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 get a bit bored, maybe losing interest?  The following thoughts just might help bring back that enthusiasm and excitement that 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!  Take some detailed notes, attempt a sketch,  and compare what you have seen with photographs or reference books.  If you’re into astrophotography, look at the object and all of the fine details…not the image.     

It’s almost impossible to discuss an object with others, without a note, a sketch or an image.   It’s very rewarding for me to have a handful of detailed notes, a sketch or two, and the deep-sky objects of that night will be with me forever.   

I have always found it good to have a list, or a goal.  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.  

double click to enlarge photos