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Baz's Kelling Observations. 1.10.13


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1.10.2013.  Started at 19.30 and not yet dark. Some cloud drifting through with high cloud getting in the way now and again.


12" Skywatcher Dob with 26mm Panaview and Orion 17mm eyepieces.


The first object was NGC457, the Owl cluster in Cassiopeia, this is one of my favourite clusters, and is always worth a look. The two "eye's" are subject to scrutiny, as the yellow star is now thought to be a yellow supergiant, and a foreground star, not part of the cluster. The cluster was discovered by William Herschel in 1787. The eye's, body and wings of the owl stand out nicely.


M57 got the next viewing, and in the 17mm using visual and an OIII filter, I found I still preferred the unfiltered view. This Planetary nebula is just too small to be useful in binoculars, but needs a larger aperture and around 100x magnification to get a decent look at it. I had a look for the central star, but couldn't see it, at mag 14.8, it needed averted imagination I think.


M81 & 82 next, another must see pair of objects for me and not too difficult to find, some people claim to be able to see these naked eye, but I have managed these in 8x40 bino's, with Doc (Mick) at EMS2.

M81 is getting on mag 7, so is one of the brighter galaxies on offer, a medium sized scope is needed to get any detail out of it.

Diiscovered by John Bode in 1774, Messier catalogued it five years later, and is known as Bodes galaxy.


With the 26mm, I can get both M81 & 82 in the field of view, with the 17mm spiral arm detail can be seen.


M82, The Cigar galaxy, was also discovered by John bode, but not catalogued by Messier until 1781. This is a very energetic galaxy, fired up by a tidal encounter with M81 and this has caused massive bursts of star formation. Various telescopes, including Hubble and Chandra have combined images, and have found nearly two hundred huge star forming clusters. 

Visually using the 17mm, there is an obvious distortion to the usual galaxy shape, with dark mottling around the indistinct core region. The outer area's are fuzzy ragged edges.


M15, the globular cluster in Pegasus next. This bright mag 6.2 cluster is just visible in the finder scope. This is a compact cluster with a definite brighter core region, suspected to be home to a black hole. In the 17mm eyepiece it is just sparkles, and for me is up there along with M13 and M92. Amazingly, a Planetary nebula was discovered in this cluster in 1928, and since then only three others have been found. Well worth a look.


I had a go for Uranus next and it took a bit of finding, as there are no notable stars nearby, but it popped into view. Nothing much to see here other than a light green/blue disc, unfortunately no surface features are attainable in this scope.


M34, an open cluster in Perseus. A pleasing group of stars, and bright at mag 5.5, reputably visible naked eye but not for me, although it's an easy binocular object. In an area larger than the full Moon, there are around 100 stars present. For me it's difficult to distinguish which are the group stars, and which are not, as it sits in a rich star field. The 26mm gave the best view of this cluster.


I had a look at M76, the Little Dumbell, this is a Planetary nebula which is elusive to say the least. It's one of those objects which in a wide field does not stick out, and with more magnification takes patience to find. This is apparently one of the hardest Messier's to locate, and at mag 10 I can't say otherwise. When you do find it, whack the magnification up, it will take it. The two main lobes are more clearly defined than it's bigger brother, with a little fainter nebulosity connecting the main lobes. 


I had a look at M103 then, an open cluster in Cassiopeia. This is apparent in bino's, but somewhat less spectacular in a scope. At mag 7,4 it's bright, but not many stars in it. Reportedly there are between 40 - 60 in the group, but for me only around 15 stood out. Worth a look, which is more than Messier did. His colleague Pierre Mechain found it in 1781 and Messier logged it, but there are not reports of him observing it.


I had a go at NGC 404 after this, the Ghost of Mirach. This is a small and isolated lenticular galaxy just below Mirach in Andromeda. It is easy to find as it is right below the star, but a larger aperture is needed to separate the brightness of the star from the galaxy. Sticking the star out of the field of view helps, and then there is a small smudge visible which has a yellow tinge to it. The 17mm gave the best view of this, and it could easily be mistaken for lense flare.


I noticed a cluster Stock 23 in the atlas, called Pazmino's cluster, so not having seen it before though it worth a squint.

Again, not many in the group, maybe around 15 but there are five brighter ones, one being very yellow and standing out from the others. There is a chain of four smaller stars extending away in a straight line from one of the other main stars of the cluster


The sky was closing in a bit by now 00.30, so I had a final go at M27, the Dumbbell nebula. The apple core shape was there, but not much else, so I called it a night.









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Good read and a lot of info for those that are unfamiliar with the objects mentioned. :thumbsup:  Sounds like a good session.

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