Category: Deepsky log

Tuesday, August 07, 2007
The Red Necked Emu
On Saturday July the 15th, Leo and I finally had a good evening of observing together. We enjoyed hunting some deep-sky objects, he with the 4-inch Takahashi and I with my 15x80 Binoculars mounted on the SkyWindow. We started of with two very large clusters near the Serpens Cauda / Ophiuchus border, NGC 6633 and IC 4756. These two contrasting clusters are also included in O'Meara's "Hidden Treasures", under the numbers HT 92 / HT 93. With my 15x80 binocular (field of view 3.5 degrees) I could not see both clusters together. I had to turn the SkyWindow from left to right and back again to compare both clusters, but I noticed immediately how different these two open clusters are. I estimated IC 4756 about 45' or 50' in diameter. In a trapezium of 4 bright stars I count at least 50 weaker stars. NGC 6633 looks much more compact, about half the size of IC 4756. However, the individual stars are brighter, and are grouped in a kind of small elongated circle, and a few long straight streamers of stars. These two clusters are wonderful objects for binoculars.

Our next stop was Phil Harrington's STAR 26 ( STAR=Small Telescope Asterism Roster), the Red Necked Emu in Cygnus, The Swan. I had seen it once before in my 4-inch refractor a few years ago, so I knew what I was looking for. The Red Necked Emu looks like a giant propeller with three blades, about 1 degree in diameter. Just start at Gamma Cygni, the orange star at the heart of Cygnus, and move towards Albireo along the neck of the Swan for 2.5 degrees to 34 Cygnus. From there move about 1.5 degrees in the same direction to arrive at 29 Cygnus. This star marks the tip of the Emu's tail. On the image below you can see how the Emu is oriented in the sky. Through my 15x80 it was very simple to find. I think this object is best in 80 to 100 mm instruments, with a large field of view. This strange bird is called Red-Necked Emu because all the stars he consists of are white-bluish, except one orange-reddish star in its neck. This is very easy to see.

Click to enlarge

After this I first freewheeled a little through the Milky Way in Cygnus, a wonderful experience with binoculars. M 29, Albireo, Omicron 1 and 2, are just a few of the stops I made. After that I also made a little tour through Vulpecula: The Coathanger (Collinder 399) The Dumbbell (M 27), and the wonderful open cluster NGC 6940. Although not very well resolved, NGC 6940 stood out well from its surroundings, however I like this object more in my 300mm Newtonian. From Vulpecula I turned back again into the Swan, passing M 39 and on to Mu Cepheus, the Garnet star. In this area we looked at a few open clusters, but because we had some problems identifying them, we will have to revisit this area.

Posted by Math on 08/07 at 11:08 AM | (0) Comments | filed in: Deepsky binocular | Deepsky log | Print
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
First light(s) for my 300mm Orion Optics UK Dobson
It has been quite a while since you heard from me but finally I managed to find some time to give you an update on the performance of my new telescope, the 300mm Dobson from Orion Optics UK. I have been using it on several nights during the last few months and in this article you find a summary of the results of these more or less short observing sessions.
Posted by Math on 04/18 at 08:54 AM | (6) Comments | filed in: Deepsky log | Print
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Comet Swan and some deepsky tourism
On Monday the 16th of October, Leo and I got out to our new observing spot to have a look at Comet Swan. We arrived at 20.15 hrs local time, and the sky looked pretty clear and transparent. We could see stars right down to 15 degrees above the horizon, which is very good in our area.

Leo set up his 4-inch Takahashi and the Argo Navis. I got the 15x80 binoculars (with mirror mount) out of the car. I also got my 7x50 binoculars with me. We were ready to go within five minutes, and after searching for another two minutes we already had Comet Swan in both the 15x80 and the 4-inch Tak. Swan looked like a big fuzzy snowball, diffuse on the outer edge, gradually getting brighter towards the center. We could not detect a tail. Leo also tried higher magnifications with the binoviewer, but it did not really change compared to what we saw with lower magnifications.
Posted by Math on 10/22 at 10:50 AM | (0) Comments | filed in: Deepsky log | Print
Sunday, August 20, 2006
On the wing of the Swan: The Veil Nebula
After three heat waves and weeks of hot and sunny weather in June and July, August brought nothing but clouds and rain. Last night however, from 23.00hrs until 00.30 (local time) large gaps started to appear in the cloud cover. The sky looked very transparent, so I got out my 20x80 binoculars and the 85mm Zeiss. I first scanned the Milky Way in Cygnus with the big binoculars, and the amount of stars visible was simply stunning, indeed a very clear and transparent sky.
Posted by Math on 08/20 at 02:54 PM | (3) Comments | filed in: Deepsky log | Print
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Sagittarius treasure trove
Last weekend Leo and I went into the field just 2 miles down the road to do some deep sky observing. On Friday we just took our binoculars, because our major goal for the night was to see what this site (which we never visited before) had to offer. Although there where some streetlights visible a few miles away, the big plus for the site was that we had a 360 degree horizon. However, there seemed to be a lot of dust particles in the air because it was impossible to see any stars below 30 to 35 degrees towards the horizon.

On Saturday, we gave it another try, and we were in for a few big surprises! We drove up in our car around 22.00hrs local time and the Sun had just disappeared below the northwestern horizon. When we got out of our car what did we see: some distant streetlights, a fully lit church tower in the distance, some 20 to 30 red lights from a wind park and ……. a big campfire at the local “radio-controlled airplane” club. They had their annual summer-barbecue I guess.

Posted by Math on 07/16 at 06:39 AM | (1) Comments | filed in: Deepsky log | Print
Saturday, February 04, 2006
Deep sky nights......
On Monday January 23 I did some deepsky observing with the TAL 200K mounted on the EQ6, equipped with the Argo Navis Digital Telescope Computer. I used a range of eyepieces from 32mm to 5mm, sometimes combined with the Tal 2x barlow. I also used the 85mm Zeiss refractor with the 20-60x Zeiss zoom-eyepiece and a 32mm Televue Plossl. I observed from 20.00 hours UT till 00.30 hours UT. The seeing varied during the evening between 4 and 6 on a scale of 10 (10=best). The objects observed where M 42, M 43, the Eskimo nebula (NGC 2392), NGC 2903, Castor, Saturn / M 44, Alcor and Mizar, Sirius, Iota Cancri, Polaris and M 65 / M 66.

Posted by Math on 02/04 at 12:34 PM | (1) Comments | filed in: Deepsky log | Print
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Observing report TAL 250K
Last night, Leo and I observed the Moon, Saturn and a number of deepsky objects. We used an 8-inch Vixen Newtonian (R200SS) and a 10-inch TAL Klevtzov-Cassegrain (both mounted on a Lichtenknecker mount), combined with a Baader wide field bino-viewer. We used different Zeiss eyepieces. For wide-field viewing we also used a Zeiss 85mm Diascope with Zeiss 20-60x zoom eyepiece and two binoculars, a Vixen 15x80 and a TS 20x90. The deepsky objects observed were M 35, M 42, M 43, M 44, NGC 2264, NGC 2392, Alcor and Mizar, Cor Caroli and NGC 2261.

Posted by Math on 01/08 at 12:09 PM | (1) Comments | filed in: Deepsky log | Print
Monday, November 07, 2005
Celestial Christmas Trees
Although its another 6 weeks till Christmas, you already can enjoy the view of three celestial Christmas trees around this time of the year: M 39 in Cygnus, M 103 in Cassiopeia and NGC 2264 in Monoceros. However, if you want to observe all three in one night, start early in the evening and stay up until way after midnight.

1. M 39 (NGC 7092)
At the end of October / the beginning of November Cygnus is high in the southwestern sky around 20.00 hours UT. You can find M 39 about 9 degrees to the east-northeast of Deneb, the bright star marking the tail of the Swan. Although M 39 fits in the 48’ field of view of my telescope 8-inch Klevtzov, I find that M 39 is at its best in my 15x80 binoculars (f.o.v. 3.5 degrees). With plenty of space surrounding the cluster, M 39 stands out nicely from the neighboring star fields and its triangular shape makes it look like ......... a Christmas tree. M 39 has a diameter of 31’ and visual magnitude of 4.6. In the 15x80 I see about 20 to 25 stars ranging from magnitude 7 to 10, a very pretty sight.
Posted by Math on 11/07 at 01:26 PM | (0) Comments | filed in: Deepsky log | Print
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