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Kelling Heath 26.9.14. Another Baz report.


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22.00 – 0530
Sky Watcher 300P Dob
Clear all night (24 degree's C during the day :)



On the first night, it was a kid in a sweetshop situation, loads to look at, but mainly the old favourites. Then I thought I might stick to a plan, carefully studied during the day, and giving me some new targets to look for on the next clear night. Well, OK it was a plan, and it didn't quite go that way.


As it was really clear, I thought I would try and find things that I have either not seen before, or would have no chance of from home.

So on to the first one, NGC6207, a small galaxy right next to M13. Having looked around the area for a good while there wasn't a trace. Later on the Saturday I got hold of Uranometria, and it's deep sky companion, a look at a detailed star atlas showed it to be further away from M13 than I was looking at. Ah well. This is a mag 11.5  and pretty mediocre with no defined nucleus. I won't give up on this as I would think it findable from a dark site.


Changing plan slightly, I then went after NGC891 in Andromeda. This is a Mag 9.9 -10.8 depending on resources, and after a short time I found this faint edge on galaxy just to the east of Almach. There is nothing other than a slender streak of light, which can be forgiven as it's around 10 million light years away. This was discovered by Caroline Herschel in 1783.

Almach itself is worth looking at as it is a very nice coloured double, similar to Albireo in Cygnus, with a yellow and blue pairing.  It's not as vivid as Albireo, but is certainly worth swinging by.


Next on the list is NGC185 which is just above the Andromeda M31 galaxy, but is just over the border in Cassiopeia. This is listed at between mag 10.1 and 13.5, and I am inclined to believe it to be nearer the 13 end of things. This took some finding ,and is nothing much to write home about. It does seem to get brighter towards the centre, but has no discernible core. This is also Caldwell 18, and was discovered by William Herschel in 1787.


I then went off plan a bit, and went after and found both Uranus and Neptune. Uranus is the bigger planetary disc of the two and showed a greenish blue colour to it's disc. It is apparently the coldest planet in our solar system at around – 224 degrees C.
Neptune took a bit more finding as it needs to be looked for with a reasonable magnification to be able to confirm the disc. This is a turquoise blue colour and at mag 7.8 it would seem it should be easier to find than it was, but unless you are completely sure of where it is, then you have to scan round with at least 100X to be able to be sure it's not a star.


Then over to the Blue Snowball, (NGC7662) a planetary nebula in Andromeda. This is a compact planetary and does show a clearly blue colour, it's easy to miss as it is a small object but does take magnification, around 180 – 200X shows a brighter centre with a fainter halo.


While looking for M81 & M82 the other night I thought I saw another galaxy nearby, and this turned out to be NGC 3077. This is just a really faint haze, with no clear shape or core and is right next to M81, maybe only half a degree away. This is a companion to the M81-82 group and in images it shows a very disrupted disc, possibly caused by the interaction of it's larger neighbours.


Back to the list it was NGC1893's turn. This is a small open cluster in Auriga, there are maybe 50 or so prominent stars, but a lot of fainter ones merging into the talcum powder effect of the background star field. This is just about visible in the finder using averted vision. It sits further to the west of M36 and is embedded in a patch of nebulosity IC410, which is not detectable.


I then went in search of M74, a face on spiral galaxy in Pisces. This is a really faint galaxy despite it's claimed Mag 10, and would suspect this to be nearer to mag 13. It does show a fainter disc surrounding a brighter core. This must be a whopper of a galaxy, as it is 32 million light years away, but is fairly easy to find at 58X in the 26mm Panaview.
Although it's in Pisces, it is easier to star hop from Gamma Aries, Mesartim, along a line of three stars which form a straight line towards the galaxy.

The next object was one I didn't expect to get and really turned out to be the star of the night. NGC7000, The North American Nebula. A good few people claim to have seen this naked eye, but I couldn't. I set the finder on Deneb, and then moved to the east about one finders width. Using the 38mm and a UHC filter it stood right out, Most of it was faint, but the “Florida – gulf of Mexico†part was really bright. The Cygnus wall being the best part with obvious filamentary structure.
This was one of my bucket list objects, and I was surprised at how good it looks from a darker site.
It was good to show the imager's what it looked like in reality, so to speak, and most seemed impressed.


Back to the list and on to M108. I have never really had much success with this one, but this was not only easy to find, it was fairly bright as well. It's a short hop via two stars from Merak, Beta Ursae Majoris.
At 12mm on the zoom it showed some mottling to it, particularly above the core region.
This must also be enormous, being as bright and clearly visible as it is around 45 million light years away. I tried, but couldn't see it in the finder.

A short distance from this past one star is M97, the Owl nebula. This is surprisingly bright considering it's reported mag of 12. It's easy to find just next to M108, but other than showing as a squished round shape, I wasn't able to make out the eyes that are prominent in images. There was no 14th mag central star visible either, but at 2000 light years away, it is still a bright nebula.


I then went after NGC2768, a faint elliptical galaxy situated between Upsilon and Omicron Ursae Majoris. This is a fairly faint smudge, with gradual brightening towards the centre, and which has a definable core.
Just next door to this is NGC2742, another really faint one with no obvious shape or structure, but a brightened core area. I reckon around mag 13.
Both of the above were discovered by William Herschel in 1790, and showed what truly good optics his scopes had.

It was getting on a bit now, so I had another look at the Eskimo nebula in Gemini, I was still not able to get any more from this than I got the previous night, I might get more when it's higher in the sky.

I then had another wander through M42, well you have to don't you, I have done the faint fuzzies, and wanted that wow view again.
After that I waited for the first view of Jupiter this season, and although it was in Scooby Doo vision, or looking at a penny at the bottom of a stream, it was still nice to see the equatorial bands and the four moons again.
This will be another to wait for to get a good look at, but as it's the beginning of this season I can't grumble too much.


And so to bed said Zebadee!

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Great writing style Martyn, very easy to read and very enjoyable.


Loads of objects there and some real classics.


You done really well to see Bodes companion Ngc3077 only seen that one in my 16".

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Thanks everyone.

I found NGC3077 by accident the night before when trying to get M81/82, and couldn't be sure of what I had seen. So the next day I had a look and thought I would have another go just to be sure. I can only think it's down to the sky quality, and right on the limit of what  the scope can turn out. But I will look for that up Belper, I know where it is and it might be a good indicator of how good the sky is.

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Nice read Martyn and looks like you covered a lot of good objects in both your reports. I know  how it can sometimes be all too easy to get distracted from any observing list you may have. Happens to me all the time, though I do find if I have a list of targets for the night I tend to get more observing done than without one.

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