Catch Up!!!!

Wow!!! Where does the time go?  I find at 48 I am reflecting more and more on my life, where I am at, what I have done, and where I am heading.  This last year has been horrible for astronomy though I did get out April 1st, April 6th and May 10th & 11th 2013.  I'll post some of my sketches of those nights in a minute.  First, some orders of business.  I received an email from someone a woman named Brittany who shared with  me, and has shared on various astronomy sites on the web, some videos she made/compiles as tributes to Carl Sagan using the world renown violinist Daniel Hope's music from spheres.  Here is a link to one over at YouTube that I just think is amazing. It is comprised of the quotes of Carl Saga.  Here are some of the quotes I enjoyed, and I like almost all of Carl's quotes (not all, but almost all):

"For small creatures such as we . . . the vastness is only bearable through love."

"You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you're not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we've found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other.”

"Science is not only compatible with spirituality . . . it is a profound source of spirituality."

“Every aspect of Nature reveals a deep mystery and touches our sense of wonder and awe."

and last:

"The visions we offer our children, shape the future."

If you enjoyed that here are the links to her other two videos on YouTube. Link 1: Inspiration from Carl Sagan:  Link 2: The Pale Blue Dot.  I love Carl Sagan's talk on the Pale Blue Dot.  I don't think it has been equaled.

Alright now. Back on topic here. I am going to post my observations from April, May and June here. I'll talk a little bit about them.  In April I got out on the 6th of April to do some observing. April was an interesting outing as I spent time once again working with my scope and after working out the kinks, I found I had plenty of time but I was exhausted. Funny how work can get to you.  I had a very difficult class this year and I felt exhausted in April from having to manage them all year.  So this night I felt it, so I did a lot of eye candy stuff, I did about 8 Herschel 400 II's with only a few sketches and that was it.  Here are the sketches from April:

IC 2574 a Dwarf Galaxy in Ursa Major
April 6th, 2013
Rush Valley, Utah
Antoiadi II
Clear skies, some clouds to the far north
14" Dobstuff/Zambuto Mirror
27mm Panoptic used as a finder eyepiece for the field;
10mm Pentax XW to sketch/observe
Size: 12'x4'
SQM 21.64
This galaxy has a very ghost like appearance with a very low surface brightness.  star are imposed to the edge.  There are two bright parts easily seen, a bright nucleus and a bright HII region.  Looks like two cores when observing.  Te two brighter parts were easily seen.  Very fun galaxy to pursue and observe and yes, I did go over the galaxy the first two times I attempted to located it.  Good one to try when your at Messier 81 and 82 if you like fainter and challenging objects.

That was my big win that night and I was excited about capturing it.

My next night out under the stars was May 11th, and this was a pretty good night. I captured 16 objects that night and sketched the following.

1. NGC 3190 and 3193 Galaxies in Leo, just under Adhafera
Location: Five Mile Pass, UT
SQM: 21.53
Antoniadi III
14" Dobstuff
27mm Panoptic
Notes: Three galaxies in view, one is dim but NGC 3190 & 3193 are evident in the field of view. Bright inner cores.

 2. NGC 3626 SO Galaxy in Leo
May 10th, 2013
11:38p.m. MDT
Antoniadi III
14" Dobstuff
10mm Pentax XW
FR006 Site High Up
Notes: Has a bright stellar core, bright nucleus, the outer portion is dim and I believe I detect a hint of structure to it in the arms.

3. NGC 3599 & 3605, Spiral Galaxies in the constellation of Leo
May 11th 2013
12:13a.m. MDT
Antoniadi II
14" Dobstuff
27mm Panoptic as finder
10mm Pentax XW observing/sketching
The top galaxy is extremely bright with a bright stellar nucleus and a bright inner core region.  Diffuion surround the core with no structure seen.
The bottom galaxy is small, also has a bright core region and outer diffusion with no structure.
A third galaxy faint is visible on top. It is very faint and just diffused with no core evident.

4. NGC 3611 Spiral Galaxy in Leo
May 11th, 2013
FR 006 Up High
01:00a.m. MDT
Antoniadi III
Mag. 9.2
14" Dobstuff
10mm Pentax XW
Small bright galaxy with a bright core and no nucleus is observed.  Diffusion surrounds the core.  Somewhat round/elongated to the SW.

My next outing was on June 1st, 2013 to a place we go to now called Five Mile Pass. We are avoiding the Pit n Pole location during fall, winter and spring because of the dew issues there. I will be there during the summer though when dew is not an issue.  So on this night I had invited a friend to come out who was having some frustrations with his scope and on finding things.  Dion came out and I spent most of that evening helping him to find objects. Now I am going to post something that I have always felt is the key to getting people to try the hobby and stay with it.  The key is to teach them how to find items using their equipment. So I had an extra copy of the Sky Pocket Atlas and Dion and I would use it on my 14 inch dob to find items, me scaffolding or supporting Dion and showing him the star hop, having him do it on my scope and then go back and do it on his. My friend Mat helped Dion to collimate his scope and to work it so between us, Dion got set!  By the end of the night Dion was a pro at finding things. He took some awesome pictures and he has shared them on our local board, Utah Astronomy but I will share them here, and then the two sketches I did that night.

I want to mention that here that I no longer do a bunch of outreach. I have too much to do and yes, I am very selfish on the time I get to observe. It is limited as I have other things that also demand my time. However, the outreach I LOVE and will set aside whatever my plans are is to do what I did this night, teach people how to use their equipment to find items. If they leave doing that, then they are caught! Perhaps when I am older outreach will have more of an appeal to me but right now, the outreach where you simply have people and kids come by, look in the eyepiece just doesn't appeal to me. However, if you want or need help learning to star hop and use your equipment in the field at a dark site, come along with me when I go observing and I'll teach all night and enjoy it all night! The offer is good on two conditions. One I have to kinda of have to know you and you have to live and go where I observe or come visiting out here.

So I have to thank Dion for all of his time away from his family that allowed me the honor to have helped him perhaps just a little bit.  Here are his pictures.

Here is my 14 inch Dobstuff Strut Dob with a 14" Zambuto mirror and a protostar secondary. I love this scope!

Here is Mat's 16 inch dob that he made from scratch. He ground the mirror, and built the structure. He'll sell it if your interested and it gives great views! 

Here we are collimating our scopes. 

Five Mile Pass is not our main dark site but it is only 40 minutes from home so it is convienent.  Here is the rising summer Milky Way with some light pollution on the horizon from the Provo to Spanish Fork area.  SQM averages around 21.5 to 21.55 around here. 

That night as we were observing I looked towards Tooele and saw what looked like several zodiacal lights which we see every time we are in the desert in the winter and spring.  Anyway there was some green tint to it and when Dion took this shot it explained what I had seen, the Aurora Borealis. 

Now as the night wore on, Dion was good to go, I hope and I managed to get a couple of objects and quick sketches in.  Here they are: 

1. NGC4235 Spiral Galaxy in Virgo 
June 1st, 2013 
1:46a.m. MDT 
Antoniadi III 
14" Dobstuff 
10mm Pentax XW
Five Mile Pass UT
Wonderful galaxy face on.  Hint of an arm from the south to the west.  Right inner core region. Hint of a stellar nucleus with averted vision. 

2. NGC 4233 & NGC 4224 Galaxies in Virgo
June 1st, 2013
1:05a.m. MDT
14" Dobstuff
20mm & 14mm Pentax XW w/Paracorr
Antoniadi III
Five Mile Pass Utah
Clear, very cool no clouds.
Two galaxies that are close together, one in the NE corner which has a bright inner core region with strong diffusion surrounding the core. Averted vision is needed to see the galaxies shape.  The galaxy in the SW took averted vision to hold. It is very faint with a low surface brightness.  Nice field.

June 8th to June 9th 2013 at Pit n Pole Location 

This night I went to the Pit n Pole and was joined by my good friends Mat and Jorge.  Jeff had a prior commitment if I remember right.  It was a GREAT night, the best of the year and the BEST since getting my telescope last fall.  Tonight everything was working perfectly, including the most important part, the operator!  One of the most productive nights I've had. So here are the sketches though I bad about 8 more H400 II that I did not think worth sketching. 

1. This is a sketch I did and I forgot to label which galaxy it is. I will have to re-search and edit this post, I now it is SE of NGC 4261. 

2. NGC 4260 Galaxy in Virgo
June 8th 2013
Pit n Pole, Utah
10:50 p.m. MDT
Antoniadi II
14" dob
10mm Pentax XW
Notes:  Diffused outer portion, making this galaxy look edge on perhaps or tilted.  Bright inner core with a stellar nucleus that shows with both direct and averted vision.  Nice view.

3. NGC 4266 elliptical galaxy in Virgo
SE of NGC 4261
June 8th, 2013
11:08 pm MDT
14" Dob
10mm Pentax XW
Antoniadi II
Notes: Nice and bright, elongated NW to SE wtih some structure evident.  Bright inner core region.

4. NGC 4261  Galaxy in Virgo
June 8th 2013
11:35pm MDT
Antoniadi II
14" Dobstuff
10mm Pentax XW
Notes: This is a large elliptical galaxy with a bright core and a stellar nucleus that is easy to see. One\portion of the galaxy is brighter from the SE wrapping to the NW.  Made it look somewhat like a spiral but it isn't, just brighter on that side.  Very nice image. This elliptical galaxy has a 400 million mass black hole that is active and feeding right now, spewing out 88 thousand light year jet. There is a very faint companion NGC 4262 that is easily seen below it.  Bright tine core, pinpoint with a stellar nucleus with averted vision.

5.  NGC 4281, 4270, 4271 4277, 4168 Galaxies in Virgo; most are elliptical.
June 9th, 2013
12:09 MDT
14" Dobstuff
10mm Pentax XW
Antoniadi II
Pit n Pole, Rush Valley, UT
Clear and Mild
The sketch below was the first rough draft I did to identify the field. The second sketch is the one I took my time one.
NGC 4281 is the galaxy on the bottom or eastern side.  It is a large bright galaxy with a bright core region and a stellar nucleus, laying east to west.
NGC 4273 is up and to the left.  It is the 2nd brightest galaxy in the group with a bright core region.  Next to it and to the east is
NGC 4273 a small galaxy easily viewed.
NGC 4268 is the narrow galaxy above or to the north of NGC 4273.
NGC4770 is on the western edge.  It has a bright core with a stellar nucleus.

Similar to the one above, done at the eyepiece without the labels.

6. NGC 5480 and 5481 galaxies in Bootes
June 9th, 2013
12;50a.m. MDT
Antoniadi II
14" Dobstuff
10mm Pentax XW
Pit n Pole UT
Clear, Mild
Notes: NGC 5480 is bright, with an even surface brightnes and a hint of brightness near the core at times.
NGC 5481 is larger than NGC 5480, has good brightening near the core region with a stellar nucleus evident with averted vision. Nice pairing.

Well, that's all of the sketches. I felt so out of sketching shape that I can't wait to get out the next several days here to do some serious sketching.  I have a lot of reports to enter for the blog for the following items:  

SQM-L  Review 
20mm Pentax XW Review 
Explore Scientific AR104mm Refractor with their mount I got with it.  
Contrast Filter to go with the Refractor 
Four new books on Astronomy  

So during new moon look to those coming. It feels good to be back on the blog.  See you in a few days after observing in the hot west desert of Utah with mild temps. no bugs and a wide open sky with mag. 7 skies!  I can't wait.  Anyone want to join me?