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TAC Imaging / Re: M31 Andromeda
« Last post by jeffweiss9 on Today at 06:25:04 PM »
I just flipped the orientation from North-Up to North-Down for more aesthetic framing (1 year later).  I know there is no up or down in space but....the question arose:  Which edge of M31 is nearest to us, as a determination of the "correct" orientation?   After querying on CN, this North-Down orientation has M31's nearest edge at the bottom and in the apparent foreground (based on obscuration of the dust lanes in the far edge).  In this orientation, the rotation is CCW  (from another CN response).   I thought TACO's might be interested in that information (after some discussion on CN).
Observing Reports / Re: OR from Pinnacles 10/14
« Last post by DDK on Today at 04:33:51 PM »
Those galaxies in the 507 cluster average some 220 million lightyears from here, so about 4 times farther away than the Virgo Cluster. Do pack a lunch.
Observing Reports / Re: OR from Pinnacles 10/14
« Last post by DDK on Today at 01:42:01 PM »
Dude, what a night you had. 2 supernovae. And the 507 cluster in Perseus is wonderful. Once upon a time (yeah like 17 years ago) in front of the observatory at the Peak, those scads of galaxies were my first view of things outside of our Virgo Supercluster. As you know they're in the Pisces-Perseus Supercluster,

Hicksons! HGC 10 being right outside the main group of the 507 cluster, I've wondered if they're in the same group. 542 you described in your 20" as vS, eF, no kidding, it was Did Not Find for me in Uncle Albert my then 16" at CalStar 3 years ago. Good scope you have, that sucker is 1.0 by 0.2 arcminutes, vMag 14.7. Urk. There's aperture winning for you.

Hickson 16 I stumbled onto, 10 years ago at Dinosaur Point with Felix my 11". Funny sequence - "Interesting, peanut shape, bright core in each lobe, eastern core brighter (a star?). Nope, another galaxy ..." Hm, peanut-shaped galaxy wait no another galaxy wait a Hickson Cluster! Got the next two a month later, how I missed them that night I cannot tell you. Oh and notably, that next time out was New Year's Day '08 at the Peak on an astro-celebration with Gottlieb the Astro Animal.

Very fun report, McCarthy, thanks buddy!
Observing Reports / Re: 10/14/2017 Henry Coe
« Last post by Kai on Today at 12:18:06 AM »

Observing Reports / OR from Pinnacles 10/14
« Last post by mccarthymark on Yesterday at 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.
, and here a newish guy Kai and friends went to Coe last weekend.

Coe was too windy last week. For the past few times we were there (doing image), it was often too windy. Probably not so much a big deal for visual... ;-)

Observing Reports / Re: Dinosaur Point rides again
« Last post by DDK on Yesterday at 06:01:04 PM »
Now I oughta give out details about one of those little galaxies I started with on Saturday night. As stated, this was in Felix, my 11", now using a 9mm Nagler. NGC 6482 was in a close set of fairly bright stars (turned out to be 12th magnitude), where one wouldn’t come to focus. It had a very compact round halo. What I thought was a bright stellar core is in fact an accurately superimposed foreground star, per Sky Atlas Companion. It was in fact close to those neighbors in brightness, being mag 13, per Luginbuhl and Skiff's truly excellent Observing Guide.

a) I'm pretty sure I've never seen a galaxy in a field like that before, with a set of fairly equal fairly bright stars, it being the one that wouldn't focus. And b) here's one more instance where observing guides like SAC and L&S can be invaluable right on site.
Dino - I gotta mention every time, you need to get there by sunset in order to get in.

The Dinosaur Point regs were just posted last week in that OI. Right here -,868.0.html

Forget all those excuses. Go to Pinnacles or Dinosaur Point or Coe or the Peak this coming weekend. As my Daddy used to say, "Go outside, get some of the stink blown off."
Observing Intents / Re: Observing at Pinnacles West
« Last post by John Pierce on Yesterday at 04:53:25 PM »
yeah, its incredibly hazy and overcast here in santa cruz today, from the new Bear Fire that busted out last night above Boulder Creek.

looks like my rain forecast has both been downgraded and delayed some.   there likely WILL be some rain, but not as much as originally expected and a day or so later too.
Observing Intents / Re: Observing at Pinnacles West
« Last post by jim molinari on Yesterday at 02:46:12 PM »
I appreciate your input. Intellicast and National Weather call for clear Wednesday night. But, now I'm concerned about all the smoke pouring in from our local mountains and Santa Rosa Area. The air quality has taken a significant "turn" for the worse this afternoon. I checked Soledad this morning and it was good ... now it's unhealthy with high particulate rating. I will check all in the morning and cancel my intentions if necessary.
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