OR: Henry Coe State Park, 1/13

I decided to take advantage of a break in the weather and headed to Henry Coe state park. There, I found Jeff Weiss and Paul Duncan. Rogelio joined us a short while later, followed by Mark Johnston and his family. Even though it had rained the day before, the overflow parking lot was not as muddy as I had feared. The wind was a bit strong early on, but died down around 8pm. The temperature stabilized in the low 40s. Transparency and seeing were both slightly below average. At times, clouds covered almost the entire sky, only to retreat a few minutes later. My observing list was composed of bright targets, mostly from the Herschel 400 project, and mostly to the East or near the Zenith. I was able to observe until about 9:30pm. Around that time, dew really became a problem. Since I have absolutely no anti-dew equipment, it meant that it was time for me to pack and go home. However, before leaving, using Paul’s (dry) eyepieces, we were able to get half-decent views of Mars, and easily saw Syrtis Major, Utopia Planitia and the north polar cap. Overall, it was a fairly pleasant evening.

Location: Henry Coe state park [Elevation 2600 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 PST)

NGC 1027 OC Cas 02h43m29.3s +61°38’37″ 7.4 mag 06:50pm
About 40 fairly bright to moderately bright stars within an area 20′ wide, centered on a bright (mag 7) yellowish (?) star.

NGC 650 (M76 - Little Dumbbell) PN Per 01h42m59.4s +51°37’54″ 10.1 mag 07:00pm
At low magnifications, this nebula appears bright, rectangular, 2′x1′ elongated NE-SW. At higher magnifications, it appears to be composed of two oval lobes, each being slightly elongated NW-SE, and separated by a “bridge” of slightly lower surface brightness. The lobe to the SW is the brighter of the two, and a faint star appears at its southern edge. A UHC filter reveals faint extensions to the SE and the NW (the SE extension being easier to detect).

NGC 869 (h Persei) OC Per 02h19m44.5s +57°10’49″ 4.3 mag 07:20pm
Striking at low power, when nearby NGC 884 appears in the same field of view. Composed of 100+ bright stars scattered within a 8′ wide area, with a few additional stars to the NW. Two very bright yellowish stars (mag 6.7 and 7.1) stand out near the center.

NGC 884 (Chi Persei) OC Per 02h23m02.8s +57°11’18″ 4.4 mag 07:30pm
Striking at low power, when nearby NGC 869 appears in the same field of view. Composed of 100+ bright stars scattered within an area 15′ in diameter. A few orange stars can be spotted in and around the cluster, the most impressive of which is FZ Per (mag 8.0), located about 10′ WNW of the cluster center region.

NGC 1501 PN Cam 04h07m54.7s +60°57’07″ 12.0 mag 07:55pm
Moderately bright and almost round, very slightly elongated E-W, about 1′ in diameter. Very slightly darker in the center. The northern and southern portions of the rim appear very slightly brighter. Moderately faint (mag 14.4) central star easily visible when not using a narrowband filter. This nebula is also known as the (Blue) Oyster Nebula.

NGC 1502 OC Cam 04h08m47.0s +62°21’46″ 4.1 mag 08:05pm
Located at the southeast end of a popular asterism known as “Kemble’s Cascade”. About 40 moderately bright to very bright stars within an area roughly 7′ in diameter, centered on a close pair of bright yellow stars (Struve 485)

NGC 1535 (Cleopatra’s Eye) PN Eri 04h14m45.8s -12°42’54″ 9.4 mag 08:45pm
Bright, round, about 15″ in diameter, surrounded by a fainter round envelope about 25″ in diameter. The central star was easily seen when not using a UHC filter. The region just around the central star looks slightly darker, although this may be a visual artifact (a DSS image shows that it is indeed real). The nebula shows a very light tinge of blue at low magnifications.

NGC 1664 OC Aur 04h51m52.0s +43°41’41″ 7.2 mag 09:10pm
About 30 moderately bright stars within an area 10′ in diameter. One of the stars (HN Aur) appears prominently red on photographs, but I did not notice it. Since it is a variable star, its redness may vary over time. Some people find that this cluster appears to draw the shape of a kite, which is why it is often nicknamed the “Kite Cluster”. Others have seen the leaf of a clover (Walter Scott Houston). I personally see the shape of a heart. The string of stars to the SSE forms the string of a heart shaped helium balloon…

NGC 1857 OC Aur 05h20m50.6s +39°21’19″ 8.4 mag 09:30pm
About two dozen fairly faint to moderately bright stars scattered within an area 10′ in diameter centered on a bright (mag 7.4) orange star.

NGC 1245 OC Per 03h15m26.0s +47°16’42″ 7.7 mag 09:45pm
Roughly 60 moderately faint stars spread fairly evenly over an 8′ wide area, except for a couple of small regions nearly devoid of stars near the center of the cluster. Bright (mag 8.0) star about 5′ SSE.