Archive for July 2012

NGC 188 – Open Cluster in Cepheus – August 2010 – Observer’s Challenge – Posted July 30th 2012

July 30, 2012

AUGUST 2010 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – NGC-188

NGC 188 has always been a difficult object from my moderately light polluted backyard using a 10-inch reflector.  Some observers report seeing this cluster with a 60mm refractor, and one counted at least 30 stars with a 4-inch.  According to many sources this is one of the oldest galactic clusters.  

This cluster is very close to polaris and can be seen by northern hemisphere observers all year round, however, it seems to be seldom observed by many amateurs.  RI 

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My Observing Bag: What I Pack When Going Outside.

July 25, 2012

I always have my observing equipment ready and would like to share what I take when going outside:

1.   Plenty of pencils, including a couple of charcoal’s, erasers, pencil sharpener, note pad, 5 x 8 sketch cards, blending stumps, and an eraser shield.  A 3-inch clear “circular” protractor to assist in the orientation and cardinal points of an object. 

2.   Observing hood to shield ambient light and an eyepatch.

3.   Two (2) Rigel Starlite red observing lights.  I always have two, just in case I should find a dead battery.  I also have a small white light to use when packing up.  The batteries in LED’s last really well, but I normally change at least once or twice per year. 

4.    An S&T “Pocket Sky Atlas” and an Orion “DeepMap 600” folding map.  I also keep my “Sky Atlas 2000” beside of my bag. 

5.   An observing notebook with supporting data, deep-sky objects, Messier’s and Herschel’s. 

6.   Screwdrivers and other assorted tools. 

7.   Gloves, thin and heavy, and always a toboggan.  (Gloves and a toboggan are essential, so be sure to keep them in your bag!)  A toboggan is not a sled, but a knit cap that covers your head and ears.  I thought this was a universal term, but apparently it is colloquial or regional.  There have been many folks wanting to know why I need a sled to observe.  It seems to be a term that is used only in the southern states.  An amateur from New York calls them a ski cap, and this would seem to be a better name…

8.   A magnifying glass for my Sky Atlas 2000. 

9.  Brass rings for various atlases, and finders.  They work really well when used with an atlas for finding those really faint and difficult deep-sky objects.  

10.  Other essentials:  A folding portable observing table, and an adjustable Astro-Chair.  I’ve never been able to observe, sketch and take notes while standing….which I find to be impossible.  

Roger

M27 – Planetary Nebula In Vulpecula – Observer’s Challenge – July 2009 – Posted July 22nd 2012

July 23, 2012

JULY 2009 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – M-27

How many stars can you count within the nebula? 

M2 – NGC 7089 – Globular Cluster In Aquarius – Observer’s Challenge – June 2009 – Posted July 22nd 2012

July 22, 2012

AUGUST 2009 MONTHLY OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – M-002

Can you see the dark lane that crosses the northeast corner of this cluster?  

M13 And The Propeller – Observer’s Challenge – June 2009 – Posted July 22nd 2012

July 22, 2012

JUNE 2009 MONTHLY OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – M-13

The Challenge Reports can also be seen at  http://www.lvastronomy.com  and at  http://www.fredrayworth.com 

M65, M66 and NGC 3628 – Galaxies In Leo – M51 Spiral Galaxy In Canes Venatici – Spring 2010 – M97 Planetary Nebula In Ursa Major – Posted July 28th 2012

July 22, 2012

MAY 2011 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – M-97

SPRING 2010 SUPPLEMENTAL OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – M-51

MAY 2009 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – LEO TRIO

Note: To see all of the Challenge Reports that have been posted to-date on this site:  Please go to “categories” and click on.  It is going to take a while to get them all posted, so please be patient.  I am hopeful that this site will be beneficial for anyone planning an observing session or just interested in seeing how other amateurs perceive the selected objects.  RI 

IC 405/410 – Flaming Star Nebula – Plus NGC 1893 Open Cluster – Observer’s Challenge – March 2010 – Posted July 20th 2012

July 20, 2012

MARCH 2010 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – IC-405 IC-410 NGC 1893a

The Observer’s Challenge for March 2010 contains two of the most difficult objects to-date for the visual observer.  IC 405 is a diffuse nebula, also called the “Flaming Star Nebula.”  It is illuminated by the variable star, AE Auriga.  I have attempted IC 405 with my 10-inch on many occasions to no avail.  

Nebula IC 410 is illuminated by open cluster NGC 1893, and is presented as a definite glow surrounding the cluster when using the 10-inch.  

Open Cluster NGC 1893 lies in a very rich star field, but was easy to see in my 4-inch refractor at a magnification of 83x.  With careful observing, at least twenty stars could be counted, but a number of the fainter members were just beyond the limit of the small refractor, creating a faint unresolved glow.    RI