Author Topic: OR, Skyline Ridge OSP, 9/20/14  (Read 1829 times)

mccarthymark

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OR, Skyline Ridge OSP, 9/20/14
« on: September 21, 2014, 09:32:12 AM »
Met Rob Jaworski, Teruo Utsumi, and Terry (?)  to support SJAA’s outreach to support the preserve’s “Dark Sky at Night” program, a nighttime hike for a group of around 25 persons with stargazing through our scopes at the end of the hike.  The program is meant to show the effects of light pollution, which were quite obvious from the site.  The Bay Area sky glow washed out much of the sky to the northeast, east, and southeast up to nearly 50 degrees from the horizon, while zenith and the west was dark enough so the Milky Way was visible. 

Per arrangement with the preserve we set-up in the handicapped parking area, that is away from the road but in a bowl of surrounding hills.  Sagittarius was visible at nightfall but dipped quickly below a hill by 10pm.  Transparency was below average, 2/5, with fog forming, dissipating, and reforming.  Seeing was average to good, 3-4/5.  Dew formed a little after sundown and was problematic all night.  I put up a light shield at the end of my tube to forestall secondary mirror dewing, and rotated eyepieces in and out of my jacket pockets to keep them warm and usable. 

Since the purpose of the event was for people to see the night sky, all the guests who came to visit my scope were enthusiastic and curious. They arrived around 8:40pm and stayed for about an hour.  I had my 12.5” f/7 reflector pointed near zenith at M57 the Ring Nebula, and the guests all seemed to enjoy the novelty of climbing up the ladder to have a look.  I was happy I brought my equatorial platform, so I myself did not have to scramble up the ladder in between each viewer.  For those who could not go up so high on the ladder I tiled the scope down to show M22, which was low enough to be comfortable for them.  M57 @ 277x clearly showed the ring structure, grey with faintly green tint; the 12th magnitude companion star was plain but the central star was nowhere to be seen and I despair I’ll ever see it!  M22 @ 170x was large, glorious, resolved to the core with wonderful blue white stars; it drew plenty of oohs and ahhs from the guests.

Regretfully I misremembered the details of how the Ring Nebula was formed, telling the guests the gas was expelled at the beginning of the star’s lifecycle rather than the end – so a lesson learned is to study up on your object beforehand so as not to spread incorrect information.  At least, if I did not know the answer to a question, I didn’t make one up!  I think the guests appreciate that we’re amateurs (and don’t know everything) and that we’re enthusiastic enough to have scopes, observe, and share with them.

Both before and after the guests arrived I worked a handful of H400 objects, which I find through paper charts and star hopping, without reading their description beforehand so that I am more surprised at what I find.  Sadly the cloud cover was more than 60% by 10pm when we all decided to call it a night:

NGC 6664, Sct, 1832 -0813, Open Cluster, 22mm 100x: Large loose group of ~25 stars, about 12 of which forming intersecting loops.  A mist of distant fine stars in the center, not part of the group but nicely ornamental. Alpha Scuti in same FOV to the east. 

NGC 6755, Aql, 1907 0414, Open Cluster, 22mm 100x: Large loose group, <50 stars, some forming parallel lines, others widely scattered. 

NGC 6756: Aql, 1908 0441, Open Cluster, 22mm 100x:  Difficult to find, spent quite a while checking and rechecking the chart.  It is very small, a mist of fine stars, and I would not have noticed it unless I had not been my looking around the eyepiece, which caused my unintended averted vision to reveal the object. 

NGC 6781, Aql, 1918 0633, Planetary Nebula, 13mm 170x: very faint, roundish, looks more like a nebula more than a P.N., not “solid” like many PNs are.  AV helped but little.

NGC 6802, Vul, 1930, 2016, Open Cluster, 22mm 100x: Did not find!  My notes describe a wide open cluster of stars in the form of a long string.  Looking this up in the H400 catalog now it is actually a small round cluster.  This object is at the northern tip of the Coathanger.  Will need to try again.

NGC 6823, Vul, 1943 2318, Open Cluster, 22mm 100x: Largish spread of stars with a condensed, pretty group in the middle.  Since the chart indicates it’s a cluster with nebulosity, I put an OIII filter on, which darkened the field and revealed some nebulosity, but not much.
Mark

DDK

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Re: OR, Skyline Ridge OSP, 9/20/14
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2014, 07:01:55 PM »
Fun OR, McCarthy, thanks for putting us there. That cluster in Vulpecula, 6802, rang a bell, off the end of the Coathanger. Saw it very close to 14 years ago, when I was a rook', at the first CalStar. Wrote, "off the Coat Hanger, compact, apparently with intervening dust." That last phrase was my way of saying politely that it was frackin' dim. Might well be literally true, that there's dust between here and there.

What kind of telescope is that? I'm trying to imagine a long f/7 reflector, intriguing.

<Opinion ensuing:> There are many stargazers who regard completing the Herschel-400 as the mark of a serious observer. Thing is, the list was compiled by a fine group of people in St Augustine, FL, who did a sort by numbers. It is not based on what those objects look like in an eyepiece. There are a bunch of OC's on there that are notoriously hard to tease out, for anyone.

Which is why Jane Smith, Bob Jardine, Jeff Crilly and I put together the TAC Eye Candy List, a set of objects past the Messiers all of which are pretty in the eyepiece. And a respectable project ... http://old.observers.org/observing/eyecandy/
DDK sez check it out. That's TAC slang.
Allabest,
DDK
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mccarthymark

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Re: OR, Skyline Ridge OSP, 9/20/14
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2014, 09:42:30 AM »
I've only just started it, but I think I have to agree with you on the seeming aesthetic deficiency in H400 list.  I really enjoy finding the objects, and I feel I am learning to become a better observer because of it.  But there haven't been too many memorable stunners which I would make a point of going back to look at again. 

So I really do want to say thank you to you and the others for putting together the eye candy list.  And also Marko for his personal favorites list, and to Mark W. for his head's up posts.  I'm adding all of these lists to my observing program -- and as a result I'm getting more out of my time than I would otherwise. 
Mark

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Re: OR, Skyline Ridge OSP, 9/20/14
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2014, 12:53:13 PM »
McCarthy, you're gonna need a nickname before you know it. We have 5 Marks now in the troop, by my count alone. 6.

But I digress. Still trying to get a mental picture of 12.5” f/7 reflector. Please what sort of scope is this?
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mccarthymark

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Re: OR, Skyline Ridge OSP, 9/20/14
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2014, 02:48:40 PM »
I know I will regret telling you this, because I hope I have lived this one down by now: The only nickname I ever had was "wrongway," which I earned in high school when I took an inbounds pass during a home varsity basketball game, dribbled the length of the court and made a backboard-slapping layup -- into the other team's basket.  I was team captain, too.  We did not have a winning season.

My scope is a regular old newt, 12.5" mirror f/7, on a dob.  It's blue, so I've given her a nickname, "Big Blue."  Not very original, I know.  I'm hoping to make it down to CalStar Friday and Saturday nights, so hope to show it to you then.   

Mark

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Re: OR, Skyline Ridge OSP, 9/20/14
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2014, 12:27:22 PM »
Peachfuzz! It's you. No idea if you're old enough to remember Cap'n Peter Wrongway Peachfuzz on Rocky and Bullwinkle. You have in fact sealed your semantic fate, in a good way.

Looking forward to meeting Ole Blue. We can tell you tales of your scope's cousin, the Blue Twenty-Two.
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