Author Topic: OR: Seven nights (Re: Gottlieb's ORs at Lassen National Park)  (Read 1540 times)

ahighe

  • Observer
  • Posts: 18
    • View Profile
OR: Seven nights (Re: Gottlieb's ORs at Lassen National Park)
« on: August 31, 2014, 01:53:16 PM »
OR: Seven Nights - August 20-26, 2014 (re: Gottlieb’s Lassen ORs)

Hi Steve,

Nice collection of reports. You're putting that big glass to good use.

I have very fond memories of Lassen. Alas, no more. However, during the same period I settled for observing at a private residence in the Sierra Foothills outside of Mariposa, CA. The site has some advantages to compensate for the incomparable skies of Lassen. No wind, moderate temperature, no tear down each night. The comfortable accommodations allow me to observe multiple nights without undue fatigue. In addition, no noisy neighbors. All I hear are crickets.

The following observations were culled from this month’s sessions. I enjoyed a span of seven consecutive nights. I can’t remember if I’ve ever done that before. Sure, I’ve devoted more consecutive nights to observing while in Australia. But the weather usually provided unwelcome interruptions. That wasn’t the case during the past week. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky any night. Only during one day did clouds obscure the sun.

Conditions were quite good over the entire period. As darkness approached and Mars, Saturn, and brighter stars emerged, I could split Antares each night. Temperatures never got below the mid-60’s. Relative humidity never climbed above 40%. There were no bugs and no wind. A star count in Pegasus yielded a limiting magnitude of 6.3. SQM reading with the Milky Way overhead typically was 21.4. A comfortable bed a few strides away (actually, I motored over with my wheelchair) not only was convenient, it minimized fatigue, making the endurance run enjoyable.

Usually I hunted galaxies using an 8mm Ethos (287X). Longer focal lengths were used on showpiece objects.

Like you, I observed the Saturn Nebula at higher power with my 24" - but no where near your 1000X. I felt conditions limited me to the 6mm Delos, producing a magnification of 383X. Nevertheless, I "discovered" the annularity of this planetary as well. I saw the thin, brighter ring around the perimeter. I couldn't convince myself I saw the central star. You might be pleased to learn that I immediately consulted your observations for verification. I also thought I detected filamentary structure from the ansae that appeared to extend across the face.

Nice article in the September issue of Sky and Telescope. I took a look at the VV102a/b pair in Delphinus. The 6mm produced a good view, easily showing the cores as separate entities. With averted vision, each showed asymmetrical halos. "a" had the brighter core (direct vision) and larger halo.

I had seen VV254 before, but re-observed it. Nice pair of contrasting oval galaxies. "a" appeared to have a stellar core within an elongated brighter central condensation.  "b" appeared to have a smaller oval halo, but a larger, moderately bright central area.

I spend a lot of time looking at UGCs and the like. I particular liked the pair UGC 10497 (14.4, 0.45' x 1.2') and UGC 10502 (12.9, 2.1' x 2.3') in Draco. They are unusually bright, larger galaxies that I could hold with direct vision and see detail with averted. They should show up well in smaller scopes. Speaking of bright UGCs, I couldn't believe how easy it was to see UGC 10803 (13.1, 0.8' x 1.3'). There are a LOT of NGCs that are considerably fainter.

Notable elongated galaxies:
UGC 8737 (Mag 14.6, 0.4’ x 2.2’)
I could detect some mottling in the brighter central region.

UGC 11455 (15.0, 0.37’ x 2.74’)
Highly elongated thin galaxy. Long, somewhat brighter central area.

UGC 12221 (14.6, 0.7' x 2.3')
The palindrome designation caught my eye. Elongated oval halo, approximately 3:1, with slightly brighter central area. Could just hold the core with direct vision.

I also returned to some NGC's that are close pairs. In particular, I observed the NGC 7016/7017/7018 group in Capricornus. My initial log for NGC 7018 reports it as oval. Using the 6mm, I could resolve NGC 7018 into two very close (20" separation), nearly equal circular members. The brighter cores were distinct and could be held with averted vision continuously. Their halos appeared to overlap.

Similarly, NGC 7017 appears somewhat oval. Yet, at this magnification, it too, appeared as two components, although I had to work at it more. The brighter member had a small circular halo with a somewhat brighter core. I could hold it with averted vision continuously. Its companion (10" separation) was more of a challenge. Eventually I could hold the small appendage about 50% of the time with averted vision.

As is typical when observing with big glass, other galaxies pop up unexpectedly. I readily saw MCG-4-49-16 as a very small over near this trio of NGCs.

Seven nights of observing produced scads of observations. I find it particularly enjoyable to point the big glass towards bright favorites. Portions of each night were devoted to this pursuit. I am particularly fond of M2, and observed it each night. Uncountable tiny pinpoints of light were resolved against the dense hazy mass. I found M17 (not at the top of most people’s highlight list in Sagittarius) particularly interesting. The “fingers of creation” made famous by Hubble images were visible with averted vision. Of course, the brighter favorites like the Lagoon, Trifid, and Swan nebulas were stunning. All were well placed.

Comet Jacques was a nice bonus, appearing large and bright. Motion was easily detected relative to nearby stars in as little as 10 minutes. Even closer to home - saw the ISS pass overhead on three nights. Although moving very quickly, I was able to track it long enough so I could get a reasonable view of it in the eyepiece. The solar panels were two large, very bright rectangles floating together through space. Hi guys! Turns out I could have seen it a fourth time as well. Witnessed one Iridium flare passing through the Summer Triangle, and lots of bright meteors.

Albert

DDK

  • Moderator
  • Observer
  • *****
  • Posts: 359
    • View Profile
Re: OR: Seven nights
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2014, 10:49:48 PM »
So here I got in on two of those seven nights Albert reported, up in the hills outside of Mariposa. This was 21-22 August, Friday and Saturday nights. Can't count the times now I've been observing around Mariposa, in various spots. It's far from the ocean but good and dark, often. We've played with the idea of moving up there. That 6.3 limiting magnitude starcount in Pegasus that Albert cited was mine, both nights. Also on both nights the seeing was crisp, 5/5.

Company was fine as well. Michelle, Rashad, Carter and Joe Bob were all around. The banter was fierce. Like for instance at me for coming up with 3 new objects in two really good nights. Hey, the night sky was arresting. And it was fun pointing my 16" at summer eye candy. The prize went to the Swan, M17, in a wide field in a 24mm Panoptic, at 75x for an 0.9 deg field. Both with and without an OIII filter, it was stately and showing off all kinds of detail.

This was with Uncle Albert, an Albert Highe-made 16" f/4.5 scope. Was using a 24mm Panoptic, 16mm UO Koenig, 9 and 7mm type 6 Naglers and an Orion OIII. One night we had out 3 scopes made by Albert, a 24, a 20, and a 16, and Carter's Highe-design 16. There was an apparent pattern.

Did come up with a DDK warning object, UGC 8201 in Draco, north of the Dipper. It's in SkyAtlas, and one of several reasons I'm still working thru that whole atlas is that just about every object plotted there will show in my 11". Here in the 16, could not find that thing on Friday night, and I tried. The next night, Albert helped by running U8201 in his 24. It was pretty dim even there, but after some more work and more grey hair I got it in the 16. Had a measurable suck factor on Gary Manning's very useful scale. For a consolation prize, Albert suggested going after UGC 8737, also in Draco, north of Thuban. More like it, a slim pretty oval, with a moderately bright seam along midline, brighter to the NW.

Oh and for the record, the other new object was a galaxy in Lyra, ngc 6703, round bright compact, brighter toward the core. Lots of stars in that field, took a while working a hop up from Vega, and it was obvious that I'd missed going out in July. Mooching views on this trip was fun. The pillars in the Eagle, M16, showed in Albert's scope, and that view of M2 was startling. Got to share a sparkly view of Stephan's Quintet in my 16, and those 3 beautiful open clusters in a close set in Cassiopeia, ngc 663 with 659 and 654. And Trumpler 1 which just never gets old. Working on getting Michelle Stone into open clusters.

Lovely skies, lovely people, lovely summer weather, t-shirt and shorts each night. I'm grateful as ever.
DDK
TAC - astro anarchy at work <*>

DDK

  • Moderator
  • Observer
  • *****
  • Posts: 359
    • View Profile
Re: OR: Seven nights
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2014, 11:48:14 PM »
for that Warning Object, UGC 8201, after scaring you I might as well come up with visual details. It's one of those galaxies that's fairly big in the eyepiece, with a low surface brightness. Not far from here, at 7 million lightyears. Here are the notes: "Dim, low SB. I mean dim oval ca 3’ x 1’. Went back and forth, found the same field with the same glimmer at least 3x."
Again, as Gary Manning the Dude would say, measurable suck factor.
TAC - astro anarchy at work <*>