TSS Monthly DSO Challenge – November 2021

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TSS Monthly DSO Challenge – November 2021

#1

Post by kt4hx »

Hello everyone and thanks for stopping by. This month we shall visit the constellations of Perseus, Cassiopeia and Triangulum in the north. For our southern contingent, we shall return to both Sculptor and Tucana for some more interesting objects. Here in the north the weather is starting to get much cooler and this can frequently be accompanied by drier air, resulting in some fine transparency. We begin to say goodbye to the primary plane of the Milky Way and the sky becomes less hindered by the resulting dust, allowing us to peer a bit deeper into the abyss. So good luck with your observing this month and hopefully you will have good opportunities to observe, sketch and/or image the following targets while you go about your normal night time activities.


Northern Celestial Hemisphere

NGC 869 (Perseus, open cluster, mag=5.3, size=30.0’, class=I3r):
NGC 884 (Perseus, open cluster, mag=6.1, size=30.0’, class=I3r):

The infamous “Double Cluster” in Perseus is indeed just that, a rare pairing of open clusters. Additionally they are quite young, at only approximately 12.8 million years of age. First catalogued by Hipparchus around 130 BC, beginners will often question why Charles Messier did not include this nice cluster(s) in his famous list of objects. After all, he did include other objects that were well known and previously documented such as the Orion Nebula complex (M42/43), the Praesepe (M44) and the Pleiades (M45). In these cases he was only doing so to bring his list to a good stopping point (45) for the purposes of publication.

Ultimately, whether Messier included this fine duo on his list or not is unimportant. What is important is that they have become an autumn staple for most northern observers. That is easily understood the first time one turns any aperture upon them. Easily seen with the naked eye even from my typical suburban back yard, with optical aid the pair reveals a mesmerizing double concentration of stars clearly separated by an area of lower stellar density. Both are quite rich in appearance, with several brighter stars within their structure. I’ve observed it countless times over the decades with various apertures and it never ceases to amaze. So spend some time between the familiar patterns of Cassiopeia and Perseus soaking in the splendors of this fine pair of clusters.

NGC 7789 (Cassiopeia, open cluster, mag=6.7, size=25.0’, class=I2r):
This beautiful cluster, known informally as “Caroline’s Rose” was indeed discovered by Caroline Herschel on 30 October 1783 with her 4.2 inch reflecting telescope. She described it as "between Sigma and Rho Cass, a fine nebula, very strong." It was obvious her scope did not resolve the true nature of the object, but about four and a half months later, her brother William observed the cluster, resolving it as a cluster using his 6.2 inch reflector.

Easily detected with binoculars and finder scopes as a bright concentrated glow, as one increases aperture its true character takes shape. It presents a supremely rich smooth field of fainter stars. It is a visual treat reveals more of itself as one moves up in aperture. In smaller apertures I find it resembles a loosely structured globular cluster with a profusion of stars overlaying the haziness of countless unresolved stars. Give this object careful look and I am sure you will agree it is one of the finest open clusters in the sky.

Messier 33 / NGC 598 (Triangulum, spiral galaxy, mag=5.7, size=66.0’x41.41.6’, SBr=14.1):

This spiral galaxy, found opposite of Mirach (Beta Andromedae) from last month’s galaxy trio (M31/32/110) is also part of the local group of galaxies. But it often confounds observers, particularly beginners, who try to observe its large diaphanous disk. Its high visual brightness can trick folks into believing it should be easy to see and they are confused as to why they are unable to – initially. This is a case where we need to pay close attention to its very large angular size and resulting surface brightness. One needs to take their time and allow their eye to adjust to the field in order to pick up its sometimes weak glow. It doesn’t have an intensely bright core like M31, so its general appearance is much more subtle.

Likely first seen prior to 1654 by Gioivanni Hodierna, he described it as a cloud-like nebulosity. Messier independently discovered it in 1764. This galaxy has very distinct, but visually fragile, spiral arms that can be discerned in darker locations by an experienced observing eye. Its primary structural feature is the bright H-II region, NGC 604, located about 12’ northeast of the core and discovered by William Herschel in 1784. Because of its weak surface brightness, it is generally thought of as one of the more difficult Messier objects. It nonetheless can be spotted with binoculars, even under a typical suburban sky. That said, take your time in hunting it, because it is not the bright easy object one may think it is based on its visual magnitude alone.


Southern Celestial Hemisphere

Blanco 1 (Sculptor, open cluster, mag=4.5, size=90.0’, class= IV3m):
This large nearby open cluster is also known as the Zeta Sculptoris Cluster, as this mag 5.0 lies in the western section of the cluster field. It is fairly close and young, lying only about 850 light years distant and being only about 100 to 150 million years old. This cluster was not recognized until 1949 when the Puerto Rico astronomer Victor Blanco noticed a disproportionate number of A-type stars within the 1.5° field.

This is not an overly rich cluster, and though Zeta Sculptoris is not thought to be a true member, it does contain over 20 stars brighter than 11th magnitude, with numerous dimmer ones strewn about the field. While it is not significantly detached from the general stellar field, it is not difficult to discern. It makes a good binocular object, but applying a little more aperture will dig deeper into its stellar population.


NGC 362 (Tucana, globular cluster, mag=6.8 , size=14.0’, class=III):
We return to the southeast corner of Tucana for this bright globular cluster. Unfortunately it is overshadowed by the great NGC 104 (47 Tuc) just over 4’ to the southwest. While it is nowhere near the level of 47 Tuc, it still is a beauty in its own right. Under excellent skies it can be glimpsed with the naked eye, but it comes into its own when one applies optical aid. It displays a very bright and dense core that yields some very modest resolution in its outer halo with small to medium apertures.

James Dunlop discovered this beautiful object in 1826, and in his notes compared it to the object we now know as Messier 2 in Aquarius. Try putting this object near the northeastern edge of your field of view and pull NGC 104 into the same field. You can then enjoy the wonder of having two bright, though radically different, clusters in the same eyepiece field.

NGC 292 (Tucana, barred spiral galaxy, mag=2.3, size=5.3°x3.4°, class=14.1):
While you are looking at the two globulars (NGC 362/104), you will also find this deep southern object very nearby. Immediately south of NGC 362 and east of NGC 104, the Small Magellanic Cloud provides an interesting counterpoise to these fine globulars. This satellite galaxy of our own Milky Way is a very large angular target, and though it has a bright visual magnitude, this light is spread over a large area reducing its suface brightness. This makes it vulnerable to localized sky glow or poor transparency conditions. It makes a fine binocular target because of its large size, but may appear as nothing more than a subtle brightening against the backdrop of the night sky. From darker areas it is a very easy naked eye object, but a telescope will begin to reveal some interior structure, such as nebulae and star clusters. This object was undoubtedly seen by numerous explorers and indigenous peoples because of its brightness, but the first record we have of it is from 1501 by Amerigo Vespucci


That is it for this month. I hope that you find this month’s objects worthy of your time and effort, whether you are strictly a visual observer, like to dabble in sketching or are a dyed in the wool imager. Regardless, I hope you will add them to your plans as you make your way around the universe in search of deep sky treasure. I would like to thank team member John Baars for suggesting NGC 7789 for this month’s challenge. While I had a different Cassiopeia open cluster in mind, I didn’t mind swapping it for John’s suggestion, as Caroline’s Rose is a beautiful cluster indeed. I also wish to apologize for being tardy this month. I was feeling a big sluggish and off my normal game lately, and simply was slow to get around to compiling this month’s targets for your enjoyment. I plan to be right on time for December and beyond however. :)

So let’s get out there and enjoy what the night sky has for us to enjoy. It’s a show with free admission – well other than the equipment needed to see the show in detail. :) So have fun and learn which in turn increases the fun aspect!
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
TV Ethos 100° 21mm, 13mm || ES 82° 24mm, 18mm || Vixen LVW 65° 22mm
Pentax XW 70° 10mm, 7mm, 5mm || barlows
DGM NPB Filter || Orion Ultra Block, O-III and Sky Glow Filters || Baader HaB Filter
Primary Field Atlases: Interstellarum and Uranometria All-Sky Edition
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Astronomers, we look into the past to see our future." (me)
"Seeing is in some respect an art, which must be learnt." (William Herschel)
"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)
"No good deed goes unpunished." (various)
"I have become comfortably numb." (Roger Waters)
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John Baars
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Re: TSS Monthly DSO Challenge – November 2021

#2

Post by John Baars »

My November observance of Caroline's Rose I have already completed. That was with a 102mm Maksutov. See also:
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=21507
It is one of my favorite objects in my somewhat larger apertures. The grainy and light background of unresolved stars then becomes more clearly resolved into very small needle pricks. A breathtaking sight. A 6 inch instrument already shows a lot of its true nature. In even larger telescopes, the dark lanes between the rose petals (strings of stars) are observable.

The Double cluster was, of course, one of the objects that claimed a lot of session time in the same recent days. I always find the little smiley face of stars in NGC 869 funny. A lot of fun, too, going down the path of reasonably bright stars to the open cluster Stock 2. The Muscleman, Archie (comic strip), man without a head or little Hercules...all designations for that pretty open cluster with many equally bright stars. It is pleasant to spend an hour there. The double cluster is a rewarding object for outreach. Here in the city the public generally sees nothing at the designated spot with the naked eye, but with the telescope ( provided it has a large field of view) suddenly an explosion of hundreds little star lights. Success guaranteed.

Thanks, Alan for bringing those jewels of the Northern Hemisphere under our attention.
Telescopes in Schiedam in frequency of use : *grabngo: SW 102 Maksutov F/13, *SW Evostar 120ED F/7.5, * SW 150mm Achromat F/5, *Vixen 102ED F/9, *OMC140 Maksutov F/14.3, on Vixen GPDX.
Most used Eyepieces: *Morpheus 14, *Panoptic 24, *Leica ASPH zoom, *Zeiss barlow, *Pentax XO5.
Most often used binoculars: *AusJena 10X50 Jenoptem, * Canon 10X30 IS, *Swarovski Habicht 7X42, * Celestron Skymaster 15X70, *Kasai 2.3X40

Rijswijk Observatory Foundation telescopes: * Astro-Physics Starfire 130 f/8 on NEQ6, * 6 inch Newton on GP, * C8
on NEQ6, * Meade 14 inch SCT on EQ8, *Lunt.

Amateur since 1970.
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Re: TSS Monthly DSO Challenge – November 2021

#3

Post by kt4hx »

Thank you for your excellent observations John. The area of the sky you talked about is an outstanding region with a multitude of beautiful and rewarding clusters. While I am heavily tilted toward observing galaxies, even I can appreciate that a lot of open clusters have an undeniable beauty that can be viewed easily from our backyards.
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
TV Ethos 100° 21mm, 13mm || ES 82° 24mm, 18mm || Vixen LVW 65° 22mm
Pentax XW 70° 10mm, 7mm, 5mm || barlows
DGM NPB Filter || Orion Ultra Block, O-III and Sky Glow Filters || Baader HaB Filter
Primary Field Atlases: Interstellarum and Uranometria All-Sky Edition
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Astronomers, we look into the past to see our future." (me)
"Seeing is in some respect an art, which must be learnt." (William Herschel)
"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)
"No good deed goes unpunished." (various)
"I have become comfortably numb." (Roger Waters)
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Re: TSS Monthly DSO Challenge – November 2021

#4

Post by helicon »

Thanks for the great list of targets Alan. I will be out of town next week in some darker skies, and I am taking my 15x70's with me so the Double Cluster will be a likely target, even though I have seen it numerous times. In addition, M33 should reveal itself in binos given where I am headed. Very fleeting, if visible at all from the backyard.
-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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Re: TSS Monthly DSO Challenge – November 2021

#5

Post by kt4hx »

helicon wrote: Sun Nov 07, 2021 4:34 pm Thanks for the great list of targets Alan. I will be out of town next week in some darker skies, and I am taking my 15x70's with me so the Double Cluster will be a likely target, even though I have seen it numerous times. In addition, M33 should reveal itself in binos given where I am headed. Very fleeting, if visible at all from the backyard.

Thanks Michael and hope the trip goes well for you.
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
TV Ethos 100° 21mm, 13mm || ES 82° 24mm, 18mm || Vixen LVW 65° 22mm
Pentax XW 70° 10mm, 7mm, 5mm || barlows
DGM NPB Filter || Orion Ultra Block, O-III and Sky Glow Filters || Baader HaB Filter
Primary Field Atlases: Interstellarum and Uranometria All-Sky Edition
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Astronomers, we look into the past to see our future." (me)
"Seeing is in some respect an art, which must be learnt." (William Herschel)
"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)
"No good deed goes unpunished." (various)
"I have become comfortably numb." (Roger Waters)
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Re: TSS Monthly DSO Challenge – November 2021

#6

Post by John Baars »

Done Caroline's Rose again, this time not with the 102 Mak but with the 150mm Achromat. Transparency was ok, seeing average to good. The brightest stars are well seen, twenty or so, the fainter ones lag behind considerably, but still enough to create a grainy background. Peripherally, loose background stars are on the edge of suggestion, and sometimes just a tad more than that. With longer observation, some dark "lanes" can be seen. The rose petal edges are really only visible as peripheral light, although an occasional star on one of these edges seems to peek through. Could also be a flashing rod in the retina. I don't think I could improve on this observation from the city with a 150 mm.

Check out this link about discoveries by Caroline Herschel: https://skyandtelescope.org/observing/i ... footsteps/
Telescopes in Schiedam in frequency of use : *grabngo: SW 102 Maksutov F/13, *SW Evostar 120ED F/7.5, * SW 150mm Achromat F/5, *Vixen 102ED F/9, *OMC140 Maksutov F/14.3, on Vixen GPDX.
Most used Eyepieces: *Morpheus 14, *Panoptic 24, *Leica ASPH zoom, *Zeiss barlow, *Pentax XO5.
Most often used binoculars: *AusJena 10X50 Jenoptem, * Canon 10X30 IS, *Swarovski Habicht 7X42, * Celestron Skymaster 15X70, *Kasai 2.3X40

Rijswijk Observatory Foundation telescopes: * Astro-Physics Starfire 130 f/8 on NEQ6, * 6 inch Newton on GP, * C8
on NEQ6, * Meade 14 inch SCT on EQ8, *Lunt.

Amateur since 1970.
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Re: TSS Monthly DSO Challenge – November 2021

#7

Post by kt4hx »

Thank you John for the follow-up. Your description of NGC 7789 is excellent and spot on for this cluster. Also thank you for the link. I had read that before and it is excellent reading.
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
TV Ethos 100° 21mm, 13mm || ES 82° 24mm, 18mm || Vixen LVW 65° 22mm
Pentax XW 70° 10mm, 7mm, 5mm || barlows
DGM NPB Filter || Orion Ultra Block, O-III and Sky Glow Filters || Baader HaB Filter
Primary Field Atlases: Interstellarum and Uranometria All-Sky Edition
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Astronomers, we look into the past to see our future." (me)
"Seeing is in some respect an art, which must be learnt." (William Herschel)
"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)
"No good deed goes unpunished." (various)
"I have become comfortably numb." (Roger Waters)
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Re: TSS Monthly DSO Challenge – November 2021

#8

Post by Graeme1858 »

M33 is today's NASA APOD!

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211112.html

Regards

Graeme
______________________________________________
Click Here for the AP Processing Challenge!
______________________________________________
Celestron 9.25 f10 SCT, CGX mount.
ZWO ASI294MC Pro, Canon 600D, Altair GPCAM2 290C.
Celestron 80mm Guidescope, QHY5-II Mono.
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Re: TSS Monthly DSO Challenge – November 2021

#9

Post by kt4hx »

Graeme1858 wrote: Fri Nov 12, 2021 7:16 am M33 is today's NASA APOD!

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap211112.html

Regards

Graeme
Maybe they stole my idea! :lol:
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
TV Ethos 100° 21mm, 13mm || ES 82° 24mm, 18mm || Vixen LVW 65° 22mm
Pentax XW 70° 10mm, 7mm, 5mm || barlows
DGM NPB Filter || Orion Ultra Block, O-III and Sky Glow Filters || Baader HaB Filter
Primary Field Atlases: Interstellarum and Uranometria All-Sky Edition
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Astronomers, we look into the past to see our future." (me)
"Seeing is in some respect an art, which must be learnt." (William Herschel)
"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)
"No good deed goes unpunished." (various)
"I have become comfortably numb." (Roger Waters)
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Re: TSS Monthly DSO Challenge – November 2021

#10

Post by Graeme1858 »

Clear night here tonight. I've printed a Cartes du Ceil star chart for the three targets.

Regards

Graeme
______________________________________________
Click Here for the AP Processing Challenge!
______________________________________________
Celestron 9.25 f10 SCT, CGX mount.
ZWO ASI294MC Pro, Canon 600D, Altair GPCAM2 290C.
Celestron 80mm Guidescope, QHY5-II Mono.
APM 11x70 ED APO Binoculars.
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Re: TSS Monthly DSO Challenge – November 2021

#11

Post by Graeme1858 »

Found the Double Cluster ok with my 11x70 binoculars. A fine collection of stars but it would look more impressive with a greater magnification to resolve more stars.

I think I found Caroline's Rose, I was definitely looking in the right place using Caph as a guide. But with the Moon now above the roof tops it would probably be a good idea to try again in a week's time. It probably wasn't a good idea to spend time looking at the Moon before trying to find a faint cluster!

Again with Moon light filling the sky, M33 was nowhere to be seen! I really need to get my telescope out of the loft!

Good challenge Alan, thanks.

Regards

Graeme
______________________________________________
Click Here for the AP Processing Challenge!
______________________________________________
Celestron 9.25 f10 SCT, CGX mount.
ZWO ASI294MC Pro, Canon 600D, Altair GPCAM2 290C.
Celestron 80mm Guidescope, QHY5-II Mono.
APM 11x70 ED APO Binoculars.
Image
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Re: TSS Monthly DSO Challenge – November 2021

#12

Post by kt4hx »

Graeme1858 wrote: Sun Nov 21, 2021 8:34 pm Found the Double Cluster ok with my 11x70 binoculars. A fine collection of stars but it would look more impressive with a greater magnification to resolve more stars.

I think I found Caroline's Rose, I was definitely looking in the right place using Caph as a guide. But with the Moon now above the roof tops it would probably be a good idea to try again in a week's time. It probably wasn't a good idea to spend time looking at the Moon before trying to find a faint cluster!

Again with Moon light filling the sky, M33 was nowhere to be seen! I really need to get my telescope out of the loft!

Good challenge Alan, thanks.

Regards

Graeme

Very nice effort Graeme. Using the binoculars in a moon-lit sky definitely makes it more difficult. I agree with your assessment though - get a telescope out of the loft! :)
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
TV Ethos 100° 21mm, 13mm || ES 82° 24mm, 18mm || Vixen LVW 65° 22mm
Pentax XW 70° 10mm, 7mm, 5mm || barlows
DGM NPB Filter || Orion Ultra Block, O-III and Sky Glow Filters || Baader HaB Filter
Primary Field Atlases: Interstellarum and Uranometria All-Sky Edition
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Astronomers, we look into the past to see our future." (me)
"Seeing is in some respect an art, which must be learnt." (William Herschel)
"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)
"No good deed goes unpunished." (various)
"I have become comfortably numb." (Roger Waters)
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