Home Forums RAC Main Forum General Discussion Observing tonight?

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  • #10427
    Dean Johnson
    Participant

      My report on the meteor should be on the AMS Fireball Page. From what Kirk and I saw, I reported it at 9:27:25 p.m. 40 to 45 degrees off the horizon (azimuth when it first appeared is 90 degrees). The meteor was mag. -5, not a bolide and no trail. Color white, duration 3 seconds. Still 40 to 45 degrees off the horizon at aimuth 45 when it disappeared. The meteor first appeared a degree or two above (west) of Coma Berenices, traveled south to north, split Alpha and Beta Canes Venaticorum and ended just short of Eta and Zeta Ursa Majoris.

      If you folks took notes or could compare verbally what you saw, you might be able to hammer out a report to the AMS.

      I got out last night for four hours. The first two were spent with Mrs. Wedmann's eight grade science class for an outreach event at the Flatin Farm hayfield. They got to see Venus, the Moon, the Great Orion Nebula, Saturn, 54 Leonis and dwarf planet Ceres (both in the same telescopic FOV last night), Comet Lulin and M44. Of course the kids didn't dress warm enough, but despite that, they were a very attentive and for the most part, well behaved group. It was a good outreach.

      I stayed for a couple more hours getting a Lunar II observation (Crater Lamont on the Sea of Tranquillity. Found out that is wasn't named for Lamont Sanford :'() I also got Saturn and Ceres for my Solar System/Planetary observers certificate and Comet Lulin. That comet is just amazing! It should be very close to M44 on March 4th, I think.

      Anyway, AGNFA!

      #10428
      Luka B
      Participant

        I was out last night too. With a pair of friends on one of their farms.  We looked at the Orion Nebula, Saturn, the moon, the double cluster, M46, M35, M65 or M66, not sure which, but only one. And then M79, as well as several other easy to find open clusters. Then I tried to find Comet Lulin again. I think I did in my binoculars. However when I tried to find it again with my scope, I hit M67. I actually used Messier's list for its intended purpose, of avoiding non-comets. Before I could find it, my friends got cold, and we went in. It was a  pretty good night, but I didn't realize how much the moon can grow in brightness in only two nights.

        #10429
        Dean Johnson
        Participant

          You're getting around the sky pretty good, Luka. For you to find M79 on a moonlit night like last night shows some real observing skill.

          I had a moderately difficult time finding Comet Lulin, but just kept trying the region between Regulus and M44, and once I stuck closer to M44, it was fairly easy to find. It also got more noticable the closer to the zenith it got.

          I liked your comment on NGC 5053 near M53. That is indeed a tough globular cluster to spot because of a very low surface brightness. I never was able to see it in my Celestron G8 until I switched to a 2" eyepiece and star diagnol setup. Then I found that I could see it, but it is very ghostly. I showed it to Rick Murray one night at Eagle Bluff and he said, "THAT's it?" It is an observing challenge to be sure.

          I might try a 'First Quarter morning' this weekend if the weather permits. That's where I pack up my stuff and lock the van, go to bed early and get up and go out at around 2 a.m. or so after the Moon sets. It is really the last chance at getting some dark sky until the passing of the Full Moon. Friday would be better than Saturday, but after Sat-Sun night, the window of observing time gets pretty slim.

          #10430
          Luka B
          Participant

            Thanks Dean. I think I am getting a bit better. At first it is just a matter of even knowing what your target looks like. And what you can't possibly see from the city. Or from the "darker-but-still-not-dark-enough" skies at Keller WMA.  I guess I'll put 5053 of things to look for at Eagle Bluff or darker spots.

            Are the other two galaxies right next to M65/M66 in the same category of really low surface brightness?
            And speaking of faint things, what is a good first planetary nebula to find? 

            The first quarter morning sounds neat ,and ambitious. I have a hard time getting up early. I imagine that "first quarter morning" works much better in the winter with long nights, than the summer with very short ones. Actually that's not something I'm thrilled about. While it will be more comfortable in temperature, the nights are so much shorter.

            #10431
            Dean Johnson
            Participant

              I'm with you on the wanting longer nights than warmer weather. Summertime is wonderful but the nights are way too short. It sucks having to wait until 10 p.m. for complete darkness in late June. πŸ™

              As far as planetary nebula go, right now I'd be trying the Eskimo Nebula NGC 2392 in Gemini. It's small, but immeadiately available. NGC 3242 the "Ghost of Jupiter" is a nice showy planetary in Hydra, so if you're up around midnight to 3 a.m. that one is a dandy, but there's some starhopping involved. The Little Dumbell in Perseus M76 is still available to the northwest, but for all year round planetary fun NGC 6545 the "Cat's Eye" nebula in Draco is almost always there. (P.S. You've GOT to see that one in Randy's scope – awesome!)

              For the summertime, it's the Ring Nebula, M57 in Lyra and the Dumbell Nebula, M27 in Cygnus. Both are easy to find, pleasing to the eye and showy. πŸ™‚

              My all time favorite is still the Helix Nebua NGC 7293 in Aquarius. It has a low surface brightness, but on a very good night it is huge in a telescope and wonderful to view, especially with an OIII or Ultra High Contrast filter. 8)

              When we finally hook up for a session at Eagle Bluff we'll make a stab at NGC 5053. Until then…clear skies! ;D

              #10432
              sregener
              Participant

                [quote author=Luka link=topic=233.msg2801#msg2801 date=1236196342]
                Are the other two galaxies right next to M65/M66 in the same category of really low surface brightness?
                And speaking of faint things, what is a good first planetary nebula to find?[/quote]

                The third galaxy of the Leo Triplet isn't terribly low in surface brightness, but I've never seen it from my backyard.  From Eagle Bluff, it was obvious.  I'd guess it's not terribly hard from Keller once it gets up high enough in the sky.  The ideal place for viewing any DSO is culmination – when it crosses the line from Polaris to the south pole.  There is a minimum of atmosphere to look through.

                For your first planetary nebula, I'd recommend NGC2438, superimposed on open cluster M46.  Since you already know how to find M46, all you need to do is crank up the power.  Look for the "star" that won't focus as tight as the others.  That's your nebula.  There are some beautiful ones out there, M57 and M27 being worth the price of admission.  But some are fairly plain and pedestrian-looking.  Saturn Nebula and the Ghost of Jupiter are both very interesting.  One of the best things about planetary nebula is that most don't require dark skies to see – I've seen a bunch of them from the city, though the view is often enhanced with a Narrowband filter.

                #10433
                Dean Johnson
                Participant

                  Well, no first quarter morning for me. After watching the weather and checking the CSC, I knew that earlier tonight was the time to go. Too much moonlight for deep sky stuff, so the Solar System got all the scrutiny tonight.

                  Saturn, Ceres, Comet Lulin and Lunar II targets were on the celestial menu and I nailed 3 out of 4.

                  Saturn was pretty cool, with Titan and three of the "amateur Moons" all to the east side. I thought I could see hints of a moon off the western edge, but couldn't quite pin it down.

                  Ceres continues to move, now past 54 Leonis. It now makes an arc with the two brightest stars above and to the left of 54 Leonis. Tonight was my fourth observation of Ceres.

                  Comet Lulin was too close to the Moon. I spent about a half hour looking for it, but the Moon is VERY bright.

                  I did the Hortensius dome field west of the crater Copernicus for the Lunar II list. This area has many lava domes and was a possible landing site for one of the three Apollo missions that got cancelled.

                  Then the dew started messing with my scope big time as clouds threatened from the west. But at least I got out there for two hours and enjoyed a fairly warm beautiful evening.
                  It was fun. πŸ™‚

                  #10434
                  Jeff Newland
                  Participant

                    It won't be tonight, but I'm thinking of heading out to Keller WMA on one (or more) of the next few nights after today.  Sunset is about 7:15 or so and moonrise is:  Thursday (12th) – 9:30PM, Friday (13th) – 10:42PM, Saturday (14th) – 11:50PM.
                    Even on Thursday, would have a couple of hours before the moon gets up too high.  Forecasts for the next 3 days are saying partly cloudy or mostly sunny.  So, looks like a good chance to go out for awhile.  I'll post here if/when I go out.  Might wait till Friday as high on Thurs is only 20 and think I may want something a tad warmer.  ;D  But, if really clear tomorrow, may think of doing it anyway.  If anyone else decides to go and I haven't said anything, if you want company, post here and I may go.  Right now, thinking Friday or/and Saturday.
                    Jeff

                    #10435
                    Jeff Newland
                    Participant

                      The early CSC for Friday and also the weather forecast for Friday show it as looking quite nice tomorrow evening.  It definitely looks like a GO for me tomorrow/Friday night.  Tonight is not looking good on the CSC.  Wild, wild horses won't keep me away tomorrow.  ;D

                      Jeff

                      #10436
                      rabomgaars
                      Participant

                        Jeff. I will try to make Keller tomorrow night.  May try the new scope.  It gets dark later now, ugh.  B

                        #10437
                        Jeff Newland
                        Participant

                          Ok, B.  Yep, sunset about 7:20 or so.  Be dark after 8:00.  You get there early, you can still see your scope.  Right now, the CSC for tomorrow has great seeing starting at 9:00.  I'm sure it won't stay that way though.  πŸ™‚
                          I probably would only stay until 10:30-11:00 at the latest, unless really nice out and dew and fog stay away.
                          Jeff

                          #10438
                          sregener
                          Participant

                            I'm a tentative "go" for tonight, after I get the kids down.  I probably won't know for sure until about 7:30 whether I'll be awake enough.

                            #10439
                            Luka B
                            Participant

                              I'm planning on going out to Keller tonight as well.

                              #10440
                              Jeff Newland
                              Participant

                                CSC has been updated.  They are showing pretty good for the next 48 hours.  I'll be there tonight and I may head out on Saturday night as well.  See you all there tonight.
                                Jeff

                                #10441
                                Dean Johnson
                                Participant

                                  I'm heading down to the Flatin Farm. Keep your eyes peeled, maybe we'll have a double confirmation on a fireball sighting again! πŸ˜‰

                                Viewing 15 posts - 181 through 195 (of 2,607 total)
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