Another clear night, another observing session. That’s four in a week! I missed a couple of nights over the course of the week as they were murky and foggy and therefore no good for deep sky observing. Last night started off a little murky but gradually improved as the night went on.
Date: 3rd/4th September 2010
Conditions: Cool but not that chilly, a bit murky at first but improving later. No Moon. Started off clear, clouding over later.
Seeing: A I, superb.
Transparency: III, improving to II later (until clouds came)
NELM: 6.1 to 6.5 later on
Instrument: 12″ f/5 dobsonian, 22mm Televue Panoptic (69x), 15mm Televue Plossl (101x), 8mm Televue Radian (190x), 5mm Radian (304x), OIII filter
NGC 6804, galaxy in Aquila – Faint, slightly oval, stellar core. 69x, 190x
NGC 6772, planetary nebula in Aquila – I wasted more than 30 minutes looking for this (not plotted on atlases) and eventually gave up. Annoying. Will have another go at this with a MegaStar chart I’ve just printed out.
NGC 7448, galaxy in Pegasus – Bright, elongated NW-SE. Brightens gradually towards the centre. 69x, 190x
NGC 7814, galaxy in Pegasus – Bright and easy to find, located near ϒ Peg. Elongated NW-SE. Brightens towards the core which is bright but not stellar. 69x, 190x
NGC 7217, galaxy in Pegasus – Bright, round, condenses to bright but non-stellar core. 69x, 190x
Pegasus is now complete as far as the H400 is concerned, as I’d already observed some objects in it last autumn.
NGC 7686, open cluster in Andromeda – Irregular. Dominated by two bright yellow-orange stars. Loose. Fainter stars in background and around the two bright ones. Not particularly rich. 69x.
NGC 884 and 869 – the Double Cluster in Perseus – These are lovely things in a wide field eyepiece. Both clusters fit neatly into the field of view of my 22mm Panoptic (69x). If each one was isolated it would be a pretty object in its own right but, both together make one of the finest DSOs in the Northern Hemisphere – in fact the DC is (are) the best open cluster(s) in the sky and I genuinely think that we outdo the Southern Hemisphere with this one.
NGC 869 is smaller and more compact that its neighbour, 884. There are 2 bright stars in the centre, plus a compact triangular pattern of stars in the centre. 69x
NGC 884 is larger and looser. No central group of stars, unlike 869; there’s empty space at the centre. The stars of 884 are more concentrated to the western side. 69x.
All stars in both clusters are white.
NGC 650-1 (M76), planetary nebula in Perseus – Very bright indeed, looking like a miniature M27 (in fact, it is called ‘Little Dumbell’). It has a bi-lobed appearance with an outer shell extending off to the south west and north east; the south western one is slightly brighter. The south eastern lobe is slightly brighter but smaller, than the north western one. An OIII filter brings it out nicely. 69x, 101x, OIII filter.
NGC 1023, galaxy in Perseus – Bright, elongated east-west. Condenses to very bright core. 69x, 101x
By this time, it was beginning to get very cloudy, so much so they were interfering with observing. In fact it took me several attempts to see NGC 1023 as cloud kept drifting across the field of view.
I finished the session with a look at Jupiter, which was shining incredibly brightly, like a searchlight, high in the south east. While I am not a planet observer, preferring deep sky, I was glad I had decided to look at the giant planet because the seeing was so good, in fact it was perfect, that I had incredible views and could put the magnification up to 304x without too much degradation of the image.
The North Equatorial Belt was detailed, while the STB was a bit fainter and there were festoons in some of the other bands on the planet; the North Temperate Belt showed a lot of detail, as did both polar regions. The zones also showed some marbling. The SEB, of course, is still missing or very faint.