Planetary Nebula – NGC 7009 In Aquarius – Also Known As The Saturn Nebula

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The following are some individual contributions, however all are posted in the preceding Las Vegas Astronomical Society, Observer’s Challenge link….just click on!  

By Roger and Brad Ivester

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A wonderful visit by my son, Brad.

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Our last picture of the visit.  Debbie and I will miss our son for sure!  

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By Roger and Brad Ivester

My interest in amateur astronomy began at about thirteen years of age, during the late 60’s. However, after observing for many years, life got busy and I took a hiatus from amateur astronomy for about five or more years.

In the late 80’s, at the age of twelve, my youngest son, Brad became interested in astronomy, and I was back in business. If not for Brad, I might not have gotten back into the hobby. I’m very thankful to my son.

Twenty or so years ago, Brad on occasion would go outside with me, but as a teenager, he had other interest. I was, however, very grateful when he would accompany me for an hour or so in the backyard.  Brad left North Carolina almost twenty years and now resides in Las Vegas. 

This weekend, Brad came for a visit, and I thought it would be great if we could observe together once again. Last night, Friday, September 30th, was like going back in time. It was a surreal feeling for sure. The both of us were able to observe the planetary nebula, NGC 7009.

We do not get to visit each other that often due to the distance between us. Last night, however, we were able to compare our thoughts at the eyepiece, make notes, with Brad agreeing, assisting and approving the sketch.

NGC 7009 (Saturn Nebula) in Aquarius:

Date: September 30, 2016
Seeing: Good Transparency: Good
Telescope: 10-inch Newtonian/FL 1143
Sketch magnification: 256x
Eyepiece: 12.5 mm and with the employ of a 2.8x Barlow

At 44x, the planetary appears as a small oval bluish disc, and very small. The seeing was good, so we increased the magnification to 256x. The nebula became elongated, but fairly subtle, with an orientation of WSW – ENE. The surface brightness was very high, and the texture was very smooth and even. The edges were well defined and sharp. No central star could be seen, and there was no center brightness. As hard as we tried, we could not see the ansae or extensions on the ends as seen in photographs. However, an annoying unshielded streetlight in close proximity could have been the cause for this. The contrast was a bit lacking, despite the 5.2 NELM at the zenith. 

Roger Ivester

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September 2016 Observer’s Challenge is NGC 7009, better known as the Saturn Nebula. The following are observations by Jaakko Saloranta of Finland, Dr. James Dire of Hawaii, Glenn Chaple of Massachusetts, and Sue French of New York 

The complete Observer’s Challenge will be posted when all reports are received, compiled and edited.  Roger Ivester  

By Jaakko Saloranta 

4.7-inch Sky-Watcher @ 228x

Very bright, E-W elongated blue disk visible even with a pair of 8×30 binoculars. Fairly obvious ring structure with two faint extensions visible on both sides of the disk. Central star is buried inside the high surface brightness halo and remains invisible.
4.7-Inch Sky-Watcher @ 228x

Very bright, E-W elongated blue disk visible even with a pair of 8×30 binoculars. Fairly obvious ring structure with two faint extensions visible on both sides of the disk. Central star is buried inside the high surface brightness halo and remains invisible.
22-Inch Capella @ 1058x (observing from California.) 

A breathtaking view. Central star is surrounded by a complex, mottled elliptical ring with knots (W bigger) at both ends. Outer halo is more round, with a brightening in the NW edge.

A breathtaking view. Central star is surrounded by a complex, mottled elliptical ring with knots (W bigger) at both ends. Outer halo is more round, with a brightening in the NW edge.

Pencil sketch by Jaakko with the colors inverted: 

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NGC 7009 – The Saturn Nebula
By Dr. James R. Dire

The Saturn Nebula, a.k.a NGC7009, is located in Aquarius, just north of the constellation Capricornus. The nebula lies approximately six degrees due north of the star Theta Capricorni (mag 4.1), and one and one-third degree due west of the star Nu Aquarii (mag. 4.5). The nebula also resides within a couple of degrees of both M72 and M73!

NGC7009 is a planetary nebula. The nebula was formed when its host star shed a good amount of its gas when is evolved into a red giant star. The star then evolved into a white dwarf that now resides inside the planetary nebula. Planetary nebulae got their name because at the eyepiece so many of them have the blue color and disk appearance of the planets Uranus and Neptune. In the case of NGC7009, it received its common name, the Saturn Nebula, due to a bar-like feature that resembles Saturn’s rings. However, NGC7009 and all other planetary are not really planets.

In the eyepiece at low power, NGC7009 appear blue and round, almost star-like. A magnification of 100 is required to resolve it into a disk and even higher power is required to see its ring-like bar. The nebula is around 30 arc-sec in size and is magnitude 7.8

My image of NGC7009 was taken earlier this month (Sept. 2016) with a Discovery 10-inch f/6 Newtonian with a Televue Paracorr II coma corrector mounted on a Paramount ME German equatorial (http://www.astrojim.net/KCC%20Observatory.html). I used an SBIG ST-2000XCM CCD camera and the exposure was one hour. The hour-long exposure was necessary to bring out the bar-like feature in the nebula. The brightest star in the image is magnitude 10.   JD 

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