Observing, 27th April 2011

Yesterday, 27th April, was largely cloudy and grey but the clouds cleared during the afternoon to leave a blue and transparent sky. It remained clear throughout the evening so I set up the scope for some observing. Given the largely hazy conditions just recently, I didn’t hold out much hope for the transparency but, surprisingly, it was very good.

Date: 27th/28th April 2011
Conditions: Cloudless, chilly, no moon, no dew, slight breeze picked up later on, zodiacal light prominent.
Seeing: II
Transparency: II
NELM: 6.2 – 6.5 later
Equipment: 12″ f/5 dob, 22mm Televue Panoptic (69x), 11mm Televue Plossl (137x), 8mm Televue Radian (190x)

NGC 3631, galaxy in Ursa Major – Round and reasonably bright. Diffuse halo brightens to a compact core and stellar nucleus. 69x, 137x.

NGC 4026, galaxy in Ursa Major – Located just SW of a mag 9 star. Edge-on and very bright. Elongated NW-SE, with a bright elongated core. 69x, 137x.

NGC 3998, galaxy in Ursa Major – Located adjacent to 2 stars (mag 9 and 10) 3998 is very bright and round. It has a very bright stellar nucleus surrounded by a diffuse halo. 69x, 137x, 190x.

NGC 3990, galaxy in Ursa Major – Located just west of 3998, this is much fainter and more oval with a brighter core. Elongated NE-SW. 69x, 137x, 190x.

NGC 3982, galaxy in Ursa Major – Moderately bright oval glow, oriented north-south. Brightens to centre and a non-stellar core. 69x, 190x.

NGC 3898, galaxy in Ursa Major – Bright oval, elongated NW-SE. Fairly faint halo surrounds a much brighter, elongated core. 69x, 190x.

NGC 3888, galaxy in Ursa Major – Lies to the SW of 3898. Much fainter than 3898. Fairly dim oval with a brighter core. There is a distinct row of 3 stars which lie to the NE. 69x, 190x.

A bright meteor went through south western Ursa Major and into Gemini at this point. It was a bright yellow fireball.

NGC 2950, galaxy in Ursa Major – Small, round and very bright. It has a stellar nucleus in the core. 69x, 137x, 190x.

NGC 2768, galaxy in Ursa Major – A bright, flattened oval. Oriented east-west with a bright elongated core. 69x, 137x, 190x.

NGC 5676, galaxy in Bootes – Fairly bright oval with a bright core. Elongated SE-NW. 69xx, 137x.

NGC 5689, galaxy in Bootes – Bright, almost edge-on. Elongated E-W. Brightens to core and has a stellar nucleus. NGC 5682 and 5683 lie just to the SW and NGC 5693 to the SE. 5682/83/93 are all faint and very small. 69x, 190x.

NGC 5248, galaxy in Bootes – Large, oval and bright, oriented east-west. A diffuse halo brightens to the core and a stellar nucleus. At 190x averted vision shows hint of spiral arms. 69x, 190x.
I made a sketch, which is shown at left. Click to enlarge. Excuse the poor quality sketch, by that time my fingers were frozen!

Packed up at 0100 BST. The signs of summer were already there, with Hercules up, Scorpius peeping above the horizon in the south east and Cygnus above the horizon on its side.