Observing for October 26th and November 1st, 2013

I can't believe it! I actually got out twice in a new moon period! Let's hope that is a trend that continues and the storms hit the mountains here hard to replenish our water and leave the valley's dry unlike last year when the opposite happen.

Anyway, on October 26th, I went to Pit n Pole to observe for the last time this season. It was unseasonably mild, actually warm and no dew was in the forecast.  I met my friend Jeff out there with his Orion XX12i with a Protostar secondary and Zambuto primary and set up.  This night I had what has to be a wonderful night of observing. Both nights ended up that way.  I have had periods this year where my health (I am struggling with a health condition right now that I hope is starting to clear up) has impacted my observing. I have become fatigued easily or my bowls, already impacted by my Celiac disease act up and I have aches in my legs.  The result is I haven't planned as well as I should have and I have to say that for me, if I don't have a plan to work, observing becomes a chore.  I have no problem star hopping as I do not have go to and I love the star hop as part of my experience.  For once, this night felt like a renewal.  Everything came together. My scope is a year old now and has its clinks worked out and is a joy to use.  Hopefully I have more observing sessions that these two coming than what I've had in the pass.  Observing to me is enjoyment, relaxation and a time to connect to the universe, both locally and in the expanse of our sky.

So this night I had a plan and I worked my plan. I no longer cared about trying to get through a list. I am close to completing the H400 II but in truth, I am using Mark Bratton's Complete Guide to the Herschel Objects to pick a constellation and go through the objects in that constellation. I really like working two or three constellations and planning to hit one early in the evening as it is at zenith, the next one as it moves toward zenith and the last one as it is rising.  Anyway so this night was just outstanding. I rated it as an Antoniadi I since even the stars below say 20 degrees, and this was Arcturus, Capella were barely twinkling when low in the atmosphere.  I hit a few more objects then I sketched, and I am not going to list everything tonight but will come back next weekend to update the list. Here are my sketched items.

1. NGC 7042 Spiral Galaxy in Pegasus and NGC 7043 (the fainter one) a galaxy in Pegasus.  October 26th, 2013, 10:55 p.m. MDT/ 04:55 UT;  Pit n Pole UT; 14" Dob w/7mm & 5mm Pentax XW.  SQM 22.64.

This one was fun to find, it took me retracing my hop twice to find it.  At low power 7043 is a faint fuzzy but since the night allowed high magnification to come into play, I used the 7mm and 5mm Pentax XW.  The core was bright, with diffusion around it.  NGC 7042 is the larger one in the field, with a bright core region and a stellar nucleus and there was a hint of structure. W I believe is to the bottom left corner in the sketch.  The arm l sketched on the eastern side is an error, it is suppose to be mottling with brightness both on the NE and SW sides of the galaxy.

2. NGC 7814 Edge on Galaxy in Pegasus, "Little Sombero";  October 26th, 2013; 08:48pm MDT or 02:48 UT;  Pit n Pole, UT;  14" Dob with 5mm & 7mm Pentax XW; Antoniadi I;  SQM 21.62;

This is a relatively bright galaxy with a very bright core region and a non-stellar nucleus.  The dust lane is detectable at high magnification, and is probably over emphasized in this sketch. It was more of a mottled appearance in my notes and not so steady a line as I sketched here.  Over a fun object to observe.

3. NGC 23 a galaxy in Pegasus.  October 26th, 2013, 09:45pm MDT or 03:45 UT;  Pit n Pole, UT; 14" Dob w/ 7mm & 10mm Pentax XW; SQM 21.62.

This is a small but bright galaxy with a star on the SE edge of it, making it look like a double core.  Cool. Nebulosity is easily seen with a brightening around the core and a stellar nucleus.

4. NGC 7619, NGC 7626, NGC 7631, NGC 7623, NGC 7622, IC 5309 in Pegasus.  October 25th, 2013; 10:32pm MDT or 04:32 UT; Pit n Pole, UT; 14" Dob with 10mm & 14mm Pentax XW; also known as the Pegasus Galaxy Cluster 1; SQM; 21.68; 

NGC 7619 is roundish and is the brightest of all the galaxies with a large and right core.  NGC 7626 is the largest but not the brightest of the galaxies, being more diffused due to its size.  It still has a bright inner core region.  NGC 7619 is dimmer and smaller with a brightening at the core region, it is also elongated in appearance.  NGC 7623 is small, round and diffused.  IC 5309 is very small and very diffused. Last NGC 7611 is elongated and diffused as well. 

Again, I saw about 12 objects that night but did not sketch the rest.  I picked these to do and overall I am pretty content as I think they give a decent impression of what one can see through the eyepiece. 

November 1st, 2013

1. NGC 7457 is a Lenticular (?) galaxy in Pegasus.  November 1st, 2013; 11:26pm MDT / 05:26 UT; FR 006 Site 1, Owl's Roost; Antoniadi I; 14" dob w 10mm & 7mm Pentax XW;  

This is a bright oval shape galaxy with a brighter inner core region.  It shows a larger view with averted vision in my opinion.  Possible to detect the oval, an inner tapered shape and then the bright core region.  Fun object to observe. 

1. NGC 7332 & NGC 7339 Lenticular and Spiral Galaxies in Pegasus; November 1st, 2013; 11:04pm MDT / 05:04 UT; Location: FR 006 Site 1, Owl's Roost; Antoniadi I; 14" dob with 10mm Pentax XW;

NGC 7332 has a bright core region.  NGC 7339 is very diffused and very bright, elongated to points with a bright core region visible.

3. NGC 7177 Galaxy in Pegasus.  Date: November 1st, 2013;  Location: FR 006 Site 1 Owl's Roost; Time: 10:11pm MDT / 04:11 UT;  Equipment: 14" Dob with 10mm & 7mm Pentax XW; Antoniadi I

Rather bright galaxy that is diffused and has a mottled outer region.  Bright inner core that is offset from the galaxy E-W orientation. Bright stellar core is easily seen.  Structure is evident in the SW side.  An object worth the time if you don't mind non-huge Messier galaxies and like to tease details out of a galaxy.

4. NGC 7656 Face on Spiral Galaxy; Constellation: Pegasus; Location: FR 006 Site 1 Owl's Roost; Date: November 1st, 2013; Time: 09:26pm MDT or 03:26 UT; Equipment: 14" dob with 10mm & 7mm Pentax XW; Conditions: Clear, cool but not cold, Antoniadi I. 

This is a faint galaxy with mottling and one arm that appears to wrap from the SW to the NE, wrapping around the brightening of the core region. Non-stellar nucleus.  

On Friday night I observed the following. M31 which I had intended to sketch but a good interruption delayed that for another night. I also saw M32 and M110 and the dark lanes that night in M31 were just outstanding.  I observed M33 as it got to zenith both in my scope and in my friend's Jeff Starstucture 17.5 and it was the best view I have ever seen of the Triangulum Galaxy. Beautiful bright inner core, surrounded by brightening around the core. The spiral arms just sat there as did the HII regions and the globular clusters there.  I took a gander at the Helix and it shown wonderfully that night too, first without a filter and then with my OIII filter which just simply enhanced the details there. I laid down on the ground for a while and watched Orion as he was rising in the east and began to soar up into the night sky.  Watching M42, Rigel, NGC 1981 a wonderful naked eye object, NGC 1977, Collinder 70, Collinder 69 and Betelgeuse rise. I wondered if Betelgeuse has already exploded as a supernova with its light streaking towards us and if I will see it in my life. I decided this night to lay that to rest. Nope, it may have or it may not have exploded, but it has the next million years to do so and reach us by all estimates. That is a short period in terms of stellar time but I will be LONG gone by the time that star's light reaches us.  I ended the night looking at Jupiter and found that the atmosphere had gone from a complete stable Antoniadi I to a boiling Antoniadi III to IV.  M42 did not show well and even at high magnification I could not get the E and F stars to show.  So that was my signal to pack up and head home.  Oh, Mat showed me a wonderful field of two galaxies with a third right next to it.  I need to get the designation from him on those three. Here are some pictures of the set up of that night. 

The next two pictures show looking south-east and east and reveal a wonderful Belt of Venus which was observable that night. The pink was bright and wonderful and the Earth's shadow was equally inspiring. 

Here you can see my set up with my 14" and my observing chair and portable table. Behind it is Mat's 16 inch F 5.6 (I believe, Mat can correct me on that) scope that he made from the mirror on up. Mat is currently selling that scope to fund his 21 inch if anyone is interested. Leave me an email and I will forward it to Mat. His ladder has half steps for him to go up (or us)! 

Again, the 14" with my observing chair, table and new Outback.  Love the ride when I go off road in the new care! 

A close up of Mat's 16 inch scope that he has for sale. 

My 14" strut reflector/dob collimated and ready to go! 

Here is the back of my Outback at the observing site. Just need to figure out how to turn off the front door side lights.  

I posted about my new eyepiece case but at the time I hadn't put any eyepieces in it. Saif left a comment asking for some so here it is. I laid most of my eyepieces down except a few that I stood up.  The larger Pentax XW and Delos don't sit so well standing up.  In here from the left bottom working right then up and back to the top left: Pentax XW 10mm, Baader Ortho 6mm; 7mm Pentax XW, 5mm Pentax XW, 3.5 Pentax XW; 10mm Baader Ortho; 20mm Pentax XW, old 2x barlow (never use it); 14m Pentax XW; 17.3mm Delos; 27mm Panoptic TV. Saif, hope that helps in some way! So that was the end of a wonderful night of observing.