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Thread: Observing report 13 April 2018

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    Default Observing report 13 April 2018



    The weatherman had predicted overcast conditions and yet somehow I could see stars!

    So not to waste a good sky I set the dob out for some observations, gave her half an hour to cool(I know, but how long would these skies last!?) and set about finding a few clusters in a region I had visited before and still had a few targets to log there.
    The four targets are located in Centaurus where it passes between Crux, Beta centauri and Alpha2 Centauri or Hadar and Rigel Kentuarus if you prefer.

    One of the objects is a Herschel object and was a first for me, more about that in the report.
    Here is a screen shot from Skysafari 5 plus showing my observing patch for the night.



    All observations for tonight were done from my suburban backyard with my trusty 8" dob and three different ep's in the 9,15 and 25.
    The transparency was good despite the odd rogue cloud or two drifting through, seeing closer to the horizon gave the stars a nice twinkle while those at zenith were nice and steady.
    All observations are reported on as I see them in the flipped upside down view of the dob.

    NGC 5138, Open cluster in Centaurus, Mag +7.59. Apparent size 7.0 arcmin.

    At first this appears to be a small gaggle of stars with no real shape or definition. Using the 9mm Ep shows up significantly more stars and I now count a loose grouping of 16 stars.
    These range in magnitudes from 10 through 13, i suspect under a moonlit sky this one would be a tough find.

    The frequency of those rogue clouds is starting to pick up and makes me have to go back to my initial star and do the eyepiece star hop all over again to my next target! Ugh.

    Ruprecht 108, Open cluster in Centaurus, Mag +7.50. Apparent size 10.0 arcmin.

    This cluster reminds me of a martini glass shape with a small kink in the stem.
    At least seven members that I see make up this unique cluster ranging in magnitude from 10 through 11.9.

    The rogue clouds have found followers and they now almost blanket out the sky, I decide to wait it out and put the eye patch on and head indoors to chat to my wife and kill some time.
    In half an hour or so there is enough clear sky to continue. Taking off the eye patch outside and you have the weirdest vision, one eye is dark adapted and can see well while the other looks dark and lost!


    Collinder 275, Open cluster in Centaurus. Mag +10.19. Apparent size 11.0 arcmin.

    I count the 10 stars that Skysafari shows should be there, they are not easy as they are not well detached and do not look like a classic cluster.
    There is one bright orange star at Mag 8.2 that anchors this spread out grouping, it sits to the right outer boundary of this cluster with the rest spread out randomly to the left.
    The stars range in magnitude from 8.2 through 12.1.

    Now for the fun one, to me anyhow!
    The Herschel surprise for tonight.
    This was a purely accidental find and was not on my target list, I was in fact chasing down NGC 5168. While viewing this cluster I noted what appeared to be a double star, when I checked closer in SS5 I see this is a Herschel double star!

    NGC 5168, Open cluster in Centaurus, Mag +9.1, apparent size 4.0 arcmin.

    OK, this guy is small and not well detached at all!
    I could find the double star and could only just make out two close by stars from the cluster, then my image degraded and the clouds had foiled me again.
    I was still looking for two more stars to complete the observation and had to wait a few more minutes for clouds to pass and then continue with the observation.
    Those stars are dim at mag 12.0 and I used the 9mm ep to drill down deep and spot them. Now I had nailed those I went back to SS5 to find out about the double.

    Herschel 4591, double star in Centaurus. Mag +10.53 and 10.69

    Two dim stars sitting very close together that also form part of the open cluster NGC 5168.
    First Herschel knowingly logged!
    Below is a screen shot from Skysafari 5 showing the cluster with the embedded Herschel.





    By the time I went back to the ep for a second look it was clouded out and remained that way.
    Time to pack the toys away!
    Was not the most productive of nights but was still better than rain and cloud!
    And did I mention the added bonus of spotting a Herschel double!

    Thanks for reading this report.
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    Default Re: Observing report 13 April 2018

    Thanks for the fine report. Sounds like a challenging sky indeed!
    For me, sometimes I have the best time when things aren’t just right.
    Glad that you got out and had a successful evening.
    Thanks,
    Jim
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    Default Re: Observing report 13 April 2018

    Excellent report Clinton! I looked at my logs (as I usually do ) and found I had observed NGC 5138, Ruprecht 108 and NGC 5168. For some reason I overlooked Collinder 275 during that session with the 80mm, though interestingly enough, I did log Collinder 272 and Hogg 16 southwest of NGC 5168.

    I particularly found your description of NGC 5168 interesting. This is what I noted about this object in my report of 31 May 2016:

    "Also known as Collinder 273, I found it at 34x as merely a tiny dust mote of light. At 43x it was still quite small and hazy, but fleetingly stellar. Using 54x I picked up a star, likely the unresolved close pair of 10th magnitude suns in this cluster, but it was still decidedly nebulous. Trying at 71x didn’t really resolve anything. I still had a pinprick of light surrounded by a tiny bit of haze. It sort of resembled a very small globular cluster. I suspect this illusion is coming from the non-resolution of the close pair of stars having almost equal magnitudes. After session research revealed numerous accounts of this object in smaller scopes appearing nebulous and the similarity to a very small globular. In the observing notes of Steve Gottlieb, who observed this cluster from Australia with an 18 inch, he comments on the tight 10th magnitude pair HJ 4591. He mentions that it is an “eye catching double surrounded by a few faint stars over unresolved haze “. I know the haze I spotted was related to the unresolved pair, HJ 4591 in my 80mm and nothing deeper. But still this seems an interesting object if one has enough aperture to crack it open."

    That just goes to show you how your application of nearly 5 more inches of aperture did indeed crack open this cluster and allowed you to see the fine double. Well done!
    Last edited by KT4HX; 04-14-2018 at 01:26 PM.
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    Default Re: Observing report 13 April 2018

    Better than rain and cloud! A good fight, Clinton, and you came away with a good measure of success. I enjoyed your descriptions very much. Well done, bud!
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    Default Re: Observing report 13 April 2018

    Terry, what is with that Herschel double? Is that some specialty of some sort? Nice report by the way.
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    Default Re: Observing report 13 April 2018

    Milan, the double that Clinton is talking about is from John Herschel's catalogue of double stars during his period in South Africa (1834 to 1838). He transported and utilized his father's 18.7 inch telescope to catalogue nebulae, clusters and double stars in the southern hemisphere.
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    Default Re: Observing report 13 April 2018

    Thank you Clinton for this report. I love surprises! I seem to remember them very well.
    Recently I was surprised to find M81 and M82 in the same Fov...first view of both of them for me...had no idea...I can still see it in my minds eye.:-)
    I enjoyed tagging along with you here.
    Peace my friend. :-)
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    Default Re: Observing report 13 April 2018

    I really like the times when the weather reports indicate that astronomy is out, then they are off enough to allow some observing, at least for a while. The view may not be the absolute best, but it is better than sitting inside, listening to rain or some other such thing. I always come away with a feeling of accomplishment, even if I only get to observe one object.

    I enjoyed the report! Too bad we cannot flip the skies around and see what the other end sees every once in a while.
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    Default Re: Observing report 13 April 2018

    Thanks for the excellent report Clinton.

    I really enjoy a session that becomes something more than its initial promise.
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    Default Re: Observing report 13 April 2018

    Great report KC! You have to love it when the forecast turns out to be wrong and the sky turns out to be clear.
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