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6/19/2012

Observing June 15th and 16th, Pit n Pole or near

Last week was suppose to be my personal highlight of the summer. I was going to attend the Great Basin National Park Astronomical Festival.  Due to family reasons I was unable to do so.  I could have made Friday night and done Saturday, but the forecast for Friday was dismal so I decided to stay local.  From talking with a friend it seems that wasn't the case.  Oh well, I had a fun time in the West Desert anyway. 

On the evening of June 15th, I met up with my friend Jorge at the Pit and a RV was set up there.  So we scouted around and actually found a wonderful set up about farther south of the Pit.  Sorry, not giving directions to this on in the public as if I have to go to the Pit I am going here instead from now on.  It is just off a dirt road by about 100 feet so that could be a negative.   It is a grassy area that is flat and has no shells from people shooting and leaving their shells there.  That night we ended up by a gate just down from another shooting area farther west.  It was flat, only had a few shells laying around.  I hesitated taking the 14 out of the car because it was so cloudy and windy.  Eventually though I set up and go going.  Here are a couple of pictures taken from the area:





As you can see it was flat but dusty.  




 Those are the Sheeprock Mountains in the distance near the Vernon Observing Sites.





Notice the clouds, that is what we faced but they cleared off nicely by 11:00p.m. when we could begin to observe. 





I decided this night to do something different.  I needed a break from all the lists I am working on so I picked a constellation to work, and worked it.  I'll share some of the sketches I made from that night.  I have to say this was a nice break and though I got several objects on my Herschel 400 II list, I enjoyed hunting this way this night. Sometimes it is good to do something new.  Also in posting my sketches, I usually darken the background in GIMP, I am not doing this time,  and I sometimes round off a few stars.  Not this time. It is the raw sketch from the eyepiece.  One of my goals this time was to play with the level of pastel on the paper to give the galaxies a fainter appearance and to have any structure stick out.  I used a cloth to help lift off some of the dust if I felt there was too much when I was sketching and I think that helped this time.  You can decide for yourself. 


My first set of objects were another set of interacting galaxies.  I like interacting galaxies and find them interesting.  In this case this pair is really easy to find and they lay off of the star Chara in the constellation of Canes Venatici.  Known as the Cocoon Galaxy their NGC are NGC 4985 and NGC 4490.  Here is there information.  I won't duplicate instruments, sky conditions since I observed them at the same time of course.

1. NGC 4985 Irrregular Galaxy in Canes Venatici;  June 15th, 2012, 11:25pm MDT or 6/16/2012 at 05:25 UT;  Rush Valley, Utah, Hill Top 1; Antoniadi III, XX14i, wtih 20mm ES 68 as a finder, Pentax 10mm XW as sketching eyepiece and a Type I Paracorr.
Notes:  NGC 4985 is small, relatively bright, irregularly round and is interacting with NGC 4490 and has a bright stellar core as shown with averted vision this night. 

2. NGC 4490 is a Spiral Galaxy in Canes Venatici;  Same info as #1 above. 

Notes:  Very bright galaxy, elongated SW to NE.  The galaxy has an outer halo that then has another halo that forms the outline of the galaxy.  The first halo is twisted on at one like a candy wrapper.  Bright halo forms the core region with a stellar core with averted vision.  Fun and easy pair to observe together. 




The next object was another pair of galaxies that are suspected to be interacting and are an easy star hop from my previous targets.  Actually, I think everything I show here on this blog entry is something someone who has completed the Messier should do just for the fun of it.  I've seen some of these before, but that was okay as its nice to visit old friends. 


3. NGC 4618 Spiral Galaxy in Canes Venatici;  6/16/2012 at 12:20am MDT or 06:20 UT;  Gate 1, Rush Valley Utah, Hill Top 1;  Antoniaidi III; Size: 4.4'x3.6'; vMag 10.8; XX14i with 10mm Pentax XW & Type 1 Paracorr;
Notes: Very bright spiral galaxy, faint outer halo with a bright core and a sub-stellar nucleus.  Possible elongated arm to the SE to the E   Hint of a bar? Elongated somewhat.

4. NGC 4625 vMag: 12.3 Size: 2.3'x2.0'; Other notes are the same as #3. 
Notes:  Roundish spiral galaxy, small in size. Very bright nucleus with a dim outer halo. 




The last object I sketched is one I haven't taken the time to look at for about 3 years, Messier 94 or NGC 4736.  

5. NGC 4736 or Messier 94, spiral galaxy in the constellation of Canes Venatici;  6/16/2012; 12:45a.m. MDT or 06:45 UT;  Rush Valley, Utah, Hill Top 1; Antoniadi III; XX14i with 10mm Pentax XW;  Size 11.0'x9.1' vMag. 8.1; 
Notes:  This is a very large, roundish though irregular in some ways, spiral galaxy.  Hint of an outer ring perhaps but no other structure is visible outside of a bright and large inner core region. 






By the time I was done here with Messier 94, Canes Venatici was getting low in the sky to where I didn't like the views I was getting.  So I popped around and visited some old friends in Ursa Major.  Messier 51 was perhaps the best I had ever seen it this night.  The seeing cleared, the wind had died, and the transparency had gone through the roof.  The arms stuck out even in the new 20mm ES 68 degree eyepiece and in the Pentax, just WOW!  Not only could you clearly see the arms,  the bridge was more than visible this night making, and you could see actual variance in the structure of M51.  I should have sketched it but I didn't. 

The next night Jorge and I went out and were joined by our friend George who was going to image and work on getting his imaging equipment set up.  This was a good night though it started like the previous night with some clouds laying around to the north.  They went away at sunset.  This was a very good night for me until around 1:30a.m. when I started had jaw and a tooth that was just screaming pain.  I had a root canal done earlier in the week and the bite on the tooth was too high. This caused the periodontal ligament to become inflamed and sent the shearing pain on the tooth that had the root canal (the ligament and surrounding tissue were already inflamed from the infection around it).  The condition is called symptomatic apical periodontis or acute apical perodontitis and you can find out more about it if you want at this link.

Anyway, lets just say the pain would come and go but it was so intense it would buckle me over. Luckily the dentist adjust the bite and no problems now.  I'm taking ibuprofen to aid in the healing, that's all.  The tooth isn't cracked so that was good news.  Man, I hate teeth problems.  Ruined a good night of observing at the end.

So here is what  I got done that night. 

1. NGC 4914 Elliptical Galaxy in Canes Venatici;  6/16/2012 @ 11:24pm MDT;  Pit n Pole, Utah; Antoniadi II;  XX14i with 10mm Pentax XW; Size: 3.5'x2.0'; vMag. 11.6; 
Notes:  Large roundish outer halo, elongated somewhat.  Bright inner core region, relatively small. 







2. NGC 4868 Spiral Galaxy in Canes Venatici;  6/16/2012;  11:06pm MDT;  Antoniadi II; XX14i wtih 10mm Pentax XW;  Type 1 Paracorr; Size 1.5'x1.4'; vMag. 12.2; 
Notes:  Small galaxy with a roundish in size.  One faint fuzzy, bright inner core.








3. NGC 5005 Spiral Galaxy in Canes Venatici; 6/16/2012; 11:55pm MDT;  Antoniadi I; XX14i with 10mm Pentax XW with Type 1 Paracorr;  Pit n Pole, Utah;  Size: 5.4'x2.7'; vMag.9.8;
Notes:  Very bright and very elongated galaxy, NW to SE.  Core region is very bright and somewhat elongated.  Stellar nucleus. 







4. NGC 5033 Spiral Sb Galaxy in Canes Venatici;  6/17/2012; 12:25am MDT; Antoniadi I; XX14i with 10mm Pentax XW and Type 1 Paracorr;  Pit n Pole, UT;  Size: 10.5'x5.6'; 
Notes:  Very, very bright galaxy.  The outer halo sticks out as does the bright inner core region.  Very stellar nucleus and a hint of mottling and arm structure is evident.  Probably my favorite sketch of the night, as I enjoyed getting the detail out of this object and sketching it.  Felt I nailed this one.





Well, that was it.  I wanted to sketch either the Veil (had just a wonderful view of it), the Lagoon (best view ever of it, with various hues and shades of gray in the nebula) or the Eagle or the Swan.  That old tooth just won't let me.  I stayed home on Sunday because of Father's day and I was still really hurting.  Monday the kids had their wisdom teeth out so that ended that.  I feel good right now and will be observing both tonight and Wednesday night before I'm done for this new moon period I believe.