NGC 1893 Open Cluster + IC 410 Emission Nebula – February 2021 Observer’s Challenge Report – Auriga #145

Posted February 5, 2021 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

MONTHLY OBSERVER’S CHALLENGE

Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina

&

Sue French, New York

February 2021

Report #145

IC 1893 and IC 410, Cluster and Emission Nebula in Auriga

Sharing Observations and Bringing Amateur Astronomers Together

Introduction

The purpose of the Observer’s Challenge is to encourage the pursuit of visual observing. It’s open to everyone who’s interested, and if you’re able to contribute notes and/or drawings, we’ll be happy to include them in our monthly summary. Visual astronomy depends on what’s seen through the eyepiece. Not only does it satisfy an innate curiosity, but it allows the visual observer to discover the beauty and the wonderment of the night sky. Before photography, all observations depended on what astronomers saw in the eyepiece, and how they recorded their observations. This was done through notes and drawings, and that’s the tradition we’re stressing in the Observer’s Challenge. And for folks with an interest in astrophotography, your digital images and notes are just as welcome. The hope is that you’ll read through these reports and become inspired to take more time at the eyepiece, study each object, and look for those subtle details that you might never have noticed before.

This month’s target

John Herschel discovered the open cluster IC 1893 in 1827 with the 18¼-inch reflector at Slough in Buckinghamshire, England. His handwritten journal reads: “Rich, coarse, scattered and straggling. It more than fills the field. The stars are 9…15 magnitude.”  The engulfing nebula, IC 410, wasn’t discovered until 1892, when Max Wolf found some new extended nebulae on photographic plates taken with a 6-inch Voigtländer portrait lens. My paraphrased translation of the pertinent section of his discovery says: The ribbon-rich nebula shown on the plates around the star cluster surrounds the star BD+33 1023 [HD 242908] should also be new. It largely encloses the whole group.

The nebula is roughly 11,000 to 12,000 light-years distant, and the adolescent cluster within it is at least 4-million years old.

Complete Report: February 2021 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE _NGC 1893 and IC 410

IC 348 – Open Star Cluster Plus Nebula – Perseus – January 2021 Observer’s Challenge Report #144

Posted January 2, 2021 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina 

&

Sue French, New York

January 2021

Report #144

IC 348 – Cluster plus Nebula in Perseus

Sharing Observations and Bringing Amateur Astronomers Together

This month’s target

During his term as the first director of Dearborn Observatory, Truman Henry Safford discovered IC 348 on December 1, 1866, with the observatory’s 18.5-inch refractor. Safford published his observation in a table of objects found at Dearborn in the years 1866–1868. The table uses the alphabet-soup notation common to the era, which decrypted means: very large, very gradually brighter in the middle, pretty bright. Additionally, a note below that section of the table describes the object as “A loose cluster with nebula.” The combo appeared in the First Index Catalogue.

IC 348 has the dubious honor of bearing two IC designations. Edward Emerson Barnard independently discovered the nebula in 1893, and it was placed in the Second Index Calalogue as IC 1985, without anyone tumbling to the fact that it was already in the previous IC catalog. Unlike Safford, Barnard didn’t note the existence of the cluster within the nebula. 

IC 348 is thought to be roughly 1000 light-years away and a youthful 2–3 million years old. It holds about 500 stars, with brightest being hot, blue-white stars on the main sequence. The cluster’s visual magnitude is 7.3. By Sue French

january-2021-observers-challenge-_ic-348

Mario Motta: Observer from Massachusetts

This is 90 min, about 30 mins each Red/green/blue through the 32-inch scope, asi6200 camerainteresting in that I thought was mostly a reflection nebula, but the nebula is both red and some blue, so must be both reflection and some emission.

Roger Ivester: Observer from North Carolina

IC 348, open cluster in Perseus enveloped with nebulosity:  

Just to the south of bright star Omicron Persei (apparent visual magnitude 3.8) lies the sparse and scattered open cluster IC 348, which contains about 10 mostly dim stars.   


My Home Observatory Has Endured The Test of Time, But Is Now Improved. It Serves Multiple Purposes; One Being My Humble Observatory, a Sun Deck and for Blue Bird Watching

Posted December 7, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

I started with just a deck, but over time, especially in the past couple years, I’ve tried to improve and make my observing site a bit darker, and I’ve been successful. At the zenith or overhead, on a real good and transparent night, I can reach a 5.5 NELM. Not too bad for a location inside the city limits of a small town.

And with no ambient light shinning into my eyes.

After a few revisions….

You might wonder why I’ve not built a dome or roll-off roof observatory, after being an amateur astronomy for almost 50 years. The reason. My back yard is not worthy of a permanent structure.

For 35 years, I’ve been using my back deck for the majority of my observing. My house blocks ambient light from the south, but I needed to improve my overhead and northern views. I can observe anything from ~+12º north latitude, anything more southerly, I have to leave my deck and find the darkest spot in my back yard.

On the west side of my deck, I use a couple large sheets of black auto/marine fabric, with a backing that makes light impossible to penetrate.

I just “clothes-pin” it to a nylon rope, and when my session is complete, it’s very easy to take down, fold up and put away. It is similar to heavy duty “old time” tent canvas. It’s very thick, and is perfect for my use.

So for the past couple of years, I’ve been slowly adding various light blocks:

A couple weeks ago I added a small section to my current wooden light block petition, which now needs to be stained. And also a new small shed to block light, and for storage.

In my larger shed, I store my CGE-Pro Celestron mount, which is much too heavy to take in and out of the house. This mount is really designed for a permanent observatory, and too heavy to set up for a night or two of observing. Most of the time, I use a lighter equatorial mount with my 10-inch. I also keep tools, counterweights, an astro-chair and other astronomy and non-astronomy equipment stored in this shed.

So, my point of this post: Despite street lights, or other lighting there are things you can do to improve your ability to observe, even from your back yard.

Star Trails Image: By Guest Hosts: Babak Tafreshi (Photographer) and Mario Motta

Posted December 2, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Uncategorized

Star Trails image at the residence of amateur astronomer Mario Motta, by renowned photographer, Babak Tafreshi.

Click on image to enlarge:

Babak Tafreshi is an award winning photographer working with the National Geographic, a master of night-time photography and nightscape videos. He used the context of night sky to bridge Earth and sky, art and science, cultures and time. He is also a science journalist and the founder of The World at Night (TWAN) program; an elite group of about 40 photographers in 25 countries who present images to reconnect people with importance and beauties of the night sky and natural nights (since 2007).

Born in 1978 in Tehran he is based in Boston, United States, but could be anywhere on the planet, chasing stories from the Sahara to the Himalayas or Antarctica. He is also a contributor to Sky&Telescope magazine, the European Southern Observatory (ESO), and a board member of Astronomers Without Borders organization, an international organization to bridge between cultures and connect people around the world through their common interest to astronomy. He received the 2009 Lennart Nilsson Award, the world’s most recognized award for scientific photography, for his global contribution to night sky photography.

As a science journalist he has contributed to many television and radio programs on astronomy and space exploration specially when living in Iran. He was the editor of the Persian astronomy magazine (Nojum) for a decade and been involved with various science education and outreach programs.

Babak started photography of the night sky above natural landscapes and historic architecture in early 1990s when he was a teenager. He has always been fascinated by the universality of the night sky; the same sky appearing above different landmarks of the world. Photography, science stories, and eclipse chasing has taken him to the 7 continents.

M76 – Planetary Nebula in Perseus – December 2020 Observer’s Challenge Report: #143

Posted November 29, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina 

&

Sue French, New York

December 2020

Report #143

M76, Planetary Nebula in Perseus

Sharing Observations and Bringing Amateur Astronomers Together

 

 

 

 

 

My Ultimate Image Of The Horsehead Nebula: By Guest Host, Mario Motta

Posted November 24, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Uncategorized

I did a 4 hour exposure (32-inch telescope) of the horsehead using 6 filters. Ten days I ago spent 4 hours obtaining a new horsehead nebula. This is using 6 filters, red, green, blue, but also Ha, S2 and O3. Using narrowband is tricky for color balance but using the RGB helped that out, and got the intrinsic resolution enhancement of the narrow band filters. Been busy, so finally processed this weekend. My previous image was eight years ago only RGB. There is significantly more detail in this image than my prior. I had to play with the six different filter stack sets to get just the right balance of detail and color.

If anyone wants to see my collection of over 600 images, broken into messier, NGC, IC, etc, go to: www.mariomottamd.com

Thank you, Mario Motta

NGC 278 – Galaxy in Cassiopeia – November 2020 Observers Challenge: #142

Posted November 15, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina 

&

Sue French, New York

November 2020

Report #142

NGC 278, Galaxy in Cassiopeia

Complete report: Click on the following link

November 2020 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE _NGC 278

Reiland 1: Obscure Cluster Plus Nebula in Cepheus

Posted October 18, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Uncategorized

Earlier this year (Spring 2020) I was communicating with Tom Reiland of Pennsylvania. Tom was recently a recipient of the Astronomical League, Leslie Peltier award, and a lifelong amateur. He mentioned to me about a cluster in Cepheus which he discovered back in the 80’s, and was given the name, Reiland 1.

Right Ascension: 23h 04m.8″ Declination: +60º 05

The following image provided by Mario Motta from Massachusetts: 32-inch Reflector; 40 mins asi6200 camera

The following images Provided by James Dire of Illinois: 8-inch f/8 Ritchey-Chretien telescope with a 0.8x FR/FF and a SBIG ST-2000XCM camera. Exposure 60 minutes

An excellent report by Mike McCabe from Massachusetts: Click on the above link.

October 2020 New Moon In Jordan by Anas Sawallha: 19 Hours 36 Minutes

Posted October 18, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Uncategorized

I was happy to have received an email (September 17th) from my astronomy friend in Jordan, Ana Sawallha with this 19 hour 36 minute new moon photo. Thank you Anas.

NGC 7332/7339 Galaxy Pair in Pegasus: October 2020 Observer’s Challenge Report #141

Posted October 15, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina 

&

Sue French, New York

October 2020

To view the complete report: Click on the following link…

october-2020-observers-challenge-_ngc-7332-39