July 4, 2008 at 5:59 pm #10307Randy HParticipant
Dean, can't wait to show you and others the LX200 the club now has. I went out last Monday and ripped off all 10 Herschel objects in Cygnus and the 3 in Delphinis. It was spot on finding all of them. Of course I'm a star hopper with my Dob, so this really felt like cheating with such a large aperture go-to.
I described 7086 as "boring". It was very hard to see. Will be bringing the scope to show at the next meeting!July 4, 2008 at 7:26 pm #10308
Last I checked, using Go-To or DSCs is against the rules for completing the Hershel 400. They are permitted for HII, though.July 5, 2008 at 1:13 pm #10309
At last, the drought ended. Officially, I hadn't observed since 5/21, and that was a brief half-hour. Last night, I got up as the finale concluded for the fireworks and went out for 1.75 hours. I'd like to say that conditions were great, that finding things was easy, and that it was altogether AGNFA, but that would miss the mark. Haze really impacted the view (and no, it wasn't leftovers from the fireworks.) M9 was nearly invisible – it took 120X just to tease it out of the skyglow to my south. I pulled out the Cat's Eye Nebula without any trouble – very bright even from the city. It looked more "ghostly" without a filter, but there was no hint of the central star with or without the filter. After an hour of hunting with some new charts, I decided to give the computer a go and it led me to M10, M12, M71, M13 and 92. M13 showed the famous "arms" quite well – it was very near the zenith.
I turned in just before the clouds made a serious dent in the sky. Jupiter hadn't quite cleared the Elm tree that effectively blocks my southern skies, so I missed a chance to catch "The King." Perhaps another night.July 5, 2008 at 4:24 pm #10310
Good for you for getting out, Scott. I have to agree, the sky wasn't all that great last night, not like the CSC had it cracked up to be.
I fought a stiff southerly breeze and high thin clouds for three hours. I still managed to get in 9 Herschel 400 objects. I found NGC's 5557, 5676 and 5689, the first elliptical and the other two spiral galaxies in Bootes. 5676 & 5689 can be seen in the same FOV, so that was the best look there. I found NGC 5631, a spiral galaxy in Ursa Major. This one is extremely faint and I'd have never spotted it without The List.
I got those two pesky open clusters, NGC 7128 in Cygnus and 7296 in Lacerta, that had been eluding me. I had to confirm that they were indeed the targets by using Steve O'Meara's Guide to the Herschel 400 book. They are both pretty but little groups of stars.
I caught two more spiral galaxies, one in Pegasus NGC 7448 and one in Aquarius NGC 7606. 7448 was a tough starhop (I went at it from Beta Pegasi) and 7606 was a dim object, but both were fun to look at.
I finished my Herschel hunt with the beautiful star cluster NGC 129 in Casseopia. It was a nice big object compared to the other eight.
Jupiter was cool as always, but not a real "standout" night. Three moons to the west and one to the east. The two closest moons to the west got very close to the planet before I packed up.
Was there an ISS pass last night at 4 a.m.?!!? I saw a brilliant object in a SW to NE orbit that passed overhead. It was as bright as Venus, but had no blinking lights, mainly white with just a hint of yellow.
I got in 5 and a half hours. I felt good about fighting through the clouds and the breeze. By 2 a.m. the sky was getting real nice. For me it was AGNFA 🙂July 5, 2008 at 5:47 pm #10311
Observation down at Dean's tonight site tonight. It's a Flatten Field Recon and according to clear sky clock, this one will fly.
Dean saw a very nice crossing of the ISS last night and we should get another one at 3:22 tonight (It'll pass under Jupiter heading northward, slice Capricornus, Aquarius, Pices and drop to the horizon between Aries and Cetus).
Also, starting just before 2:00AM, Io's shadow will cross the limb of Jupiter, with Io shaking it's hand. Io continues to trail it's shadow all the way across the face of Jupiter, with the GRS appearing between 3:00 and 3:30. The twin transit (Io and its shadow) ends around 4:20.
As that transit ends, watch for the ISS to reappear from Ophuchus. It will cut high, just missing Vega, through Cepheus and plunging to the NE horizon, just east of Capella.
Catching Saturn and Mars will be an early task, neither of which will be spectacular but worth spotting with their proximity to one another. Neptune and Uranus will be targets tonight. Neptune is leading Aquarius and Uranus is trailing. It will be a five planet night! We should even make an attempt to spot the Dwarf not-a-planet at the crick in Serpens Cauda. I can't guarantee we'll be able to spot or recognize it, but I do guarantee it's up there.
If anybody wants to join us, please do. I might be able to fit another person in my car if anybody is interested.
That's only part of the plan for tonight… there will be plenty to look at. I think we'll be posting about AGNFA!July 5, 2008 at 8:53 pm #10312Randy HParticipant
[quote author=sregener link=topic=233.msg1938#msg1938 date=1215199611]
Last I checked, using Go-To or DSCs is against the rules for completing the Hershel 400. They are permitted for HII, though.
Have company this weekend so won't be able to FF Recon tonight but I will be out on my driveway delving into some new places. It's good to have a pictorial atlas for some of the Herschel lists because there isn't a whole lot to some of the tiny open clusters. I don't have one except for the ones listed in my SkyMap program. However, being at home allows internet access and I can download background images from the Sloan Digital Sky Survery which drops images down onto my maps if I still not sure.
Just for the record Scott – the observing club rules are posted on the Astronomy League website. Goto or DSCs are allowed in all clubs except the obvious ones (e.g. Lunar) and Messier and Caldwell. No restrictions in the others.
Clear skies tonight you guys!July 6, 2008 at 12:26 pm #10313
Wow. Either I wasn't paying attention, or they've changed the rules in the last couple of years. I could get through the list a lot faster (though maybe with a significantly reduced sense of satisfaction) that way…
Tried to spot the Moon/Saturn/Mars conjunction last night, but the western sky was pretty cloudy at sunset.July 6, 2008 at 9:53 pm #10314
Hello astronomy fans! Duane and I did indeed get out to the Flatin Farm for a "Recon Mission". We were set up by 8:30 p.m. and the cresent Moon was about a third up in the western sky.
I got Mare Marginis and Mare Smythii for the Lunar II program, and Jupiter was rising as we spotted Saturn, Mars and Regulus all in a nearly straight line to the west.
We had an unexpected Outreach Night as the annual 4th of July weekend party was happening further down the road at the Bergsgaard farm. They had an impressive display of fireworks and since the partygoers had to pass by us going to and from the party, lots of them stopped and checked out the stars. It was a good mix of adults and kids and they really liked what they saw. Duane and I showed them the Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, M3, M13, M57, M27, Albireo, the Lagoon, M51, M7 and other objects. They kept us busy for about 3 hours.
After the party winded down, Duane got several Herschel 400 objects as he started that observing program last night. NGC 5907, the "Splinter Galaxy" in Draco was really cool looking in his 12" Lightbridge.
I added two more Herschel 400's NGC 225 and 136, open star clusters in Casseopia to up my total to 150. NGC 136 took over an hour to pin down. It is a very poor, horrible little star cluster in my opinion. It wasn't even listed in my StarAtlas 2000 Delux Edition. It was easily the most grueling hunt of the 400 list I've done so far. If Duane hadn't been there to help, I doubt I'd have found it.
After that, we relaxed, talked astronomy, enjoyed the Io transit, (the beginning was REALLY cool!) and looked for meteors, satellites and the ISS. Two of the meteors were bright enough to journal and the ISS passed overhead at 4:20 a.m.
We had to fight some high thin clouds, but it was indeed, AGNFA! ;DJuly 8, 2008 at 6:58 am #10315
It was a great night, even if we fought some clouds early on. Dean hosts a dark sky, we could even see that star in Ursa Minor that we couldn't see from Gamehaven. Here's a pic of what it looked like before the Sun went down: Tell your browser to view this full size, and then scroll left and right. The Sun was setting in the west, which you'll see at the far left and far right; so it's a full 360.
Now imagine a line of cars parked there, most with telescopes linear to ours, picture Dean standing by a grill and people eating and talking… until the Sun goes down, and the stars materialize, and the Milky Way lights up the sky…
It WILL be a glorious night for astronomy! so don't miss itJuly 10, 2008 at 10:11 am #10316
I was out looking at the 1Q Moon last night for 35 minutes. I'm a little embarrassed to say that my interest in the Lunar 100 has waxed and waned; my observations date back more than a year. One nice thing about Lunar observing is that I've made many checkmarks in broad daylight. Last night, I was finished at 9:15 – I have no more objects left that were visible. My count is around 75. Mare Marginis was very visible, so I guess I know which way the Moon was turned.
Last night was also my first time using S&T Field Map of the Moon. I had been using a book called "Discover the Moon" which had some gaps in it – probably 10-15 objects on the Lunar 100 aren't in it. The Map made life so much easier. I heartily recommend this $9 map to anyone interested in learning the Moon.July 10, 2008 at 11:56 am #10317
No need to feel embarrassed, Scott, my earliest observations on my Lunar 100 hunt go back to 2006! :-[ It is so easy to let time slip by. One of the things you're going to notice when closing in on the last 25 is when an object comes up that you can get, and then get clouded out for a few days, you'll have to wait for the next Lunar cylce to have another chance at it.
I'm really glad I did the Lunar 100. I get a lot more enjoyment looking at the Moon now.July 11, 2008 at 11:18 am #10318
[quote author=Dean Johnson link=topic=233.msg1946#msg1946 date=1215381194]NGC 136 took over an hour to pin down. It is a very poor, horrible little star cluster in my opinion.[/quote]
I suspect you didn't have enough aperture to really appreciate it. According to the NSOG:
8/10" – This cluster is a small patch of stardust…
12/14" – This tiny, round group looks like a faint globular cluster. Ten 13th-14th mag stars can be seen against a background glow.
16/18" – …with careful inspection, a dozen threshold stars may be resolved in the nebulous background haze.
Luginbuhl & Skiff say: "In 25cm this cluster appears as a hazy patch at 50x. At 200x a half dozen mag 13 stars are visible with some haziness. 30cm … cluster is hazy with ten very faint stars resolved."
My Webb Society guide to Open Clusters makes no mention of 136.July 11, 2008 at 11:25 pm #10319
Thanks for the info, Scott. There has been a few open star clusters in the Cephus-Cygnus area that my SkyAtlas Delux 2000 doesn't even have the locations for. Talk about frustrating!
NGC 136 was really tough. Maybe we can get Randy to point his Obsession at it some night. I would like a closer look at it.
Good for you to start getting some telescope time in again. I got Sinus Lunicus last night for the Lunar II search, but then it clouded up on me. Not every night can be AGNFA.July 14, 2008 at 3:52 pm #10320
I think what made it tough is that it doesn't look like any open cluster I've seen before (except maybe, kind of similar to that open cluster contained within M24, the star cloud).
It looks like a smudge of light. In the 12" with a lot of power, stars could be resolved. Resolving those stars is what made me thing that we'd pegged it (that and the stars in the area that we hopped from).
It is appreciable, but it was also very much like the feeling you get after figuring out the trick question on a test.
DuaneJuly 14, 2008 at 4:52 pm #10321
[quote author=Dean Johnson link=topic=233.msg1982#msg1982 date=1215818707]
There has been a few open star clusters in the Cephus-Cygnus area that my SkyAtlas Delux 2000 doesn't even have the locations for. Talk about frustrating!
I'd recommend trying Taki's free 8.5 Mag atlas here: http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~zs3t-tk/atlas_85/atlas_85.htm Probably has what you need for those few clusters.
I went out last night, even though I'm on the tail end of a nasty cold, and put some glass on the Moon. Rather low in the south now that it's nearly full. I logged 16 new objects, leaving my count at 90. 2 naked-eye (both just after New Moon). 2 Binocular (both on the far western edge.) 6 telescopic (all on the western edge.) Note: the western edge of the Moon is the edge closest to the east horizon – confusing but true! I took another look at the Straight Wall after seeing it highlighted in a magazine lately. There's another Rille just opposite the crater Birt that was a bit tricky in my 10", but I could see it. I also re-observed an object that I'd failed to spot in my handheld 7×50 binoculars last year – piece of cake with my tripod-mounted 11x56s. As it got darker, there was a star just to the west of the Moon that had no doubt been occulted for those further east. I seem to recall reading something about that in the RASC handbook. AGNFA, and I was still in bed by 10.
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