Category: Deepsky observing
Friday, February 25, 2011
Rigel and BetelgeuseOn february 8th 2011 I made sketches of Rigel and Betelgeuse. Both stars were observed through the Orion Optics 300mm. The sketch of Rigel represents a field of view of 52' and a magnification of 94x (17mm Nagler Type 4). The sketch of Betelgeuse represents a field of view of 37' and a magnification of 133x (12mm Nagler Type 4). South is up and east is to the left.
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Observing OrionIn the last few weeks I observed a few interesting objects in Orion. I started in januari with Collinder 70, Orions Belt. Last week I had a look at Collinder 69 and Collinder 72, one of Steven James O'Meara's hidden treasures. Today I added another three wonderful objects to my sketchbook: Rigel, Betelgeuse and Collinder 65.
Rigel was observed with the 12 inch dobson. The double star did not show itself as a double initially, due to a lot of turbulence in the tube (the scope was just outside for a few minutes. However, after switching on the fan, the weaker B companion popped into view, just like that. The image was stable right from the moment the fan started to make a laminar flow in the 12-inch tube. Amazing. Betelgeuse was also observed with the twelve inch, and the deep orange color was simply overwhelming, especially at lowest power. However, in the 85mm Zeiss, the color looked even much deeper than in the 12-inch.
Collinder 65 is a large open cluster, which actually belongs to Taurus, but lies on the Orion-Taurus border. I observed and sketched this large open cluster (3.3 degrees) using the Skywindow and the 8x42 Orion binoculars, field of view 8.2 degrees. Until a few days ago I didn't know this cluster was actually there, but when scanning the area between Collinder 69 and Messier 1, you cannot miss it. You immediately will recognize it as a cluster.
In the next few weeks I hope to publish my observing reports and sketches on http://www.starobserver.eu On the map below you can see where the objects I observed can be found.
image from Voyager by Capellasoft
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Markarian 6A few weeks ago I observed a very small and bright open cluster on the edge of the Heart Nebula in Cassiopeia, Markarian 6. The cluster looks more like a small asterism than a real open cluster, as you can see on the sketch below. Follow this link to my other website, starobserver.eu, for the complete observing report, finderchart, and a beautiful image of the heart-nebula by Dominique Suys (thanks Dominique for granting me permission to use your image for my report!)
Monday, January 17, 2011
The belt of OrionAt the end of 2010 I added three new objects to my StarObserver website. The two open clusters: NGC 129 and Stephenson 1 and a very interesting triple star, 40 Eridani. Just click on the links to have a look at some very interesting facts and stories on these fascinating objects.
Last week I made my first ever sketch of an OB Association, Orion OB1b, also know as Collinder 70, or just as The Belt of Orion. This large group of stars is a perfect binoculars. It is centred on the three bright belt-stars of Orion, and offers stunning views. I observed them with my 8x42 (8.2 degrees FOV), 12x60 (5.6 degrees FOV) and the 15x80 (3.5 degrees FOV). In the end I used the SkyWindow and my 15x80 to make this sketch. In time an article about this wonderfull object will be added to my website Starobserver.eu, but for now, here’s the sketch to enjoy.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Deepsky in the DordogneIn the first week of October I visited the Dordogne together with two other deepsky observers, Jo and Angelo. We rented a holiday home from Ad Mathijs from Astro Techniek. We were very lucky with the weather during this week. In the daytime it was almost every day between the 20 and 25 degrees, and the nights were very mild and......... clear! 5 nights out of seven on which we were able to observe. We had two big telescopes with us. Angelo took his 10-inch Meade and Jo had his 12-inch Orion Optics UK telescope for the deepsky and the Coronado PST for solar observations. I used the 14-inch telescope that comes with the holiday home. We also had a range of binoculars with us, an 8x42, 12x60, 12x80, and 15x80. Al could be mounted on the SkyWindow.
Setting up the equipment for another night of observing
On the five nights we observed more than 100 deepsky objects, but also Jupiter and Uranus. For me, the most beautiful object was the Milky Way. At home I cannot see it, but during the week in France I had enough time to really enjoy it and scan it with different types of binoculars. The sky was clear and it was dark, not extremely dark as in the Alps, but very dark when compared to my own backyard. I was able to pick out Barnard 142/143 (Barnards E) in Aquila just with the 8x42.
My top 10 from this week:
1. The milky way
2. The Helix Nebula (which I never had seen before), about the size of the moon, with 4 stars, including the central star, visible in the nebula;
3. The parts of the Veil nebula, simply stunning;
4. The north America nebula
5. The white and red dwarf star in 40 Eridani
6. The deep orange variable TX Pisces
7. NGC 129 (open cluster in Cassiopeia
9. Comet Hartley near the double cluster
10. Alpha Persei Moving cluster through the 8x 42 binoculars, mounted on the SkyWindow
Here are a few images which Angelo shot with his Canon, just from a tripod (Click to enlarge)
Circlet of Pisces with the orange TX Pisces to its left and Jupiter / Uranus below the Circlet
Orion rising above the trees
Monday, June 07, 2010
Observing the Pleiades with binoculars
Last winter I made a detailed sketch of the Pleiades (M45) in Taurus. The sketch was made outdoors using a felt-tip pen and white copy paper. Later this spring I scanned the sketch and processed it using Photoshop. The instrument used during the observation was an 8x42 wide angle binocular, with a field of view of 8.2 degrees, mounted on the SkyWindow mirror mount. For a detailed observing report and further background info, please visit my website dedicated to double stars and open clusters, Starobserver.eu
Click on the image to enlarge
Sunday, June 06, 2010
Observing deepsky objects with a binoviewer......I finally had a chance to test my new binoviewer on some deepsky objects, and I must admit, it did not disappoint me. Of course the binoviewer is not very useful on the larger open clusters or on double stars, but on objects with some kind of "surface" like planetary nebulae and globular clusters, it is definitely an improvement over the view with just a single eye. I had a look at three globulars, M13 and M92 in Hercules and M56 in Lyra. All objects were viewed at a magnification of 217x.
M13 was simply stunning, watching it drift across the field like a giant spider with several legs of stars stretching out from the crowded centre, a very large and attractive globular cluster. M92 was a very different story. Compared to M13, M92 is very compact, with not so many outlying stars, but with a very bright core. M56 surprised me. Until now, from my suburban backyard, it looked very dim, a faint smudge of light with little or no detail. But now, even during the period we call the grey nights (it doesn't get really dark), I saw M56 partially resolved in individual stars, thanks to the observation with both eyes.
Below you see a comparison of the three globular clusters from the POSS-1. The National Geographic Society - Palomar Observatory Sky Atlas (POSS-I) was made by the California Institute of Technology with grants from the National Geographic Society. All three images cover an area of 1 degree by 1 degree.
After the globular clusters I had a go at a few planetary nebulae, The Blinking planetary (NGC 6826) and Hidden Treasure 78 (NGC6210). The sight of the blinking planetary amazed me. For the first time ever I saw this small nebula in full color, right at first site. A small blue-green patch of light. During earlier observations of this nebula, I always had trouble to see the color. NGC 6210 in Hercules was jumping at me with a bright blue color. Is it easier to see color with two eyes?
After tonight I definitely know that the binoviewer will be used for observing smaller deepsky objects like globulars, planetary nebulae and galaxies. But I am also very curious what this binoviewer will do on extended nebulae, like M42 or M17.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Update on Starobserver.euHi all,
I have to apologize that I have not posted a lot in 2009, but due to some personal things, my time was very limited. I did however put a lot of effort in Starobserver.eu, my new website about observing stars and starclusters. Right now I have documented 24 objects which I have observed in the last year, with sketches and very detailed observing reports: 12 open clusters and 12 stellar objects. In the next few months a hope to add a group of asterisms. Very recently I added a "search engine" to Starobserver.eu and an article about my observing reports. Just have a look at my new site. Any tips and/or comments are of course appreciated.
And here's a sketch of M44 that made it into Astronomy Sketch of the Day:
Anyway, I hope to post a little more in my blog again in the next months.
Clear skies to all of you..........