Monday, May 09, 2016

viewed DSOs and doubles while imaged (Blue Mountains)

10:40 PM, Sunday 8 May. Started the "pond" star trails imaging run. Dew heater on the lens. It was very humid out there.

Got a soaker on the way back while crossing the creek! Damn it. Was trying to be careful. Left foot felt a little cold.

Also did a face plate after tripping over an unseen mound near the garage! Glad I wasn't carrying a camera.

Returned to the THO.

10:54. Woke up the Celestron telescope. Had to reset the time and date.

Turned the lights down.

Prepared the netbook. Connected SkyTools. Verified the connection. Saw it: the flashing X, pointing toward Sextans. Yep. Looked right. Slewed to Jupiter. Not in the eyepiece but close. Manually moved and synced (Sync to Cursor). Bingo. I still find that a little bit amazing.

Slewed to comet. P/2010 V1. Shown in the SkyTools Interactive Atlas. Out of curiosity, had a look. Didn't see it. Now surprised. SkyTools said it was mag 12.

Decided to continue my plan, working in a constellation. I was aimed at Leo.

Ooh. A quasar. 3C 232. But challenging, at mag 15.8. I elected to leave it for later.

Chose NGC 2903, near the head of the Lion. It was at the bottom edge of the field—centred it. Nice big oval. A galaxy, I thought. Seemed speckled. Not smooth. Not a bright centre. Very soft centre. Looked like an edge-on galaxy. Certainly canted. Pretty large oval. Pretty big, taking up 1/5th or 1/6th of the field in the baader planetarium 36mm eyepiece. Didn't think I could see any features, like arms.

Interesting stars in field. Pleasing. Noted a bright star at my 12 o'clock, slightly left. The bright star was HD 82394. I noted an L-shape of stars including TYC 01409-0617 1 between the galaxy and the HD star.

As I checked SkyTools, ran into a weird problem: the galaxy was not showing in the Context Viewer even when I used the All button.

Oh. Learned that HD 82394 was a double. aka Burnham 909. Centred on it, just for fun. Hmm. Not obvious. ST3P said the separation was 6.10", so doable. [ed: Oh. In 1914...] Perhaps it was the difference in magnitude: 7.5 vs 12.3. Cheated. Zoomed in to see the orientation: east to west. Stared for a while. Couldn't see anything. Weird. I could see J093233.2+214155, to the SSE, at mag 13.3, in a pattern of stars below.

Heard noises and talking out on the Observing Pad.

Slewed to next item. Just a random item spotted in the software. A couple of fields south of the galaxy... Got it! A neat triple. HD 82372, aka Σ1364. Would need big aperture for this system. Super faint. ST3P said the C companion was magnitude 11. Very faint. B was slightly dimmer than A, maybe 1 or 2 magnitudes. SkyTools shows A as mag 8.6 and B as 10.1. A and B were oriented nearly north and south. Slightly to the west (ST3P said 155°). 10 o'clock for C (301°) and 5:30 for B. A looked white or blue-white. B looked orange. I thought C was not quite two times the separation. ST3P said AB was 16.5" and CA was 39.5". Nice.

Headed to the GBO to get the ceramic heater. Partly to warm up my left foot.

Aimed for a target in Coma Berenices. NGC 4494. Near Collinder 256 (it was just to the west). Straight up. Turned the roof. Moved the chair. Small. Round, perfectly round, face on spiral galaxy. Medium bright centre. Very diffuse and smooth.

Bright star beside the galaxy. HD 109030. Nestled in some dim stars north-east of the galaxy. Among them a faint star. GSC 01989-2185 at mag 13.2.

A bright wide double star, out of field, was to the west. 17 Com. Primary was very bright. Same colour? Yellow. Maybe, green? Seeing was shite. Was there a glow or haze around these stars? Not logged. ST3P showed there was a C element but that it was very close (1.8") to bright B (mag 7.0) but much dimmer (14.7). Ugh.

[ed. A little strange it was not in the logged list. 17 Com I viewed a year ago but for the AB pair only. Really made no effort to suss out C. Created a new separate entry on the companion life list for BC. Will mark as logged in ST3P but include in the View Again observing list.]

Lots of doubles in the open cluster. The quad, 12 Com, I had already viewed...

[ed. Gonna put 12 Com in the View Again list. Another wide double for binos but a quad for future telescopic examination...]

Moved to NGC 4725. Bang, centre of the field. Something big... But diffuse. A galaxy. Slightly canted. North-east to south-west orientation. Light and dark regions. Some dark lanes. Dark on the left edge, or west. Interesting star field. Quiet big. Not a really bright centre. Faint. Neat.

Took in the nearby double. North-east of the galaxy. HD 111842, aka Struve 1684. Whoa. Faint. Primary was yellow. ST3P said the pair was 7.6 and 10.7. And 31.1" apart.

Curiously, I spotted a pair of stars nearby, to the south, including TYC 01993-0216 1 (which, in turn, is due east of the galaxy). Not marked as a double in SkyTools. Even though they have the same separation and similar brightness! Why not?

11:52. Decided on targets in Virgo. Slewed to NGC 4762. Whew! Lots in the field. A sliver. Wow. Another edge-on spiral. Medium bright centre. A bit brighter on the southern edge.

Three stars nestled in the foreground, including PPM 129415, in a gentle angle. Made for an very interesting view.

Another galaxy off to the side, west. Round-ish. Faint. NGC 4754. Perfectly inline and equidistant from the two stars TYC 00885-0892 1 and TYC 00885-0912 1. The galaxy was about half or a third the size of its neighbour.

Neat-o. Two for one! Two galaxies. Fun.

My feet were warming up.

Did not feel excited about Juno. Stick to galaxies (in these skies) when there's no frickin' Moon...

Slewed to a nearby multi-star system to the north-west. HD 111398. Gentle arc, curving up (north-south). Wow. Wow! There were more stars in a larger arc of 6 stars! A is the second star in, starting from the south. Two faint stars at the northern end, tailing slightly to the west. B and C looked slightly closer than A and B. ST3P said AB were 174.3 while BC were 135.6. B and C looked like the exact same colour. ST3P said the C star was slightly brighter.

[ed. Perhaps a candidate for the DS programme?]

Considered Boötes. A big jump... Shuffled about inside the little observatory. Was looking nearly straight up.

Viewed to NGC 5466. Crazy freakin' faint. What was it?! A globular?! Big. Quiet large. Loose. I wondered if it was really far away. ST3P said the distance was 52 000 light years. Examined it for a long time. Interesting. [ed: Didn't realise it at the time but it is a RASC Finest NGC.]

Bright star off to the side, at my 5 o'clock. Or east. HD 123409.

Whoa! Something bright zipped through the field. Very fast. Way faster than a satellite. North-west to south-east. A meteor?

Chose IC 983. On my View Again list. Saw a triangle. A fuzzy. Just above a star. Only with averted vision. Holy cow. To the north-west of HD 123409. Very faint. I could see IC 983. Tough. ST3P said it was mag 12.7!

I could not see IC 982. Right beside, it was supposed to be! ST3P said mag 14.5.

I saw NGC 5490 too. Already logged. But in my View Again list. Faint fuzzy. Very small. Near the faint star TYC 01468-0033 1. Almost inline with this star and HD 123409.

Headed to Markarian 841.

Tony popped by. Wondered if I would move the small heater to the GBO to help get rid of the frost on the uncapped SolarMax. I misheard him. I wanted it now. He asked when I was done. OK. They were concerned that the Coronado would not be ready first thing tomorrow. They had the GBO Warm Room heater on. I suggested the hair dryer, now, for a bit. We both forgot the dehumidifier...

12:24 AM, Monday 9 May. Still couldn't see anything. Checked SkyTools. It was on many lists. I gathered from the automatic addition, from the app's Nightly Observing List Generator. Why? Tiny, faint, distant.

I noted PPM 131114, south of where Markarian 841 should have been. It looked like a classic double star.

[ed: I should remove it from my edge-on galaxies observing list...]

All right. Mars time! Wow. Super bright, of course!

Noted a boat of stars. Tried to get my orientation.

Increased the power. Collimation was off. The seeing was bad... Gah.

12:40 AM. A white area, up for me. Dark regions to my left. Dark area at the 7 o'clock. Fantastic colour.

Noted a star, HD 146014 at mag 9.8, opposite a triangle.

Deimos should have been way off to the left for me. I panned to put Mars out of the field. Stared for a long time...

Clouds? The stars seemed to be dimming. I looked up. I could not see stars overhead. Damn. So much for that... I was disappointed. That meant my photos would be done too.

Closed up the THO. Packed up the heater for Katrina. But the GBO was locked. In the house, Tony sloughed it off. Brought it back to the THO. Observing Pad was quiet.

12:55. I readied to recover my camera.

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