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
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.
Below you see an image of the binoviewer. I also shot two pictures of the active region with the Coolpix 4500. However, the live view through the binoviewer/herschel shows much more detail than I can record with my camera.
On Monday the 24th of May I shot a few images of the Sun with my Coolpix 4500 connected to a 32mm Plossl eyepiece. The first image shows a large prominence. The image was shot through the Coronado PST. The second and third image were shot through the Herschel prism, mounted on a 4-inch refractor. The filters used are a Baader Kontinuum filter and a neutral density 3.0 filter, also from Baader.You can click on all three images to enlarge them.
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..........
Just a quick update on my new website Starobserver.eu. I added another sketch to the open cluster section. Last winter I observed NGC 2420 in Gemini. This little cluster lies in the neighbourhood of the Eskimo Nebula, For a detailed observing report, some info on the discovery of this cluster, a finder chart and other interesting things on NGC 2420, please follow this link to NGC 2420 on StarObserver.eu
Image by Dr. Franz Gruber