OR: April 6 and 8, 2010: Dinosaur Point and Lake San Antonio

On Tuesday, April 6, I joined Marko, Rogelio, Hans Schulze and Paul Duncan at Dinosaur Point for a night of observing. Conditions were decent with fairly calm winds, average transparency and seeing, temps in the mid to low 40s and low humidity. Dew was not a problem at all, and my paper charts remained mostly dry. We got to observe Mercury shortly after sunset, but it didn’t show any detail due to the strong atmospheric refraction and horrible seeing at such low altitude. After that, I observed Herschel II objects in Leo and a few Herschel 400 objects in Virgo. Marko, who was busy imaging (traitor! :-), let me use his StarMaster 18″ dobsonian. This thing is … sweet! It moves like butter, stays still while focusing, and I was amazed by how much brighter objects looked compared to when observed through my 12″. I can’t wait to resume work on my own 16″ scope. Thanks again Marko!

Two days later, on Thursday, April 8, Rogelio and I met at Lake San Antonio. I passed him on Highway 101 shortly after leaving Salinas, and we followed each other from that point on. Conditions were pretty good, with an estimated NELM around 6.7 and average seeing. Humidity was rather high, and my paper charts and log paper were pretty soaked (although interestingly enough, it seemed to come in waves…). Rogelio was imaging and taking naps during exposures while I was busy observing Herschel II objects in UMa and Herschel 400 objects in Virgo. Among other things, I observed 3C 273, a quasar located in the constellation Virgo (the first quasar ever to be identified, it’s located about 2.5 billion light years away from us!). It was pretty cold (not sure how cold it got, but when I woke up in the morning, my car was clocking at 38F) and I had to bail out around 1:30am. I slept like a baby until about 7:30am. On my way out of the Lake San Antonio campgrounds, I was careful not to hit any bunnies or deers when I saw a herd of wild boars. Cool! I was back at work at 11am, with a big smile on my face. Now that’s some serious addiction to dark skies ;-)

Telescope: Meade Lightbridge 12″ F/5
Eyepieces used:
- Televue Panoptic 27mm (56x – 1.2° TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 16mm type 5 (95x – 52′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 9mm type 6 (169x – 29′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 7mm type 6 (217x – 22′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 5mm type 6 (305x – 16′ TFOV)

The format is object, type, constellation, RA, Dec, magnitude and time of observation (PDT)

Tuesday, April 6, 2009

Location: Dinosaur Point [Elevation 648 ft]

NGC 2655 GX Cam 08 57 03 +78 11 15 11.0 09:00pm
Fairly bright, about 1′ in diameter, very slightly elongated E-W, moderately bright almost stellar nucleus.

NGC 2781 GX Hya 09 11 58 -14 51 47 12.5 09:10pm
Faint, about 45″x30″ elongated E-W, slightly brighter non stellar core.

NGC 2855 GX Hya 09 21 58 -11 57 30 12.6 09:15pm
Faint, round, about 1.5′ in diameter, moderately faint almost stellar core. Located 4′ S of a bright (mag. 9.0) star.

NGC 2889 GX Hya 09 27 44 -11 41 35 12.5 09:20pm
Faint halo, roughly 1.5′x1′ elongated N-S, very slightly brighter stellar nucleus. Located arc minutes away from a few moderately bright field stars.

NGC 3145 GX Hya 10 10 41 -12 29 19 12.4 09:30pm
Faint halo, 2′x1′ elongated NNE-SSW, slightly brighter stellar nucleus. Located 10′ WSW of lambda Hya.

NGC 3162 GX Leo 10 14 07 +22 41 05 12.3 09:55pm
Faint round halo, about 1′ in diameter, slightly brighter stellar nucleus. Moderately faint (mag 14.4) star 1′ SE. Faint superimposed star 40″ E (?)

NGC 3177 GX Leo 10 17 10 +21 04 10 13.0 10:05pm
Round, moderately bright core, 20″ in diameter, surrounded by a very faint diffuse halo roughly 40″ in diameter.

NGC 3254 GX LMi 10 29 56 +29 26 17 12.3 10:15pm
Faint halo, 3′x45″ elongated NE-SW, surrounding a moderately faint core roughly 30″x15″ with the same orientation as the halo. Very faint star 45″ E (?) Very faint star 1′ N (?)

NGC 3274 GX Leo 10 32 53 +27 36 50 13.2 10:20pm
Fairly faint and relatively uniform halo about 45″x30″ elongated E-W.

NGC 3301 GX Leo 10 37 31 +21 49 36 12.3 10:25pm
Moderately faint, about 1′x30″ elongated ENE-WSW. Fairly bright stellar nucleus. The halo, which was not seen here, extends 2.5′x45″.

NGC 3507 GX Leo 11 04 00 +18 04 38 12.0 10:35pm
Small moderately faint core, located just 20″ from a fairly bright (mag 10.8) field star. A very faint halo is visible surrounding the core, but neither its size nor its orientation were noted.

NGC 3599 GX Leo 11 16 01 +18 03 05 12.9 11:00pm
Very faint round halo, about 45″ in diameter, surrounding a moderately faint stellar core.

NGC 3605 GX Leo 11 17 21 +17 57 30 13.2 11:05pm
Moderately faint halo, 45″x30″ elongated NNE-SSW, surrounding a moderately bright almost stellar core. In the same field of view as larger and brighter NGC 3607 and NGC 3608.

NGC 3338 GX Leo 10 42 42 +13 41 25 11.4 11:25pm
Moderately faint halo, 3′x1′ elongated E-W, surrounding a slightly brighter round core, about 1′ in diameter, with a faint almost stellar nucleus.

NGC 3524 GX Leo 11 07 06 +11 19 36 13.1 11:35pm
Moderately faint, about 30″x15″ elongated NNE-SSW, stellar nucleus. Located near two fairly bright field stars.

NGC 3547 GX Leo 11 10 30 +10 39 39 13.2 11:45pm
Faint, about 1′x30″ elongated N-S, fairly uniform.

NGC 3596 GX Leo 11 15 40 +14 43 41 11.8 11:50pm
Faint halo roughly 2′x1.5′ elongated N-S, surrounding a small slightly brighter core that seems elongated E-W (a DSS photograph shows tightly wound spiral arms are the most likely culprit to give the core that elongated appearance)

NGC 4636 GX Vir 12 43 23 +02 37 40 10.4 12:25am
Fairly bright round core 45″ in diameter, surrounded by a faint diffuse halo slightly elongated N-S extending to about 2′.

NGC 4643 GX Vir 12 43 54 +01 55 02 11.6 12:30am
Moderately faint halo 1.5′x45″ elongated NW-SE with a prominent fairly bright round core 30″ in diameter.

NGC 4845 GX Vir 12 58 34 +01 30 59 12.1 12:40am
Moderately faint, 4′x1′ elongated ENE-WSW, slightly brighter core 45″x15″ with the same orientation. Faint superimposed star 30″ E of the core.

NGC 4900 GX Vir 13 01 12 +02 26 29 11.9 12:50am
Moderately faint, round, 1.5′ in diameter, very slightly brighter stellar core. Bright superimposed star at the SE edge.

Thursday, April 8, 2009

Location: Lake San Antonio [Elevation 1082 ft]

NGC 2500 GX Lyn 08 02 40 +50 42 39 12.2 09:05pm
Faint, round, 2′ in diameter, fairly uniform, very slightly brighter core. A few moderately bright field stars appear in the same field of view.

NGC 2541 GX Lyn 08 15 26 +49 01 55 12.2 09:15pm
Extremely faint glow of uniform brightness, about 2′x1.5′ elongated N-S, very slightly brighter core.

NGC 2639 GX UMa 08 44 24 +50 10 11 12.6 09:25pm
Fairly bright, 50″x30″ elongated NW-SE, faint brighter stellar nucleus visible at times.

NGC 2756 GX UMa 09 09 47 +53 48 33 12.9 09:40pm
Faint, 1′x45″ elongated N-S, faint stellar nucleus seen intermittently.

NGC 2880 GX UMa 09 30 25 +62 26 51 12.5 09:50pm
Moderately bright core, 45″ in diameter, with a fairly bright almost stellar nucleus. Extremely faint diffuse halo, maybe elongated NW-SE (?)

NGC 3073 GX UMa 10 01 36 +55 34 13 14.1 10:00pm
Very faint, round, 30″ in diameter, with a faint stellar nucleus. Appears in the same field of view as NGC 3079, MCG 9-17-9 (barely seen, mag 15.4) and a few moderately bright field stars.

NGC 3225 GX UMa 10 25 53 +58 05 54 13.5 10:05pm
Very faint, fairly uniform, 1′x30″ elongated NNW-SSE. Located about 1′ SW of a moderately faint (mag 14.5) field star.

NGC 3583 GX UMa 11 14 48 +48 15 41 12.1 10:55pm
Fairly bright core, 1.5′x1′ elongated E-W, faint almost stellar nucleus. Very faint diffuse halo elongated NW-SE. Moderately faint (mag 14.9) field star 2′ SSE. Interestingly enough, I did not notice other (brighter) nearby field stars (?)

NGC 4013 GX UMa 11 59 05 +43 53 16 12.3 11:05pm
Fairly faint, 4′x1′ elongated ENE-WSW. The core region is slightly brighter and measures about 1′. It contains a moderately bright stellar nucleus or superimposed star (?)

NGC 4179 GX Vir 12 13 25 +01 14 19 11.8 11:30pm
Moderately bright, 2′x45″ elongated NW-SE. Fairly bright round core 30″ in diameter. Fairly faint superimposed star 45″ NW.

NGC 4281 (M 61) GX Vir 12 22 28 +04 24 50 10.2 11:40pm
Fairly bright round halo, 3′ in diameter. Bright stellar nucleus. Fairly faint superimposed star 1.5′ W of the nucleus. Attentive examination shows that the halo is of uneven brightness. A bar elongated NNE-SSW crosses the halo. The areas on either side of that bar are slightly darker. A spiral arm delimits the eastern edge of the halo, while another spiral arm starts at the southern tip of the bar and extends west toward the aforementioned superimposed star. A small knot is visible at the northern end of the bar as well. NGC 4303A and NGC 4392 appear in the same field of view.

NGC 4273 GX Vir 12 20 29 +05 17 00 12.3 11:55pm
Moderately bright, 1.5′x1′ elongated N-S, fairly uniform. Faint stellar nucleus. Forms a tight couple with NGC 4277. Part of an interesting group of 6 galaxies visible in the same field of view at medium magnification.

NGC 4281 GX Vir 12 20 55 +05 19 33 12.3 12:00am
Fairly bright, 1′x30″ elongated E-W, bright prominent core about 30″ in diameter, bright stellar nucleus. Part of an interesting group of 6 galaxies visible in the same field of view at medium magnification.

NGC 4527 GX Vir 12 34 42 +02 35 31 11.5 12:05am
Moderately faint halo, 4′x1′ elongated ENE-WSW. Fairly bright core 45″x30″ with the same orientation.

NGC 4536 GX Vir 12 35 00 +02 07 43 11.1 12:15am
Fairly faint halow, 2′x1′ elongated WNW-ESE. Moderately faint almost stellar nucleus. Two far flung spiral arms are barely visible using averted vision.

NGC 4570 GX Vir 12 37 27 +07 11 09 11.7 12:30am
Moderately bright, 3′x1′ elongated NNW-SSE. Fairly bright core 45″ in diameter, fairly bright stellar nucleus.

NGC 4596 GX Vir 12 40 29 +10 06 56 11.4 12:35am
Fairly bright, 2′x1′ elongated E-W. The core measures 30″. A few field stars are visible in the same field of view.

NGC 4654 GX Vir 12 44 29 +13 03 59 11.5 12:45am
Fairly faint halo of uniform brightness, 4′x1.5′ elongated WNW-ESE. Very slight broad concentration if the center.

NGC 4660 GX Vir 12 45 05 +11 07 50 12.1 12:50am
Bright, compact, 1′x45″ elongated E-W. Very bright small core.