Archive for November 2011

NGC 7380 – Cluster Plus Nebula in Cepheus

November 7, 2011

NGC 7380:  Cluster plus Nebula in Cepheus

Locating and seeing this cluster with a 10-inch was very easy, however, the associated nebula proved to be very difficult.  The 10-inch reflector presented this cluster as sparse, mostly irregular in shape, with about 25 brighter members being counted.  The nebula could only be seen when using an O-III filter, with great difficulty, patience and averted vision, from a moderately light polluted site.  The NELM during this observing session was 5.5 with good seeing.  The brightest and most concentrated portion is in the central region, surrounding a chain of four stars, oriented in an approximate NNW-SW alignment.  Other areas of nebulosity, could be seen, but not constantly, one very faint section was noted to the west, and another toward the south.  Just to the east lies a row of four very faint stars in a north-south orientation.  A beautiful and fairly bright double star lies to the west of the cluster.  The sketch was made at a magnification of 104x, using drawing and graphite pencils, on a 5 x 8 notecard. 



Enjoy Your Amateur Astronomy More…Find a Purpose!

November 4, 2011

Do you want to enjoy your observing more?   Are you beginning to become a bit bored, maybe losing interest in amateur astronomy?  The following suggestions just might help bring back that enthusiasm and excitement which  you once had.

I have found it difficult to go out, observe some of the brighter Messier objects, and then find myself back in the house within an hour or so.  No sketches, not even a note!  This type of observing can and will burn you out pretty fast.  The solution:  Find a purpose!  Make some detailed notes, attempt a sketch and compare what you have seen with photographs or reference books.  How does your notes or sketch compare? 

It can be difficult to discuss an observed deep-sky object with others, without some documentation.  It’s also very rewarding to have detailed notes, a sketch or two, and the deep-sky objects of that night will be with me forever.   

Something for consideration.  Do you have your Astronomical League Messier Certificate?  What about the double or red star list?  The Astronomical League has too many award programs to just wonder around the night sky without a purpose.