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Thread: 10 Sharpless Nebulae Challenge for the binoculars and small scopes in summer-autumn

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    Default 10 Sharpless Nebulae Challenge for the binoculars and small scopes in summer-autumn



    The presented challenge for the visual observers is a selection from the list of the Sharpless Sh2 nebulae, not included in the NGC and IC catalogs, and hardly found in the popular observing lists.

    The astrophysics behind the Sharpless nebulae is discussed in The Sharpless Catalog , an introductory overview is here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharpless_catalog

    The starter of the challenge is the 'neglected' very large supernova remnant Sh2-27.
    Sh2-27 supernova remnant (SNR), surrounding the bright Zeta (13) Ophiuchi: 16h37m12.3s -10°34'11", medium-to-low surface brightness, size 480'.
    This SNR requires wide field binoculars, and clear dark skies. It is one of the largest SNRs within the reach of the binoculars.
    This ultra wide picture Astronomers Do It In The Dark - From Rho to Zeta Ophiuchi and the Galactic Center - Dark Nebulae - Interstellar clouds that obscure light from behind them shows the reddish Sh2-27 at lower right, in comparison with the Antares region at lower left.
    I came on the idea to hunt this incredible SNR thanks to Robert Martin Ayers, see his favourite DSOs in RFTs and Nebula Filters , and finally have seen it through the 10.5x70 (with and without the UHC filters) in the Dolomiti Mountains in June 2013. This is the only object in this challenge, which has required the clear mountain night skies. All other objects in this challenge are visible from my backyard with the typically suburban-to-country skies.

    Now, we will move around the Milky Way into the constellation of Cygnus, to find one of the Sharpless jewels, the Tulip Nebula, Sh2-101 "Tulip Nebula" in HST palette
    Sh2-101 The Tulip Nebula in Cygnus: 19h59m56.8s +35°17'27", low surface brightness, size 16'x9' extends up to 20' towards north. The nebula glows about 0.5° NEE off the bright Eta Cygni.
    The Tulip Nebula may be tricky to observe when you go for it the first time, as it requires a careful choice of the right magnification. However, when you have the right lower magnifying eyepiece in, then the view offers a rewarding feeling. An H-Beta filter helps.
    The observing report through the 6" refractor is here: The Tulip Nebula Sh2-101 in Cygnus through the 6" refractor . In fact, I came across the Tulip Nebula when looking for the Cygnus X1, 'a black hole you can find', https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Cygnus_X-1

    Moving across the Gamma Cygni region towards the bright Deneb, the area of skies looks a bit 'dusty' through the eyepiece, not passing much light of the otherwise expected Milky Way star swarms, but we will find here an amazing pair of the Sharpless nebulae, Sh2-112 and Sh2-115 with planetary PLN 85+4.1 - Astronomy Magazine - Interactive Star Charts, Planets, Meteors, Comets, Telescopes, Sh2-115 and Abel 71 in mono ,
    Sh2-112 and Sh2-115: emission nebulae in the Deneb area in Cygnus: 20h33m50.2s +45°39'35" and 20h34m33.0s +46°52'40", medium and medium-to-low surface brightness, size 15' and 50'. The both nebulae are relatively easy through the 6" refractor with an OIII filter. The Sh2-112 is a well defined 'cotton ball', the Sh2-115 reveals an extended diffuse glow.
    The observing report through the 6" refractor is here: Sh2-112 and Sh2-115: two Sharpless Nebulae close to Deneb

    The area of skies south of Deneb is well known for the North America and Pelican Nebulae, but another surprise will be found when we move towards north-east.
    Sh2-119: ionized Hydrogen emission nebula around 68Cygni, nicknamed as the "68Cygni Donut", or "68Cygni Horseshoe": 21h18m25.0s +43°56'16", high surface brightness, size 160'.
    This nebula reveals through the 15x85 binoculars a large oval with some darkening inside. An UHC filter helps.
    See also its image in Sh2-119 in HST palette,

    Following the Milky Way north-east, we will pass over the Elephant Trunk Nebula IC1396 (Sh2-131) south off the red Garnet Star Mu Cephei, to turn towards north-west, to find The Flying Bat, which makes a wide pair with the Elephant Trunk, Astronomers Do It In The Dark - IC 1396, Sh2-129 and OU4 in Cepheus - Wide Field Images - Astrophotos of wider fields of view - focal lengths are less than 200mm
    Sh2-129: The Flying Bat Nebula in Cepheus: 21h11m44.4s +59°57'40", medium surface brightness, size 140'.The brightest part of the nebula is an arc about 0.5° to the east off the Struve's multiple star STF2780. (The nebula is overlaid with the faint Giant Squid Nebula Ou4, Sh2-129_OU4 in HST palette )
    The brightest arc of the Sh2-129 nebula can be seen through the 15x85 binoculars, an H-Beta filter helps. The full form of the Flying Bat, and the Ou4, are reserved for the astrophotography.

    Now, we will again pass by the Elephant Trunk Nebula IC 1396 (Sh2-131), to move towards east to find the first Wolf-Rayet nebula in this challenge, Sh2-132 "Lion Nebula" in HST palette
    Sh2-132: The Lion (Dragon) Nebula: 1.5° south off Epsilon Cephei:22h18m47s +56°08'05", bright nebula, size 90'.
    This Wolf-Rayet-type nebula reveals an extended fairly bright glow in a rich field of stars through the binoculars as small as 10.5x70. An OIII filter helps to dim the bright stars and to enhance the contrast of the nebula. One of the first published visual observations, as far as I know, has been sketched by Ronald Stoyan in Interstellarum.

    The next tour starts at Harrington 11 - a rich field of bright bluish and orange-red giants within the parallelogram of Lambda, Nu, Xi, and 30Cephei, when viewed in the anticlockwise order.
    Sh2-145 large diffuse nebula in Cepheus: 22h25m33.0 +64°18'31", low surface brightness, size 90'. The nebula is 3/4° to the north-west off 30Cephei, and it is surely one of those totally neglected nebulae in this area of skies. This nebula reveals through the 10.5x70 binoculars a faint glow with more contrast to the east and to the west. I swing the binoculars east and west to fix the nebular glow. An UHC filter helps.
    One of the not many astrophotos is here Sh2-145 and Sh2-150 Nebulae in HaRGB

    The Flying Bat Nebula Sh2-129, the Elephant Trunk Nebula Sh2-131 (IC1396), and the Sh2-145 nebula draw a south-eastern arc of the Cepheus Bubble in the molecular cloud overlaied with the Cepheus OB2 Stars Association. This molecular cloud extends into the western part in Cassiopeia, see also Cepheus OB2 and Cassiopeia OB2 | Galaxy Map , and read the astrophysics backgrounds in http://www.konkoly.hu/staff/kun/hand...rs/CEPHEUS.pdf

    Passing by the bright Clamshell Nebula Sh2-142 (NGC 7380), we will move about 5° to the north to find the Cave Nebula, APOD: 2013 October 19 - Sh2-155: The Cave Nebula , Sh2-155 in HST palette (more OIII and reprocess)
    Sh2-155: the Cave Nebula in Cepheus:22h56m43.2s +62°37'04", low surface brightness, size 60'.
    The Hydrogen emission of this nebula reveals visually a low contrast faint glow, and it is best found through the 15x85 binoculars at the bottom of the curved ropes of the bright stars to its north. Having reached the bottom of the star ropes, I swing the binoculars east and west to catch the rim of the 'cave'. An UHC filter helps.

    The last object in this challenge is another Wolf-Rayet nebula, the Sh2-157, which is close to the famous Bubble Nebula, The Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635) + Sh 2-161 + Sh 2-157 ... and other friends - Astronomy Magazine - Interactive Star Charts, Planets, Meteors, Comets, Telescopes , Sh2-157 in HST palette
    Sh2-157: Wolf-Rayet-type nebula at the border Cassiopeia/Cepheus: 23h16m03.2s +60°02'44", medium-to-high surface brightness, size 90'.
    This Wolf-Rayet nebula reveals through the 10.5x70 binoculars its oval glow "hanging" on the open Diamond Cluster NGC 7510. The 10.5x70 binoculars reveal through the UHC and OIII filters the donut form of this nebula. This nebula belongs to the Cassiopeia OB2 Stars Association, and it is nicely embedded in an amazing area of skies with the Bubble Nebula, and the NGC 7538 star birth nebula, NGC 7635 (Bubble) and SH2-157.

    The area of Cepheus from the Flying Bat in the west, to the Sh2-157 in the east, is rich on the emission nebulae and on the star birth regions, as shown in Google-Ergebnis für http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-nrq5TqDSCpM/UubF5EManGI/AAAAAAAAK7Q/ts8PXxEKkNw/s0/CepheusMAp.jpg

    I have completed this "Sharpless Challenge" with the binoculars and with the 6" refractor, as indicated in the text, by 2014. My curiosity about these Sharpless nebulae has also increased due to the amazing images, as posted in our Astronomy Forum, and elsewhere. This has encouraged me to post this 'challenge' for the visual observers.

    Observing reports and discussions on this "Sharpless Challenge" are welcome!

    Happy hunting,

    JG
    Last edited by j.gardavsky; 07-02-2015 at 04:54 PM. Reason: typo
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    Default Re: 10 Sharpless Nebulae Challenge for the binoculars and small scopes in summer-autu

    Wow! Great stuff JG! I will definitely give these a try, if ever I get a night of no cloud and no moon! I will add these to a special JG Challenge list this evening.

    Thanks for this great write-up sir!
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    Default Re: 10 Sharpless Nebulae Challenge for the binoculars and small scopes in summer-autu

    Thanks JG!

    you continue to amaze me

    Saturday I'm leaving for the Austrian Alps for vacation and some mountain stargazing.
    Too bad about the moon though...
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    Default Re: 10 Sharpless Nebulae Challenge for the binoculars and small scopes in summer-autu

    Hello Skyscanner,

    there are some nice places in Austria to enjoy the hobby astronomy, check out the Activies page in Teleskop-Service: Startseite

    Enjoy your stay in Austria, and looking forward to your reports,

    JG
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    Default Re: 10 Sharpless Nebulae Challenge for the binoculars and small scopes in summer-autu

    Excellent list JG. I was wondering have you ever targeted Sh2-91 near Albireo in Cygnus? It has been nicknamed "Shadow of the Veil", or the "other" Veil Nebula. I plan to target this when I can get to the dark site this summer. It is a fainter strand of nebulosity associated with a supernova remnant. It lies next to the 8th mag star HD 185735, which in turn lies 15' south of mag 4.5 Phi Cygni, which is 2.5° northeast of Albireo. There are also some other fainter strands up nebulosity in that area. An O-III filter would be an excellent tool to have in one's case for this one.

    This is not plotted in the Pocket Sky Atlas though Phi Cygni is. It should not be confused with the so-called "Footprint Nebula" or M 1-92 (Minkowski 92), a proto-planetary that is plotted in the PSA near this location. It is plotted in Interstellarum on chart 30, and I am sure other atlases of similar depth, as well as some of the more detailed online atlases. Just thought I would share that as a compliment to your fine list. It will be a challenge to see, I've no doubt. Here are a couple of links with some info. Good luck to any attempting this one, and the others.

    How to See Cygnus's Other Veil Nebula - Sky & Telescope

    sh2-091
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    Default Re: 10 Sharpless Nebulae Challenge for the binoculars and small scopes in summer-autu

    Questions on these nebulae: Would an OIII filter be of any use on these? Better with a UHC? No filter and a dark sky? Dark sky and both filters?

    I've been studying these this evening while listening to the thunder rumbling in the background. They look like some tough nuts to crack.

    I had a rather laughable go at the North America Nebula several nights ago, but I wasn't able to pick out anything. I think my FOV was a bit too narrow, and the Moon was starting to get intrusive.
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    Default Re: 10 Sharpless Nebulae Challenge for the binoculars and small scopes in summer-autu

    Bryan, I will answer your question by tasking you with a little research. All of JG's objects are plotted in Interstellarum with the exception of Sh2-145. If you look at them, you will see a letter symbol on them. Such as for the one I mentioned, Sh-2-91 in Cygnus on chart 30. You will see it has a little purple box with an O in it. That means O-III. If you see a box with U in it at a nebula that means a narrowband UHC filter. Those are the filter recommendations that the atlases creators placed in there to aid the observer. Of course it is best to have both types because they can both be useful. If one has both, its always best to try them both to see what works best for you. Sometimes one is easily better, sometimes its a toss-up.

    Take a look at the atlas and see what you find. And yes, the moon may well have been washing out the NAN. It may look mainly like a concentration of brightness with no defined shape, but use low magnification with a wide view. It likes a narrowband UHC filter - you will notice the U in a box on top of "Florida".
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    Default Re: 10 Sharpless Nebulae Challenge for the binoculars and small scopes in summer-autu

    Thanks JG! More great objects to add to my list. I like nebulae too, they're fascinating to me, no two are alike, making them more interesting. Clear skies.
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    Default Re: 10 Sharpless Nebulae Challenge for the binoculars and small scopes in summer-autu

    Quote Originally Posted by KT4HX View Post
    ...
    I was wondering have you ever targeted Sh2-91 near Albireo in Cygnus? It has been nicknamed "Shadow of the Veil", or the "other" Veil Nebula. I plan to target this when I can get to the dark site this summer. It is a fainter strand of nebulosity associated with a supernova remnant. It lies next to the 8th mag star HD 185735, which in turn lies 15' south of mag 4.5 Phi Cygni, which is 2.5° northeast of Albireo. There are also some other fainter strands up nebulosity in that area. An O-III filter would be an excellent tool to have in one's case for this one.
    ...
    Hello Alan,

    the Sh2-91 is still on my list, not found a sufficient time to work on it, as I have spent repeated observing sessions on the Sh2-99, vdB128, Sh2-97, and some other nebulae. They all require repeated observing sessions, to be sure.

    Best,

    JG
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    Binoculars: Leica Ultravid 7x42, 8x42HD; Swarovski EL 8.5x42 Swarovision; Nikon 10x70 Astroluxe; Docter Nobilem 7x50 Porro; Jenoptem 7x50W, 10x50W; BA8: 10.5x70, 15x85; 25x100FB, AsahiPentax 8x40, Refractors: Sky-Watcher 150mm/750mm; Leica APO Televid 82mm (25x-50x WW ASPH); EPs:Baader Classic Orthos; Fujiyama ortho, Leica B WW, ultrawide zoom ASPH, Periplan GF, HC Plan S, L; DOCTER UWA; Wild UW mil; Tele Vue Delos, Nagler Zoom, Plössls; Swarovski SW; Pentax XW; ZEISS diascope B WW T*, Carl Zeiss E-Pl; Hensoldt mil; Filters: Astrodon, Astronomik, Baader (CCD), TS; Astrophotography: AstroTrac; Leica R7: Leica 2/50, 2/90mm, 2.8/180mm lenses
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    Default Re: 10 Sharpless Nebulae Challenge for the binoculars and small scopes in summer-autu

    Quote Originally Posted by bladekeeper View Post
    Questions on these nebulae: Would an OIII filter be of any use on these? Better with a UHC? No filter and a dark sky? Dark sky and both filters?

    I've been studying these this evening while listening to the thunder rumbling in the background. They look like some tough nuts to crack.

    I had a rather laughable go at the North America Nebula several nights ago, but I wasn't able to pick out anything. I think my FOV was a bit too narrow, and the Moon was starting to get intrusive.
    Hello Bryan, hello Alan,

    first of all, the Sh2-145 in Cepheus seems to be plotted in no atlas known to me, even if it is a binocular object. It is the largest and brightest nebula surrounded by the faint neighbours Sh2-140, and Sh2-150.

    Regarding the filters, when going for the difficult Sh2, Lynd's, or vdB, my assortment box contains the Astronomik UHC, OIII (11nm), and H-Beta, from the Baader the OIII (8.5nm) and the blue(RGB)CCD 400nm - 510nm, and finally the Astrodon OIII (5nm). So trying out different binoculars with different filters, so as different eyepieces plus different filters on the 6" refractor, it takes quite a lot of time, and I am happy when I get a satisfying view of 1 or 2 difficult nebulae in course of the observing session.
    The filter lists are the first aid, but when you go advanced, you'll take on most of the nebulae 2 or more filters, anyway.

    Back to the North America Nebula, there is an old 'how to do it' here, Touring the NGC7000 North America Nebula and around through Binoculars
    The old 'rule of thumb' says, watch for the 'Little Orion' asterism, and then, turn to the east to get in the dark Gulf of Mexico. To the south-east is the 'Wall', which is one of the brightest parts in the NA.
    A magnification around 30x through an ultrawide eyepiece is a pretty good choice, an OIII filter enhances the contrast of the nebular glow.
    Another 'rule of thumb' says, go for the open cluster NGC 6997, which is overlaied on the East Coast of NA, relax a bit, and the nebular glow will pop up.
    The sort of challenge connected with the NA are the Caribbean Islands IC 5068, and the both fainter Lynd's LBN332 and LBN329. I have nailed them down a couple of years ago through the 25x100 binoculars without any filters.
    There are some nights under the stars, you'll feel very happy.

    Best,

    JG
    Binoculars: Leica Ultravid 7x42, 8x42HD; Swarovski EL 8.5x42 Swarovision; Nikon 10x70 Astroluxe; Docter Nobilem 7x50 Porro; Jenoptem 7x50W, 10x50W; BA8: 10.5x70, 15x85; 25x100FB, AsahiPentax 8x40, Refractors: Sky-Watcher 150mm/750mm; Leica APO Televid 82mm (25x-50x WW ASPH); EPs:Baader Classic Orthos; Fujiyama ortho, Leica B WW, ultrawide zoom ASPH, Periplan GF, HC Plan S, L; DOCTER UWA; Wild UW mil; Tele Vue Delos, Nagler Zoom, Plössls; Swarovski SW; Pentax XW; ZEISS diascope B WW T*, Carl Zeiss E-Pl; Hensoldt mil; Filters: Astrodon, Astronomik, Baader (CCD), TS; Astrophotography: AstroTrac; Leica R7: Leica 2/50, 2/90mm, 2.8/180mm lenses
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  17. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to j.gardavsky For This Useful Post:

    bladekeeper (07-03-2015),mwillis321 (07-04-2015)

 

 
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