OR: CalStar 2010

Attendance at this year’s CalStar was surprisingly low compared to last year. I setup in the “dark enforced area”, right next to Mark Johnston whom I must thank for helping me get out of a bad battery situation…

The skies were roughly similar on Friday and Saturday night. I estimated the NELM was around 6.5 while seeing was average to slightly better than average after midnight. Friday night was very dewy, and Saturday night was a little breezy at times. Temps were in the mid 80s during the day and dropped to the low 40s by the time I went to bed (~2am)

Comet Hartley 2 was a real treat on Friday night through Mark Johnston’s William Optics 110mm triplet refractor. Outfitted with a Televue Nagler 26mm eyepiece, the comet was visible along with the double cluster in the same field of view! On Saturday night, Hartley 2 had moved and was located right near a rather bright (~ mag 6) orange star. Jupiter also put on a good show, with an Io shadow transit on Friday and a GRS transit on Saturday.

My observing list consisted of a mixed bag of rather difficult objects for a 12″ scope: a few Palomar globular clusters, a tiny proto-planetary nebula, a few local group members, and some Herschel II objects. I also spent some time observing several galaxy groups, using Alvin’s guide “Selected small galaxy groups”.

Log format: [designation(s)] [type] [constellation] [RA] [Dec] [magnitude] [date and local time (PDT)]

Location: Lake San Antonio [Elevation 1082 ft]
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)
(All times are PDT)

Galaxy groups observed on Saturday night

  • NGC 6211 group: saw all 4 members, forming a chain. N6211 was seen easily, N6213 was a little harder, while M+10-24-32 and M+10-24-34 were very hard but positively detected multiple times.
  • NGC 6962 group: N6962, N6964 and N6967 were seen easily, and N6961, although fainter, was fairly easily detected.
  • NGC 7184 group: N7184, N7180, N7185 and N7188 seen easily within one field of view of 7mm eyepiece (217x, 22′)
  • NGC 7103 group: N7103 and N7104 were detected fairly easily, IC 1393 a little harder, while IC 5124 and IC 5122 were very hard but positively detected multiple times.
  • NGC 7385 group: N7385 and N7386 were easily seen. N7387, N7389, N7390 and N7383 were detected fairly easily. N7384 was barely detected.

Friday, October 8, 2010

PK 080-6.1 (Cygnus Egg) PN Cyg 21 02 45 +36 44 29 13.5 2010-10-08 08:20pm
Appears as a slightly fuzzy tight double star. The components, aligned N-S, actually are the lobes of this proto-planetary nebula. The lobe to the N appears brighter.

NGC 7354 PN Cep 22 40 46 +61 20 51 12.9 2010-10-08 08:45pm
Easily spotted in 9mm eyepiece (169x, 29′) as a small and moderately faint uniform round disc roughly 30″ in diameter. Better seen in 7mm eyepiece (217x, 22′). OIII filter works well but does not bring out any additional details. Traces of annularity glimpsed. Two moderately faint (mag. 14.8) stars are located right outside the nebula to the W and SW. A faint star (mag. 15.9) is visible to the NW.

Palomar 12 GC Cap 21 47 17 -21 11 59 11.7 2010-10-08 09:20pm
Very pale round glow, roughly 1.5′ in diameter, barely detected with 16mm eyepiece (95x, 52′), better seen with 7mm eyepiece (217x, 22′). Located 2′ NW of a small rectangle triangle of moderately bright stars. Note: I sketched the field and verified later on that the position was correct.

NGC 7507 GX Scl 23 12 44 -28 28 45 11.4 2010-10-08 10:35pm
Small (~ 10″) bright round core, moderately faint halo 1.5′ in diameter. Located 20′ from dimmer NGC 7513.

NGC 7562 GX Psc 23 16 32 +06 45 02 12.6 2010-10-08 10:55pm
Small (< 10") moderately bright core, faint halo roughly 1' in diameter, both very slightly elongated E-W. Located 2' W of a moderately faint (mag. 14.3) star. Faint (mag. 15.8) star 1.5 NW. Did not see NGC 7562A and 7557 (a DSS sheet of the region would have helped in locating those)

NGC 7541 GX Psc 23 15 18 +04 35 48 12.5 2010-10-08 11:05pm
3′x1′ E-W, moderately faint, fairly uniform. Located 3′ W of a moderatelt bright (mag. 13.0) star and 4′ ENE of smaller and dimmer NGC 7537. Traces of mottling detected?

IC 10 GX Cas 00 21 01 +59 21 24 11.8 2010-10-08 11:40pm
Extremely faint glow, about 2′x1′ E-W. 2 moderately faint stars are superimposed, the brighter one to the W. A few more faint superimposed stars pop in and out of view. Knowing where to look and what to look for helps tremendously here, and I had just looked at this object in Mark Johnston’s 18″ scope prior to looking for it in my 12″ scope. Otherwise, I probably would have missed it…

MCG-3-1-15 (WLM Dwarf) GX Cet 00 02 33 -15 23 53 11.0 2010-10-09 12:00am
Extremely pale glow, 15′x5′ N-S. Moving the scope back and forth over the field helps to distinguish the object’s glow from the background sky.

NGC 24 GX Scl 00 10 31 -24 54 00 12.1 2010-10-09 12:30am
4′x1′ NE-SW. Fairly faint, uniform halo, only slightly brighter toward the center. Some mottling was suspected. A fairly bright star lays at the ENE end.

NGC 171 GX Cet 00 37 56 -19 52 20 13.0 2010-10-09 12:40am
Fairly faint, round, 1′ in diameter. Slightly brighter round core, 20″ in diameter. Forms an isoceles triangle with 2 nearby field stars of similar brightness (mag. 10.8 and 11.5) Note: NGC 171 = NGC 175 (see NGCBUGS for story)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

NGC 7785 GX Psc 23 55 54 +05 58 48 12.6 2010-10-09 10:45pm
Almost stellar bright core, faint halo 1′x45″ NW-SE. Moderately faint (mag. 14.7) star just outside the halo to the N. A few fairly bright stars visible in the same field of view of the 7mm eyepiece (217x, 22′)

NGC 125 GX Psc 00 29 25 +02 54 09 13.3 2010-10-09 11:05pm
Moderately faint, round, about 30″ in diameter, gradually brighter toward the center. 2 moderately faint (mag. 10.8 and 13.1) stars located just S. Forms a nice group with NGC 126, 127 (seen with great difficulty), 128 and 130, all seen in the same field of view of the 7mm eyepiece (217x, 22′)

NGC 7832 GX Psc 00 07 03 -03 39 09 14.3 2010-10-09 11:15pm
Fairly faint, 45″x30″ NE-SW, weak small core.

NGC 7635 (Bubble Nebula) BN Cas 23 21 14 +61 16 22 11.0 2010-10-09 11:25pm
Faint nebulosity around SAO 20575 (mag. 8.7), about 1′x45″ E-W. With careful examination, using a 9mm eyepiece (169x, 29′) outfitted with an OIII filter, and knowing in advance what to look for, I was able to detect a faint extension to the E, arcing toward the SE. Another fairly bright star (SAO 20562, mag. 6.9), 5′ WSW, also appears fuzzy (probably just scattering)

NGC 198 GX Psc 00 39 58 +02 51 40 13.1 2010-10-10 12:00am
Round uniform glow, about 1′ in diameter. Visible in the same field of view of the 7mm eyepiece (217x, 22′) as NGC 200, both galaxies being at the end of a nice galaxy chain.

IC 1613 GX Cet 01 05 29 +02 11 41 10.1 2010-10-10 12:15am
Extremely pale glow, 10′x5′ WNW-ESE, barely distinguishable from the background sky. Using a low power eyepiece (16mm, 95x, 52′) and moving back and forth over the expected position helps in convincing yourself that you’re actually seeing the darn thing!

NGC 315 GX Psc 00 58 26 +30 24 51 12.2 2010-10-10 12:30am
Fairly bright small core (~ 20″), fairly faint round halo measuring roughly 1′ in diameter. Faint star just 40″ E. Another faint star 45″ NNW. Visible in the same field of view of 7mm eyepiece (217x, 22′) as NGC 311.

NGC 514 GX Psc 01 24 40 +12 58 38 12.3 2010-10-10 01:00am
Very faint uniform oval glow, 2′x1.5′ E-W. Caught a glimpse of an almost stellar core (?) Located 2′ W of a fairly bright star (HIP 6558)

NGC 660 GX Psc 01 43 38 +13 42 05 11.9 2010-10-10 01:05am
Moderately faint halo 2′x1′ NNE-SSW, brighter core 30″x15″.

NGC 665 GX Psc 01 45 32 +10 28 50 13.2 2010-10-10 01:10am
Faint halo 45″x30″ NW-SE, small (~ 15″) moderately bright round core.

NGC 718 GX Psc 01 53 49 +04 15 09 12.6 2010-10-10 01:15am
Small (~ 10″) bright round core. Moderately faint round halo 1′ in diameter showing hints of mottling.

NGC 706 GX Psc 01 52 26 +06 21 13 13.2 2010-10-10 01:20am
Very faint uniform round glow, 45″ in diameter. Located 45″ SSW of a moderately faint (mag. 16.1!) field star.

NGC 741 GX Psc 01 56 57 +05 41 06 12.3 2010-10-10 01:25am
Round, fairly faint, 30″ in diameter. Forms a very tight couple with smaller and dimmer NGC 742, just to the E, sharing a common halo with NGC 741. Galaxy IC 1751 was barely detected in the same field of view of the 7mm eyepiece (217x, 22′)

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