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    Default Counting Sheep



    December 6th, 2017

    Quick and dirty report, no time for much narrative...

    Finally, a clear night! As the Sun began setting, the typical high thins were wending through, but these fairly quickly moved out of the way.

    I was a bit late getting out to the scopes. I set up the AD12 and the AR127 with the ST80 on the Twilight II for the evening immediately after work. Then it was off to round up supper for family, eat, then dress warmly for the cold night air. Finally, Stubbs and I made it out to the scopes about 1915 hrs.

    I was hoping to get in a little galaxy work before Ol’ Hateful leaped up in the east. I figured I’d have about an hour and a half to work before the baleful glare of the Devil Turd hid the deep sky stuff.

    Thumbing my remaining list of Herschel 2 and 3 objects, I did not have any that would be up during my observing time. I’ve been caught up on these two lists for a couple of months. Leo and Ursa Major will be my next bastions, followed by Virgo and Coma Berenices for the bulk remaining. Hopefully, this spring will have some cooperative skies. Two years in a row getting shut out of Virgo is quite enough, thank you!

    I resorted to the main Herschel 2500 list for my targets. Since I have a Holiday Cheer Supernova to my west (house with Christmas lights), the new 2-story monstrosity killing the southwest, neighbor porch lights to my immediate south, and Herr Hof Licht to my north with his two illuminated Christmas trees and snowman in his backyard of all places, the light intrusion was not terribly helpful.

    I decided to work in a small window of a relative “dark lane” by pointing toward the southeast into Aries and hopefully snag a few galaxies there. An inverted black t-shirt pulled over my head help mitigate all this stray lighting. Plus, I had the added bonus of looking like a Sith Lord.

    I tossed the ES 82° 18mm in the dob’s focuser, centered up 41 Arietis in the telrad, and got right to work.

    From 41 Ari, I hopped via RACI about 5.5° to the south and paused at ν Arietis, and then southeast to μ Arietis. Once I acquired this star, I moved to the eyepiece to hone in on my galaxy.

    1. NGC 1036 - NEW - H2500
    (Spiral Galaxy in Aries, mag 13.2, size 1.4’ x 1.0’, SB 13.5 mag/arcmin²)
    Observed: Dec 6, 2017 at 19:35:42
    Comment: Fairly tough little nugget to shake loose from the bushes despite swapping out for my 11mm and 138×. Only by pulling my eye back from the eyepiece and swooping back in could I get it to pop out with averted vision. I repeated the exercise about 4 times and observed this dim little puffball each time. I am seeing a small and oval grey patch. It is too fleeting to discern any further detail.
    Equipment: AD12, ES 82° 18mm, 11mm

    I slid a little over a degree further southward hoping to catch NGC 1030, but I simply could not get this galaxy to yield to me. Same with NGC 1088 about 2.5° southeast of 1030.

    I was beginning to think that perhaps the transparency wasn’t quite up to snuff for galaxy hunting and I was ready to move on to different targets. I only had a short while before the Golden Light Bulb was presenting, so I need to get something done. I decided to try one more galaxy. If that one remained hidden, I’ll shift gears and move on to something else.

    Popping back up to the northwest to ν Arietis, I slid southwest to 26 Ari and then just over another degree in that direction to pause at HD 15028. I still had my 11mm in the focuser, so I just left it there and concentrated on catching a glimpse of my next target.

    2. NGC 924 - NEW - H2500
    (Spiral Galaxy in Aries, mag 12.7, size 2.3’ x 1.3’, SB 13.7 mag/arcmin²)
    Observed: Dec 6, 2017 at 20:10:21
    Comment: Almost gave up on this one! And just as I was about to move on it suddenly popped into view! Averted vision only here even at 138×. I can pick up a whisper and a sigh of light, a rather squished and ephemeral oval.
    Equipment: AD12, ES 82° 18mm, 11mm

    Hmm. Maybe one more. A very short 20’ eastward…

    3. NGC 932 - NEW - H2500
    (Spiral Galaxy in Aries, 12.4, size 1.9’ x 1.6’, SB 13.5 mag/arcmin²)
    Observed: Dec 6, 2017 at 20:15:23
    Comment: A tad’s tad easier to pick this one up. Averted vision at 138x, I’ve got a rather diffuse round patch of light and terribly hard to pick out.
    Equipment: AD12, ES 82° 18mm, 11mm

    And in the same field of view…

    4. NGC 938 - NEW - H2500
    (Elliptical Galaxy in Aries, mag 12.4, size 1.6’ x 1.2’, SB 13.2 mag/arcmin²)
    Observed: Dec 6, 2017 at 20:18:39
    Comment: This one is a mere uptick, and I mean the barest of upticks, in the light level. A hint of a brighter core plus three photons.
    Equipment: AD12, ES 82° 18mm, 11mm

    Ok, I am feeling a little better about the galaxy work. Moving right along.

    Back to the RACI, I centered up on 29 Ari and then hopped south about 3° to HD 14192. My next galaxy should be right off the bow of this star.

    5. NGC 877 - H3
    (Spiral Galaxy in Aries, mag 11.9, size 2.4’ x 1.8’, SB 13.4 mag/arcmin²)
    Observed: Dec 6, 2017 at 20:24:33
    Comment: Fairly easy to pick this guy out, despite it being rather a diffuse oval patch. I’m fairly certain I have observed this one before. Not much to see other than, again, a diffuse oval patch.
    Equipment: AD12, ES 82° 18mm, 11mm

    NGC 877 is a revisit. This is my second visit here. I logged this galaxy the first time on 13 November 2015.

    And in the same FOV…

    6. NGC 871 - NEW - H2500
    (Spiral Galaxy in Aries, mag 13.6, size 1.2’ x 0.5’, SB 12.8 mag/arcmin²)
    Observed: Dec 6, 2017 at 20:27:17
    Comment: Averted vision only, and yet another diffuse oval, though this one seemed to have a twist or a cut to it. Or maybe it is a bit of core concentration and a nibble of extended structure to one side.
    Equipment: AD12, ES 82° 18mm, 11mm

    I RACI’d further west about 5° to HR 578. Back to the 11mm…

    7. NGC 781 - NEW - H2500
    (Spiral Galaxy in Aries, mag 13.0, size 1.5’ x 0.4’, SB 12.2 mag/arcmin²)
    Observed: Dec 6, 2017 at 20:37:26
    Comment: Moderately horrifying. Averted vision pinch of core concentration with a bit of immediate extended structure on either side of the core oriented north and south. Otherwise, meh.
    Equipment: AD12, ES 82° 18mm, 11mm

    And then north about a degree and a half…

    8. NGC 774 - NEW - H2500
    (Spiral Galaxy in Aries, mag 13.0, size 1.5’ x 1.2’, SB 13.5 mag/arcmin²)
    Observed: Dec 6, 2017 at 20:45:34
    Comment: Difficult and not much to see on this night in this unpalatable backyard. With averted vision, a small bit of fuzzy a core knot. And that’s about it.
    Equipment: AD12, ES 82° 18mm, 11mm

    And then northeast almost 2.5°…

    9. NGC 803 - NEW - H2500
    (Spiral Galaxy in Aries, mag 12.6, size 3.0’ x 1.3’, SB 13.9 mag/arcmin²)
    Observed: Dec 6, 2017 at 20:54:56
    Comment: Must be some low surface brightness on this turkey. I worked at it for a bit and was finally able to pull out the squeeze of the central core and no more.
    Equipment: AD12, ES 82° 18mm, 11mm

    From 803, I worked my way via eyepiece another 2.5°…

    10. NGC 794 - NEW - H2500
    (Elliptical Galaxy in Aries, mag 12.7, size 1.3’ x 1.1’, SB 13.0 mag/arcmin²)
    Observed: Dec 6, 2017 at 20:59:15
    Comment: Not terribly difficult. Averted vision and a uniform round patch of dim fuzz.
    Equipment: AD12, ES 82° 18mm, 11mm

    And finally, I couldn’t resist a visit to a little eye candy about a degree to the northwest…

    11. NGC 772 - H1
    (Spiral Galaxy in Aries, mag 10.3, size 7.2’ x 4.3’, SB 13.9 mag/arcmin²)
    Observed: Dec 6, 2017 at 21:06:08
    Comment: Just stopping off to re-observe this big, bright, and beautiful behemoth. It is almost surprising this one is not on Messier’s list. A large bright center with a wisp of a ghostly extension to one side. A nice galaxy after all the little light bogeys I’ve been observing this evening.
    Equipment: AD12, ES 82° 18mm, 11mm

    And hark! What light round yon shed doth break? ‘Tis the east, and the Baleful Bezoar is reflecting the Sun!

    Ungoliant had arrived to rain on my parade. The cold was beginning to creep I on me anyway. I moved over to the fracs on the T2 and slipped in a pair of low power wide-fields in. The ES 24° in the AR127 for 34× and the 18mm in the ST80 for 22×. I then popped up high to sit on M45 for a bit, and then back eastward to scope out Orion for a while, including M42 and the belt stars. Just a little casual fun to wind down the session.

    After that, I began packing my toys up. Stubbs must have been getting cold. Poor cat just sat on the back porch watching me pack up instead of her usual post-session tearing around the yard and getting in the way.

    Fun session. I was getting hacked off at first because of all the stray lighting around me. Despite my t-shirt/hood, the lights were bouncing off my OTA and getting me anyway. But, as the galaxies began showing up, I finally relaxed and enjoyed the star hopping and the hunting. Good stuff.

    Hopefully, I can get a repeat on Thursday night. We shall see.

    Peace and clear skies, friends!
    Last edited by bladekeeper; 12-07-2017 at 06:37 AM. Reason: forgot something! And now to bed!
    Bryan
    Scopes: Apertura AD12 f/5; Celestron C6-R f/8; ES AR127 f/6.4; ES AR127 f/9.4; ES AR102 f/9.8; iOptron MC90 f/13.3; Orion ST80A f/5; Celestron Premium 80 f/11.4; Celestron C80 f/11.4; Meade NG60 f/10; Charmin TP40 f/2.2
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    Binoculars: Pentax PCF WP II 10×50, Bresser Corvette 10×50, Bresser Hunter 16×50 and 8×40, Garrett Gemini 12×60 LW, Gordon 10×50, Apogee 20×100
    Observing: Herschel Tallies: H1 = 400/400 H2 =319/400 H3 = 220/300; 3,012 observations of 1,781 objects; Song in my head: Live - All Over You

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    Gabby76's Avatar
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    Default Re: Counting Sheep

    An excellent report Bryan, your perseverance paid off in the end
    bladekeeper and Peter802 like this.
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    Default Re: Counting Sheep

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabby76 View Post
    An excellent report Bryan, your perseverance paid off in the end
    Thanks, my friend! I gotta get to sleep now before I pass out.
    Bryan
    Scopes: Apertura AD12 f/5; Celestron C6-R f/8; ES AR127 f/6.4; ES AR127 f/9.4; ES AR102 f/9.8; iOptron MC90 f/13.3; Orion ST80A f/5; Celestron Premium 80 f/11.4; Celestron C80 f/11.4; Meade NG60 f/10; Charmin TP40 f/2.2
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    Binoculars: Pentax PCF WP II 10×50, Bresser Corvette 10×50, Bresser Hunter 16×50 and 8×40, Garrett Gemini 12×60 LW, Gordon 10×50, Apogee 20×100
    Observing: Herschel Tallies: H1 = 400/400 H2 =319/400 H3 = 220/300; 3,012 observations of 1,781 objects; Song in my head: Live - All Over You

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    Default Re: Counting Sheep

    A hard fought session Bryan but perseverance paid off.
    Thanks for a good and interesting read.
    Still closed in here in Germany and high winds have joined the party.
    Did manage to spot the 7 sisters for a few seconds the other evening.
    People here think that this Brit is mad wandering around with a pair of Bino's every evening, on the off chance!!!
    Clear skies.
    Peter.

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    Default Re: Counting Sheep

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter802 View Post
    A hard fought session Bryan but perseverance paid off.
    Thanks for a good and interesting read.
    Still closed in here in Germany and high winds have joined the party.
    Did manage to spot the 7 sisters for a few seconds the other evening.
    People here think that this Brit is mad wandering around with a pair of Bino's every evening, on the off chance!!!
    Clear skies.
    Thanks, Peter!

    You need to go hang out in Bavaria. I know at least one other chap wandering about with binoculars. You may not seem so unusual there.
    Bryan
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    Default Re: Counting Sheep

    Nice session! That is a bagful of galaxies. I enjoyed this:

    "And hark! What light round yon shed doth break? ‘Tis the east, and the Baleful Bezoar is reflecting the Sun!"

    I did some quick bino work myself to continue familiarizing myself with M42 and Orion last night... but at -15*C with a big north wind, I left the dob and frac in the sun room. Binos are a taiga-dwellers' best friend it seems.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Ian
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    Default Re: Counting Sheep

    Wow! Nice collection of galaxies, Bryan!!

    Sounds like with all the "ho, ho, ho" lights, Ol' Hateful, the Devil Turd, the Baleful Bezoar...is the least of your worries

    Dave
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    Default Re: Counting Sheep

    Nice batch of galaxies on a night so near the full moon! Good job, Bryan!

    I haven't yet been able to log NGC 772. If it ever stops raining here, I'll have to try for it again.
    Tom Campbell (astro.tomandjul.com)

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    Default Re: Counting Sheep

    Devil Turd - I love it! Glad you were able to get out for a change. Maybe you should consider early morning instead of evening sessions until the Holidays are over... it would get you away from your celebratory neighbors. When I stepped out at 5:30 this morning for a look around Spica was hanging in the Southeast - might be a way for you to break the Virgo drought this year!

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    src="http://clearoutside.com/forecast_image_small/41.70/-72.67/forecast.png" border="0" alt="" />

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    Default Re: Counting Sheep

    Very nice report Bryan.
    I enjoyed the read...lots of averted vision...
    It reminded me of the story of a customer who could never look me in the eye. He always seem to be looking at my left ear. I didn't know he was into stargazing at the time. I asked him if he had an eye problem. He said no but that he had been searching for Galaxies all his life and his eyes were now fixed in an averted vision position. He could not look straight ahead comfortably anymore. :-)
    ....I just made that story up...
    Thank you for a great report. I am glad you had the joy! Thank you for the share.
    Regards to you.

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