Cargeena2's Messier 30 Award Report

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by , 10-12-2013 at 01:23 AM (557 Views)
Quote Originally Posted by Cargeena2 View Post
A big hello to all members & guests of Astronomy Forum!
I am pleased to make my first report in the quest for my first Astronomy award.
My neighbor Steve Franks & I packed up all of our equipment & drove to a local church parking lot basically behind our apartment complex & across the main street.
We were set up by 7pm, Steve with his vintage Unitron 160 and I with my Celestron NexStar 127mm SLT.
We had our thermos bottles filled with our grind of coffee & a nice supply of munchies.
We both concentrated our beginning efforts on the Moon, then Venus.
I would like to note that Steve gave me visual confirmation of each Messier object.
He is my mentor, a renowned astronomer for over 35 years & well recognized in many local clubs.
I will also note that I did use information from the Wiki to help supplement my report & that all Messier objects were indeed seen by us in my Celestron NexStar 127 SLT telescope.

At 9:30pm, I picked out my first Messier object, M-13
M-13 is also known as NGC-6720. A great globular cluster in the Constellation Hercules containing about 300,000 stars.
I used a 15mm Celestron Omni EP & noted the object was very scattered in the FOV with many bright white stars silhouetted against a thin dark set of stars in the cluster.
M-13 is 22 light years away from Earth and has a magnitude of 5.8.

At 9:38pm, I slewed to M-57. Also known as NGC-6720 & the Ring Nebula in the Constellation Lyra.
I noticed an oval shape with a light gaseous outer area and a darker but transparent center area.
South of the star Vega & very near the star Sheliak, M-57 has a distance from Earth of 2.3 thousand light years and a magnitude of 8.8. I used a 32mm Celestron Omni EP.

At 9:54pm I went to find M-92, also known as NGC-6341 also in the Constellation Hercules.
A globular cluster that had a very solid looking core of stars surrounded by a light field of other stars.
M-92 was NW of the star Eltanin & one could say that M-13 is located where Hercules' head would be!
Distance from Earth is 27 KLY and a magnitude of 6.3.
I used a 32mm Celestron Omni EP.

At 10:11 slewed to M-56, also known as NGC-6779 in the Constellation Lyra.
Another globular cluster near the famed double star Albireo, I saw a very bright field of stars in the center with some bright stars surrounding it.
Distance from Earth is 33,000 LY and magnitude is 8.3.
I used a Celestron Omni 32mm EP.

At 10:26pm I slewed M-71, also known as NGC-6838 in the Constellation Sagitta.
A very bright but well spaced field of stars in this cluster, not far from a variable star called Z Sagittae.
Distance from Earth is 12,000 LY and is 27 LY wide with a magnitude of 6.1
Again I used my favorite P, a Celestron Omni 32mm as the wide field of view is superb!

At 10:28 I slewed to M-27, also known as the NGC-6853 & the Dumbell Nebula. in the Constellation Vulpecula.
A planetary nebula, I saw a well shaped object in my EP.
I also noticed a darker area similar to N & S poles that seemed to stretch a short way along this object's edge.
Distance from Earth is 1,360 LY and magnitude is 7.5.
I use my Celestron Omni 32mm EP.

At 10:43pm I slewed to M-15, also known as NGC-7078, a globular cluster in the Constellation Pegasus.
I noticed this Messier object was near the Stars Enif & Equuleus.
I saw a very dense cluster that is said to have over 100,000 stars, very tightly packed.
Distance is 33,600 LY and magnitude a very bright -9.2.
I used the Celestron Omni 32mm EP.

At 10:47pm I slewed M-2, also known as NGC-7089, another globular cluster in the Constellation Aquarius.
I saw a tightly packed field of stars in this cluster, said to have 150,000 stars.
Distance is 37,500 LY and magnitude is 6.3.
Ep was a Celestron Omni 32mm.

From about 11pm until after midnight, Steve & I slewed to many different objects such as Capella in our sky and waited for the star Betelguese, which is our smoke signal for seeing the planet Jupiter soon!

At 12:29am on October 10, 2013 I slewed to M-38 also known as NGC-1912, an open cluster of stars in the Constellation Auriga.
I saw a loosely scattered field of stars in this cluster that is grouped with M-36 & M-37.
Distance from Earth is 3,420 LY and the magnitude is 7.4.
I used my trusty Celestron Omni 32mm EP, Celestron 25mm EP & Celstron Omni 15mmEP.

At 12:32am I slewed to M-36 also known as NGC-1960, in the Constellation Auriga.
I saw an irregular shaped field of stars packed loosely.
M-36 only has about 60 stars & is a very young open cluster.
Distance is 4,100 LY and magnitude is 6.3.
I used a Celestron Omni 32mm & 15mm EP plus my stock Celestron 25mm EP.

At 12:35am I slewed to M-37 also known as NGC-2099, another cluster in the Constellation Auriga.
I saw a somewhat dim cluster with a small bright center cluster, this one was very hard to center.
There are about 500 stars in this cluster.
Distance is 4,500 LY and the magnitude is 6.2.
I used my Celestron Omni 32mm & 15mm Omni EP d my Celestron 25mm EP.

Steve & I then began looking for Orion's Belt for my next Messier objective.

At 1:45am I slewed to M42 also know as the Orion Nebula south of Orion's Bel
This is what is called a diffuse nebula & one of the most sought after celestial objects in our night skies.
I saw an elongated shape with a slight curve in the center, always a beautiful sight.
Distance is 1,343 LY and the magnitude is a perfect 4.0.
I used my Celestron Omni 32mm EP.

At 1:48am I slewed to M-43 also known as NGC-1942, a comma shaped cluster in Constellation of Orion. This Messier object is actually a part of the Orion Nebula.
The Wiki states M-43 is also known as De Mairan's Nebula, named after it's discoverer.
Distance is 1.6 KLY and the magnitude is 9.0.
I had to use my Celestron Omni 32mm & 15mm EP to locate & view.

At 1:51am I slewed to M-78 also known as NGC-2068 in the Constellation of Orion.
The Wiki states this is a reflective nebula.
I saw a fan shaped object that seemed to pop in & without averted vision.
Distance is 1,600 LY and the magnitutde is a dim 8.3.
I used my Celestron Omni 15mm EP to locate & my Celestron Omni 32mm to view.

Steve & I then gathered our attention to our good friend Jupiter, trying to locate the elusive red spot.
We noticed 2 of the moons were directly next to other while a 3rd moon was further away & the 4th moon was on the opposite side a good distance away.

At 2:45am I slewed to M-44 also known as the Beehive Cluster & Praesepe, which is Latin for "manger".
I saw a very well lit scattered cluster of bright stars in a field of dimmer stars with a notice beehive shape at the bottom where I could swear the stars near the bottom actually looked like swarming bees around their hive!
Distance is 577 LY and the magnitude a spectacular 3.7.
I used my Celestron Omni 32mm EP.

We went back to Jupiter as Steve thought he saw both the red spot and a moon transition on Jupiter in his Unitron 160. I too thought I saw the moon transition but the spot eluded us again!

At 3:47am I slewed to M-41 also known as NGC-2287, an open cluster in the Constellation Canis Major.
This very loose but bright cluster contains about 100 stars & is South of the bright star Sirius.
Distance from Earth is 2,300 LY and the magnitude is 4.5
I used my Celestron Omni 32mm & 15mm EP.

At 4:10am I slewed to M-46 also known as NGC-2437, another open clur in the Constellation of Puppis.
This cluster was somewhat hard to locate at first.
Distance is 5,500 LY and the magnitude is 6.1
I again used my Celestron Omni 32mm & 15mm EP.

At 4:14am I slewed to the nearby M-47 also known as NGC-2422, an open cluster also in the Constellation Puppis.
This cluster only has about 50 stars and again was very hard to find.
Distance 1,600 LY and the magnitude is 4.2.
I used my Celestron 32mm & 15mm EP ply stock Celestron 25mm EP.

And so ended my massive Messier hunt, a glorious outing indeed! (For now, 12 Messier to go!).
Steve was impressed that I never wanted to quit & eventually I got the hint that it was coming up on 5am & time to help pack up his gear.
I'm hoping to finish this Messier 30 award report Saturday evening when I'll be going to my 2nd open meeting of our local Warren Astronomical Society at their Stargate Observatory.


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