January 2021 DSO Challenge

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kt4hx
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January 2021 DSO Challenge

#1

Post by kt4hx »

I re-observed a couple of the challenge objects last night (09 Jan) from our dark site using the 17.5 inch dob. This is part of a larger galaxy hunting session which will be reported in the Reports forum when completed.

First I attempted to pick up NGC 1851 in Columba despite it being less than 10° above the horizon at the time and having to really lower my observing chair. Despite the generally poor seeing of the evening and more importantly the thick air mass so close to the horizon, it was still a fairly large and bright round glow at 90x. There was no resolution of any stars as its light was a tad smeared by the turbulence I was looking through. In reality it was more of a blobular than a globular. :)

One of my best views of this fine object was about 11 years ago from a location around 17° north latitude using my then ST120 refractor. First it was easily seen in the 8x50 RACI finder, then at 40x in the scope it was very bright, and somewhat large, round with an intensely bright core surrounded by an unresolved halo.

At the end of my outing, with Orion nicely elevated, I decided to pay a visit to M78 for the first time from our dark site house. Turning the big eye its direction it was quickly swept up at 110x as a large and very bright roundish (for lack of a better work) glow. Its two piercing eyes of 10th magnitude were staring right back at me rendering it a ghostly, ethereal apparition. I also noted the dim 13th magnitude star trying its best to poke through the haze near its southern edge. To my delight, I also picked up other dimmer sections of the larger nebula complex beyond the brighter portion that we know as Messier 78 (NGC 2068) as detailed below:

NGC 2071 - A few arc minutes to the NNE of M78 I noticed this much dimmer, but still obvious glow surrounding a 9th magnitude star. While certainly more subtle than the nearby showpiece, it was nonetheless obvious at 110x. Its shape was a bit hard to pin down, more like a dim ghostly amoeba lazing nearby.

NGC 2067 - I also easily noticed this dimmer elongated glow immediately northwest of the primary structure, separated by a dark void. It was more ghostly in appearance than NGC 2071, but was still evident at 110x. I did not notice any stars involved.

NGC 2064 - I continued to study the field surrounding M78 and particularly to its southwest. As my eye relaxed further I gradually started to pick up traces of this smaller section of the overall complex southwest of M78. It was quite dim and diffuse to the eye at 110x, but there was no mistaking its presence in the field as a slightly elongated small soft glow. I did not notice any stars involved with this portion.

So with that let's hear from some of you about your own experiences with the objects in this month's list that you have access to. Good luck! :)
Alan

Astro Sky 17.5 f/4.5 Dob || Apertura AD12 f/5 Dob || Zhumell Z10 f/4.9 Dob
ES AR127 f/6.5 & ED80 f/6 on Twilight-II || Apertura 6" f/5 Newtonian on Twilight-I
ES 82° 24mm, 18mm !! Vixen LVW 65° 22mm !! TV Ethos 100° 13mm
Pentax XW 70° 10mm, 7mm, 5mm + barlows
DGM NPB Filter || Orion Ultra Block, O-III and Sky Glow Filters || Baader HaB Filter
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"Astronomers, we look into the past to see our future." (me)
"What we know is a drop, what we don't know is an ocean." (Sir Isaac Newton)
"The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me...." (Blaise Pascal)
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helicon
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Re: January 2021 DSO Challenge

#2

Post by helicon »

For me Orion is rising in the early evenings, but for now is still behind a tree until about 9pm. Hopefully I will be able to get out soon. Slightly hazy last night so I didn't take out the Dob. I would love to be able to see some of the objects near M78, which admittedly I have yet to try to observe. I have logged three observations of M78 since 2012, all through the 10" Dob. I need to try for it through the 6" achro, though.
-Michael
Various scopes, 10" Zhumell Dob f/4.9, ES AR152 f/6.5, AWB 5.1" Onesky newt, Oberwerk 25x100 binos, two eyeballs. Camera: ZWO ASI 120
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kt4hx
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Re: January 2021 DSO Challenge

#3

Post by kt4hx »

helicon wrote: Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:39 pm For me Orion is rising in the early evenings, but for now is still behind a tree until about 9pm. Hopefully I will be able to get out soon. Slightly hazy last night so I didn't take out the Dob. I would love to be able to see some of the objects near M78, which admittedly I have yet to try to observe. I have logged three observations of M78 since 2012, all through the 10" Dob. I need to try for it through the 6" achro, though.
Hi Michael. Good luck with your foraging in Orion. The other portions of the M78 complex are much dimmer than the primary section, and I had not really considered looking for them. But while observing M78 I starting picking up traces of the first two so stuck around to look for the third one. I was quite happy about it overall. Though the seeing was rough, transparency was pretty good. The winter Milky Way was quite evident arcing across the sky.

I am fortunate at the dark site, well for dark skies first of all, but beyond that, I have a reasonably low southern horizon. There is one large tree about 150 ft directly south of my normal observing position. If I had to I could change my position to work around it, but for the most part its not a major deterrent. I spent most of this outing in Eridanus, which is a great galaxy hunting constellation with a goodly portion of it accessible from the mid-northern latitudes.
Alan

Astro Sky 17.5 f/4.5 Dob || Apertura AD12 f/5 Dob || Zhumell Z10 f/4.9 Dob
ES AR127 f/6.5 & ED80 f/6 on Twilight-II || Apertura 6" f/5 Newtonian on Twilight-I
ES 82° 24mm, 18mm !! Vixen LVW 65° 22mm !! TV Ethos 100° 13mm
Pentax XW 70° 10mm, 7mm, 5mm + barlows
DGM NPB Filter || Orion Ultra Block, O-III and Sky Glow Filters || Baader HaB Filter
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Astronomers, we look into the past to see our future." (me)
"What we know is a drop, what we don't know is an ocean." (Sir Isaac Newton)
"The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me...." (Blaise Pascal)
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Re: January 2021 DSO Challenge

#4

Post by Graeme1858 »

Its two piercing eyes of 10th magnitude were staring right back at me rendering it a ghostly, ethereal apparition.
Brilliant description! And also exactly what appeared on my screen when I saw it!

Nice report Alan.

Regards

Graeme
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kt4hx
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Re: January 2021 DSO Challenge

#5

Post by kt4hx »

Graeme1858 wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 9:10 pm
Its two piercing eyes of 10th magnitude were staring right back at me rendering it a ghostly, ethereal apparition.
Brilliant description! And also exactly what appeared on my screen when I saw it!

Nice report Alan.

Regards

Graeme
Many thanks Graeme. Seeing M78 from our home backyard it is rather mundane, though easily seen. But from the dark site and with more light gathering capability, it was a very unique experience.
Alan

Astro Sky 17.5 f/4.5 Dob || Apertura AD12 f/5 Dob || Zhumell Z10 f/4.9 Dob
ES AR127 f/6.5 & ED80 f/6 on Twilight-II || Apertura 6" f/5 Newtonian on Twilight-I
ES 82° 24mm, 18mm !! Vixen LVW 65° 22mm !! TV Ethos 100° 13mm
Pentax XW 70° 10mm, 7mm, 5mm + barlows
DGM NPB Filter || Orion Ultra Block, O-III and Sky Glow Filters || Baader HaB Filter
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Astronomers, we look into the past to see our future." (me)
"What we know is a drop, what we don't know is an ocean." (Sir Isaac Newton)
"The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me...." (Blaise Pascal)
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kt4hx
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Re: January 2021 DSO Challenge

#6

Post by kt4hx »

Just FYI, here is my notes regarding M42/43 from that same session:

Messier 42 / NGC 1976 (Orion, diffuse nebula, mag=4.0, size=1.5°x1.0°, SBr=13.1):
Using the Rigel Quikfinder to aim the big scope at this field was quick and easy. Turning to the eyepiece (ES 82 18mm – 110x) the field was ablaze with swirling nebulosity in varying densities. It seemed to flow in all directions within the field with noticeable curving arcs, almost as if I could see it being blown around by the energy of the embedded trapezium cluster firing its pale green glow. The view was quite breathtaking!

Messier 43 / NGC 1982 (Orion, diffuse nebula, mag=7.0, size=20.0’x15.0’, SBr=12.9):
Just north of and in the same field was this bright nebulous structure, on the other side nearly starless void. Buried within its depths the bright variable NU Orionis stood out nicely in the view. Diminutive compared to its much larger and brighter neighbor, it still stood out boldly within the field – this helped by the void separating it from the M42 structure. M43 displayed its own variable density and swirls of nebulosity, giving it a delicate, yet sturdy appearance to the eye. It yielded nothing to its brighter neighbor to the south, rather complimented it, adding to the total aesthetic beauty of the field.
Alan

Astro Sky 17.5 f/4.5 Dob || Apertura AD12 f/5 Dob || Zhumell Z10 f/4.9 Dob
ES AR127 f/6.5 & ED80 f/6 on Twilight-II || Apertura 6" f/5 Newtonian on Twilight-I
ES 82° 24mm, 18mm !! Vixen LVW 65° 22mm !! TV Ethos 100° 13mm
Pentax XW 70° 10mm, 7mm, 5mm + barlows
DGM NPB Filter || Orion Ultra Block, O-III and Sky Glow Filters || Baader HaB Filter
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Astronomers, we look into the past to see our future." (me)
"What we know is a drop, what we don't know is an ocean." (Sir Isaac Newton)
"The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me...." (Blaise Pascal)
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