TSS Monthly DSO Challenge – January 2022

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TSS Monthly DSO Challenge – January 2022

#1

Post by kt4hx »

Happy New Year! Here we are in a brand new year, with the promise of more observing, sketching and imaging over the coming months. I hope you will get out as often as possible to enjoy the night sky. It is a unique and calming experience to commune with the universe in such a personal manner. We are unique as we understand the wonder of standing under a night sky and taking in the immensity and diversity that the universe offers to us.

This month we shall investigate some objects that you will hopefully enjoy. Some may be familiar to you, and some may not be. Some may be old friends while others may be new acquaintances. I know many folks struggle with light pollution or more localized glaring issues from neighbor’s lights. Regardless, get out there and engage the night sky, and rejoice in what you can see. I encourage all to observe with their minds and not just their eyes. Contemplate what it is you are seeing, even if it is a simple dim smudge. Revel in the fact that feeble light has traversed enormous distances and time to reach your eye in that moment. And finally rejoice in the fact that you have seen something that the vast majority of the world has not. In the big scheme of things we amateur astronomers are a very small minority. While others busy themselves with all the distractions and trappings of life, both good and bad, we like to take time out from our lives to immerse ourselves in the vastness of the night sky. So get out there, and simply enjoy.


Northern Celestial Hemisphere

Messier 38 / NGC 1912 (Auriga, open cluster, mag=6.4, size=15.0’, class=II2r):
Nearly 5° WSW of the double star Theta Aurigae (mag 2.6 and 7.2, sep of 3.5”) one can find this beautiful cluster. In an optical finder scope it will appear as a somewhat large circular hazy object inviting further investigation. With the main scope it dissolves into a mass of minute pinpricks of light overlaying the diffuse glow of further members out of reach. As one increases aperture and magnification it becomes a richer object with increasing resolution of its members. However, with smaller apertures there is still plenty to see here, as the cluster contains several 9th and 10th magnitude stars that draw the eye into their midst. Stars form close pairs and streamers of stars within the cluster field and give the senses a jolt with its beauty. Under a dark rural sky it may even be glimpsed with the naked eye. This cluster was discovered in 1654 by Giovanni Hodierna, and was later rediscovered by Le Gentile 1749 and Charles messier in 1764. So spend some time with this beauty and see just how wonderful an open cluster can be.

Messier 36 / NGC 1960 (Auriga, open cluster, mag=6.0, size=10.0’, class= II3m):
Just over 2° southeast of Messier 38, you will likely notice this small concentration in the same finder field. Visually it is smaller and a little less flashy to the eye than M38. Nonetheless, it is a fine visual object at all aperture levels, and may also be picked up with the naked eye in dark skies. A nice line of brighter stars crosses the center of its field and the cluster contains numerous pairs and curves of stars. Its visual character is certainly different than that of M38, but remains a visual treat for the observer. Increasing aperture and magnification brings out more of its dimmer members, giving it a deeper personality of its own. This cluster was also recorded by Giovanni Hodierna in 1654, and rediscovered by Le Gentil in 1749 and Messier in 1764.

Messier 37 / NGC 2099 (Auriga, open cluster, mag=5.6, size=15.0’, class=II1r):
Continuing to the southeast from M36 one can easily locate this beautiful cluster about 5° SSW of Theta Aurigae and 4° east of Chi Aurigae (mag 4.8). Another Hodierna discovery in 1654, Messier then rediscovered this delightful cluster in 1764. Under dark skies the cluster is obvious to the naked eye as a diffuse glow. Through a scope it is a very rich and dizzying array of stellar points, even with smaller aperture. A backdrop of haziness promises resolution of more members as aperture and magnification are increased. The magnitude 9.2 star HD 39183 displaying a reddish tint marks the center of the cluster’s field.

NGC 1514 (Taurus, planetary nebula, mag=10.9, size=2.2’, SBr=12.3):
Since the first three objects are bright and easily located, I wanted to add an additional object to challenge you a bit more. This curious object is located almost 2° NNE of mag 5.2 Psi Tauri very near the border with Perseus, and carries the nickname of the Crystal Ball Nebula. It sits between two 8th magnitude field stars about 17’ apart and oriented in a north-south line. You will first notice the 9.4 magnitude central star between the other two stars. With careful study you may be able to discern the round gaseous shell surrounding the star. However, if you have either an O-III line filter or a narrow-band nebula filter, I recommend using them. This will make the task of seeing the shell around the star much easier. With larger aperture the surrounding halo of gas may reveal an uneven surface brightness.

Discovered by William Herschel in 1790, this object gave him pause to reconsider the nature of nebulae. He previously assumed they were simply unresolved clusters of stars. But in this case he observed the central star surrounded by the nebulosity and thus had to rethink his opinion of their nature. The following quote is what he wrote about this planetary: "A most singular phenomenon. A star of about 8th magnitude with a faint luminous atmosphere of a circular form, and about 3' in diameter. The star is perfectly in the center and the atmosphere is so diluted, faint and equal throughout that there can be no surmise of its consisting of stars; nor can there be a doubt of the evident connection between the atmosphere and the star. Another star, not much less in brightness and in the same field with the above, was perfectly free from any such appearance."



Southern Celestial Hemisphere

Messier 79 / NGC 1904 (Lepus, globular cluster, mag=7.7, size=9.6’, SBr=12.3, class=5:
This nice globular cluster discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1780. Charles Messier confirmed its position and posted it to his catalogue. This globular is the primary reason that many venture into the celestial hare, though to be very honest, the constellation has a nice collection of galaxies as well, but that is another story for another night. It is located almost 4° SSW of magnitude 2.8 Beta Leporis (Nihal), and about half a degree northeast of the double star HJ 3752 (mag 5.0 and 6.6 with 3.9” sep).

This cluster is fairly bright, but small in visual extent. In small to medium apertures, one may resolve a modest number of stars around the edges of the halo, depending on local conditions and observing skills of the observer. However, its concentrated core does not give up the goods easily. In larger apertures more resolution is achieved, with a few at the edge of the core and across its face possibly being picked up. Its core can appear mottled, with larger apertures, hinting that additional resolution is just out of reach. While not one of the showpiece globulars in the Messier list, it nonetheless can be a very easy and bright object in an often bypassed constellation.

NGC 1788 (Orion, reflection nebula, mag=9.0, size=10.0’x6.0’):
This nice reflection nebula is often overlooked by observers who travel to Orion for the more popular sights of M42/43 and M78; all covered a year ago in the inaugural edition. Discovered by William Herschel in 1786, he described it as "bright, considerably large, round.” I could not find a listed magnitude for this object, but magnitude estimates for extended nebulae are not always easy. Nonetheless, I find it almost as apparent as Messier 78, the more famous reflection nebula in Orion. It carries the nickname of the “Cosmic Bat” based on deep images. A 10th magnitude star shines at its center while a second star of 9th magnitude lies just inside its northern edge. The nebula is found along the northern edge of a triangle of three 8th magnitude field stars, which in turn lie northeast of a second triangle of field stars (7th, 8th and 9th mag). The nebula’s field is not quite 2° north of mag 2.8 Beta Eridani (Cursa). So swing your scopes its way and see just what you can discern of this brighter reflection nebula. I also encourage imagers to give this object a try, as it presents a fine target to work your magic upon.


NGC 1566 (Dorado, barred spiral galaxy, mag=9.7, size=8.3’x6.6’, SBr=13.9):
Located about 2° west of magnitude 3.3 Alpha Doradus this barred spiral was discovered by James Dunlop in 1826 during his survey of the southern skies from Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia. Oriented face-on to us, it displays two bright spiral arms curve out from its central bar. They are rife with HII regions and clusters along their length. Visually it should appear as a bright oval glow, and if you have enough aperture, dark enough skies and are blessed to be farther south, it should present a very nice visual and imaging target. It is also a Type 1.5 Seyfert galaxy with a strong core, plus an added bonus currently is that it has an active supernova inn one of its arms. This transient star is fading as we speak and is currently listed at magnitude 13.2. It did reach into the 12th magnitude range earlier this month, and should still e within easy reach for those that have access to this delightful galaxy.


Okay folks there you have it for another month. As we make our way through this coming year, I hope that I can highlight some interesting objects, both easy and challenging. Keep getting out there as much as time and conditions permit. The more we observe the more we learn. Learning is fun and it keeps our minds and curiosity fresh and alive.
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
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"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 – January 2022

#2

Post by Thefatkitty »

Alan, that was a great read! You are so personable with the gift of such meaningful writing.

I've seen a few of the objects in the NH you posted, but I need to take another look after reading this :D If I ever get clear skies.

Regardless, get out there and engage the night sky, and rejoice in what you can see. I encourage all to observe with their minds and not just their eyes. Contemplate what it is you are seeing, even if it is a simple dim smudge. Revel in the fact that feeble light has traversed enormous distances and time to reach your eye in that moment. And finally rejoice in the fact that you have seen something that the vast majority of the world has not. In the big scheme of things we amateur astronomers are a very small minority. While others busy themselves with all the distractions and trappings of life, both good and bad, we like to take time out from our lives to immerse ourselves in the vastness of the night sky. So get out there, and simply enjoy.

That so made me smile. I'll keep that in mind for the upcoming year. Again, you have a way with words, and are a great inspiration to just even get outside to see what you can see :D

All the best to you and yours Alan; and Happy New Year!!
Mark
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Re: TSS Monthly DSO Challenge – January 2022

#3

Post by kt4hx »

Thefatkitty wrote: Sat Jan 01, 2022 2:50 am Alan, that was a great read! You are so personable with the gift of such meaningful writing.

I've seen a few of the objects in the NH you posted, but I need to take another look after reading this :D If I ever get clear skies.

Regardless, get out there and engage the night sky, and rejoice in what you can see. I encourage all to observe with their minds and not just their eyes. Contemplate what it is you are seeing, even if it is a simple dim smudge. Revel in the fact that feeble light has traversed enormous distances and time to reach your eye in that moment. And finally rejoice in the fact that you have seen something that the vast majority of the world has not. In the big scheme of things we amateur astronomers are a very small minority. While others busy themselves with all the distractions and trappings of life, both good and bad, we like to take time out from our lives to immerse ourselves in the vastness of the night sky. So get out there, and simply enjoy.

That so made me smile. I'll keep that in mind for the upcoming year. Again, you have a way with words, and are a great inspiration to just even get outside to see what you can see :D

All the best to you and yours Alan; and Happy New Year!!

Thank you for your kind comments Mark, and a very Happy New Year to you and your family.

My goal is simple - to encourage everyone I can to embrace the visible universe. There are countless wonders that are within reach of our telescopes, regardless of the aperture. It is a shame that more folks don't have an interest. We belong to a very small and select group of people who truly love and appreciate what is up there in a night sky. To me, that makes us a special and blessed lot. :)
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 – January 2022

#4

Post by 10538 »

Hi Alan and Happy New Year! Thanks for the fine DSO challenge for this month. I was lucky enough to have good weather Christmas night and using the 14” dob I viewed all three beautiful clusters in Auriga, the planetary NGC 1514 in Taurus and M79 in Lepus. I have not seen NGC 1788 in Orion but I will add it to my next observing list. All three open clusters in Auriga are beautiful but I tend to spend a little extra time on M37. I never get tired of viewing the bright tendrils of stars in these clusters. The planetary NGC 1514 was difficult and if I had not viewed it before I might have missed it. I love tracking down difficult planetary nebula and galaxies and miss the nights working through the Herschel catalogs. Using previous observations and various listings I have developed observing lists that include all the Messiers, the best Ngc’s and Herschel objects for each constellation for each month. For each constellation I add a “challenge “ object and revisit them. Then I rate each object from 1 to 5 and an object rated a 3 or better stays on the list. I keep adding an additional challenge object for each session until the constellation has moved too far westward to view. For December I had 23 challenge objects and by month end I had viewed them all but only 5 made it to permanent status on the December list. Taking viewing conditions into account I always come back later and give them additional chances to make the list. NGC 1514 just happened to be my challenge object in Taurus for December.
I always read your reports to see if your objects are on my lists. Thanks my friend for all the effort and fine work you do for us! :text-thankyoublue:
Ed
Scopes: Orion XX14g 14” Dob w/MoonLite focuser. Meade LX200 Classic 10”w/AudioStar and MoonLite focuser, Criterion RV6, Orion ST80A w/2” GSO micro focuser. Meade ETX 90. Eyepieces: ES 5.5mm 100*, 6.7mm 82*, 11mm 82*, 14mm 100*, 18mm 82*, 20mm 100*, Meade 9mm XWA 100*, 24mm UWA 82*, 56mm 50*, TV Delos 6,8 & 10mm, Panoptic 24, 27 & 35mm, 17mm Nagler, Powermate 2X, Baader 6mm Ortho, Paracorr II. MISC: William Optics Binoviewer, Revolution 2 Imager, Orion Skyview Pro Mount, Skymaster 15x70, 20x70, 25x100 Binos, HoTech Collimator, Kendrick Dew System, Orion G3,Telrads,Catsperch Chair.
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Re: TSS Monthly DSO Challenge – January 2022

#5

Post by kt4hx »

Hello Ed and thank you very much for your kind words, and glad you enjoyed revisiting most of this month's objects. I also find M37 the better of the three, with M38 not too far behind. M36 tends to be a bit coarse in structure but still easily defined visually. NGC 1514 can be a bit challenging for sure, as the bright central star overpowers it visually. That is where the O-III or narrow-band filter come in real handy.

Thank you for sharing your observing methodology. It is good to see that you have developed an organized plan of attack that works for you. Finding our comfort zone in how we approach the sky and which objects pique our interest is an important facet of becoming a skilled observer. Well done my friend and I wish you continued success in your nightly journeys.
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 – January 2022

#6

Post by helicon »

A wonderful selection of objects for this month Alan. Fortunately, there are semi-clear to clear skies in the forecast over the next few days, as it has been rainy and cloudy since November for the most part. I have yet to see NGC 1514 so that will be my first target. I also enjoy M79 and the Auriga clusters. While there I usually observe the Flaming Star Nebula as well, where I have been able to make out the gaseous component from the backyard most of the time, though it requires the towel tossed over the head trick to keep out the extraneous light.
-Michael
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Re: TSS Monthly DSO Challenge – January 2022

#7

Post by helicon »

I did manage the session last night with the Z10. Swept up NGC 1514 after a brief search and also caught M79, where I raised the power to 135x and resolved some of the stars at the edges of the globular.
-Michael
Dobsonian: 10" Zhumell f/4.9
Refractors: ES AR152 f/6.5 Achromat on Twilight II, KOWA 90mm spotting scope
Grab-n-go: AWB 5.1" Onesky Newtonian
Binoculars: Oberwerk 25x100, Celestron SkyMaster 15x70, Bushnell 10x50
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Re: TSS Monthly DSO Challenge – January 2022

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Post by sdbodin »

Decided to get the Auriga clusters all at once. Used my Rokinon 135mm for 30 minutes to collect the batch in a row, actually from left to right, M37, M36, M38. Imaged last night in bright moonlight and suspect transparency.
m36-7-8_135f28.jpg
Specifics, Rokinon 135mm f2 at f2.8, 15/2 min subs, UV/IR filter thru ASI1600MC-cool OSC at -15C, no darks, flats, coffee, it would have froze at 25F. Reduced 40% full size to fit web site max limit, otherwise nearly full frame.

Clear skies,
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Re: TSS Monthly DSO Challenge – January 2022

#9

Post by John Baars »

Last night they were part of my observations.
On my list were the Objects of the Month, the three open clusters in Auriga. M36, M37, M38. I totally forgot about NGC 1514. Sorry.
Quote:
M36, of course, seems to be the brightest, a nice open cluster. Fairly concentrated. Is also the smallest. As a result, it appears brighter than the other two. SkySafari mentions a "Crab-like" appearance. I can agree with that.
M37 is made up of many more stars, the individual stars are a bit fainter on average, but since it is also the last to rise from the East, it does not appear as bright. The 150 mm refractor turns it into a brilliant field of stars with about a hundred tiny points of light. Very noticeable is the big red Giant just off center. With larger telescopes and with brighter skies, the color stands out immediately.
M38 is made up of about a hundred stars. The brightest of these are in a clear cross shape as far as I am concerned. Gorgeous sight.
The complete observation can be found here: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=22696
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Re: TSS Monthly DSO Challenge – January 2022

#10

Post by kt4hx »

helicon wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 5:02 pm I did manage the session last night with the Z10. Swept up NGC 1514 after a brief search and also caught M79, where I raised the power to 135x and resolved some of the stars at the edges of the globular.

Thank you Michael. Glad you were able to get out and pursue this month's targets. I have been kind of swamped with a mixture of poor weather, clouds and cold nights (plus the moon) that has kept me under wraps. :)

sdbodin wrote: Mon Jan 10, 2022 5:06 pm Decided to get the Auriga clusters all at once. Used my Rokinon 135mm for 30 minutes to collect the batch in a row, actually from left to right, M37, M36, M38. Imaged last night in bright moonlight and suspect transparency.
m36-7-8_135f28.jpg
Specifics, Rokinon 135mm f2 at f2.8, 15/2 min subs, UV/IR filter thru ASI1600MC-cool OSC at -15C, no darks, flats, coffee, it would have froze at 25F. Reduced 40% full size to fit web site max limit, otherwise nearly full frame.

Clear skies,
Steve

Thank you Steve and very well done on your wide field image. It certainly captures the larger field in which Messier's clusters in Auriga inhabit. You also picked up some other stuff in there as well. Stock 8 which forms the pivot point of a triangle with M36 and M38. Also there is Melotte 31 (the Flying Minnow) southwest of Stock 8 near the right edge. I also see some dim nebulosity around that cluster's field as well. Very well done! :)

John Baars wrote: Mon Jan 10, 2022 6:24 pm Last night they were part of my observations.
On my list were the Objects of the Month, the three open clusters in Auriga. M36, M37, M38. I totally forgot about NGC 1514. Sorry.
Quote:
M36, of course, seems to be the brightest, a nice open cluster. Fairly concentrated. Is also the smallest. As a result, it appears brighter than the other two. SkySafari mentions a "Crab-like" appearance. I can agree with that.
M37 is made up of many more stars, the individual stars are a bit fainter on average, but since it is also the last to rise from the East, it does not appear as bright. The 150 mm refractor turns it into a brilliant field of stars with about a hundred tiny points of light. Very noticeable is the big red Giant just off center. With larger telescopes and with brighter skies, the color stands out immediately.
M38 is made up of about a hundred stars. The brightest of these are in a clear cross shape as far as I am concerned. Gorgeous sight.
The complete observation can be found here: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=22696

Thank you for your observations of this month's objects (plus additional ones). Glad you were able to get out and pursue them under a moonlit sky. :)
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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