Archive for December 2016

NGC 206, Stellar Association or Star Cloud Located In The Spiral Arm of M31 – November 2016 Observer’s Challenge Report

December 8, 2016

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The close-up image was taken with a 10-inch f/6.9 Newtonian with an SBIG ST-2000XCM CCD camera 18 X 10 min. The wide-field image was taken with a 71mm f5.9 APO with an SBIG STF-8300C CCD camera, 6 X 10 min.  James Dire 

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NGC-206 can be visually observed with a 10-inch reflector and I feel certain it can also be seen with an 8-incher, and probably a 6-inch.
Current observations: M31 star cloud, or NGC-206, without success on two nights last week (November 2016). The cloud was a bit too low in the east, and was involved with sky glow as I had mentioned earlier. I’m going to wait till the moon is out of the way this month, and allow it to be at its highest point, and hopefully with excellent transparency.
I was pleasantly pleased to find three sketches and numerous notes from years past of M31, which also included NGC-206. The following “rough” field sketch was made using my 10-inch reflector and a 32mm EP. The magnification was 36X with a 1.7º FOV.
November 3, 1996: Extra supplemental notes for this sketch describing NGC 206: Very faint, fuzzy patch with a NS elongation. Faint, small, with very low surface brightness. Averted vision required, very difficult, but easier when using 71X.
January 11, 1997: 10-inch reflector at 57X. Averted vision required to see both the NW dark lane and NGC-206, which was a very faint, nebulous spot, with an irregular shape.
A Sky-Glow filter seemed to improve the visibility of the M31 dark lane.
Note: NGC-206 is located in the SW section of the spiral arm. This is an older sketch and I was never able to get out to do a better one. Not my best work.  Roger Ivester

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Aerial View Of Meteor Crater Compliments of James Yeager, Pilot American Airlines

December 6, 2016

“The snow on Meteor Crater for an ice effect as the sun was starting to set.”  James Yeager 

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Mount Potosi Observing Complex – Aerial Photos By James Yeager, Pilot-American Airlines – Article Excerpts From Astronomy Magazine

December 4, 2016

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Above aerial photos from an American Airlines Airbus at 13,000 feet:  

“When flying from Los Angeles into Las Vegas, air traffic control will usually give an arrival called KEPEC3, to set you up for a landing on 25L.  Yesterday morning, they vectored us off the arrival and gave us a heading to fly….that allowed me to get a view of a very cool piece of property on Mount Potosi.”  James Yeager, Pilot, American Airlines.

Cockpit view of Mount Potosi in the distance from McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada

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Thank you James Yeager for the fine photos and allowing me to use.  Roger Ivester

The following photo of the observing complex provided by Keith Caceres of Las Vegas. 

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The Dr. James Hermann, 14-inch RC Telescope from Lincolnton, North Carolina.

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Some briefs from the Astronomy Magazine article, February 2016, pages 54-57, complete with photos of the telescope, domes, pictures of the building process, and other.  A fabulous article indeed!   By Raymond Shubinski 

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The first couple paragraphs, and then selected :  

“BE PREPARED. The Boy Scout motto is familiar to everyone, and excellent advice for all. Being prepared requires planning and vision, and this observatory project on a Boy Scout camp southwest of Las Vegas, Nevada, shows both.” 

“A beautiful Officinal Stellare telescope now sits housed at an elevation of 5,680 feet on Mount Potosi, 25 miles from the world famous and incredibly bright…Las Vegas strip.”  

“Jim Gianoulakis is the prime mover behind the efforts to bring this level of astronomical experience to Southern Nevada.  He has been involved in the LVAS for more than 10 years.  His passion for amateur astronomy, coupled with that of the current president of the LVAS, Rob Lambert, has made this project bloom on a desert mountain.”

The flame is lit

“The catalyst of the project came in August 2012.  Gianoulakis, then president of the LVAS, received a message from Roger Ivester, an LVAS member living in Boiling Springs, North Carolina.  Ivester knew of an individual looking to gift a scope and mount to a group with a good use for it.”

“Gianoulakis and Lambert  collaborated on the proposal, which was accepted, and the project was off and running.  James Hermann, a North Carolina resident donated the scope, a 14-inch Officinal Stellare Pro RC-360.  The gift also included an Astro Systeme Austrian equatorial mount.  The value of this donation is $50,000.”  

Note:  James Hermann, MD is an emergency room physician.  Roger

Other facts:

“…members started looking for donations.  An initial gift of $2,500 came from the LVAS  membership.  Then the club raised an additional $10,000 from Las Vegas individuals and businesses.  

“Dan Johanneck at Explora-Dome in Litchfield Minnesota promised 11.5-foot dome and 8-foot domes for the Project.”

“Now where to put the observatory?  The Las Vegas Area (Scout) Reservation southwest of the city. Located on the reservation is Camp Potosi where scouts can camp and work on many of their merit badges.  With an elevation of more than a mile and shielded from the direct glare of the strip, Mount Potosi was an excellent candidate for a future observatory.  So, the LVAS entered into discussions with the council.  It was a win-win arrangement.  The LVAS gets the land on Mount Potosi within the scout camp.  In exchange, the LVAS will provide assistance with the merit badge program and organize viewing events.”  

Success

“But the future already has arrived on Mount Potosi.  In June 2015, about 1,500 boy scouts had a chance to use the observatory and its site to work on and complete the astronomy merit badge.  To LVAS members, this is one of the most exciting aspects of the project.”   

Again, this is a four page article, and the above is just to kinda fill you in on what the Mount Potosi Observing Complex is all about.  If you don’t have your very own February 2016 Astronomy Magazine, please go to http://www.Astronomy.com or just call and order a copy.  I’m sure they’re still available.  

Roger Ivester