OR: D.A.R.C. Observatory, 6/12/2010

A few of us went to the D.A.R.C. observatory last night, including Robert Jardine (aka “Joe Bob”), Al Smith and his wife Annie, Al Howard, Eric Zbinden, Daniel Stefanescu, and of course Dr Lee Hoglan and Dr Bob Caton.

Before it turned dark, Bob Caton organized a short lecture on Kuiper belt objects, some of which he had imaged from his home in Modesto. He also shared a few recent photographs of M101 he had taken from his private observatory, and talked about future plans for the D.A.R.C. observatory, including the installation of a 50″ dobsonian telescope.

Observing conditions were pretty good. There was no wind, except maybe for the occasional light “refreshing” breeze. The seeing was rather mediocre. The dry air, coming from the north, allowed for good transparency (NELM: 6.6). In addition, it was warm enough that it felt comfortable to wear nothing more than a pair of shorts and a light long sleeve shirt.

I spent a couple of hours observing a dozen or so Herschel II objects in Libra and Bootes. Then, I moved on to some eye candy in the Summer milky way, using my newly acquired Lumicon O-III filter. Finally, I got to play with the JMI 16″ binocular telescope. Pretty cool! By the way, I took a quick look at M13 and finally saw the propeller! (thank you, Richard Ozer, for pointing it out to me on a photograph last month!)

Joe Bob and I looked for comet McNaught using our binoculars around 2:30am, but we could not spot it (it was supposed to be right near M34, which was very easily visible in our binoculars in spite of its low elevation)

Location: D.A.R.C. Observatory [Elevation 1400ft]
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)

Log format: [designation(s)] [type] [constellation] [RA] [Dec] [magnitude] [date and local time of observation (Pacific time zone)]

NGC 5595 GX Lib 14 24 49 -16 46 24 12.6 2010-06-12 10:15pm
Dim halo 2’x1′ NE-SW, slightly brighter core about 30″ in diameter. Forms a nice pair with NGC 5597 located 4′ SE.

NGC 5597 GX Lib 14 25 04 -16 48 47 12.6 2010-06-12 10:20pm
Very dim uniform round halo about 1′ in diameter. Faint stellar nucleus. Forms a nice pair with NGC 5595 located 4′ NW.

NGC 5605 GX Lib 14 25 43 -13 12 46 13.1 2010-06-12 10:30pm
Dim, round, about 45″ in diameter. Very slightly and gradually brighter toward the center.

NGC 5728 GX Lib 14 43 01 -17 18 02 12.3 2010-06-12 10:35pm
Very dim halo, 3’x1′ NE-SW. Round, fairly bright core about 30″ in diameter. Two fairly faint superimposed stars can be seen, one 20″ NE and the other 1′ SW of the core.

NGC 5791 GX Lib 14 59 23 -19 18 42 12.7 2010-06-12 10:50pm
Moderately bright round core, about 30″ in diameter. Gradually fainter diffuse halo 1’x45″ N-S. Faint IC 1081 was detected about 2′ ENE.

NGC 5812 GX Lib 15 01 31 -07 30 02 12.2 2010-06-12 11:00pm
Moderately bright round core, about 30″ in diameter, gradually brighter to a possible stellar nucleus (?) Very faint round halo detected, measuring up to 1′ in diameter. Faint IC 1084 was detected about 4′ E.

NGC 5861 GX Lib 15 09 52 -11 21 48 12.3 2010-06-12 11:10pm
Moderately faint, uniform halo, 2.5’x1′ NNW-SSE. Appears slightly rectangular in shape (?) Forms a pair with NGC 5858 located 9′ NW. Much dimmer IC 1091 can also be seen a little further to the WNW.

NGC 5878 GX Lib 15 14 22 -14 18 36 12.3 2010-06-12 11:20pm
Faint halo, 2’x45″ N-S. Fairly bright, almost stellar core. Faint superimposed star 45″ SSW. Located about 10′ WSW of a bright yellow/orange star.

NGC 5687 GX Boo 14 35 14 +54 25 54 12.6 2010-06-13 12:30am
Moderately bright core, 30″x15″ E-W. Faint halo, 1.5’x45″ E-W, which detection is complicated by the presence of several moderately faint superimposed stars. In particular, the core is framed by two superimposed stars located 30″ E and 30″ W respectively.

NGC 5481 GX Boo 14 07 06 +50 40 31 13.2 2010-06-13 12:45am
Faint halo, very slightly elongated WNW-ESE, about 1′ in diameter, gradually brighter to a moderately bright stellar nucleus. Forms a pair with NGC 5480 located 3′ W.

NGC 5520 GX Boo 14 12 47 +50 18 02 13.1 2010-06-13 12:55am
Fairly faint halo, 1’x30″ WSW-ENE. Moderately bright core, about 20″ in diameter. Two fairly bright field stars just 3′ E.

NGC 5602 GX Boo 14 22 43 +50 27 17 13.2 2010-06-13 01:00am
Very faint halo, 1’x30″ N-S. Moderately bright stellar nucleus.