Observation Report from Backyard 04/3,4,5/02
Hi All, this is my first serious observing session since 02/09. The weather has been just so cloudy, and the few clear nights I was busy. Anyway, I had 2 days off and got out 3 nights in a row. Saturday night was probably the best, but I was tired and in bed by 10:00. Wednesday I was alone, Thursday I had my buddy Roley and Friday we had Ro, Rich and his daughter. Wednesday was the most productive as far as new item hunting went. Thursday was cloudy, me and Roley sat in the house waiting for the sky to clear for about and hour. Then we went out and there were 5 or 6 stars visible so I was able to do my 2 star alignment. Once that was successfully done, we hit the list of double stars from the Astronomy League. Now say what you want about a GOTO telescope, but without it we wouldn’t have seen anything that night. With it we got through 15 doubles, all very nice and we couldn't see any stars in the sky at all from time to time. Had a great time. Friday was lots of fun. I went through many of the items listed in my favorites log. I haven’t looked at many of them this year yet since the sky has been lousy since Leo got high enough and Virgo is available. This was a good chance to share them with others and remember why I listed them there.
Of the Double Stars we looked at Thursday night there were a few highlights.
Mu Bootis – mag 4.3/7.0 sep 108”, the interesting thing about this was, the dimmer star was clearly a double also. Very tight, I’d say under 2”. It was not noted as such on the list. Cool!
Delta Serpentis – mag 4.2/5.2 sep 3.9”, very nice yellow and blue components.
Mu Draconis – mag 5.7/5.7 sep 2”, nice tight one, clean space between them.
Alpha Herculis – mag 3.5/5.4 sep 4.7”, the brighter star was red and the other was hard to tell, not white though. I thought it look a little bluish.
All the doubles on the AstroLeague list are very nice. Those were the highlights from that night.
Wednesday night I did some successful new item hunting. The new Uranometria is great. I punched in a item I wanted to see on the LX200 hand control NGC4762 “The Needle”, found it on chart 90 of the Uranometria and stayed there all night. I looked only on the right hand page of the chart and only at items in the NGC4600 range. That was enough to keep me busy all night. Well till 2:00 AM anyway. Here are the new items I saw:
NGC4633 – Gal, Vir, mag 13.2, dia 2.0’. this was a small dim smudge near NGC4634 a 12.4 magnitude galaxy in the SFOV. I was happy just to see it from my light polluted yard.
NGC4608 – Gal, Vir, mag 11.1, dia 3.2’, Excellent item. Large round spot with a bright center. A fairly bright star close to one side.
NGC4654 – Gal Vir, mag 10.5, dia 4.7’, this was a large dim area with no bright center, kind of like M101. It had a slightly grainy surface. Not easy to see. Should be real nice under a dark sky.
NGC4659 – Gal, Vir, mag 13.0, dia 1.8’, I just love these small bright spots. Saw this right away. Just a small smudge with a bright center but visible right away. Didn’t have to wait for it to jump up and be noticed.
NGC4689 – Gal, Vir, mag 10.9, dia 4.0’, extra dim item. No bright center again. Can see with averted vision only. The galaxy is just a little brighter than the background. Even glow.
NGC4698 – Gal, Vir, mag 10.7, dia 4.3’, This was an oval shaped galaxy with a bright center between 2 fairly bright stars. Reminded me of NGC2403 “The Hammer Head Shark” only not as bright. Maybe I call this the Dim Shark.
NGC4866 – Gal, Vir, mag 11.0, dia 6.5’, Excellent edge on galaxy. Nice bright streak with a bright nucleus. There is a nice bright star on the edge as well, just for effect. Really liked this one.
After my friends left Friday night I found the following 2 more items.
NGC5342 – Gal, UM, mag 13.5, dia 1.1’, A real small smudge just about visible with averted vision.
NGC5389 – Gal, UM, mag 13.0, dia 4.1, dim but quite visible. A round spot with a slightly brighter center.
NGC4636 – Gal, Vir, mag 9.6, dia 6.2, real nice one! Oval shaped with a dark spot on one side near the core. Bright center, a star on each side. That dark area was cool , kind of oval shaped, I don’t want OT call it dust lane, it didn’t look like a typical dust lane streak. It was more of a patch. I’ll have to bring up a picture.
NGC4638 – Gal, Vir 15th magnitude, Couldn’t verify I saw this. I was looking at NGC4637 when I spotted in the SFOV what appeared to be a very dim spot with averted vision. I looked the chat and it could be 4638 very close by. I could only pick it up for brief moments or was it my imagination. This guy will top my list next time at a good dark sight.
There were a few items I couldn’t see. Most were around 14th magnitude. Need to get out to a dark sight again soon. Some of these were NGC4638, NGC4611, NGC4620, NGC5007, NGC5370, NGC5372, NGC5379, NGC5402 & NGC5430. There were a few more, I just don’t write them all down. These I gave a good long look for, but just couldn’t pull them out of the sky.
Over all three nights there were several items we’ve seen before that were outstanding. These are the highlights. NGC4710 a great thin streak of a Galaxy, real bright, even glow. NGC4762 the Needle, one of my favorites. A small bright streak, with averted vision the edges extend way into the field and come to extremely sharp points, NGC4754 a nice round galaxy with a bright core is a bonus in the SFOV. NGC4651 is a huge round galaxy with a pretty even glow. M90 has a star like nucleus with a dim haze around it. M88 was just outstanding. Huge bright area with a bright nucleus off center. It just about filled the field with the 22MM eyepiece at 138X. M91 looked the same only a little smaller. M64 the Black eye Galaxy was just amazing, big oval shape with a real bight core and that dark curved area just above the core. Beautiful sight. Good details like this will be visible in this galaxy even in smaller scopes. I could just keep going. We hit about 40 or 50 items Friday night. I spent more time on each item by myself Wednesday night. I enjoy spending time with friends at the scope or by myself looking for extremely dim details and DSO’s. Just love observing anytime any where. The item of the night (or 3 nights) was again one of my favorites. First time I’ve seen it this season. NGC5353/54 the Leopards eyes. I know I called this the item of the night several times last year. It amazes me every time I see it. Those 2 oval shaped galaxies at a 45 degree angle, both with bright centers, hiding in the glare of a beautiful orange and blue double star. Just a wonderful sight. The Black Eye Galaxy ran a close second.