OR: Three Nights Under the Stars

NELM 5.5 – 6.5
Sky Conditions: Clear
Seeing: Pickering 4-6
Transparency: good
Equipment: 15" F5 StarSplitter (Swayze), Paracorr, 30mm BW (73x), 22
Pano (100x), 13mm nagler t6 (169x), 9mm Nagler (243x), Nagler 3-6
zoom (730 - 365), DSC's (Sky Commander), 4" TV102 on Discmount.

Dates: 8/17/03, 8/18, 8/19 2003

Observer: Tom Trusock

Target List 15" (all numbers are ngc unless otherwise noted):

8/17/03
Scutum: (all numbers are ngc unless otherwise noted) 6631, 6649, 6625,
6886
Sagitta: IC4997
Del: 6891

8/19/03
Pegasus: 7332, 7177, 7042, m15
Delphinius: 6905, 7006, 6891,
Sagitta: 6879
Aquila: 6803, 6781, 6749, 6852, 6709, 6760, 6741
Ophiuchus: 6572, m12, m14, m10
Sagittarius: 6818

Target List 4"

8/20/03

Scanned Milky Way – no specific targets

8/17/03

Sunday night and clear! Had a chance to get out from around 9:30pm to
11:30pm with the 15". Honestly, well any observing is better than
none, there are some nights I suspect it would have been better to
stay inside. The problem is, I can never really convince myself to do
it. Between the abnormally high level of traffic on the road and
uncomfortable levels of humidity, it was not one of my more relaxing
sessions.

Delphinius:

6891, PN, m10.5: At a request this evening , I returned to this nice
planetary in an attempt to grab the central star. Observing Handbook
rates the central star at mag 12.4, either it's much fainter than this
or the high surface brightness of the planetary compounds the
difficulty in pulling it out. It took the 3-6 zoom at the 4mm setting
to do so initially. (Around 548x!) Once I had it, I was able to zoom
out a bit and maintain the view.

Scutum:

6631, OC, m11.7 – my impressions were of 30 – 40+ faint stars running
roughly nw – se in a rectangular box, nearly 4 times long as wide.
Very pretty faint cluster. Best views at 100x.

6649, OC, m8.9 – 12-13 fairly bright stars, with a very pretty orange
star lying on the outside edges of the cluster itself.

6625, OC, m? – I think this may be a big scraggly thing, to large for
my scope – if it's there at all. Several bright stars are visible
when I pan around, but nothing really in my 30mm bw that really looks
like a cluster (73x). I should revisit this in a wide field scope.

Sagitta:

IC4997, PLNB, m10.5 – A difficult spot, stellar at low to moderate
magnifications.

8/18/03

Another run at it this evening. Less humidity in the air makes for a
much nicer evening, and better transparency. Little traffic on the
road this evening makes for less frustration, and results in a lot
more accomplished. Tonight, I'm really struck by just how deep a 15"
can go. Outside of the fact that I couldn't find a couple of targets
this evening, I felt nearly limitless in regards to the depths I could
see. To give you an idea, by comparision, m27 through the 4" was very
comparable to views of 6905 through 15"!

Pegasus:

7332, gx, m11.1 – not found

7177, gx, m11.2 – a faint outer halo collapses towards a center that
shows hints of a barlike structure. Best views at moderate
magnifications.

7042, gx, m12 – for a mag 12 oval, this is brighter than I had
expected, and shows a brightening toward the center.

m15, gb, m6.4 – SPECTACULAR! Especially after all the faint fuzzies of
this and previous evenings. Very bright core that strikes me as
nearly starlike, and the globular itself is well resolved at 169x.

Delphinius:

6905, plnb, m12.0 – EXTREMELY nice. A return to this target this
evening shows an even better view than previous evenings. Tonight
this reminds me of a rose with the central star clearly visible at
~360x. It's nicely framed (somewhat off center) by a trapezoid of
stars.

7006, gb, m10.6 – This small globular shows no resolution at any
magnification I can throw at it.

6891, plnb, m10.6, bright, obviously not round, this greatly resembles
a box that is dimmer at the long edges, and reveals no central star at
any magnification. Interesting target.

Aquila

6803, plnb, m11 – not found

6781, plnb, 11.8 – BIG compared to most of the starlike points I've
been gazing at lately, this one looks to measure around 2'x2', nad
shows a nice mottled, knotted appearance with one star just touching
the edge, and another 1-2 superimposed on the outer ring flickering in
and out of averted vision. No sign of the central star.

6749, gb, 11.1 – this faint non-clircular globby seems to present พ
stars across the face (foreground stars, looks like), and shows no
resolution.

6852, plnb, m11.4 – best views were with the 9mm nagler at 243x and
the UHC filter in place. This faint planetary is somewhat extended
with a bright star to the side.

6790, plnb, 11.4 – I *think* I got it – seemed to confirm the
starfield anyway. This thing is nearly stellar even at high powers.
Tiny, tiny planetary.

6760, gb, 9.1 – best views were at 243x, this globular seemed nearly
flat on one side and showed some resolution with averted vision. I
stayed on this globular for a while as I found that when I moved my
eye around the field it appeared to change shape to certain extents.
I also noted a dark lane in the center on the globular itself.
Interesting target.

6741, plnb, 12.0 – spotted it in the 9mm , not even a hint of the
central star is visible all the way up to 720x this evening. Framed by
three stars forming a line off to the side.

Ophiuchus:

6572, plnb, m8 – Superb! At low to moderate powers (~160x to ~240x)
this planetary is circular and VERY blue in color. When I apply the
3-6 zoom (~360-720x), it morphs from a circular to an oval and finally
a somewhat rectangular shape. There are no glimpses of the central
star at any magnification used. At moderate to lower powers, this
object bears excellent witness to why they are called planetary
nebula. If I hadn't known better, I would have thought I were
catching glimpses of a twin to Neptune or Uranus. Really cool object,
I do wonder how small a scope the color is visible in?

m12, gb, 6.6 – best views were at 243x in the 9mm nagler. This is a
big bright scraggly cluster that is well resolved across the face in
the 9mm.

m14, gb, 7.6 – again my best views were at 243x, but it was a marked
contrast to m12 and although big and fairly bright, showed no
resolution.

m10, gb, 6.6 – big, bright, this loose globular seemed well resolved
across the core. Best views were at 243x.

Sagittarius:

6816, plnb, m10.0 – with the 5mm (~438x), there were no traces of the
central star, but I did catch glimpses of one star superimposed on the
outer edge, and two faint ones near the edges in a line. This was a
very easy spot at 100x (22 panoptic) with the UHC filter.


8/19/03

Another beautiful clear evening, and for a change I decide to give the
15" a rest and spend some time with the 4" APO and the DM-6 Tom Peters
(www.discmount.com) has submitted for review. The DM-6 is really a
gorgeous mount. Superbly machined, and coupled with hard ash legs,
it's vibration free and yet gives very smooth movement at high powers,
but the best part is the unique friction system he uses allows me to
switch from heavy low power eyepieces to lightweight high power ones
without having to reacquire the target. This makes the mount nearly
perfect for panning the summer Milky Way, and tonight I did just that.
I had intended to go out for just an hour or so, but wound up being
under the stars for almost three hours. I left the sky commander in
identify mode, and simply zoomed in whenever I saw anything
interesting. I was having so much fun playing, I just didn't take any
observational notes at all. <shrug> Between the Sky Commander and the
panning, I made my first observations of several smaller globs in oph,
as well as dark nebula in the southern milky way. Just too much fun!

Sometimes, it's easy to get caught up in the "work" aspects of this
hobby. Here is my target list, here are my notes. Tonight I need to
hit this this and these targets. A small scope on a good mount gives
a wonderful sense of unstructured freedom! It was very nice to be
reminded of that this evening.

Clear Skies

Tom T.