Cambridge Double Star Atlas Second Edition Review (compared to First Edition).

Well I finally broke down and purchased the second edition of the Cambridge Double Star Atlas. I figured why not, I have two of the first edition and I wanted to see what had changed between the two and which one I preferred and why.  So last night I sat down as my wife worked on her accounting and I reviewed the two atlases using a Google Doc and a table.  Here are my impressons.

1st Edition
2nd Edition
Spiral Binding  

Winner: 1st Edition. Based on experience with the Interstellarum Sky Atlas this is bound the same way, I am afraid the 2nd edition will either tear off or detach from the spiral wire binding. I have never had that fear or problem with the 1st edition.
Spiral binding is on the outside, white wire and allows for atlas to be turned over while using it. Allows turnover of cover as part of turning pages on the white white binding. The front cover could be ripped from the white wire binding but in over 4 years I have never had that problem.
Spiral binding is only exposed on the backside of the atlas. The front binding is protected by the front cover. A potential issue is that the front cover here can be torn and removed from the atlas without tearing on the white rim binding. This means the cover can be separated easier than in edition 1 in my opinion.
Cover Material

Winner: About even if care is used in the field with the Atlas. If your not a careful person, edge to the 1st edition.
Laminated card stock that bends easily and the laminate can begin to peel exposing the card stock to the elements.
Laminated card stock, lighter card stock then edition 1.  Not a huge issue but I would expect that if care is used, the cover like the first edition will last for some time. Without care the cover on the second edition probably won’t last as long.

Winner: Second Edition which makes if overall more clear what the second edition contains and will do for you.
Short, in green lettering concise and makes point that this is the first atlas dedicated to double and multiple stars. Background to James Mullaney and Wil Tirion.
Longer welcome and the green lettering is gone, now just black lettering. The Welcome announces that the Double Star Atlas is back! It explains the differences between the first and second editions which is in its organization.  The target list is at 2500 and is revised and the color of the atlas pages have been updated to help us find our targets more easily. Biographies of Bruce MacEvoy and Wil Tirion are included.
Dates of Publication
Table of Contents

Winner: Second Edition. The second edition shows how the information has been reorganized, how it is laid out and what changes have been made. I love the organization of the second edition which is VASTLY improved over the First Edition. The Table of Contents shows that some information is now included in its own section or Appendix now, allowing it to be treated with more depth and knowledge.
INTRODUCTION: map parameters, selection criteria; discoverer, catalog/observatory designations; Observer, atmosphere and instrument. Double and Multiple star showpieces. Some recommended references. About the authors; Acknowledgements; STAR CHARTS: Appendix A Constellation Table; Appendix B: Table of Greek Letters: Appendix C: Cambridge Double Star Atlas target list.
INTRODUCTION: What are double stars; The binary orbit; Multiple star orbits; Stellar mass and the binary life cycle; The double star population; Detecting double stars; Double star catalogs; Telescope Optics; Preparing to observe; Helpful accessories; Observing Techniques; Next Steps; References: Acknowledgements.  STAR CHARTS: Appendix A The target list; Appendix B Double Star Formulas; Appendix C Double Star Orbits; Appendix D Double star catalogs; Appendix E The Greek Alphabet.
Atlas Maps Color

Winner: First Edition because it is easier to use in the field with a faint red light while picking up more features.
Milky Way is darker to me on the 2nd Edition and and easier to read in a red light. If your observing where red light doesn’t matter I like the color in the first  edition which is a personal preference and bias since I have used that atlas more. More white in the first edition making it easier to read at a dark site.
Colors are more subtle but darker and there is a greater variance to them but it is subtle. There is more color and the darkness of that color means it is harder to see under a red light at a dark site.
Atlas Maps Stars and Writing/Numbers

Winner: First Edition for similar reasons above. Ca-vet for both Color and Stars Writing/Numbers. If you do your double/multiple star observing from your back yard then it doesn’t matter a whole lot and I’ll say preference to which you prefer.
Stars are more bold and darker in the first edition, again making it easier to see at a dark site. Numbers and writing are darker in the first edition.
Second edition stars are not as bold as the first edition, just slightly less but enough that they don’t pop off the atlas page. The writing is much more faded and subtle and the numbers in the second edition are harder to view as well.
Number of Atlas Pages
The constellations stay the same in both atlases.

Unique Features  Show Case Items:

Winner: Hands Down Second Edition.
In the first edition the double and multiple star showcase is located up front as a separate table/index of the best double and multiple stars to go after. It is organized by constellation and RA and DEC in that constellation. There is a vivid description
In the second edition the showcase items are located in Appendix A in The Target List. Showcase items are starred and have a description underneath their entry.  The Target list here is set up by catalog ID, components, coordinates, Map number and location, and are organized easily by constellation. It makes better sense to me to list them with the other double and multiple stars in their respective constellations and with the other multiple and double stars in that constellation. Vast improvement for planning and accessing the field. Well done here!
Target List

Winner: If you observe strictly by constellation and RA and DEC in that constellation Edition 2 is the winner.

If you prefer to observe strictly by RA and Dec, I recommend the first edition.

My recommendation is Edition 2. I find I enjoy the layout and the presentation of the Atlas. I’ll still be having my first edition with me though as I do like having the showcase items all in one table.
Laid out by object & constellation, then by designation, then RA and DEC and Magnitude and Separation. Table is simplified and easy to locate once you are use to it. I don’t like that the targets are listed in RA or DEC since as an observer I prefer to work a specific constellation and then work by RA and DEC in that constellation. A dedicated observer would want to go by RA and DEC as the way to observe since you can work through portions of the sky that way. IF that is how you like to observe, the first edition is better for that I believe.
Laid out by constellation and then the objects in the constellation by RA and DEC with magnitude and separation.  Here the table has more information since your observing by specific constellations. Many observers will follow the layout of the constellation in observer. I usually observe by constellation now and by RA and DEC in that constellation but with Sky Tools 3, I can plan my approach out by how I want to work the RA and DEC in that constellation. Overall I love the new Target list here.
The first edition I will continue to use as I observe doubles and multiple stars during the moon part of the month (two weeks of waxing moon to waning gibbous.  I am working on sketching the showpiece double and multiple stars so that table is extremely helpful to me. .
Overall my preferred atlas when I am going after multiple and double stars in a constellation for a couple of hours in the backyard during the waxing moon phases of the month. When I simply want to work through doubles and multiples in a constellation and enjoy doing it, this is my atlas. Overall the second edition makes major improvements in the amount of material, how that material is laid out and presented to the common amateur or hobbyist and allows them to observe multiple and double stars in a meaningful and fun way. I am extremely glad I paid about $38 for this terrific addition to my atlas collection. More importantly, I will be using it.

Here are some basic images I took to try and share what I describe in the table above.

1. The Covers: First Edition is on the left (will stay on the left for most shots); Second Edition is on the right.

2. Bindings.  The Second Edition here is on the left and the First Edition is on the right.

a) The First Edition's Wired Binding. 

b) The Second Editions Wired Binding

3. The Table of Contents: First Edition on the left, Second Edition on the Right

a) First Edition Table of Contents

b) Second Edition Table of Contents 

4. Title Pages: First Edition on the left, Second Edition on the Right. Second Edition's coloring is false here. It is not a gold or tungsten. It is black. 

5. Monoceros Constellation Comparison: First Edition on the left, Second Edition on the right. 

a) Monoceros First Edition. Not how much darker the Winter Milky Way is here and how much darker the stars, numbers and names are. For me in the backyard not really an issue. At a dark site, the darker fonts make it easier to read the chart with less red light. That is a critical item if your observing from a dark site. 

b) Monoceros Second Edition. I love that the coloring is more subtle when I am looking at this in natural light. In a dim setting it makes it harder to use in my opinion and though not 

6. Orion First Edition on the left, Second Edition on the right. The difference in the contrast is much easier to see here.

a) Orion First Edition 

b) Orion Second Edition 

7. Object Charts.  First Edition is on the left, Second Edition is on the Right. I did not include a shot of the first editions showpiece chart.  Here you can see how the first edition lays out their table of objects and how the second edition arranges it by constellation with the showcase items starred. I prefer the second edition's layout on this. 

a) Second Edition's Object layout by constellation (showcase items are starred). 

b) First Edition Target list table by RA and DEC. I prefer to observe by RA and DEC by constallation so I prefer the second editions layout. 

There you have it. For me as I have stated in the chart, the second edition is a great improvement over the first edition and I recommend it. You can hopefully use my quick review and the images I have provided and make up your own mind. I did not include the wonderful background details laid out in the first edition and really re-organized and laid out in the second edition.  That is well worth the read so make sure you do so. 

I am working on sketching the show piece targets in the I guess, second edition now.  I would love to see an imager tackle that in images as well. Want to partner up on doing so (the imager will finish long before I will). 


Random Thoughts/Images on Star Gazing, The Stars and Stuff from the Web

I found these images posting something up and will share them here on my blog.

The first one from Galileo has to do with the fact if ever I am scared when I go observing, espeically alone in the West Desert or the Mountains of Utah. I cannot lie and say I have never been scared. A car driving 20 miles down a remote dirt road at 2:00am makes me watch that car to see where they go and what they may be up to. Usually, not an issue, 99.9 times out of a 100. They drive off to do whatever it is they do at that time of the night, and mostly they don't know where I am.  Second, an animal sound I don't recognize puts me on alert until my rational brain takes over and I figure out what it is. Having several forms of support and protection ensures I feel safe though. Bottom line, though, Galileo's quote here is truly how I feel.

The next image is for those times that we all have, when life becomes difficult, spouses or companions may not be at their best, health can go bad, and we just face a myrid of difficulties. Go out and get thee to a dark site, and look up and see how the stars truly do shine for you. They will hopefully remind you that many of us are looking at that same sky, and you are not alone.  Realize that in the long term, this too shall pass and better times will return. It is also an invitation I feel to get out to a dark site and see how the stars, planets and deep sky objects are shining to you, inviting you to get out and observe them. Often to a tough time, that is some of the best medicine I know to cure hard times. 

The one below, look up and get lost is how most people feel the first time at a dark site. It is amazing and overwelming. Enjoy that experience!  See what you can see and just treasure your time when you get out to a dark site location and observe! 

One of the hardest things in life is to lose a companion, a spouse, a loved one. Similar to that is the losing of a pet, a dog that has been your lifelong companion. Be the loss a human or a dog, when Sirius is up, the brigthest star in our winter night sky, look up at it and realize it is the main star with a white dwarf companion. May that thought bring good memories back of your loved one, human or dog, and of their love to you and may that strengthen you and help you to remember all the positive and good and forget the trival and sham if you wish.  May we ensure also, that when our spouses, our companions and/or our dogs are with us, that we give them the time and attention they deserve as often they are in the background allow us to shine so bright. 

Just a bunch of fun ideas. Next up will be a review of the Farpoint UHC 1 1/4 inch filter. 


A Son and His Dad or Forget It All and Just Enjoy the Hobby

Tonight in my backyard, I had myr AR102 out and my 14" dob for to show off some of the late summer and early fall items to the neighborhood.  I got set up and forgot how smooth the motions are in my 14" dob.  Azmuith is incredibly smooth and I need to adjust one thing in the Altitude (clean the pads) to restore those motions.

After it was all done, my 22 year old son came out in the backyard and spent the rest of the evening identifying objects with me. He lived in Italy, mainly Rome and south of Rome for about 2 years and has been back for about 18 months from there. He works and goes to school full time right now so his schedule often doesn't allow for him to observe with me. In the past, before his time in Italy, he would join me and help out at Star Parties running one of my scopes and sometimes going observing with me. He is actually quite able with a scope.

This night I started with the typical summer objects. M13 came up first and he viewed it and said "Ah, the Great Glob in Hercules." I found out quickly he still knew his constellations.  We then went to M57 and he easily identified it as the Ring Nebula. I expected to hear "One Ring to Rule them All" which is how we typically have identified that object in the past.  Next up, M31 and friends and he took one look and said Andromeda which will join us in about 7 Billion years to make Milkomeda which reminds me of that old product, Milk of Magnesia.

After this I went over to Cassiopeia and he identified NGC 457 which to him is the Owl Open Cluster and we talked how the two eyes remind him of an owl. He then shared with me that we have an Owl living in the one of the pine trees behind our home which I didn't know. I thought I had caught some views of the owl at times but I am glad to have one near our home.  After this my son easily identified the Double Double and Alberio and we ended up looking at the moon and blinding our non observing eye for a few moments after viewing it.

We then comapred views from the 14" with its premium secondary mirror and premium Zambuto mirror and moved to the AR102 and compared views.  We discussed on the Moon was impacting the night sky and finished out night by packing up.

My son, a man in his own right, has always said he wanted my astronomy equipment when the day comes I cannot use it or I depart this existence.  I realized tonight that yep, if he has time, he knows how to use each piece of equipment I own, from each telescope to my eyepieces, to collimation tools, to everything. What he may not know he will learn by doing.  My hope is that when those days come as he uses the equipment, he is reminded of the time we spent together and perhaps he'll think of me and us.  That is a comforting thought, a nice thought and one that I enjoy thinking about.

See for me, what I did tonight, sharing with my son, exchanging with my son, that is what is the most important to me. If you can't tell, I not only love my son, I like my son, I respect my son, I admire my son and my son in my opinion, will be a better man than I am.  It should be that way. So if you have the time to observe with a loved one in the light polluted, moon polluted back yard, please don't hesitate, do it.  The memories and discussions you make will remain with you and perhaps as mine are, remembered to be the best observing nights ever. Why? because we shared and exchanged together with others we love and who love us.  THAT to me, is perhaps the greatest gift astronomy has ever given to me.

I love my dark skies, I love observing there. I love my faint fuzzies, and I love squeezing out details out of extremely faint objects. I like getting scared just a tad when I hear a noise when I am by myself I haven't heard before and as my rational mind takes over and runs through what that is. I love discovering and learning so much about this hobby. Yet it is the people I have observed with that linger with me, that I remember, that I miss if they no longer come and that I value and treasure.  Don't worry about all the lists or items/objects you want to see. Don't worry about all you may want to learn and do. Sometimes, in the quiet of your own backyard, observe with someone you care about and just simply enjoy the experience, enjoy the views and truly enjoy each other. That is the best "magic" that happens with this hobby.

Dark Sky Meter vs SQM-L Readings

 I decided to post this information because I realize I need to become a LOT better at tracking the darkness of the sites and locations I use to observe. Hopefully this will reaveal a trend in light pollution or darkness and help me and others in the area to know where to go and observe on a regular basis. I also need to enter into the SQM database or my database there the readings I have taken for the last couple of years while observing. They are found typically on my sketches and in a log I keep in a small spiral notebook I keep with the meter. I am not going to get into the meters or explain how they work here. If you want to do that I encourage you to go to the Unihdedron website at this LINK or the Dark Sky Meter website at this LINK. I have to state since upgrading to the iPhone 6 plus my Dark Sky Meter app hasn't worked correctly which is expected as the app works with the iPhone 5c and 5s models. Time to upgrade the app I believe.

Here is the data I have entered for my observing sites on the Unihedron site:

The locations on the site are Elizabeth Ridge which  I do not have a Dark Site Meter reading for; Pit n Pole which I do have readings for; Vernon Forest Road 006 Juniper Grove Site that I do have readings for; my backyard which I do have readings for and that is all. So here are the Dark Sky Meter Map readings from the map.

Three of the readings, the top three above show readings taken on September 12th, 2015 of 21.88 and 21.82.  Another reading from August 15th 2015 shows a reading of 20.71 which is an abnormality as the DSM phone app and the SQM L show readings at this site averaging in the 21.8 range.  The fourth reading of 21.77 was taken at the site FR006 Owl's Roost site as was taken on June 29th 2015 and shows the impact of the summer Milky Way.  There is also just a tad more ambient light (extremely minor) visible at FR006 Owl's Roost vs Juniper Grove since the grove of Juniper's blocks all ambient light from the town of Vernon to the north. These readings seem to agree though there are far too few to make that ensure. The Vernon Observing Site is rated as a Class 1 Bortle area (SQM lists it as a Class 1), though depending on conditions it could be upper Class 2 Bortle. Link 1 Link 2 Personally, I don't use the Bortle System but it provides a guide to what your seeing at a dark site. I believe sites transition to what they are, as in FR006 a site 1 to a level below, site 2 depending on sky conditions, weather patterns etc.For me, the FR006 has allowed me to see on a regular pattern the following items in terms of visibility; the zodiacal light with color and up to 60 degrees; the gegenschein, and the  "Dark Horse" section of the summer Milky Way.

Zodiacal Light Link (this is how I have seen it out at FR006) Wikipedia LINK

gegenshchein   That light band going diagnol from the Milky Way in the image. Explanation Wiki

Dark Horse Section Milky Way Example/Image LINK 1 (circled) LINK 2

Challenge: Next time you go to a Rural or darker site, see if you can see these items when they are available.

The readings above from the Faust road of 20.72 and 20.55 are slightly less than the readings I have in the 21.2 range for Pit n Pole. At Pit n Pole though my readings are taken with the SQM L pointed south, the darkest part of the sky there, while the DSM is pointed up and there is significant light pollution to the northeast and east here. The direction and narrowness of the SQM L is the difference for the reading here I believe. Pit n Pole is a Class 3 Bortle Site.

Here is my house.

The SQM L readings in my backyard are in the 19.5 to 19.6 range, low 19.6.  The SQM readings are 19.69, 19.69, 19.24, 19.15. You can get the dates above and times for that impact on the images. For me this again is consistent for the tool, though more data points would be needed. My house is a Class 5 Bortle, sometimes transitions to a Class 6 Bortle as more homes fill into the area.

Overall I prefer to use my SQM L for readings as I can measure specific parts of the sky and even at home, the southern horizon is darker than the northern or eastern because of where I live in the Salt Lake Valley. Kinda of cool though to see how an hour drive to the southwest greatly enhances the darkness of one's site. I'm spoiled.


Fall Observing Targets Mainly for the Backyard or Dark Sky Areas!

Well, I am going to present a variety of objects to go after during a new moon session here in September of 2016.  These objects are good fall objects and I recommend if your at a dark site, a mild dark site to give them a go. In light pollution, you may find some good to go while others a challenge. Then again, it never hurts to try! The charts in objects 1 - 4 are inverted. 5-6 are normal.

1. Helix Nebula NGC 7293

The Helix Nebula is a large planetary nebula found in the constellation of Aquarius, about 650 light years away (LINK).  This is a case of a star, near the size of of our own Sun, has ended it's life on the main sequence, burned through its layer of hydrogen and helium and has separated from its outer envelope that results in the nebula. The star has become condensed to the size of the earth, with most of its former mass being compacted into the new object, called a White Dwarf Star, which is about the size of the earth. One suger cube of this White Dwarf Material would weigh about 15 tons! (Link).  This is a large object so a wide field, low power eyepiece is necessary to see it.

Wide field view of where the Helix PN is located. 

 Above is the Star Hop to the Helix Nebula (not the only one, just the one I use. You can find your own of course!). 

2. NGC 7252 Atoms for Peace Galaxy.

Okay, this is not a huge spiral like M51 but what it represents is rather cool. "The loops of gas and dust and stars that encircle NGC 7252 look somewhat similar to the orbits of electrons around the nucleus of an atom. Perhaps better seen in wide-field images, NGC 7252’s appearance has earned it the nickname the ‘Atoms of Peace’ Galaxy, after a phrase coined by President of the United States Dwight Eisenhower in 1961, regarding using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes."  In truth, it is dim at magnitude 12.7 and the larger the instrument the better for seeing this galaxy. Realize in this NASA link from which I look the quote, this is two galaxies that have merged, with a spiral in the center rotating opposite that of the galaxy.  LINK.  Unless you have a telescope with large enough aperture, you probably are not going to detect the tidal tails as in this photo LINK, though if your experienced, with a large enough dob you just may. Great one for imagers to go after though!

3. NGC 7814 Spiral Galaxy (Edge On) or The Little Sombero in Pegasus. This galaxy is about 40 million light years away in the Constellation of Pegasus.  Rather easy to star hop if you study out the finder chart I have provided it does look like a smaller version of that spring favorite the Somberro Galaxy, thus the name The Little Sombero. Magnitude about 11.7 it is a good one from any dark or semi dark site, though a bit mroe challenging from the backyard. 

This chart above lets you see where the galaxy is located. Make sure you have Pegasus lined up right, it can tilt easy in the fall. 

The actual star hop I recommend but feel free to find your own. 

4. NGC 457 The Owl or ET Open Cluster.  This object can be seen from a light polluted backyard or from a sub-urban outreach site.  It has two bright eyes, arms that seem to extend out and a triangle that makes up the legs.  Some call it the ET Open Cluster; some the Owl Open Cluster, some Wally from the Disney Animated Movie and some, well, what does your eye see here? Here is some information from the One Minute Astronomer on it: LINK

7. NGC 7662 The Blue Snowball Planetary Nebula in Andromeda.  
This is a planetary nebula that I have seen from my backyard using a 8" and a 10" dob.  Information on the object is at this Wikipedia LINK. Here are the findercharts. The first long star hop is long and it is easy to get lost, but it is often how I use to find this object. The second way from Lacerta is easier for me so I have included it. You will get plenty of practice star hopping with this object and finding so have a filter if possible, OIII or UHC and a good wide field eyepiece in 20mm to 24mm range. 

Here is the full field for this object. 

Here is the LONG star hop from Pegasus that gets you to the Blue Snowball, NGC 7662 Planetary Nebula. What do you see when you get there? 

Here is the star hop coming from Lacerta if you can view that constellation in your sky. This again, is the easier star hop for me, though you do hop a lot here. The end object is worth and it does have a blue snowball appearance to it. Good luck finding this one! Remember to take your time and enjoy finding it! 

There you go. Some challenging objects if your in the backyard (you won't see the Atoms for Peace galaxy in a suburban backyard. You need a dark sky for it). You should be able to see all of them and though I have left out Messier 31, the Andromeda Galaxy and the Double Cluster you should be able to find those two wonderful objects on your own. Lots of other wonderful items to look at in the fall like NGC 7331 a galaxy in Pegasus; M76 The Little Dumbell Planetary Nebula in Perseus;  Messier 103 and 52 Open Clusters in Cassiopeia; Messier 34 another Open Cluster in Perseus; Messier 74 in Pisces (one of the best galaxies, a face on spiral); Messier 77 in Cetus, another wonderful galaxy. Most of those if you have good horizons and a decent backyard should be viewable as well. If you don't have an atlas and want to know where to hunt one of those down, leave a comment and request it and I'll update this post for you. Have a wonderful time observing this fall! 


July 28th and August 29th 2016 Observing Reports

It has been a LONG time since I have found the time to sit down and write up my observing reports for these two dates.  As always a seasonal approach to where I observed.

     So I need to begin by sharing my observing map from Google Maps of my observing locations on Forest Road 006.  On the night of July 28th, as I arrived on Forest Road 006, what I had suspected would happen this year did. Every three years cows are allowed to graze on this part of the National Forest land and they do a great job of removing grass and vegetation that could lead to fire. As I drove past the first site, the one I call Owl's Roost, there were literally about fifty or more cows in that area. Well, I am not observing with cows, calfs and a few bulls in that area so I drove on.

     My favorite observing area, FR006 Juniper Gove was occupied by the ranchers in their RV and camp, and for that I was grateful. It would mean a clean or almost clean site as I moved back in the area come August. By that I mean no abudance of left over cow patties on the site.  I then moved on and FR006 Cougar Jump was occupied so I moved on. I had a pickup and a trailer in front of me and so when they pulled over to look at FR006 Coyote's Howl, I moved around them and pulled up to FR006 Top of the World. There were no cow's in this observing area, it was clear, clean and so I set up. The pickup and trailer came up after me, then turned around and went back to Coyote's Howl.

Here are some images of that location.

Some of the last images of my Green 2011 Outback.  I sold it and bought a 2017 Outback that is Tungston or Gold in color.  

The 17.5 set up and cooling. 

Looking east from my observing site FR006 On Top of the World 

A lot closer to the Sheeprock Mountains from FR006 Top of the World. Looking southwest.

17.5" Star Catcher cooling to Star Catch later that night. 

17.5" Star Catcher, my observing table with atlases, resoruces and my sketching material. 

Looking directly east. This spot becomes important about 2a.m.! 

     After setting up, and getting the site ready, I made sure I was ready to go and had everything arranged in the back of the Outback and on my observing table. There were cows about 25 to 50 yards out that were walking on a game trail but they didn't bother me. I got some fantastic pictures of sunset this evening from this very open location. 

17.5" Ready to Go; Sun disappearing. 

Bye Bye Sun, hello magic time! Actually, I love the contrast of colors here. 

Belt of Venus showing nicely. 

Anotehr of the 17.5", my observing chair and step ladder. 

One more of sun setting. 

My company for the evening . . . or so I thought. 

     It was a lovely evening and as dusk fell, my friend Daniel drove up to observe with his binoculars. I really enjoy Daniel's company and sharing what we see and observe with each other. This night my object was on observing some objects I haven't seen for a while and I had down quite a few globulars in Sagitarrius and Ophichus. This was the night I tested out the 14mm Baader Morpheus which without the Paracorr I did not like at all, preferring the Delos 14mm then the Pentax 14mm XW (even with its curvature). With the Paracorr I'd rate the Morpheus almost equal to the Pentax XW 14mm (yep, bias is the difference probably and contrast).  That report is else where on this blog and you can read that for how the first part of the evening went. 

1. Messier 107, Globular Cluster in Ophichus; July 28th, 2016; 11:53pm MDT; FR006 Top of the World; 14mm Pentax XW with 17.5" Dob Star Catcher; Paracorr Type II.  Antoniadi I.  Clear, mild. 

Nice globular, small, tight and round with a bright inner core region.  Stars are in evidnece and they face as you get closer to the core. Fun revisit! Two images of the sketch with different resutls by the camera and playing with it. I am posting both. 

2. NGC 6205 Globular Cluster in Ophichus; July 29th, 2016; 12:11a.m. MDT; FR006 Top of the World; Antoniadi I; 17.5" dob, 14mm Pentax XW, Type II Paracorr. 

Small roundish dob with a bright inner core region.  Core is off round, almost retangle in shape. Nice fun object to observe. 

Those were the only two sketches I got done that night. During the early morning as I was studying Sharpless 2-91, the other SNR in Cygnus down near Alberio, and looking at other objects, there was a noice out in the brush, a good 30 yards away. At one point I put a very bright LED flashlight I have in white color (after covering my observing eye) and caught a low set of eyes.  By 2:00a.m. I was breaking down and Daniel drove off.  As I was alone, I heard the noises again and then watches in dark adapted eyes as I saw a badger emerge and march 30 yards north of me in a straight line, going across the dirt road and off to the east into the clump of Juniper's in the picture above (he was traveling west to east).  He looked once at me and ignored me as I had the bear spray out and other protection as badgers can be quite angry animals.  Anyway, he left me alone and off he marched! 

August 29th, 2016

     On the night of August 29th, 2016 I took the following day, a Tuesday off, and headed off to my favorite site. This time, FR006 Juniper Grove was wide open and though there were about 5 cow paddies (old ones) in the area, they responded to a quick flick of the shovel and went flying out of the way.  I set up that night and and got ready to observe. I was hoping that my good friend Alan was going to join me, but as day turned to twilight, and twilight to night, Alan hadn't shown. So as usual, here are pics of the site and the setup and my new Outback. Note that the green of spring and ealry summer has given way to the burnt crisp grasses and dry conditions of a long, dry, hot summer. 

Here are two good examples (above) of the drive out to the observing area. Good gravel, dirt road where in my Outback I average 40mph, a little slower in a couple of spots as it gets rough in those locations. High cirius that latter cleared out. 

This is the back of my new 2017 Outback that is Tungston in color. The color actually matches the dust and dirt of the road out to the observing location. 

Another view above of the new 2017 Outback that I use to transport and as I did later this night, sleep in.  The back seats have covers on them to protect the fabrie and I learned that the 2" memory foan is not enough to sleep comfortably on the back on the Outback. I need my inflatable air matress that I use for camping to aid in my comfort. 

17.5" set up with some pesky clouds in the back. They cleared off by full darkness so it was crystal clear. 

Looking south from where I set up.  

Looking south. 

My favorite location to observe from. Set up is facing south. I would sleep in the back of the Outback as usual with my battery and CPAP and slept wonderfully after getting comfortable with my inflatable air mattress under my 2" memory foam. 

Close up of set up. 17.5" Star Catcher dob, step ladder, chair for table, observing table, laptop in box, sketching material on table on on bag on the right side of the picture and my observing chair for sketching. 

Collimated and ready to go. 

Belt of Vensus coming on! 

     As dark was falling, my friend Alan showed up, set up and we were ready to go observing. I wish I could take you as the reader of this blog to this site at the time period above. It is so peaceful, calm, relaxing and it is just impossible to describe.  It allows you to be one with nature and the universe. This night I mainly stayed in the constellation of Hercules as I had plenty of objects to hunt down there as I continue to move on in my Herschel 2500. I am only noting the ones I sketched here.  

1. NGC 6058 Planetary Nebula in Hercules: August 29th, 2016; FR006 Juniper Grove; Antoniadi II, clear, mild, 58 degrees F; 10:38pm MDT; 17.5" Truss Dob; 20mm Pentax XW, 12mm TeleVue Delos; Type II Paracorr; 1 1/4 Farpoint UHC Filter; 
The small planetary nebula is easy to find and stands out in the 20mm Pentax XW. The 12mm TeleVue Delos showed off the shape of the nebula more with a retangular shape, more than a round one. A 7mm Pentax XW showed this to be extensions that are north to south.  Averted vision helped. Filter enhanced the view and the FarPoint is well worth it.  Outer envelope is very birght and this object takes magnification very well. 

2. NGC 6106 Galaxy in Hercules. August 29th, 2016; 11:07pm MDT; Antoniadi II, clear, mild 55 degrees F; FR006 Juniper Gove; 17.5" Truss Dob Star Catcher; 20mm & 10mm Pentax XW; 12mm TeleVue Delos; Type II Paracorr.  
Very faint spiral galaxy. Sky Tools Chart was needed to identify the field.  Averted vision was needed to pop the galaxy into view. Nice challenge object but nothing to really see.  A very, very faint fuzzy, core is somewhat brighter with averted vision. 

3. NGC 6146, 6414, 6145; August 29th, 2016; 10:05pm MDT; Antoniadi II; 17.5" Truss Dob Star Catcher; 12mm TeleVue Delos & 22mm Nagler T4; Type II Paracorr.  
NGC 6146 is relatively bright, small galalxy with a high concentration of brightness near the core with a stellar nucleus. It is the top galaxy in the sketch.  
NGC 6141 is a very faint, small galaxy with an even surface brightness. The middle galaxy in the sketch. 
NGC 6145 is just slightly smaller than NGC 6146, not as bright with a inner core with no nucleus visible. Even surface brightness. Nice trio though small. 

4. NGC 6173, NGC 6174, NGC 6175 or Abell 2197, galaxies in Hercules. August 29th, 2016; 11:20pm MDT; FR006 Juniper Grove; Antoniadi II, mild, 54 degrees F; 17.5" Truss Dob Star Catcher; 22mm Nagler T4; 12mm TeleVue Delos, 10mm Pentax XW; 
NGC 6173 is the largest of the three galaxies. Bright and well defined oval in shape with a strong bright inner core. It is the center galaxy in the sketch.
NGC 6174 is a small and very faint galaxy, perhaps elongated and requires averted vision to detect. It is the bottom galaxy in the sketch. 
NGC 6175 is a rather faint galaxy and averted vision helps but it is detectable with direct vision. Even surface brightness, no other details. 

5. Abell 2199 Galaxies in Hercules: NGC 6166 (main large galaxy in sketch); NGC 6166a, 6166b, 6166c, 6166d. August 30th 2016, 12:05am MDT; Antoniadi II; FR006 Juniper Grove; 17.5" Dob Star Catcher; Type II Paracorr; 22mm Nagler T4; 10mm Pentax XW. 
NGC 6166 or 6166a is the largest of brightest member of Abell 2199. 6166a has an even surface brightness, and is somehwat bright.  Other components are faint and there is some pushing of the limits of the sky conditions this night to observe the components. The two nearest are hinted at with averted vision. 

6. NGC 6160 a Galaxy in Hercules. August 30th, 2016; 12:45am MDT; Antoniadi II, cool, 50 degrees F; FR006 Juniper Grove; 17.5" Truss Dob, Star Catcher; 20mm Nagler T4; 10mm Pentax XW. 
This is a rather faint galaxy and has a rather small and bright inner core. The sketch magnfies the size of the core somewhat. 

7. IC 4593 Planetary Nebula in Hercules. August 30th, 2016; 01:50am MDT; FR006 Juniper Grove; Antoniadi II; mild 50 degrees F; 17.5" Truss Dob Star Catcher; 22mm Nagler T4; 10mm, 7mm, 5mm Pentax XW; Type II Paracorr. 
Faint but not too taint planetary nebula that is round, with some variance in brightness on the outer edge giving it a ring like view.  Central star is easily seen.  Averted vision helps tease out details. OIII Thousand Oaks 1 1/4 filter pops the planetary out in this stellar field.  Faint bluish color at lower power, turning to white with higher magnification. Nice one. 

8. NGC 6210 Planetary Nebula in Hercules, The Turtle Nebula; August 30th, 2016; 01:35am MDT; FR006 Juniper Grove; Antoniadi II; mild; 17.5" Truss Dob, f/4.4 Star Catcher; 22mm Nagler T4, 10mm & 7mm Pentax XW; Thousand Oaks OIII filter and UHC filter 1 1/4. 
Very FUN object to observe! At first it appears round and green in the 22mm Nagler T4. The 10mm Pentax XW shows a elongation on the East-West axis/ends.  The 7mm Pentax XW brough out the outer halo (that I tried to capture and feel I did in the sketch) with a clear evident elongation.  Greenish or Sea Green in color.  The OIII pops out the planetary and gives some more details in the elongation for me.  This object takes magnification extremely well at a dark site! Probably best object viewed of the night. 

9. Messier 57 The Ring Nebula Planetary Nebula in Lyra; August 30th, 2016: 2:15am MDT; Antoniadi II, mild; 17.5" Truss Dob f/4.4, Star Catcher; 22mm Nagler T4, 10mm & 7mm Pentax XW; FarPoint UHC 1 1/4 Filter.   
It's been awhile but it is the Ring Nebula.  Outer edge has varying levels of brightness and the inner region is even surface brightness with some hint of varyiness at higher magnfications.  Central Star visiable with averted and direct vision. 

There you have it. I will be posting up some objects to view for fall and September in the next couple of days so watch for that post, probably either tomorrow or Friday.