February 8th 2010 Observing Session

FEBRUARY 8th & 9th, 2010

Well, I've gotten two nights in a row for observing and it looks like I can go again tonight! Lets hope I can keep the blog updated. Focus is on the Herschel list and I am trying to get through January's list since I had no seeing during January to get out. I am going to use moving forward the great planetary observer E. M. Antoniadi's scale for visual conditions. If your unfamiliar with the scale here it is:

IPerfect seeing, without a quiver.
IISlight undulations, with moments of calm lasting several seconds.
IIIModerate seeing, with larger air tremors.
IVPoor seeing, with constant troublesome undulations.
VVery bad seeing, scarcely allowing the making of a rough sketch.

It is up to you as the amateur to determine based on experience in your area what type of skies your seeing but this tends to be the most reliable.

1. NC 1964 Spiral Galaxy in Lepus. Feb. 8th, 2010; Mag. 10.7; Size: 5.0'x2.1'; Seeing II; XT10 w 13mm Stratus;

Barely discernible at 57x looking more like a star. At 92x a bright inner core is visible and using averted vision I could discern a faint halo running what appears to be SW to NE. This is not a very discernible galaxy from a LP zone. Sits next to a 9th (?) magnitude star and it could be thought to be a double. O'Meara's H-400 guide finder directions and map helped A LOT with this object.

2. NGC 1786 Reflection Nebula in Orion; Feb. 8th 2010; 3:59 UT; Seeing: II; Mag: - ; Size: 5.0'x3.0'; XT10 with 13mm Stratus; Orion Ultrablock Filter

Again, O'Meara's directions are spot on for this object. Why does that help? If your in a LP zone of Orange to Yellow or further, his directions help you to get to those locations and then its up to the equipment and to your eyes and skills to pull out the object. This is a very faint, very, very faint Reflection Nebula and is very easy not to see. I had to really slow down and take my time on this one to get it, and averted vision is the key to bagging it. Fans out S to SW in a fan shape. Dark adaptation is a must as is dark skies and the darker the skies the better.

3. NTC 2024 "The Flame" in Orion Reflection Nebula; Feb. 8, 2010; 04:30UT; Seeing II; Mag: ~7th; Size: 30'x30'; XT10 21mm & 13mm Stratus, H-Beta Filter;

The dark lane was very dim but the filiments really stood out tonight. It came and went with seeing conditions, and I saw it twice. The first time I saw it it was really visible. 92x brought out the flame a lot but the best views were in the 21mm Stratus. I did not sketch this item.

4. NGC 1980 Emission Nebula in Orion; Feb. 8th, 2010; 05:20 UT; Seeing II; Mag. - ; Size: 14'x14'; XT10 21 & 13mm Stratus; No Filter

Beautiful emission nebula that I feel is overlooked by its neighbor M42. Soft halo surrounds Iota Orionis. Soft filiments can also be seen. Iota Orionis is a beautiful triple star. I did a hand sketch and feel each of us should view this wonderful object this winter.

5. NGC 1999 Refection Nebula in Orion; Mag. 9.3; Size: 2'x2'; Seeing II; Little to no wind, clear, crisp and cold; XT10, 13mm Stratus; 2/8/10; 06:09 UT

O'Meara was spot on but so is the Sky Pocket Atlas. At 92x the Reflection Nebula showed without the need of a filter. It has a star that seems centered in it at 92x. At 184x (2x barlow with the 13mm Stratus) the nebula was tremendous with the NW edge is brighter then the rest of the nebula. For me the halo goes from a ball at 92x to an ireegular form at 104x. Another fun reflection nebula to look at while Orion is up.

6. NGC 3034 (M82) Irregular Galaxy (O'Meara lists it as a Spiral Galaxy) in Ursa Major. Mag. 8.4; Size: 11.2'x4.3'; Seeing II; XT10 21mm and 13mm Stratus, 2x barlow; 2/9/10; 07:15 UT

It's listed so I went and visited M81 and M82 this night and both were just fantastic. NGC 3034 showed fantastic detail. At 184x the black lane was clearly visible as was mottling in the galaxy itself. The cigar shape was clearly evident and I did do a sketch of this item. I will include the sketch after I have scanned it. A wonderful item that night, one of the best views I have had of the object.

7. NGC 3077 Peculiar Galaxy in Ursa Major; Mag: 9.8; Size:5.5'x4.1'; Seeing: II; XT10; 21mm & 13mm Stratus; 07:33 UT; 2/9/10

This is a small and bright galaxy that at first appeared star like in the core for me. Averted vision brought out the shape of the galaxy. Sits next to an 8th magnitude star. I have sketch but haven't found it so once I do I will scan it in. So if you read the last two entries and the sketches are there know that I added them.

8. NGC 2976 Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major. Mag.: 10.2; Size: 5.0'x2.8'; Seeing: II; XT10 & 13mm Stratus. 2/09/10, 07:57UT

You'll need a good atlas for this object or O'Meara's directions. At 92x this galaxy has a very faint halo seen best with averted vision. Nothing to write home about but a fun challenge to find in LP skies.

9. NGC 2787 Barred Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major. 2/9/10, 08:30 UT; Mag: 10.8; Size: 3.5'x2.4'; XT10 & 13mm & 21mm Stratus.

Very faint spiral galaxy best seen at 92x and I had to use averted vision to bagAdd Image this object. The position of this object with the sky glow from the Salt Lake City metro/urban area is impacting my view of this object. Again, it is a faint glow in the enter with diffusion around the core that fades out and fades fast. No hint of any other structure.