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Thread: Various goodies from Del Valle

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    Default Various goodies from Del Valle



    Night of Mar 28-29, a darkish-sky excursion to Del Valle area with my XT8. The site is a small turnout along a private road. Occasional headlights to hide from, and noisy cows on other side of the fence. The current comet was a prime inducement, along with other old friends and new targets from various AL lists. When I arrived about 20:45 the sky was rather mucky, but things cleared up nicely after an hour or so. After setting up, ate my tacos and waited for my eyes to adjust. Times PDT.

    Of course, had to start with the Orion Nebula M42, always impressive even with muck around it. Tried my Ultrablock filter, it made the nebula more prominent while the fainter members of the Trapezium nearly disappeared. Overall, I like M42 best unfiltered.

    Transparency was still rather poor around 21:28 when got my first view of the Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak. I used this finder chart from S&T:
    http://www.skyandtelescope.com/wp-co...April-path.jpg
    Hopped over from ε UMa, found a glimmer nor far from 76 UMa. Not easy to see with 50x, but 120x brought out slight brightening towards the center. I made a first position sketch, planned to catch another position later in the evening.

    Was about to turn to new targets when a large bright County Sheriff vehicle pulled up, with two curious deputies. I hid my eyes till they turned off the headlights. Apparently one remembered me, "Hey, haven't seen you out here in awhile!" They hung out with me awhile, gave them views of showcase targets like M42, M81/82, rising Jupiter, and M37. I appreciate their patrolling that road, makes me feel more secure when out there by myself.

    Next up, went after some faintish planetary nebulae...

    22:15, Jonchheere 900 in Gemini, mag 12.4, 12" wide. Short hop from γ Gem. At the spot, saw a fuzzy star that popped much brighter with the Ultrablock filter. With 120x appeared not quite round, apparently due to very close field star.

    22:30, Minkowski 1-7 in Gemini, mag 13, 38" wide. Hard to perceive without the Ultrablock, but with filter saw a definite oval fuzzball near to a mag 10 star.

    I then tried for Abell 21, the Medusa nebula in Gemini. Supposed to be mag 11.3, but a whole 10' wide. I stared at the spot for some time with and without Ultrablock, sometimes imagined I saw a brighter patch but not definite enough. Maybe need to wait till next year when I have my new 12.5" scope

    About 22:50, now I turned to globulars. First picked out old friend M3 in Canes Venatici, first of the big globs to show up in springtime. A short hop up from Arcturus. With 120x and a lot of staring, was able to resolve a lot of grainy stars. Next moved over to M53, a bit more concentrated and less resolved.

    I tried to locate nearby glob NGC 5053, mag 9.9, could not quite pick it out. Had more luck with NGC 5466 in Bootes, at mag 9.0 a large dim fuzzball, very loose class XII glob.

    Nearly two hours had passed since my first view of the comet. Was now much higher up, in a much cleaner sky. The better transparency paid off; the comet appeared much larger, with more obvious central brightening, very round with no tail. Looked much like a dim unresolved globular cluster. Comet had moved eastward about 10', estimated magnitude 7.5. I sketched a second position.

    Finally I turned to some galaxies, got my first look this year into the Virgo Cluster. From ε Vir hopped to ρ Vir, which put me onto the closeup map A1 from my Taki atlas. I peered at M60, M59, M58, then went after fainter H400 targets.

    23:40, NGC 4596, mag 10.4. An easy hop from ρ Vir, bright and roundish, angled up to the right. Also glimpsed fainter 4608 (H2 list) close by, which oriented down to the right.

    23:50, NGC 4550, mag 11.7. Short hop from M58. Quite small but nicely distinct streak, angled up to the left. 4551 was right next door, fainter and roundish.

    Could have gone on with Virgo Cluster all night, but with an outreach the next night I wanted to save some astro-energy. Wrapped up about midnight, stopped by the 7-11 for my usual hot cocoa fix.

    Thanks for reading, clear skies!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Raymond Howard
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    Default Re: Various goodies from Del Valle

    Great night, Ray! Nice variety of targets and kudos on the law enforcement outreach.

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    Default Re: Various goodies from Del Valle

    Nice report Ray! Great job getting an A and B comparison of the comet also.
    Craig

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    Default Re: Various goodies from Del Valle

    Fine outing, Ray. I like how your sketch shows a much brighter and larger B position with the comet. Clear air definitely helps, especially with this one!

    How much longer until your new scope arrives?
    Bryan

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    Default Re: Various goodies from Del Valle

    Hello Ray,

    and thanks for sharing your observing session, together with the sketch of the comet!
    Nice to see, that you have nailed down the Jonkheere 900, and Minkowski 1-7.
    That Minkowski is still on my list, should be easy to find due to a nearby asterism.

    Clear skies, and looking forward to more observing reports from you,

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    Default Re: Various goodies from Del Valle

    Excellent Ray. An outstanding variety of objects. Always helpful to be on good terms with the local LEOs who patrol the area and its reassuring that they are regularly watching the area.
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    Default Re: Various goodies from Del Valle

    Nice night out Ray - lots of good objects found and better yet, no moon! I'm going to give the comet a shot this eve if it stays clear, there are some troubling high clouds/cirrus moving in from the west and a rising haziness, in contrast to this morning when it was crystal clear.
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    Default Re: Various goodies from Del Valle

    Quote Originally Posted by bladekeeper View Post
    Fine outing, Ray. I like how your sketch shows a much brighter and larger B position with the comet. Clear air definitely helps, especially with this one!
    Thanks Bryan and all. Yes, I was lucky even to see the A position. As with asteroids, the two position sketch is required to qualify for the AL Comet program. I've only sketched three comets so far..

    How much longer until your new scope arrives?
    Based on the original estimate, hope to have it by late June, early July. Last week, Ryan the NMT man said he placed the mirror order with Lightholder. Patience, patience
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    Default Re: Various goodies from Del Valle

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymondhow View Post
    Based on the original estimate, hope to have it by late June, early July. Last week, Ryan the NMT man said he placed the mirror order with Lightholder. Patience, patience
    A new scope?! That's great, Ray! NMT. Hmmm... Okay, I give. Where are you getting it from? And what kind is it? Dob?

    In any case, sounds like you had a great session. Did you have today off work?

    Mark
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    Default Re: Various goodies from Del Valle

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Moyer View Post
    A new scope?! That's great, Ray! NMT. Hmmm... Okay, I give. Where are you getting it from? And what kind is it? Dob?

    In any case, sounds like you had a great session. Did you have today off work?

    Mark
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