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Messages - mccarthymark

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TAC Astro Classifieds / Want to buy: Argo Navis
« on: November 15, 2017, 02:29:21 PM »
Would like to buy your good condition Argo Navis, firmware version 3.0.1, including the CD & serial cable; plus the cradle if you have it.

Also shopping for 32k encoders for alt/az mount (Obsession 20-inch classic)

PM me to let me know what you have, thanks

Observing Reports / Re: Some recent ! and !! doubles, and a question
« on: November 01, 2017, 11:06:40 AM »
When observing at home I'm usually looking at doubles, sometimes the moon or planets.  On nights of average seeing, I use the Cambridge Double Star Atlas (2nd edition), which is a good fit for small to medium size scopes -- though there are a fair amount of challenging objects plotted too.

For nights of better seeing, I've been using the Carro Catalog of Double Stars to prepare a target list.  It was created by Joseph Carro, a southern CA observer, and published a few years ago in The Journal of Double Star Observers (, Vol. 9 No. 3 July 1, 2013, p 203-6).  Carro took the WDS and other sources, created an excel file of pairs with the A star magnitude 12 or brighter, and sorted them by constellation.  When I found the list a couple years ago JDSO had a link to the spreadsheet on its home page, but I don't find it there now.  If anyone wants a copy PM me and I'll email it to you.  I've seen other spreadsheets based on the entire WDS, but without the constellation names they were too time-consuming to use for session planning.

12th mag is about the limit of my 12.5-inch scope from a red-zone location.  To prepare I check if the object is plotted in CDSA; if it isn't then I consider if it is doable, then prepare a finder chart using AAVSO's VSP (  I print those out and sort the pages in a logical star hop sequence, so when I have a good night I get up on the ladder and start searching for each one; often I don't have to come down from the ladder until I have to reset my equatorial platform--there's usually quite a lot of targets to search for.

I'm thinking of getting Nexus DSC which, per the manufacturer, will have all the Struve and ADS catalogs included in the database in their next firmware release.  This would unlock many more targets.

** edit: corrected URL & some grammar; thanks Dave

Observing Reports / Some recent ! and !! doubles, and a question
« on: October 28, 2017, 01:32:22 PM »
Over the last couple of months I’ve made many dozens of double star observations from my light polluted back yard, with my 12.5 f/7 reflector.  There have been several nights of very good (Pickering 7 to 9) seeing, and I tried going after close and faint pairings.  Of the numerous observations I’ve selected the ones I noted with “!” or “!!”, which denote my excitement on observing the particular pair.  These are fast setting in the west now, but I hope others will have a look.

STF 2606: Hair split to clean split when seeing stills and there is only an airy disk.  Near equal, half a delta mag. 0.8" [Good catch! 0.66"! 1.2" at discovery, so old Wilhelm could see it in his 9-inch]
19H 58M 32.66S +33° 16' 38.8"
P.A. 146.8 SEP 0.66” MAG 7.74/8.43
SP F5IV DIST. 78.43 PC (255.84 L.Y.)

STT 398: B is very faint, appears as a brightening or pin-prick in A's diffraction.  2-3 delta mag, 1"
20H 07M 23.69S +35° 43' 05.9"
P.A. 82 SEP 1” MAG 7.45/9.20
SP B0IV DIST. 628.93 PC (2051.57 L.Y.)

STT 386: Tight near equal, nice, split with seeing, 1"
19H 48M 16.51S +37° 09' 37.5"
P.A. 70 SEP 0.9” MAG 8.52/8.61
SP A1III DIST. 2222.22 PC (7248.88 L.Y.)

BU 155: Clean split, nice disks, 1 delta mag, 1".  Pale yellow and pale Easter egg blue! [AB seen, 4 stars visible.]
20H 51M 05.41S +51° 25' 01.7"
P.A. 38 SEP 0.7” MAG 7.36/8.13
SP A9IV DIST. 124.53 PC (406.22 L.Y.)

AC 17: !! Wow.  Pretty orange-yellow and much fainter 3 delta mag B, resolves into view with seeing, just appears then vanishes if seeing quavers.  ~4".  [AB seen.  5 stars in system.]
20H 12M 31.73S +51° 27' 49.0"
P.A. 83 SEP 4.3” MAG 6.17/10.55
SP K2.5III DIST. 106.16 PC (346.29 L.Y.)

STT 420: ! Light yellow A and reddish B, very faint, very wide, 3 delta mag.
20H 54M 22.25S +40° 42' 10.6"
P.A. 2 SEP 5.5” MAG 6.69/10.50
SP B8VNNE DIST. 248.14 PC (809.43 L.Y.)

STT 419: ! Tough, needed to wait for a while for right seeing.  Bright yellowish A with brightening in diffraction which stays put and recedes to a fine point momentarily with the seeing.
20H 54M 42.00S +37° 04' 25.3"
P.A. 23 SEP 1.6” MAG 7.20/9.97
SP A0 DIST. 193.8 PC (632.18 L.Y.)

Lambda Cyg = STT 413: !! 1.5 delta mag, blue-white.  Bright mess resolves to two disks 0.8-1.0”, with seeing. [AB seen, there are six stars in the system]
20H 47M 24.53S +36° 29' 26.7"
P.A. 359.3 SEP 0.92” MAG 4.73/6.26
SP B5VE DIST. 235.85 PC (769.34 L.Y.)
BU 445: !! Orange-red with exceptionally fainter B, only when seeing stills, else it is lost in the diffraction.  Pinpoint.  2”, 4 delta mag.  [AB seen.  There are six stars in the system]
21H 03M 29.53S +29° 05' 33.0"
P.A. 109 SEP 4.8” MAG 7.00/11.14
SP G8III DIST. 197.24 PC (643.4 L.Y.)
BU 67: ! Pale blue A and 3 delta mag B, ~2”.  In the middle of the Cygnus Loop.
20H 50M 36.05S +30° 54' 45.7"
P.A. 311 SEP 1.5” MAG 6.85/9.87
SP A8III DIST. 120.05 PC (391.6 L.Y.)
Ary 48: !! A beautiful split in finder, just equal pair, wide separation, white with red tint.
20H 37M 45.00S +32° 23' 42.9"
P.A. 41 SEP 53.3” MAG 8.23/8.76

STT 408: ! Very fine dull white A and pinpoint B, split well with seeing, ~2”
20H 34M 01.96S +34° 40' 44.4"
P.A. 193 SEP 1.6” MAG 6.75/9.37
SP B7V DIST. 332.23 PC (1083.73 L.Y.)

HO 603: !!  Very wide 2 delta mag, but B has a fainter close pair to it, seen with averted vision, about 3” separation. [AB 7.53/9.82 80.5"; BC 9.82/11.30 3.6"
21H 32M 04.61S +34° 12' 06.1"
P.A. 251 SEP 80.5” MAG 7.53/9.82
SP F0 DIST. 96.9 PC (316.09 L.Y.)

STF 2422: 553x.  !! Very tight, <0.8", equal light orange, pretty faint.
18H 57M 07.83S +26° 05' 45.1"
P.A. 69 SEP 0.8” MAG 7.93/8.25
SP A2IV DIST. 156.25 PC (509.69 L.Y.)

STF 2406: 553x. !! Bright white, 3-4 delta mag, B is averted vision only and delicate, with seeing.  Wow!
18H 49M 55.77S +26° 25' 30.6"
P.A. 5 SEP 4.8” MAG 7.12/11.21
SP A3V DIST. 118.34 PC (386.03 L.Y.)

STF 2358: 553x.  !! Faint near equal <2", another brighter / wider pair nearby.  Nice!
18H 38M 35.04S +30° 43' 20.1"
P.A. 223 SEP 2.5” MAG 9.81/10.19

BU 1206: 553x.  !! Very much fainter B, 2", 3-4 delta mag.  Pinpoint when seeing stills.
20H 19M 07.08S +36° 45' 07.6"
P.A. 348 SEP 1.7” MAG 7.53,10.70

WEI 35: 553x.  Double-double!  Ah!  Near equal 3", and closeby a wider pair, 5", 1 delta mag. [AB is first, CD might be second?  4 stars visible in system]
20H 29M 13.54S +37° 30' 45.8"
P.A. 213 SEP 4.1” MAG 8.35/8.81
SP F5 DIST. 305.81 PC (997.55 L.Y.)

STT 403: 553x.  Dramatic near equal white, just split, 1", with a third in the system 2x fainter and wide separation [Indeed a triple, as described.]
20H 14M 21.53S +42° 06' 15.6"
P.A. 172 SEP 0.9” MAG 7.31/7.64
SP B9IV-V DIST. 581.4 PC (1896.53 L.Y.)

UV Cyg = A 598: 553x.  !! Orange-red with fainter blue 1", 1 delta mag.  Seeing must still -- and it does.  A a perfect round disk the color of the setting sun.  Very special.  [AB seen, AC 50" did not notice]
19H 36M 29.82S +41° 24' 08.6"
P.A. 193 SEP 1” MAG 9.91/10.15

STF 2496: 553x.  !! Very much fainter B, a pin prick when seeing stills.  3 delta mag, 2" [AB seen, AC super wide sep]
19H 15M 19.18S +50° 04' 16.0"
P.A. 80 SEP 2.1” MAG 6.46/10.00
SP G8III DIST. 134.59 PC (439.03 L.Y.)

ES 1651:   Challenging!  Faint elongated star with direct vision.  With averted vision it flashes a split, half delta mag, just split.
18H 15M 49.67S +41° 06' 37.8"
P.A. 5 SEP 2.4” MAG 11.19/12.36
SP F5V DIST. 225.73 PC (736.33 L.Y.)

STT 365:   Very fine but no mistake, white and blue stars, ~4", 3 delta mag.  Nice! [AB, C seen.  AB is 0.4" and would have shown elongation if the seeing was better and/or I was looking carefully.  AB,D a very wide separation.]
18H 55M 57.14S +44° 13' 41.9"
P.A. 258 SEP 2.7” MAG 6.97/10.52
SP A2 DIST. 186.57 PC (608.59 L.Y.)

BU 641: 553x.  !! Extraordinary!  Moderately bright A and much fainter B, 2 delta mag, <1" separation.  Seeing needs to still.
18H 21M 48.44S +21° 30' 27.9"
P.A. 341 SEP 0.8” MAG 7.03/8.66
SP B9.5II DIST. 264.55 PC (862.96 L.Y.)

STF 2315: 553x.  Near contact / overlapping disks, 0.5 delta mag.  [AB seen: a very good catch considering 0.6" separation.  5 stars in system, faint and far.]
18H 24M 58.46S +27° 23' 41.3"
P.A. 116.2 SEP 0.61” MAG 6.57/7.77
SP A0V+A4V DIST. 117.51 PC (383.32 L.Y.)


My question is about whether faint very close B stars can be noticed as an out of roundness in the A star.  There are a few times (a couple examples below) when I suspect seeing a not round airy disk but I would assume this would only be the case if the B star was near the same brightness as A, to effect the brightness and therefore its shape.  If the B is too faint, say more than 2 delta mag, I think it would probably be too weak an influence and simply be lost in A’s glare.  I’m interested to know of others’ experiences.

47 Cyg: Carbon yellow-orange disk, maybe not round.  Many faint companions. [WRH 34 is AB, 0.3 4.84/7.30.  Not sure it could be seen as out of roundness.  BU 1490 is AC, 115.1" and 4.82/11.87]
20H 33M 54.19S +35° 15' 03.1"
P.A. 278 SEP 0.3” MAG 4.84/7.30
SP K2IB+B3V DIST. 847.46 PC (2764.41 L.Y.)

HO 137: Needs more resolving power.  At 553x some out of roundness to the disk, but not certain.  Used 885x with apodizing mask some lumpiness to dusk but it dances around.  The companion is too faint to show up as out of roundness anyway.
20H 40M 36.26S +29° 48' 19.6"
P.A. 352 SEP 0.7” MAG 6.13/9.26
SP A2V DIST. 74.24 PC (242.17 L.Y.)

Observing Reports / Re: Observing in Australia October 15-22
« on: October 26, 2017, 10:17:58 PM »
Congratulations Steve!  I hope the last one was not too much of a disappointment; maybe not much to look at but special for the milestone it is.

Do you remember what your first NGC was, and how you described it?

Observing Reports / OR from Pinnacles 10/14
« on: October 17, 2017, 11:09:58 PM »
Fearing the Bay Area would be a loss for smoke, I started driving south on 101, intending to get to Lake San Antonio or maybe Williams Hill, thinking it would be far enough south to avoid the worst of the smoke.  But as I approached Soledad, I saw thick smoke haze on the horizon which would surely impede any views--apparently from another fire in the central valley.  So I turned off and headed up Route 146 to the Pinnacles, which had some blue sky above it.

I had read that the moon was to occult Regulus in the early hours of the 15th, and that at 3:10am local time (or Burbank time, from the occultation timing list I saw online—which made me assume I would be able to see it), the star would emerge from behind the moon, briefly revealing the 12th magnitude white dwarf companion star.  This was something I wanted to see!  But where could I set up the scope with a view to the east?  The visitor center parking is fronted by a hill to the east; the Chaparral parking lot has the hoodoos in the way, and the overflow lot is ringed with trees.  I drove back to the visitor center lot and decided to wheel my 20-inch scope to the small circular amphitheatre on the east patio of the visitor center building.  It was the only view to the east to be had but was still blocked by the Pinnacles.

SJAA was running a public viewing event and I hosted the few guests who wandered over to my area, showing M11, M31, M57, and so on.  Sometimes a guest came by while I was looking at something obscure, and they gamely gave it a look.

Conditions seemed to vary a great deal through the night.  OK seeing early on, but after 1am it turned poor.  SQML was 21.3.  Light dome from Soledad washing out much of the west.  Nevertheless my notes show it was a respectable session, with these highlights:

UGC 12476: Floats to south of mag 7.8 star HD 219627; oval, gradually brighter to middle, diffuse edges, moderately large, moderately faint.  [S0a, 1.1”x0.68, 14.1b].  I showed this to a couple of guests, and they were able to see it after I sketched the field for them; not the typical public star party object!  205x

SN 2017glx in NGC 6824 Cygnus: Galaxy an oval 3:2 NE-SW elliptical glow, slightly brighter core [Sab, 12.2v].  SN briefly appears as a brightening to the core but is uncertain, and not held.    Type Ia-91T (z=0.011).  Discovery mag 14.0 on 20 Sept, but may have faded or is too close to the core to see well – seeing not supporting 333x well. Double star with yellow A, blue B is close to the north.

Hickson 16 in Cetus: Stopped to view this while star hopping to NGC 988.  A string of 4 galaxies arrayed in an arc to the south of a star.
a = NGC 835, is brightest, a moderately large round glow with brighter core region [SBab/P, 12.1v]. 
Almost connected to it and just to the west is b = NGC 833, fainter and smaller 3:2 elliptical glow E-W with relatively brighter core [Sa/P, 12.7v]. 
c = NGC 838 is to the ESE, small, faint, and round glow [S0, 13.0v]. 
d = NGC 839 completes the arc, small, very faint 4:1 glow E-W with slightly brighter core [S0/P, 13.1v]. 
NGC 848 nearby, but not part of the Hickson group.  Faint, small, 4:1 NW-SE, brighter core area and faded tips.  SBab, 13.0v

SN 2017gmr in NGC 988 in Cetus: Galaxy sprouts to the SE as a “comet tail” from 7.2 magnitude star 79 Ceti.  Long, 4:1 SE-NW, with some mottling in the halo.  This would be a spectacular galaxy if the star were not in the way [SBc, 11.0v].  The SN is a faint point on the N rim of the SE tip of the galaxy’s halo, easily held but quite faint.  Mag 14.0 at discovery 18 Sept., Type II.
Comet C/2017 01 ASASSN: 121x: Large half a FOV (0.4°) round diffuse coma, greenish color, what I presume to be the psudonucleus and not a centrally placed star seen momentarily with averted vision.  Comet filter enhanced coma showing more variation in coma density and brightness through the amorphous round glow.

NGC 507 Group:  In Perseus.  Area speckled with galaxies, most small and needing averted vision to brighten, but many seen direct vision and lying only 1° of each other.  Did not see all group members, and these are what I got down – there were more!
   NGC 507 = Arp 209: Bright, large, round, very bright core and diffuse halo.  E-S0, 11.2v
   NGC 508: Immediately to north of N507, appears as a second core: Small, fairly bright and round, on the outer mist of N507’s halo.  E0, 13.1v
   IC 1687: very faint and small, round, glimpsed with AV next to a star just to its west.  13.6v
   NGC 503: To the NE of N508, N503 is small, very faint, slightly elongated NE-SW, faint.  E-S0, 14.1v
   NGC 501: To N of N303, N501 is very faint, very small, round with a brighter center.  E0, 14.5v
    NGC 499: Northern part of N507 Group.  N409 is brightest in this area, elongated 3:2 W-E, with a fairly bright core and thin diffuse halo.  E-S0, 12.1v.  Forms a triangle with N496 to N (very faint, 3:1 NE-SW; Sbc, 13.4v) , N495 to W (very faint and small, 3-1 N-S; S0-a, 12.9v) , and N498 (extremely small, faint, round, needed AV; S0, 14.3v) in between N499 & N496
   NGC 483: NW from center of Group, precedes two stars: Bright, small, mostly round to slight oval, bright small core.  S, 13.2v.
   IC 1682: Very small, extremely faint, needed AV to see, elongated 3:1 NW-SE; bright star to SW.  14.0v.
   NGC 494: SW of Group center.  Pretty large glow elongated E-W, 4:1, bright core and diffuse halo.  Sab, 12.9v.
   NGC 504: rather bright but small, bright core, diffuse halo tips, elongated NE-SW 3:1.  S0, 13.0v
   IC 1690: Excessively faint, needed AV to see and could not hold DV.  Very small oval NW-SE.  13.9v

Hickson 10: Andromeda. 
a = NGC 536: Stellar nucleus, 3:1 W-E diffuse halo.  Photos show widely warped and swept out spiral arms.  SBb, 12.4v
b = NGC 529: Bright small nucleus, bright core, oval, even surface brightness.  E-S0, 12.1v.
c = NGC 531: Near star to NE; need AV to notice but can hold DV, stellar nucleus, very faint, small, elongated 3:1 NE-SW.  SB0-a, 13.8v.
d = NGC 542: Very small, extremely faint, need AV to see; slight elongation NW-SE.  Sb, 14.8v

NGC 1186: 3:1 elongated NW-SE, moderately bright and large.  Bright nucleus and core with a superimposed star on the SW rim of the core.  Averted vision brightens the core and lengthens the diffuse fading tips.  SBbc, 11.4v

NGC 1193: Pretty faint, small condensed open cluster with some dozen stars resolved over a milky glow of unresolved stars.  II3m.  Near bright star pair to the NW.  Rather pretty!  The cluster is old, 4.2 billion years.

NGC 1245: Loops of stars in random, intertwining pattern, shot through with dark lanes.  The loops are made of cords of unresolved faint stars with the bright / resolved stars over the cords, leaving dark lanes and gaps in between.  Overall box-like shape to the cluster.  No nebulosity seen.  III1r.  1b year old cluster near the Perseus arm.

HaWe 3 (= Hartl-Dengel-Weinberger 3 / HDW  3): At 87x and using OIII, I suspected an excessively faint large round grey scale change in the plotted area; no central star seen [it turns out to be 17th mag].  A tentative observation, since it was more felt momentarily with averted vision than seen.  Nevertheless it matches other reports I can find online.

NGC 1160: Not too faint, small, elongated 2:1 NE-SW, with a mottled halo hinting of spiral structure.  Seems to be an appendage on north rim of halo above the core – might be superimposed star?  [‘Tis].  Scd, 12.8

By now it was 2:40am.  Gary C. kindly came over to keep me company, and we talked while waiting for the moon to rise.  Gary checked his tablet and found out the moon was still below the horizon, and would only be 2% above the horizon when Regulus was to reappear in a half hour.  There would be no chance for me to see the star in the scope after all.  So feeling like a fool I packed up and went to a dreamless sleep in my van before packing up and leaving before dawn.

TAC Visual / Re: Dinosaur Point is on again for the fall and winter
« on: October 10, 2017, 01:47:04 PM »
Probably the further south one is the better.  I check this website for recent satellite imagery of fire smoke when planning an outing in fire season.  Click on the area you want to see then click on one of the image files.

Observing Reports / challenging double double in Hercules
« on: August 28, 2017, 01:15:59 PM »
These last few nights have had really good seeing, and I've been chasing doubles in Hercules (my yard has a better view to the west, so that's where I'm usually looking).  12.5-inch f/7, 553x

There were many "wow" objects, of which following is a selection.  I end below with a challenging "double-double" I feel really lucky to have seen:

STF 2107: !! Plotted in Cambridge Double Star Atlas, and I didn't expect it to be special.  Yellow and orange pair, very close ~1.5", 1 delta mag.  Very pretty. [AB seen, AC nearly 12th mag and super wide]
16H 51M 50.10S +28° 39' 58.7" P.A. 106 SEP 1.39 MAG 6.90,8.50 SP F5IV DIST. 58.41 PC (190.53 L.Y.)

STF 2095: Nice!  Yellow and white pair, 2 delta mag, 4"
16H 45M 05.23S +28° 21' 28.9" P.A. 163 SEP 5.2 MAG 7.36,9.16 SP F7III DIST. 215.98 PC (704.53 L.Y.)

STF 2103: Nice! Pretty bright white A, much fainter ~5 delta mag B, well separated, looks like a planet. [AB seen.  AC & AD fainter and wider]
16H 49M 34.67S +13° 15' 40.3" P.A. 44 SEP 5.2 MAG 5.93,10.00 SP A1V DIST. 100.1 PC (326.53 L.Y.)

52 Her = BU 627:  !! Very bright white star with a companion disk 2” out, 4-5 delta mag.  Wow!  B illuminated by A, as if it was a planet.  [A,BC seen.  BC is an equal pair only 0.3” separation – maybe try with the 20-inch.  7 stars total in the system.]
16H 49M 14.21S +45° 58' 59.9" P.A. 39.6 SEP 2.09 MAG 4.84,8.45 SP A1V DIST. 55.25 PC (180.23 L.Y.)

D15: Light orange & elongated with notch, near equal.  [0.9” at discovery, 0.56” now]
16H 43M 56.29S +43° 28' 31.2" P.A. 332.8 SEP 0.56 MAG 9.04,9.27 SP K5 DIST. 27.03 PC (88.17 L.Y.)

HO 557: !! B only visible with averted vision.  As I drift from averted back to direct the star fades and I can only hold direct for a moment before it disappears.  Very interesting effect.  ~5” and 4 delta mag.
17H 13M 57.81S +16° 21' 01.0" P.A. 322 SEP 4.2 MAG 8.57,12.00 SP F8 DIST. 106.27 PC (346.65 L.Y.)

PRY 2: Blue-white and slightly reddish B, 3-4 delta mag, 1.5”.  Not hard at all!
17H 04M 41.34S +19° 35' 56.7" P.A. 227 SEP 1.8 MAG 6.19,9.29 SP A0IV DIST. 176.68 PC (576.33 L.Y.)

BU 822: Bright orange star with a consistent pin-prick point of light, stays still in occasional seeing shimmer.  Fainter than PRY 2's B.  1.5”.  Same PA as PRY 2's.  [AB seen; AC is super-wide & 11th mag]
17H 03M 52.67S +19° 41' 25.8" P.A. 227 SEP 1.4 MAG 6.58,9.89 SP K4III DIST. 229.89 PC (749.9 L.Y.)

These last two are close enough together I tried them as a double-double.  The trick is to maintain enough magnification to be able to keep the splits.  I went down to 277x 0.4° TFOV and could just squeeze the two within the field stop.  PRY 2 remained a very clean / clear split, while BU 822 was more challenging due to B being half magnitude fainter and slightly closer separation than the PRY 2 pair.  I could split BU 822 at 277x when in the center of the field, but I needed to wait for seeing to perfect and to bring it in a little from the field stop to avoid edge distortion.  But, for a few moments, I had these two in view as a double-double.  I'll try this again at CalStar in the 20-inch, it should resolve nicely.  Given the distance between the two pairs, they are just a line of sight double-double, but nice all the same.

TAC Visual / Re: Congrats Mark McCarthy!
« on: August 28, 2017, 01:08:46 PM »
I hope the list change doesn't put you behind your goal; though I would think the AL would accept your observations regardless -- especially for such challenging objects!  I will definitely be giving Gomez's Hamburger a try at CalStar, thanks for the tip!

TAC Visual / Re: Congrats Mark McCarthy!
« on: August 27, 2017, 04:42:02 PM »
That's odd, Peter.  I don't find that object on any of their lists ( scroll down for file links). 

Maybe it was taken off the list at some point?

Maybe rules changed too?  I did all 110 of the standard list and all 26 of the alternate list (though only the 110 are required, the alt is if your latitude is too far north for all of the standard list).  I only submitted my visual descriptions, no sketches (though I did make awful field scribbles in my notebooks).

There are some real toughies in the alt list:

EGB 1: Rather large but extremely faint glow, no central star, seen with OIII & averted vision only; difficult

HDW 3 (HaWe 4): Impossible to see without OIII.  Higher magnification is too narrow a FOV, 205x worked best.  Large and irregularly shaped, excessively faint, diffuse / ragged edge.  Many faint stars in field, not certain which is CS.

PuWe 1: Purgathofer & Weinberger / 1980 discovery PN in Cam: Excessively faint, -- seen only as a gray scale change, a brighter dark than the dark sky.  UHC works, OIII too.  Irregularly round, very large, with mottling.  @ 87x.

TAC Visual / Re: Congrats Mark McCarthy!
« on: August 27, 2017, 09:04:56 AM »
Thanks for the recognition!  This explains the number of Herschels and PNs in my ORs over the last couple of years.  I admit to having list fatigue toward the end, but will probably pick up another AL list soon -- they're great as a learning tool for beginners and helped me become a better observer.

TAC Visual / Re: Experienced Eclipse Chasers. Your input please.
« on: August 02, 2017, 04:31:07 PM »
I'm no expert, but I thought this was a good description of what will happen

Observing Reports / Re: Speaking of subtle...
« on: July 27, 2017, 12:12:46 PM »
I guess I have gone off the "deep" end, haven't I...    ;)

Observing Reports / Speaking of subtle...
« on: July 26, 2017, 08:41:33 PM »
There were a couple of other observations the other night at Pinnacles which intrigued me.  I was observing “without a list” and just seeing what I could find on the chart, so I saw these without knowing what they were beforehand:

GN 18.32.5 = PNG 27.0 +1.5, 18 35 11.6 -04 29 06.  Using 333x, the nebula sprouts to the SW of a relatively bright star, but is only seen with averted vision and OIII.  It is a diffuse, extremely faint small cloud which brightens near the star and fades to a round diffuse edge.  Searching the internet, I find one other observation from a German observer using a 27-inch; his sketch shows the object much brighter than what I saw*.  Simbad calls it a reflection nebula but it is plotted as a PN. 

Sherwood 1, PN, = Sd 1 = K 3-77.  Plotted in Interstellarum at the eastern edge of LDN 889, which is is part of the Gamma Cygni nebula complex.  I had to star hop from Gamma around this blank space in the sky to get to Sherwood 1, as it was labeled.  At 333x and only with OIII, a very small, excessively faint round shell with diffuse edges swam into view, held 50% with averted vision.  Very low surface brightness and no central star.  Very close star just to the ESE.  After getting home and searching for the object online, I found the discovery paper by William A. Sherwood who, as a graduate student in 1969, was blinking photographic plates at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh.  I precessed the 1950 discovery coordinates and searched the result in Aladin, which confirmed the observation for me as my sketch matched the star field.  Distance: 18000 ly.  17.2 mag, 7.0” size.  Today I received Kent Wallace’s excellent (or better yet, monumental) Visual Observations of Planetary Nebulae book, and I find his observation in a similarly sized telescope revealed a faint stellar object, though I was 100x higher in magnification.  I observed this during the “peak” seeing and transparency period during our time at Pinnacles, so I believe that helped.

J014709+463037 = Andromeda's Parachute.  This object was noted on Deep Sky Forum** earlier in the week, a gravitationally lensed quasar with an incredible red shift z=2.377.  I printed some AAVSO charts and gave it a try.  But, now it was 2am and the good seeing window had closed, and the sky began to haze.  I spent almost a half hour in the field searching.   Unfortunately my charts were confusing, and I could not very well match the star fields with the eyepiece view, though I was very certain my star hop was correct.  In any case, there are better charts available at DSF now, so I hope to try again at CalStar.


"And what about the huge (roughly 25' in size), low surface brightness HII region Sh 2-72? Is this a visual object?"

Yes, it is. 

I observed it last night from the Pinnacles with my 20-inch, after first observing NGC 6749 (@ 205x a fairly large but very faint irregularly round glow, with slightly more concentration in the middle, just distinguished from rest of field) & Sh 2-71 (205x w/ OIII, pretty large 3:2 N-S, fairly bright, with ragged edges; presumed central star noticed with averted vision then held direct.)

Sh 2-72: Using HBeta filter at 101x 3.1 exit pupil, I could discern very faint mottling in the field and scanning about the adjacent areas, with a line of distinct crenellations along the eastern edge of the glow -- the edges of the nebula set off against the darker sky background.  Averted needed to brighten the view but it could be seen direct vision.  At 87x 4.4 ep, the mottling was maintained within the larger 1° field.  UHC had a similar but somewhat weaker effect.  Surprisingly not too difficult, considering transparency and seeing were about average.

Thanks to Mark Wagner for the confirming view

As I recall the visitor's center has an outside light on all night, and it shines into the parking lot.  Suggest one of the club people ask the ranger if it can be turned off, or bring something to shield it.

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