Okay, for the full moon period we had great weather and for a few days past that. It's new moon season and what do we have now? Yep, rain and rain and clouds and clouds. There are periods of clear nights but it is what it is and sometimes you have to go on the hunt when you can. So here are some sketches I worked on.
Was somewhat cloudy at first, but it blew out and I ended up with . . . .
Really wonderful conditions.
I am going to put the general observing information at the top of my posts from now on. No need to rehash all that under the sketch. For all sketches posted here:
Location: FR006 Juniper Grove
Conditions: Antoniadi I, clear, cool temperture range from 54 degrees F at sunset to 36 degrees F when I retired at 3:00a.m. Clear, crisp, Sirius had minimal twinkle this night as did the major stars below 35 degrees. Above that was no twinkle and steady seeing.
Equipment: 17.5" dob, Star Catcher; TeleVue Paracorr Type II used on all observations. Eyepieces will be listed below the sketch as will be any filters used. 22mm T4 Nagler is the finder eyepiece for all observations.
Objects Seen Not Listed: 6 open clusters, 7 elliptical galaxies in Virgo, 5 small spirals with only an outer halo and even surface brightness, no detail.
1. NGC 4501 or Messier 88 a SBc or Spiral Galaxy in the constellation of Coma Bernices. 10, 7, 5mm Pentax XW's. Wonderful spiral galaxy one I haven't visited for some time. Bright inner core with arms attached and observable.
2. NGC 4594 or Messier 104, the Sombrero Galaxy in Virgo, an elliptical galaxy (see this link Space.com Link 1; 2012 Spitzer Discovery of elliptical and flat disc in the elliptical Link 2) 10, 7 and 5mm Pentax XW and 22mm T4 Nagler. The dark dust lane was easily visible in the 17.5 as was the appearance of the Sombrero. This galaxy has between 1500 and 2000 globular clusters which is a much higher rate than our own Milky Way. Then again, with an elliptical galaxy and a disc galaxy inside the elliptical, the presence of two galaxies probably helps to explain this.
3. NGC 4559 a Spiral Galaxy in Coma Bernices. 10, 7, 5mm Pentax XW. Brighter inner halo that is slightly evident but a stellar core is easily detected. Hint of spiral structure on the outer edges of the disk.
4. The Leo Triplet. NGC 3628, Messier 65 & 66 are all easily observed here. 26mm T5 Nagler, 22mm T4 Nagler, 17.3mm Delos, 10mm & 7mm Pentax XW for details of galaxies. Been awhile since I did a sketch of the triplet so I undertook it as I loved the view in the Naglers and the details added by the Delos and the Pentax XW's. Great example of why using various magnifications to produce a sketch is extremely helpful. Dust lane visible on the Hamburger or Sarah's Galaxy (NGC 3628 at the bottom) and hits of structure in Messier 66 of the arm that is different. M65 has bright inner core but not a ton of structure. Fun to spend some time here with these three again.
5. NGC 4414 an unbarred spiral galaxy in Coma Bernices It is a flocculent spiral galaxy which means it has short segments of spiral structure but not the well defined arms of a grand design spiral galaxy. Nevertheless, it was wonderful to observe and sketch and revisit this night. I caught three arms with averted vision in the outer structure, one arm, on top here easily seen, with a bright inner halo and a stellar nucleus. Lots of mottling also.
6. NGC 4536 an intermediate spiral galaxy in the constellation of Virgo. My favorite object for the night and sketch. A weakly barred spiral galaxy with moderate to loosely bound spiral arms. Mottling and both arms are easily seen. Want to see spiral arms, go to this galaxy if you have a 10 inch, or definitely a 12 inch telescope. Used the Pentax 10, 7 and 5mm on this fun galaxy!
7. NGC 4651 a spiral galaxy in Coma Bernices. It can appear as a large halo with a bright inner core region. Averted vision popped the arms using the 10, 7 and 5mm Pentax XW. The top sketch is a digital highlight where I attempted to brighten the stars and the core really brightened so I include that with the sketch on the bottom. I tried using a Malincam with the scope on a equatorial platform to see if I wanted to purchase and found that though the Malincam brought out the spiral structure at my dark site, I preferred the visual view which would have limited the spiral structure. I still am interested in the Malincam for use in my backyard though. It shines there!