Observing Report June 18-19; 19-20, 20-21st, 2012 At a Dark Dark Site

Here are some pictures from the outing.  This site is more open with a few Juniper Trees to the West.  The trees don't interfere with viewing as they are no taller than the distant mountains would be  Overall, this is my favorite location in this area at around 6000 feet or slightly above. 

XX14i with Observing Chair and Allan's 4 1/2 inch Refractor

Observing site looking north-northeast

Observing Site Looking east

Observing Site Looking Southeast 

Observing Site Looking South-Southwest

2 Dobs Looking South 

Looking southwest. 

XX14i and Chair Looking South

Two person tent but I opted not to use it, stayed in the back of the Pathfinder and enjoyed the warmth! 34 degrees F that night with wind! This is looking west.

Well, I had a ton observing in the last week, but is it ever enough? Yes, it is.  I was hoping to do an outreach event with my friend Mat on Friday, but due to a family celebration I was asked not to go.  Mat was gracious and I hope he had an excellent time at his event.  I owe him twice now and if he doesn't know why,  I do.

Anyway, observing was both difficult and very rewarding at times.  I went to what according to the SQM and NELM is the darkest site around except if one really gets out in the West Desert.  I got the darkest reading I've had from an observing site on my SQM here and NELM came in from 7.3 plus as charts for Ursa Minor, Cygnus and Hercules showed.  Here Messier 6 & 7 were naked eye as were the Lagoon Nebula, Trifed, Swan and Eagle nebula (as faint fuzzies on the last two).  Messier 13 showed itself naked eye and the Milky Way left a shadow on the ground of my telescope or of my hand on the telescope (that is how I first noticed te shadow).

I met a new friend out of Stansbury Park, Allan who is a member of SLAS.  He owns a 4.5 inch refractor and an SCT I believe and is a great guy.  I enjoyed having him at the site.  Daniel, another SLAS came out for one night and he also enjoyed where we were at.  On the first night that Alan was there, Tuesday night, it was windy and got cold, into the low 30's but the wind made it feel worse than that, and Allan was at his scope, I was at the 14 and my car door slammed shut and at that same time, I heard the patter of running feet away from my car.  Of course it was the wind and some critter, but it was fun to make up some stories on that one!   That night Allan and I eventually had to give up because the wind got so fierce and we just sat in chairs, backs to my car and just enjoyed the northern summer Milky Way in all its glory, sharing binoculars to scan the sky.  It was highly enjoyable.

Daniel was a hoot when he came out on Wednesday night, the night with little or no wind and just crystal clear and steady skies.  I enjoyed his conversation as always and he shared some views form his 17.5 inch dob which were wonderful.

The only downside to all of this is I suspected on Tuesday night something was wrong with my car as the back drivers fender didn't look right under all the dust behind the gas tank.  Wednesday, Daniel pointed out it was a dent and I looked carefully, and sure enough, it is.  I took my 19 and 18 year old to get their wisdom teeth out on Monday and a large white pickup was pulled up in front of me to the stall kitty corner to me.  Well, the parking lot as very busy that day and I assume that when the truck pulled it, they nailed me and put a slight dent in the fender and scratches.  What irks me about this is there was no note left so they didn't taken responsibility.  That is a huge pet peeve of mine.  If you do something wrong, you take responsibility.

Anyway, I got a lot of sketching in on a couple of nights so I share that here.  Before I do that, on both Tuesday and Wednesday we saw the ISS pass by each night and on Tuesday I saw an Iridum Flare, which was enjoyable.  We also saw several large meteorites  that left trails behind them come in on both nights. I camped over also one night in the back of the Pathfinder using a 2 inch memory foam mattress topper (older one) and a sleeping bag foam mat on top for some extra support.  I slept good until the Sun came up.  Then, with 3 hours of sleep, I drove home and took a nap until 12:00pm when I woke up, and showered and unloaded.  Unfortunately I got no other observing time due to family obligations but it has been pretty windy of late.

So here we go with the sketches and observations.  These are not in necessarily in the order of observed.  iPhoto just uploads from the camera and I didn't sort or even name these yet.  I am very happy with some, some show I still need work . . . you can decide what you think. Oh, I played with making the diffraction spikes that my friend Alex M. does and I think I found l like it in large field sketches, but don't like it in the smaller sketches.  I probably don't like it in the small object sketches because I am still working on it and two, I started making my larger stars with a new fine point white ink pen and I am adjusting to that as you can see in some of the sketches.  Also, being out of school and not teaching, I do tend to get dates mess up so some dates may not be the right ones.  As soon as I listen to the digital recording I made of my observations again I'll correct the dates.

EDIT: Besides adding the pictures above I forgot to mention a few items I believe.  One, I split the Ring Nebula, Messier 57 in the 14.  Daniel did it in his 17.5 dob and Allan confirmed that he saw it without realizing at first that he saw it.  I will post my sketch up of that also, probably tomorrow.  I was very excited.  The only other time I had seen it was in a 32 inch reflector in a yellow zone that is probably close to orange by now with all the ambient light that hits that location.  The Pillars of Creation were also observed though I did not get to sketch them as I was tired and needed to break down to go to sleep.  Daniel also observed those as well.

1. NGC 4346 Lenticular Galaxy in Canes Venatici;  6/19/2012; 11:20pm MDT; FR 006; vMag. 11.3; Size: 3.3' x 1.3'; Antoniadi II;  XX14i with 10mm Pentax XW and Type I Paracorr.
Notes:  This galaxy in elongated, and is very bright and has a very bright inner core. The outer halo is diffused, might see a stellar nucleus here.

2. NGC 4111 Spiral Galaxy (edge on) in Canes Venatici;  6/19/2012; FR 006; vMag. 10.7; Size: 4.6' x 1.0'; Antoniadi II; XX14i, 10mm Pentax XW with Type I Paracorr;
Notes: This is an edge on galaxy W-NW to E-SE and is elongated beautiful.  Very good example of an edge on galaxy.  Very bright core  with a slight bulge of the core and a stellar nucleus is evident.  There is a double star next to the galaxy.

2a. NGC 4117 Spiral Galaxy in Canes Venatici;  For conditions see above and instruments:  vMag. 13.1; Size: 1.8' x 0.9';
Notes:  This is a rather faint and pretty small galaxy (to the upper right in the sketch) with a small hint of brightening at the core region.

3. NGC 4143 SABs Galaxy in Canes Venatici;  vMag. 11.1; Size: 2.3' x 1.4'; 6/19/2012; 11:55pm MDT; Antoniadi II;  XX14i with 10mm Pentax XW, Type I Paracorr; FR 006;
Notes:  This galaxy is somewhat elongated and has a very bright inner core and a stellar nucleus that sticks out.  It is medium size and rather bright.  You can see in this one why I don't like and need to practice putting the diffraction spikes on large stars in this type of sketch.  I need to make them fainter and not use the pen.  Lesson learned.

4. NGC 4051 Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major, class SAB;  6/21/2012; 12:30am MDT; FR 006; Antoniadi II; vMag; 10.7; Size: 5.2' x 3.9'; XX14i with 10mm & 7mm Pentax XW and Type I Paracorr;
Notes:  This is a large spiral galaxy that is really bright and large.  The inner nucleus is small vut very bright, with a bright inner core region around it.  The inner core is surrounded by a fainter diffused halo.  The galaxy shows spiral structure with an arm coming from the south, to the west then bending around to the north.  There is another extension with a dark area separating it from the galaxy.  Wonderful object to observe.

5. NGC 4725 Spiral Galaxy in Coma Bernices.  6/22/2012; 12:50am MDT;  FR 006;  Antoniadi I; XX14i with 10mm Pentax XW and Type I Paracorr;
Notes:  Another large spiral galaxy.  It has a diffused outer halo with a bright inner core region and a stellar nucleus.  Arm structures are somewhat evident on the outer portion (I needed to take my certain rag and lighten the pastel chalk here more) on the NNE and SSW sides.  This is another impressive galaxy to observe.  This sketch was okay for me. As I mentioned I am using a new pen for brighter stars and it started to leak here (returned it for a new one that doesn't leak).  So stars are uneven more than usual.

6. NGC 4150 Elliptical Galaxy in Coma Bernices;  6/21/2012; 1:08am MDT;  Antoniadi I; vMag. 11.6; Size: 2.3' x 1.6'; XX14i with 10mm Pentax XW and Type I Paracorr.
Notes.  This is a small and bright galaxy.  The outer halo is somewhat dim, with a bright core region.  Seems to almost have a stellar like core which an elliptical shouldn't have.  It looks to me like some of the pastel chalk came off on this sketch on the bottom of the galaxy.

7. NGC 4414 Class SC Spiral Galaxy in Coma Bernices;  6/21/2012; 12:28am MDT; FR 006; Antoniadi I;  XX149 with 10mm Pentax XW and Type I Paracorr;  Size 3.8' x 2.2'; vMag. 10.1;
Notes:  Very bright outer halo and brighter inner core region.  Stellar core is evident in the nucleus as is a bulge.  Multiple arms are observed.  Arms are easier seen in the actual sketch as I made them faint and  I am not sure how well they are showing up here.

8.  NGC 4565 Edge on Spiral Galaxy in Coma Bernices;  6/20/2012;  11:55pm MDT;  FR 006; Antoniadi I; XX14i and 10mm Pentax XW with Type I Paracorr;
Notes:  My friend Daniel showed this to me in his 17.5 inch dob and it was on the list for that night, so after finishing my observation and sketch on the current object, I went back to this wonderful and brilliant edge on in my own 14 inch.  Wow!!!!  in both scopes.  This is the best example of an edge on galaxy I have seen and by far, my favorite of those objects.  This galaxy is very bright, and very elongated.  It has a semi-bright outer halo with mottling evident from a dust lane which is evident.  The inner core is bright and has a stellare core intersected by the dust lane.  Beautiful.  See this one when you can! Very happy with my sketch on this one.

9. NGC 4274 Class Sb Spiral Galaxy in Coma Bernices;  6/20/2012; 11:44pm MDT; Antoniadi II;  Size: 6.9' x 2.8'; vMag. 10.4; XX14i with 10mm Pentax XW and Type I Paracorr;
Notes:  Very bright outer halo on this galaxy, with a large inner halo and a stellar nucleus.  Faint arms are detectable.  This was a fun observation for me and one that I had to work to get the detail out of it.  I like when I have to work for it. I do not think I put the faint spiral arms in the sketch though.

10. NGC 4494 Elliptical or Lenticular Galax in Coma Bernices;  6/21/2012; 11:30pm MDT;  FR 006; Antoniadi II to a I;  XX14i with 10mm Pentax XW and Type I Paracorr;
Notes:  Fainter outer halo, then a brighter core region with a substellar nucleus.  Medium size and it is a nice one time stop.

11. NGC 4245 Spiral in Coma Bernices;  6/20/2012;  11:19am MDT: FR 006; Antoniadi II;  XX14i with 10mm Pentax XW; Size: 3.2' x 2.7'; vMag. 11.4;
Notes: Bright inner core with a stellar nucleus.  Fainter outer halo that is diffused and moderate in total size.  Somewhat elongated W-E.  It is the larger galaxy in the sketch.

11a. NGC 4253 Spiral Galaxy in Coma Bernices;  See above for conditions and instruments. Size: 1.0' x 0.8'; vMag: 13.3;
Notes:  Very small and very, very faint galaxy.  Outer halo is detectable and there is a possible brightening near the core.  It is the smaller galaxy in the sketch and I should have made it fainter, much fainter in the sketch.

12.   NGC 6523 or Messier 8, The Lagoon Nebula in Sagittarius, an Emission Nebula;  vMag 6.0; Size: Large;  06/21/2012; 02:00a.m. MDT; Antoniadi I, clear and cool;  FR 006;  XX14i with 20mm Explore Scientific 68 degree EP with Type I Paracorr and a OIII and Ultrablock NB Filters:
Notes:  I am overall very please with this sketch.  Like any sketch, it can be refined but I like it.  I spent almost one and a half hours on it overall.  The tornado dark structure was easily visible as was the hour glass.  The open cluster of course was easily seen, though the filters dimmed it as my goal here was to capture in the sketch the nebulosity.  No color was seen and it was so beautiful on this night!  I hope I did it justice.  I also have to mention that the Eagle was very evident and I almost opted to sketch that also as the Pillars of Creation were evident (Daniel saw them also) but there was only so much time. Edit: I removed the second sketch as I did not like it as well as the first. The new second sketch is one that faded a little bit in iPhoto and brought out the highlighted areas a little more.

13.  NGC 4151 Spiral Galaxy in Canes Venatici;  6/21/2012; FR 006; Antoniadi I, clear, cool; vMag 10.2; Size: 6.3' x 4.5' ;  XX14i with 7mm Pentax XW & Type I Paracorr.
Notes:  This is a Seyfert galaxy with a very active black hole and it is the nearest Seyfert galaxy to Earth.  That means the black hole at the center of this galaxy is eating, feeding, consuming at this time.  This is a very bright galaxy, with a faint outer halo with some brightening near the edge, could be my mind playing tricks as I was getting tired at this time.  Bright inner core with a stellar nucleus is evident.

13a. NGC 4156 Spiral Galaxy in Canes Venatici;  vMag 13.5; Size: 1.4' x 1.1; see above entry for conditions and instrument.  This is another very, very faint galaxy and it is very small.  Possible elongation but I can't be sure.  Possible stellar nucleus or brightening near the core region. I included it in the sketch but once again, it is far too bright and again, I need my cloth that lifts up the dust and leaves a very faint and nice galaxy behind.

14.  NGC 4258 or Messier 106 Spiral Galaxy in Canes Vanatici; 6/20/2012; Antoniadi II; FR 006; XX14i, 7mm Pentax XW with Type I Paracorr;  vMag. 9.1; Size 18' x 7.2';
Notes:  Yep, another sketch of Messier 106.  I was unhappy with the last one I did and I am still unhappy with the arms again, especially the upper or western arm as it is too bright.  The outer halo I feel better about.  Oh well, next spring perhaps.  M106 is a bright galaxy with a dim outer halo and a bright core region.  Arms again are faint and somewhat evident.

15.  NGC 6656 or Messier 22, Globular Cluster in Sagittarius; 6/21/2012;  FR 006; Antoniadi I; XX14i with 7mm and 10mm Pentax XW;  Type I Paracorr.
Notes:  Well, I am disappointed in my first attempt at a globular using the Mellish method.  I need to keep at this object for sketching and start with some smaller ones.  I like the outer halo, the next halo and the inner core that I captured.  I even like the star field though I have to learn how to use that ink pen for the larger stars.  The diffraction spike here is a distraction for me.  Oh, well, I have to start somewhere and to be honest, it is a MUCH better sketch the the first one I tried on this object, which I posted below and was done in 2009.  Still not a reflection of what I see and until I get that I won't be happy and I guess that is a good thing. There is a PN in here I would like to take a crack at one of these nights.

2009 Sketch of Messier 22: (ouch!).

16.  One last sketch that was in the plastic folder with sheets that I store my sketches in.  It is of Messier 57, the Ring Nebula.
NGC 6720 or Messier 57  The Ring Nebula: FR 006 Site 1: 06/21/2012; about 2:30a.m. or so MDT; Antoniadi I clear and cool; XX14i with 7mm, 3.5mm Pentax XW and 4.7 Explore Scientific 82 degree EP;  Ultrablock and OIII Filter, Ultrablock was better and no filter. The filters enhanced the PN but the central star was observed with no filter.
Notes:  The ring stood out and the first thing I noticed was that the 14.7 and 14.3 mag stars were visible.  So I decided to do what Daniel and I had talked about and go for the central star.  Daniel at this time also went for the central star in his 17.5 dob at mag 15.3.  At first I had to adjust to the contrast in the middle and then I saw it, it blinked at first with averted vision and then with direct vision, it held.  It really stuck out and it was great to observe it with the 14 inch dob.  Another item I can scratch off this year.  In the sketch I tried to capture the field stars around M57 but they are much too bright.  I am happy with M57 itself though.