Observation Report from Backyard 01/18/02
I left the car packed from the School Party we did Thurs. in hopes of getting to a darker sight Friday. The weather report was for clear skies clouding up later. Now what does that mean? Later when? 10:00 or 3:00. Oh well, didn’t want to sit in a cold field waiting for it to clear. I’d rather do that at home. Had 2 friends over, Roley and Ro. Turned out the sky wasn’t all that great or that bad with a haze in the air all night. But we did get some casual observing in. It was cold, I kept fogging up the eyepiece. I had to hold my breath while observing.
We started with many of the usual Messiers visible from my yard this time of year. M81 was nice, M82 outstanding. Much of the dim haze around M81 was not visible so it wasn’t as good as M82, which is pretty bright all over. Jupiter and Saturn didn’t display much detail. M42 was fabulous with the ultra block filter. M43 was great. That gets so overlooked. If it was anywhere but right next to M42 it would get looked at all the time. NGC2261, Hubbell’s Variable Nebula, always a crowd pleasure. Looks like a Comet. NGC2392 the Eskimo Nebula was the item of the night. The central star is quite obvious. A very bright haze around it followed by a dimmer haze that just ends. It doesn’t fad off the way a galaxy does. Much detail is visible here. We used the 14MM UWA eyepiece at 218x. Very sharp image. It starts to look rounded in arcs on the edge, kind of like the outside of a design done on a kids spirograph (remember those). The dimmer outer ring has a grainy effect. We then moved up to the 8MM radiant eyepiece at 381x. Very nice view. The Eskimo was huge and very detailed. Spent lots of time on this one. Couldn’t get enough of it.
Eventually, we moved on. My favorites log consists mostly of items I could see right away. Not many items I need to coax out of hiding make the favorites logbook. I do put some in there, like the 15th magnitude galaxy I saw and some others that were just my favorite items that night. After all, it is my favorite book. Tonight we saw many of the items in Auriga, UM, Lynx and near the top of Leo. NGC2549 11th mag in Lynx is a nice little galaxy sitting right next to a fairly bright star. Reminds me of NGC404 in And. NGC2683 the UFO galaxy is a spectacular bright streak with a real fat center. Looks like a little flying saucer. NGC2880 in UM has a real bright center with some haze around it. NGC3079 I call the little Milky Way. There are 4 stars that resemble the top of the Northern Cross in Cygnes. The streak of a galaxy is right where the Milky Way would be. NGC2841, spectacular very bright galaxy in UM 9.3 mag. NGC331 Small round galaxy in UM, nice details. NGC2768, real bight 10th mag also UM. NGC2371 PN in Gemini 13 the mag 54” but very visible, small round object, Try it! NGC1664 OC in Auriga the Sting Ray. Take a look at this. You’ll see it right away. NGC2419 a Globular Cluster in Auriga. This is a famous item. A big hazy area. It’s the farthest galactic item. Of all the deep sky objects in our Galaxy, this is the most distant. It’s amazing that we get to see it. NGC2903 in Leo, beautiful bright 8.9 mag galaxy. Looks like M81. NGC 3021 Leo a 13 the mag galaxy only 1.7” in diameter. Make a bright little spot on the sky. Two of my favorites NGC3193/90 galaxy pair in Leo. Both small edge-ons with sharp point on the sides. They hold up nice under higher magnification.
As Leo gets higher, Canes Venitici comes up, Coma Berenices and of course Virgo, I could just sit and look the stuff in my favorites log all night. But then nothing new would get added. Looking forward to some clear nights and good hunting. Keeping those favorites coming!