint diffused halo. This is a wonderful galaxy to view, and I will come back to it! I actually need to as I was rushing to finish this sketch as the humidity was becoming unbearable.








































Well, that's it! It really was one of my better nights of observing of late (November 4th). Again, on the 2nd, the XX14i did quite well on objects though of course the 20" Obsession won overall in terms of contrast and plucking out just some fine detail. Enough to justify the cost? I have a strong opinion and you'll hear about that soon. Not much observing for me as we are under the jet stream and storm after storm is bringing snow, clouds and cold here. The cold I am ready for, but no good trying to observing with the clouds.

11/02/2010

Observing Session November 1st, 2010: Open Clusters in Perseus NGC 1528, NGC 1444, NGC 1545, NGC 1513, NGC 1245, NGC 1342, NGC 1027

I haven't finished process all of my sketches yet, but I have to attend my son's vocal recital this evening so I am going to post the ones I have done. I observed from home, had to deploy my light shields until around 11:00p.m. and then things got nice and dark and things started to rock. Here are my process sketches and I'll post the others later tonight or tomorrow. I may try to get out tonight as well. I went out on Tuesday night and had a good evening at a dark site, kinda of. Got kinda of sick and then got that fixed and then the U.S. Military and local law enforcement came by and we had a wonderful chat, but I had to leave. This was at a new site I have observed once at before in the desert and it is up high near a pass. It was interesting night though, I won't be using that location again, but I was home and in bed safely by 1:00a.m. Not what I had planned at all. I did get some PN's in and a couple of galaxies, but no Herschel items. That will come on Thursday night. I added NGC 1342 today to my sketches below, and I have NGC 1027 to add, but it is in my sketching case (holds my sketches after I'm done with them) and I don't want to go get it. I also need to mention that on Monday, the highlight of the night was NGC 1528, a very worthy open cluster, very beautiful. It is my last item of the night and I had to get in since packing my stuff would wake the kids who had school the next day. So I need to go back and sketch this one and I will as we move into first quarter.

NGC 1545





































NGC 1513 (labeled wrong on the sketch)




































NGC 1444






































NGC 1245




































NGC 1342








































Object: NGC 1528 Open Cluster in Perseus; Date: November 2nd, 2010; Time: 12:56a.m. MDT; Conditions: Clear and Cold; Seeing: Antoniadi II; Transparency: 3/5; LVM 6.0; V. Magnitude: 6.2; Size: 18'; Instrument: xx14i: Eyepiece: 24 Panoptic and 14mm Pentax XW;
Notes: Beautiful Open Cluster!!! Very rich, well over a 100 stars evident in the field of view. Makes a fleur de lis shape as I look at the cluster as a whole. Many chains are evident with stars at various magnitudes. My star hop worked just fine that I had posted, and it is an easy one to spot. I did not sketch this because it is my last object (going to look at M42 and M31 before I head in or the night) and honestly, to do this cluster justice, it needs to be the sole sketching target for a good forty-five minutes to an hour to sketch it. I will return to this one and sketch it as the moon waxes in November and I can just set up early in the late afternoon and evening.


Here is my last sketch from that night and I am just uploading the original.