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Thread: StarLog Observing Report - 2/12/16 - Back Yard Beauties

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    Default StarLog Observing Report - 2/12/16 - Back Yard Beauties



    Tonight was almost the complete opposite of the other night. When I went out to the back yard this evening, not a single porch light was on in the neighborhood. And the sky was clear, too! I grabbed my scope and my observing list, and headed out the door.


    9:45pm - Iota Cnc - This was the first stop on my way to Lynx. It is a nice double star, reminiscent of Albireo. The bright yellow primary is slightly brighter than its pale blue companion. The pair is nicely separated at 100X.


    9:55pm - NGC 2683 - Lynx - NEW! - This galaxy is pretty large. The best view is 100X. It appears as an edge-on spiral, thicker in the middle, but no stellar core is present, only a slight brightening that fades off at the end of the arms.


    I'm amazed that I can actually see a non-Messier galaxy from my backyard tonight. I think this is the best sky I've had since moving here.


    10:20pm - M 93 - Puppis - At 100X, it fits nicely in the field of view. It is a compact, but large open cluster. Overall, it appears somewhat round. The two brightest stars are off to one side. In the middle of the cluster is a grouping of stars that resembles a Christmas tree, complete with a "star" on top made of 3-4 members.


    10:30pm - M 47 - Puppis - This is a large, sparse, open cluster with about 3 dozen stars of varying magnitudes, with several pairs of stars. One pair right near the middle of the cluster looks like a little pair of headlights. The brightest two stars are off to one side. At 100X, the cluster fills the field of view.


    10:35pm - M 46 - Puppis - This open cluster is very close to M 47. It is a few magnitudes fainter, but much richer. It nearly fills the field at 100X. It has tiny arcs of 3-4 stars going in several directions. Several dozen stars are visible, with even more right on the edge of being resolved.


    10:35pm - NGC 2438 - Puppis - Near one edge of M 46 is a faint puff of smoke that is actually a planetary nebula. With direct vision, it almost disappears, but with averted vision, it is distinct and large, and almost perfectly round. No other details could be seen.


    10:40pm - NGC 2423 - Puppis - Right next door to M 46, this cluster takes up about 1/3 of the field at 100X. It is sparser than M 46. If it was by itself in the sky, it would be a nice cluster, but sitting right next to M 46 and M 47, it isn't very exciting.

    10:55pm - NGC 2440 - Puppis - NEW! - This is a planetary nebula in Puppis. The best view was at 250X. It is basically round, but there's a bright mottled core that has an unusual shape. It looks interesting, and I would love to see it with a larger telescope under dark skies.


    11:15pm - NGC 2345 - Canis Major - NEW! - This cluster is not very impressive. It is triangular shaped, with the brightest stars along the edges. One edge star appears orange, with a dimmer blue companion. Only about 10-12 stars are visible with direct vision, but averted vision reveals several more.


    11:30pm - Jupiter - This is my first real view of Jupiter through my 12". Wow! Not only were several cloud bands visible, but festoons and swirling patterns could be detected as well. For an added treat, The Great Red Spot was transiting. Last year, it looked more like the Great Pink Spot, but tonight, it was a bright red. Also, as I continued watching, Io peeked out from behind the planet. A very pleasant end to a wonderful evening.
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    Default Re: StarLog Observing Report - 2/12/16 - Back Yard Beauties

    A fantastic report starlogborg, congratulations on the enjoyable evening.
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    Default Re: StarLog Observing Report - 2/12/16 - Back Yard Beauties

    Great report
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    Default Re: StarLog Observing Report - 2/12/16 - Back Yard Beauties

    Nice report, Tom. Sounds like some great backyard sky and excellent transparency.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Clear, Dark Skies
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    Default Re: StarLog Observing Report - 2/12/16 - Back Yard Beauties

    What a great night! Thanks for the report.

    Doug T
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    Default Re: StarLog Observing Report - 2/12/16 - Back Yard Beauties

    Nice session Tom! Man, I bet you were excited to see no porch lights and clear sky!

    Nice array of objects observed, Tom. I need to check my notes on the galaxy and the other other planetary you caught in Puppis. Not sure if I've seen those yet or not. If not, on the list they go!

    I caught the GRS a little while back, and it did seem quite a bit redder than it did last year to me as well. I'm wondering if it is churning up some fresh material from lower levels or something.

    Great report friend!
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    Default Re: StarLog Observing Report - 2/12/16 - Back Yard Beauties

    Thanks, everyone!

    I did a Google search for an image of NGC 2440 this morning. It looks awesome! I would love to see this thing under dark skies with a bit more aperture.

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    Default Re: StarLog Observing Report - 2/12/16 - Back Yard Beauties

    Good job Tom. While I am not much of a double star observer, I do really like Iota Cancri. I also find NGC 2683 a real gem, and it is one of my favorite NGC galaxies, as well as the brightest galaxy in Lynx. I checked my logs and I have it listed twice, once in the 5 inch and once in the 10 inch, as listed below. I found it interesting to note that I mention a stellar core in the 5 inch but not the 10 inch. Could be an oversight on my part or simply the differences in how the two apertures presented the galaxy to my eye. Anyway, good show and I agree that the benefits of not having the neighbor's lights on cannot be overstated!

    12 May 2012, AR127:

    Having achieved my first, and only true goal for this short session (Comet Garradd), I noticed in the PSA that I was very close to the “UFO” galaxy, NGC 2683, just over the border into Lynx Noting the positional relationship to the aforementioned stars (mag 5.6 Sigma 1 Cancri & mag 6.2 HIP 43410, and the comet), I easily swept up the elongated glow of this mag 9.7 (SB 12.7) galaxy at 46x (ES 82 18mm). I then popped in the ES 82 14mm (59x) and this brought out a little detail. The core appeared stellar and was surrounded by a uniform glow that gradually faded into the background sky. I tried the 8.8mm (94x), but with the transparency not being the best, I found the view to be a bit soft, so I went back to the 14mm. This galaxy seemed brighter than some that I’ve observed around the same magnitude. I believe that is because of it’s relatively high surface brightness, as far as galaxies go.


    10 Feb 2015, Z10:

    Wrapping up the session I headed to one of the showpiece galaxies in the immediate area. Located just over the border into Lynx, this magnitude 9.6 (SB 12.7) spiral is noticeably elongated with a listed angular size of 9.3 x 2.2 arc minutes. For those that like to chase flat galaxies, this one is a treat. It was readily visible at 69x (ES 82 18mm)as a large, bright streak of light. It displayed a very bright core, and of note was that its southwestern side was a little brighter than the northeastern side. I attribute this to the dark lane that is more pronounced along the northeastern side, thus giving it a dimmer appearance in relation to the other side. There did seem to be a slight central bulge apparent as well. This one is simply a nice object to hunt down. As an aside, it bears the nickname of the “UFO Galaxy”, bestowed upon it by the Astronaut Memorial Planetarium and Observatory.
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    Default Re: StarLog Observing Report - 2/12/16 - Back Yard Beauties

    Thanks for the report Tom. I saw NGC 2683 this week too and concur on your observations about it.
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    Default Re: StarLog Observing Report - 2/12/16 - Back Yard Beauties

    Ok, looks like I scored NGC 2683 on 2 January of this year:

    18. NGC 2683 - Spiral Galaxy in Lynx - NEW - H1 - Nice galaxy! At 63x, I am seeing a fine elongated oval of light. It is good to see a readily apparent galaxy after the brain killers I've been looking at tonight. Moving to 84x, a central core brightening is discerned, as well as a bit of surrounding structure. At 109x, the subtle circular sweep of a spiral arm is hinted at, though that may be my brain filling in the gaps. At 138x and with averted vision, more of the extended structure is noted. Pushing up to 173x, the view became softer, but applying averted vision one could get a sense of the overall layout and size of the brighter core area of this fine galaxy. Apparently this galaxy is nicknamed the "UFO Galaxy." Mag 9.10, SB 12.6 mag/arcmin².

    It doesn't appear that I've logged the open cluster NGC 2345 yet.

    As for the other Puppis planetary, back on 1 May 2015:

    3. NGC 2440 - Planetary Nebula in Puppis - NEW - Again with the 18mm, unfiltered. I could make out this planetary as a small gray ball just to the left of star HIP 37526. Attaching the OIII filter for this one, it really popped out compared to the background stars. While the filter dimmed the stars, the nebula seemed to gain in brightness, but in reality gained in contrast. It was still a small ball, but it stood out much better with the OIII.

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