After about a three hour drive I made it to the house just after 1700 hours. I texted Mary that I had arrived, and that I would call her after finishing my logistical work. With the valley already in shadow since the Sun was behind the western ridge of the Alleghany Mountains (at least what passes for mountains here in the east!), I set about unloading the truck, then moving some stuff from the garage out to the observing site. Astronomical darkness was not far off, but I knew I would get a later start due to the timing of my arrival. Heading back inside I called Mary and we talked for a bit, then I bid her a good night and fixed something to eat. I looked at my notes a bit while I ate, and decided that I would work in Cetus this evening.
I layered up as the temps were in the lower 30’s (F), then I moved the big scope out of the garage after 1830 hours. In the dark I sat my gear up using my red light. In a short time my eyes adjusted to my environment and I could more easily see what I was doing as I busied myself. I had already done a pre-collimation of the scope in the garage and did a touch up after having rolled it to the observing position. I aligned the finder scopes and laid out the eyepieces I planned to use. My Interstellarum atlas was laid to the side, with some other notes. I then cracked the Uranometria atlas to chart 140. Aiming the scope at the wide pair of stars, mag 3.7 Zeta Ceti (Baten Kaitos) and mag 4.7 Chi Ceti, I dipped south from the two bright stars for my first object. The evening’s festivities commenced a little after 1900 hours, and the following is where my journey led me under the dark chilly skies of a rural valley at around 2,800 feet elevation.
Ethos 13mm (152x, 0.7° TFOV, 2.9mm exit pupil)
XW 10mm (199x, 0.4° TFOV, 2.2mm exit pupil)
XW 7mm (283x, 0.2° TFOV, 1.6mm exit pupil)
Picked up with 152x, this spiral presented itself as a very dim and small diffuse oval glow. Taking a look with 199x, I could now discern an intermittent stellar core within its galactic disk. (New)
This small and slightly bright thick oval disk displayed a stellar core at 152x. The view was very nice at 152x and I didn’t even bother going to 199x. (New)
Next up, this lenticular appeared small and dim at 152x. It was smooth and even across is disk. Then at 199x a stellar core was seen at the center of its envelope. (New)
Easily picked up with 152x, this object was a small but slightly bright rounded glow with an intermittent stellar core noticed. Then at 199x the stellar core was held steady, with the galaxy’s disk being quite obvious in the field. (New)
Picked up using 152x, this lenticular presented a small and little bit dim slightly oval disk. Viewing at 199x a very subtle stellar core was noticed. The galaxy itself, while not bright, was still not difficult. (New)
This lenticular was scooped up using 152x, but it was very small and fairly dim to the eye. Its disk was a thin oval shape, and homogeneous in appearance. It remained dim and smooth at 199x. (New)
Found with 152x, this spiral was very dim and very small in visual angular extent. It was a smoothly illuminated and rounded disk. Using 199x it remained homogeneous and while still fairly faint, it was clearly seen with direct vision. (New)
The smaller and dimmer of two separated by about 2.5’, this barred spiral was found using 152x. It presented a very dim and small oval disk, and at 199x it remained a weak visual target. (New)
Just southeast of
As an aside to the
I located this galaxy using 152x, and it presented as a small but subtly bright oval that displayed an intermittent stellar core at its center. It was obvious within the field at 199x and its core was now more of a concentrated brightness within the overall halo. (New)
I suspected this object as a very dim and very small diffuse glow southeast of
This dim little dust bunny was picked up using 152x as a very dim and small thick oval glow. There seemed to be a very intermittent stellar core embedded within. Then at 199x though more apparent, the galaxy remained a dim entity in the field. The stellar core was also more obvious. (New)
In the general area I ran into a few galaxies that I’d already observed during an earlier incursion into Cetus, but I stopped by them for a quick look. This elliptical was bright to the eye and subtly large in extent. At 152x it was an obvious oval glow with a bright core that was nearly stellar. I did not view it at 199x.
Only about 4’ southeast of the previous galaxy, I also noticed this spiral that I’d already observed before. With 152x it presented a small and dim, but easy, oval disk. The core was a broadly brighter lens within the overall envelope. No need for 199x here.
About 24’ WSE of
Another previously observed galaxy, I stopped by this elliptical, which is located about 20.5’ southeast of
My next old acquaintance was this barred spiral. Observed only at 152x it presented a subtly large, thick oval that was of low surface brightness. Its disk was evenly illuminated, but had a ghostly appearance due to the lower surface brightness. Though dimmer to the eye it was not a difficult object.
About half a degree east of the previous object, another previously observed galaxy was seen. With 152x it displayed a somewhat bright and thin oval disk. It showed an inner lens of brightness within the overall halo, with a stellar core pinned to the center of the central lens.
My final re-visit object was this elliptical, located about 1° ESE of
I found this lenticular to be small and subtly bright using 152x. Rounded in shape it sported a stellar core at its center. Then at 199x it was more obvious to the eye, its core was a small inner knot of brightness surrounding the star-like center. The outer portion of the envelope was very diffuse in appearance. (New)
I tried to pin down this dim spiral nearly 8’ east of the mag 6.6 star HD 8070. I ran through my magnification steps (152x, 199x and 283x) multiple times, moving on to other targets then returning to check again. But this galaxy simply eluded my grasp on this evening. Perhaps another time I can give it another go (tomorrow?). (Fail)
I located this small and dim rounded disk using 152x. It was initially homogeneous to the eye, but at 199x an intermittent stellar core made an appearance. Overall it was a diffuse little dust bunny. (New)
This lenticular was picked up with 152x as a fairly small and dim homogeneous oval disk. Taking a peek at 199x, I was able to resolve a small non-stellar core within the galactic envelope. Otherwise it remained a small and dim glow. (New)
Next up was this small and dim homogeneous oval that was easily located using 152x. With 199x it was more apparent and remained smoothly illuminated. Its oval disk seemed subtly elongated now as a little more of its halo in the major axis became visible. Though weak overall it was not especially difficult. (New)
I scooped up this little round glow using 152x. It presented as very small and fairly dim to my eye. Evenly illuminated across its disk initially, at 199x a stellar core became apparent. (New)
Easily found using 152x, this spiral displayed a small and slightly dim homogeneous oval envelope. More apparent in the field at 199x, it remained smooth and even across its dimension. (New)
It was after 2130 hours now and to be honest I was getting cold! But I wanted to pin down a few more before I called it an evening. This spiral was found using 152x, and it appeared as a small and fairly dim diffuse oval. Checking it out with 199x, I now was picking up an intermittent stellar core. (New)
This dim rounded glow was located immediately southeast of a mag 11.0 field star. Initially the galaxy was not apparent, but after studying the field for a bit I finally discerned it in the glare field of the nearby star. Small in angular extent it was diffuse in appearance. Going to 199x it was more apparent now, but remained small, dim and homogeneous. (New)
Just 11.5’ WSW of the previous object I could easily see this galaxy in the field of view. Centering it at 152x, it presented a small and very diffuse oval disk with a very noticeable non-stellar core brightness that was slightly bright to my eye. Then at 199x, it was more apparent and quite obvious. The core now had an intermittent stellar appearance within the concentrated core region. (New)
I now wrapped up the session with a pair of galaxies. First was this spiral, that at 152x appeared small and dim, presenting a diffuse oval glow. Viewed with 199x, the core now exhibited an intermittent stellar character. Though dim, it was the brightest of the pair within the same field of view. (New)
My final object this evening is located about 13’ northwest of
It was now after 2200 hours and I admit that the cool air was working on my old body! My toes were a little achy, as were my hands (despite the gloves). I simply cannot endure the cold as I used to, but that is part of aging. Still, all in all, I put in a good three hours under the chilly dark sky, and galaxies were pursued and captured by my observing eye. So despite my minor discomfort, I was a contented old goat. But it was now time to head inside, so I moved my gear back to the garage. Then I happily returned to the warmth of the house to shed my layers and have a bit to eat before retiring for the rest of the night. As I lay in bed, I could see the night sky through the window above my head. I fell asleep as it moved onward, unconcerned with my presence. Thanks for reading along, and I will see you out there again tomorrow evening!
(Link to 2nd evening's report - viewtopic.php?t=28253)