Friday, February 17, 2012

what was that? (Blue Mountains)

Dinner and dishes were done. I peeked outside. It was somewhat clear.

I wanted to try for some dark-sky Orion targets. Things like reflection nebulae. And maybe, just maybe, some dark nebulae! Was very interested in visiting some of the other objects we had talked about at the DDO. The "and beyond" objects. But I didn't really have a formal plan or a list. Nothing prepared in SkyTools 3 Pro.

Connected the Dell laptop to the Paramount. I only half-opened the roof, so to offer some protection from the wind. Aimed the Celestron 14" Schmidt Cassegrain telescope toward the Hunter.

I tried to view the Horsehead Nebula. Didn't see anything. But I was not really expecting to see Barnard 33 against Index Catalog object 434. Not easily. Based on everything I was starting to read and hear. I was using the biggest aperture I had ready access to and some said it was 2 or 3 inches too small. And I knew I was not really dark adapted. I'd need to wait another 20 minutes or so...

I wondered about the Flame Nebula. People said that if you can see it, then there's a chance you'll be able to see the Horsehead. Well, that should be near where I am, I thought. Considering the SCT field orientation while I was looking straight down into the eyepiece, I knew it should be up and to the right. To the north-west.

With the hand controller I started moving up. Right. A little. Then a lot. And ended up somewhere to the west of Alnitak. When I spotted this little blob. Curved. Or L-shaped. Small but bright. What's that?!

I looked at the position indicated in TheSky6. I zoomed in the screen. Nothing was shown. What the heck is this object? Immediately I was concerned about the precise positioning. That is, there's not an exact correspondence to what the software shows and what the Paramount ME is doing. Where was I exactly? Would I be able to get back to it?

Another pair of eyes looked. Which was good. They confirmed it wasn't my imagination!

Clouds appeared. A short session. But it might afford some time to research...


While I was trying some searches in SIMBAD and Aladin, and trying some different settings in ST3P, Tony found mystery object! He searched the web using the dining room computer and showed me a photo of the Orion Belt region. I didn't recognise the exact tool he was using but it was showing good detailed images.

We were able to determine that the mystery object was at 05:38:12.13 by -01:46:39.0. Near HD 37389. 41 arc minutes from Alnitak.

It was a cometary globule. None of us had heard of that before! Looked 'em up. Seems these are common in Orion. Maybe prototypical. Perhaps indicators of new solar systems.

Seems the object designation is ORI I-2.

I looked it up in SIMBAD. Yep! That was it.

It was not displayed in my SkyTools 3 interactive atlas or context viewer windows...

I remembered an APOD image of the Belt region of Orion. I tracked it down (from 21 January 2011) and zoomed in. There are lots of these blobby things!



Didn't think to take a picture! Sheesh. Gotta be on it, in the future. Could have bolted up the MallinCam... If I think I've "found" something or if something looks really different, I need to make better records.


Added a new tag, for this deep sky object type, for the blog!

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