NGC 188 – A Very Faint and Difficult Open Cluster, and so Close to Polaris

Posted April 30, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

Image by James Dire:  Observer from Illinois 

Telescope:  5.2-inch f/7 apochromatic refractor, 25 minute exposure with an SBIG ST-2000XCM CCD camera.  Date of image:  April 26th 2020 

NGC188

 

Visual Notes by Sue French:  Observer from New York 

I’ve logged NGC 188 only twice:  By Sue French 

7-10-02, 10:25pm EDT, 105/610mm refractor, 87×, Seeing: fair, 

Transparency: good

About 30 faint to extremely faint stars in 17′. Slightly patchy background hits at unresolved stars. Inconspicuous.

 5-25-06, 2am EDT, 10-inch f/5.9 Newtonian, 68×, Seeing: poor, 

Transparency: fair

In a pretty field of bright stars.  Large, about 14′.  Nice cluster.  About 40 faint to very faint stars over patchy haze.

You’ll notice that my estimated size is different between the two observations.  Brent Archinal gives this a size of 15′.   

 

Visual Notes by Uwe Glahn:  Observer from Germany 

 4-inch binocular:  Magnification 23x, NELM 6.0 

     Stands out nicely from the background, visible with direct vision, large diffuse glow without any concentration, half-dozen stars are popping in and out of view within the cluster. 

 16-inch  NELM 6.5+

     Nearly fully resolved, very many (>50) faint mag. 14 stars with similar brightness, OC without any concentration or structures, some background glow.  

Pencil sketch:  20 x 125 binoculars and a 3º field of view. 

NGC188_ug

 

Rony De Laet:  Observer from Belgium 

The existence of this cluster was brought to my attention, back in 2005, when I became interested in sketching the Caldwell Objects. 

NGC 188 is the first entry in the Caldwell list, which is a list that orders objects from highest declination to lowest. Much to my surprise NGC 188 was located near Polaris, a convenient location to observe from my backyard. At that time, I had a computer controlled 105mm f/14 Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope. 

I was pretty sure that my scope was pointed in the right direction, but when I looked into my 25mm EP…nothing but an empty field.  This was weird.  The cluster’s magnitude was rated at 8! That should have been a piece of cake, as I’d  sketched dimmer objects like M56. 

I read James O’Meara’s notes on Caldwell 1 a few hours earlier.  He even mentioned seeing the cluster with a small pair of binoculars.  Just to be sure, I sketched the stars in the field of view, but I wanted to know what went wrong. 

I believe there are two reasons why NGC 188 was beyond my reach. 

The first reason:  The majority of the stars are below the limiting magnitude of my telescope.  From my backyard, I could not see stars fainter than mag 12.5 with my 4-inch Maksutov-Cassegrain.  

The second reason is that NGC 188 is relatively large, so its combined brightness is spread over a large area, compared to a globular cluster like M56.  I had bad luck, that this cluster’s combined brightness was lower than the sky’s background brightness. 

Here are my notes and sketch from then.

Telescope:  4-inch Maksutov-Cassegrain 

Location : Bekkevoort, Belgium

Date:  November 1, 2005 , 20.45UT

Seeing:  2.5 on a scale of 5, Transparency : 3.5

Magnification: 60x

Fov 0.9°

I made the following sketch on a very dark (for my standards) night.  It was not much of a cluster to me in the ETX.  Only the brighter members are visible. The limiting magnitude is 12.5, so I guess this object is just beyond my reach.  

North is down and west is to the left: 

80klaar

 

From the early years of the Observer’s Challenge Report: AUGUST 2010 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – NGC-188 

 

Meeting two Very Famous People In Amateur Astronomy

Posted April 28, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

I was honored to have had the opportunity to meet and talk with Al Nagler.  Al is a such a nice and humble gentleman.  The photo shows Al signing a deep-sky observing book.  

http://www.televue.com/engine/TV3b_page.asp?id=21

DSC_0623

 

Listening to the “late” John Dobson, share his thoughts.   A very unique and interesting guy for sure.  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dobson_(amateur_astronomer)

John Dobson

 

A dinner party was held for Dobson during his visit.  I can be seen sitting on the floor and “again” listening to him, tell his many stories.  Most all in my area really enjoyed his visit.  

john-dobson-giving-advice1

 

 

The Questar 3.5-Inch Telescope Story, Vernonscope/Brandon Eyepieces and a Meade ETX 90 Astro

Posted April 25, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

     Questar Telescopes (Maksutov-Cassegrain) have been built in New Hope, Pennsylvania since 1950.  Questar has chosen Brandon eyepieces for many years, which are also made in the USA.   https://www.questar-corp.com/

     Brandon eyepieces are optimized for telescopes with a focal ratio of f/7 or greater.   https://043a19c.netsolhost.com/

     The following are some photographs of a friends 3.5-inch Duplex.    

DSCF5015

DSCF5012    

     During the early 50’s, Cave Optical in Long Beach, California, manufactured the 3.5-inch mirrors.

    Questar advertised on the back of the front cover page of “Sky & Telescope Magazine” for decades!

A challenge to Questar?   

     In 1996, Meade Instruments Corporation, introduced the Meade ETX 90mm Astro.  This telescope was designed to be an economy Questar.  Mostly constructed of plastic, but with all the emphasis on the optics.   

     At that time, Meade was manufacturing the ETX, as well as most all of their higher-end telescopes in Irvine, California.     

     I purchased an ETX 90 the following year (1997) for use as a very portable telescope, to observe deep-sky objects within its grasp.  It served that purpose well.  The telescope had very good optics and would easily exceed Dawes’ Limit on double stars on a night with good to excellent seeing. 

     Dawes Limit:  4.56/A (A is aperture in inches) for two equal stars of about 6th magnitude.   

https://www.astronomics.com/info-library/astronomical-terms/dawes-limit/                                                                                                                                                                                               

     However, when considering fit, finish, cosmetics and ease of use, the ETX “cannot” even remotely compare to the “much” more expensive and precision Questar.  

     The 3.5-inch Questar continues to have its place in astronomy, despite most amateurs of today wanting larger and larger telescopes, but how many telescope companies do you know that have been in business since 1950?

      And from their longtime advertisement in “S&T” the following was said:   “Questar, The World’s Finest, Most Versatile Telescope”

     This must be true, to have survived in the ever-changing world of amateur astronomy equipment for 70 years.  (1950 – 2020)  

      I wrote the following story back in (2012) and it still receives views, even to this day.    Roger Ivester

https://rogerivester.com/2012/02/02/questar-a-high-precision-3-5-inch-telescope/

M85 and NGC 4394: Galaxies in Coma Berenices: Observer’s Challenge Report for May 2020: #136

Posted April 22, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

MONTHLY OBSERVER’S CHALLENGE

Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina

&

Sue French, New York

May 2020

Report #136 

M85 and NGC 4394:  Galaxies in Coma Berenices 

“Sharing Observations and Bringing Amateur Astronomers Together”

May 2020 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE _M85 and NGC 4394

 

Uwe Glahn:  Observer from Germany 

Objects: Messier 85, NGC 4394, MCG+03-32-028

Telescope: 27-inch f/4.2 Newtonian

Magnification: 172× – 293×

NELM: 6.5+

Seeing: III

 Location: Sudefeld  

Pencil Sketch: 

M85 Uwe inv

 

Sue French:  Observer from New York 

Roger and I corresponded about the galaxy NGC 4293, which is in the general vicinity of this month’s targets. This inspired me to sketch the three galaxies together as seen through my 105mm refractor at 47×, with a true field of 99 arcminutes. North is up and east is to the right.

M85 is bright with a large brighter core that greatly intensifies toward the center. Its close neighbor NGC 4394 hosts a spindle-shaped interior with a small brighter bulge at its heart, all wrapped in a very faint halo. More distant, elongated NGC 4293 holds a slightly brighter center.

With more magnification, NGC 4293 is an interesting galaxy. Even at 76×, the little refractor teases out a subtle brightening that looks to me like a very shallow S curve or integral sign running the length of the galaxy. This shows better with my 10-inch reflector at 187× where the slight S shape of the broad core blends into the galaxy’s slightly brighter edges, mainly along the west-northwest and east-southeast flanks.

fullsizeoutput_124e

 

Rony De Laet: Observer from Belgium

Telescope: 10-inch f/5 truss Dobson

Much to my delight, I was able to fit both galaxies in the same high power eyepiece. An interesting comparison!  M85 is obviously the brightest of the two, but it shows no structure in my scope. It is just an amorphous elliptical glow with a stellar nucleus.  NGC 4394 is the fainter companion. My bortle 5 sky allows me to see only its central bar with a faint stellar nucleus embedded within.

The sketch is a digital reproduction of a raw pencil sketch behind the eyepiece at 200x.

The fov is 22 arcminutes

North is up and west to the right

M85_sketch_ES10_rdl

 

Dale Holt:  Observer from England

I use a 505mm f/3.74 Newtonian on a fork mount and an old analogue Watec 120N+ deep sky video camera with custom cooling. The camera is B&W and delivers its image in near real time, typically 15 sec exposure to a CRT monitor in my observatory office where I sketch from the screen. Most commonly I used graphite pencil on sketch paper although sometimes I use white on black hard pastels where the object is nebulous. Post drawing I scan the image and invert using paint. Limiting magnitude of my set up is around 19-20th mag.

2018-04-18 M85 + NGC 4394 505mm + Watec 120N+ vid cam D Holt b&w

 

Ed Fraini:  Observer from Texas 

Observation report: M85 and NGC 4394

Date:  May 2020

Our observation of the galaxy pair was made on the evening of May 18th from 2140 CDT till 2200 CDT.  The Houston Astronomical dark site had average conditions, meaning high humidity so moderate seeing and an SQM of 19.45. The target field is near azimuth, located centrally between Virgo, Leo, and Coma Berenices giving us the best possible conditions.

Time 2140

40 mm (50x – 1.42º field of view)

M85 is visible, and NGC 4394 observed only with a blink of the eye.  Both show as hazy circular patches with no structure other than a slightly brighter core.  The core of M85 is distinct, and the outer edges of the circle are defused with no firm location. Both galaxies seem to be facing us.  The star PPM 129045, to the southeast is quite bright and clearly spaced away from the visible disk.

Time 2153

13 mm (100º AF)  (147x – 41 arcseconds)

At this power, the background is extremely black.  M85 is still void of structure, and the core is more distinctly differentiated from the disk. Now the gap between the bright companion star is much smaller. The thin veil of the outer disk reaches closer to it. Moved M85 out and placed NGC 4394 in the center of the field.  At this magnification, NGC 4394 is oval-shaped. Two exceedingly small dim stars on a line to the southwest of NGC 4394 can barely be detected.

Time 2205

6 mm (100º AF) (318x – 18 arcseconds)

Stars very dim, no useful observations made.

These two make a nice pair, how could they not be on the Two in the View AL program?  We only had about 30 more minutes of observing in this night before the clouds moved in, so this observation became the highlight of the night.  

 

Chris Elledge:  Observer from Massachusetts

On February 22nd @11:47pm EST, I used a 10-inch f/5 refractor to observe M85 from the ATMoB Clubhouse. Sky conditions were: Bortle Scale 6; NELM 5.0; Transparency: Average; Seeing: Average.  

11 Comae Berenices was barely naked eye visible with averted vision. I was able to use that star to locate M85 since it is a little over a degree to the West of the galaxy. At 36x (35mm) M85 is a faint smudge with a single faint mag. 10 star to its SE (BD +18 2609). Its companion galaxy NGC 4394 is very difficult to detect against the background. A ring of 6 bright mag. 7 to 9 stars surround the pair of galaxies (HD 108468, HD 108547, HD 108300, HD 108187, HD 108022, & HD 108023).

At 115x (11mm) there are 3 stars in an arc ranging from mag. 10 to 13 (TYC 1445-1858-1, BD +18 2609, & GAIA 3947037565924683008). The middle and brightest star in the arc has M85 just to its NW. The third and faintest of the arc has NGC 4394 to its North. M85 is the brighter of the 2 galaxies and appears slightly larger. There is a very faint star just to the North of M85’s core which is contained within the glow of the galaxy. M85’s diameter looks about the same as the distance between its core and BD +18 2609. There is a slight North to South elongation to the galaxy. NGC 4394 is much more difficult to detect, but it seems to have a NW to SE orientation.

Taking the power up to 270x (4.7mm) M85 is easy to see even with direct vision. With averted vision, the faint mag. 13 star embedded in it is visible. It still seems to have a North to South elongation, but that could be affected by the embedded star since it is on the same axis. NGC 4394 is still visible with averted vision. It seems to have a NW to SE elongation in the core possibly from a bar.

 

Michael Brown:  Observer from Massachusetts 

I observed M85 and NGC 4394 on May 13, photographed them on May 20, and observed them again visually on May 21.  I cherish observing the sky in the middle of spring.  Each year there is that very first truly enjoyable night, when it is finally comfortably warm and dry after the long New England winter, yet the mosquitoes have not yet appeared.  I hear flocks of geese flying north overhead and owls in the woods around my house.  I have a strong association between those sounds and the galaxies populating the spring sky.

My cursory research indicated that M85 is an elliptical (or perhaps lenticular) galaxy, NGC 4394 is a barred spiral, and both are members of the Virgo Cluster about 60 million light-years distant.  In my 8-inch scope with the 9mm eyepiece, M85 appeared quite bright, with an extended bright center (definitely not star-like) surrounded by a faint halo.  The galaxy was elliptical in shape with a north-northeast to south-southwest orientation.  I glimpsed a bright spot northeast of the center.  In my first observation I thought this could be either a foreground star of a bright spot within the galaxy (I have confirmed that it is in fact a star).  A brighter star is visible in the field southeast of the galaxy.

NGC 4394 is in the same telescopic field east of M85.  This smaller, dimmer galaxy was still fairly easy to see.  However, it was simply a round smudge with no significant detail.  

My photograph (with my Canon Digital Rebel SLR) has a total exposure of 17 minutes.  The photo shows the bright core and surrounding halo of M85.  The core and bar are clearly visible on NGC 4394.  The two spiral arms are faintly visible, with the general appearance of two rings.  I believe I see two other fuzzy objects in the photo:  one beneath (south of) M85, and one to its right (west).  I’d be interested in any information on these objects that anybody might have.

M85 and NGC 4494 (2)

 

Vladislav Mich:  Observer from Massachusetts 

Date: April 18 and May 13, 2020

Location: White Mountains National forest, New Hampshire

Conditions: Bortle 2, average seeing

Telescope:  22-inch f/3.3 DOB with 10mm eyepiece (185x, FOV=33′)

Filter:  No filter

Notes: M85 (NGC 4382) and NGC 4394 are located among about a dozen of foreground stars.  Even thou NGC 4382 is lenticular galaxy and NGC 4394 is a barred spiral galaxy they looked alike to me. Besides bright central regions I did not note any other details.

Pencil sketch as following:   

M85+ Slav inv2

 

Mario Motta:  Observer from Massachusetts:

M85 and NGC 4394 image taken through 32-inch telescope for two hours integration time, with my new ZWP ASI6200 camera, processed in PixInsight.  It is 60 million light years away, has faint shells in its structure, and a cloud of globular clusters swarming around it. 

NGC 4394 is another nice example of an ansae type barred spiral.  

2540995_1_M85_NGC4394

 

James Dire:  Observer from Illinois 

Located in Coma Berenices, M85 is a lenticular galaxy. Its integrated magnitude is estimated between 9 and 10.  Because it is nearly face-on, M85 appears as an elliptical galaxy. Were it more edge on, its disk might be more apparent.

M85 was discovered by Pierre Mechain in 1781 and confirmed by Messier soon thereafter. The galaxy measures 6.9 by 5.4 arcminutes.  The galaxy is 60 million light years away.

Less than 10 arc minutes east of M85 lies the barred spiral galaxy NGC 4394 which shines at magnitude 11.3.  The galaxy has a star-like core with a very bright bar running from northwest to southeast. While apparently close to M85 in the sky, in the literature distance estimates to NGC 4394 range from 39 to 121 million light years away. The most reliable distance is 58 million light years away, putting it close to M85.  Both galaxies have the same red shift; more evidence they are physically close in the heavens.

I took the wide field shot of M85 and NGC 4394 on May 24, 2020 using a 70mm f/6 Apo along with a 0.8x field flattener, focal reducer.  The image was a 110-minute exposure using a SBIG ST-2000XCM CCD camera. The mount was a CGEM II. 

In the image the galaxy pair reside on the left side (east) of the image. The shot was framed to include the nearly edge on spiral galaxy NGC 4293 which lies one degree away from M85 (right side of the image).  NGC 4293 is a 10th magnitude galaxy measuring 6.2 x 3.6 arcminutes in size.  The bright star on the lower right side of the image is 11 Comae Berenices, which shines at magnitude 4.75. This is a binary star with the fainter component shining at magnitude 12.9 located 8.8 arcseconds northeast of the primary.

My second image has M85 and NGC 4394 centered.  It was taken using an 8-inch f/8 Ritchey–Chrétien with 0.8x focal reducer/field flattener. This 50-minute exposure also used a SBIG ST-2000XCM CCD camera.  This image shows the bright core of M85 and its spiral-armless halo.  NGC 4394’s bar is clearly visible as well as its faint spiral arms.

All of the stars in the image embedded in M85’s halo are foreground objects.  The brightest star, just southeast of M85’s halo is magnitude 10.5.  The small, faint smudge 10 arcminutes to the east of M85 is IC3292. It is magnitude 15.3. This galaxy is visible in the wide field shot of M85. Just on the south edge of M85’s halo lies a 17th magnitude galaxy PGC40512, barely visible on the narrow field shot.

M85_RC8

M85_SV70

 

John Bishop:  Observer from Massachusetts:

I observed M85 and NGC 4394 on 5/13/20 and 5/20/20 from a remote forest setting in Plymouth, MA, about 50 miles from Boston, MA. Both nights were clear, with good  transparency and seeing. There was more moisture in the air on 5/20/20. Temperatures were in the 40s F. in the early evening, dropping into the mid-30s by midnight. It’s been a cool Spring. No bugs yet!

I observed with an 8.25 inch f/11.5 Dall-Kirkham reflector at 48x, 100x, 130x, and 193x. Equatorial mount with motor drive, without goto.

The targets for the evening were well placed for observation. I first looked for them  by dead reckoning and sweeping, rather than by true starhopping. With my 2-inch, 50 mm eyepiece (1º FOV), this approach is sometimes useful, especially where, as here, there are no prominent landmarks nearby.  This time it worked well.  In fact, on the second night, for my first view of the night, I pointed the scope at the field using the Telrad, locked the motor drive clutches, and looked in the eyepiece – there were M85 and NGC 4394, centered in the FOV!      

A fellow observer likened it to a hole-in-one!

M85 was conspicuous and bright.  It had a fairly large, bright center.  The halo was extensive, slightly elongated, and bright.  There was a star in the outer edge of the halo. At lower power the star seemed to blend in as part of some structure of the galaxy.  Otherwise, I saw no structure. M85 was much brighter than NGC 4394.

NGC 4394 was smaller and fainter than M85. It was elongated, with a nebulous halo and a defined bright core. I could not see a “bar,” but at higher magnification, the galaxy started to show brightening along its length. 

M85 and NGC 4394 were usually in the same FOV, which is always an interesting image to me.  While in the vicinity, I slid over a degree or so to NGC 4293.  At low magnification, it was a large, faint, oval haze, with no nucleus or structure; featureless, like Messier 1.  At higher power, the center was slightly brighter than the surrounding area. 

A very Interesting range of galaxies in such a small area.

 

Roger Ivester:  Observer from North Carolina

M85 and NGC 4394

Date:  April 16, 2020

Telescope:  10-inch f/4.5 reflector 

Sketch Magnification:  200x

Field of View:  0.33º 

M85:  A bright, high surface brightness galaxy with a subtle elongation, oriented NNE-SSW.  The galaxy is much brighter and very concentrated in the central region with a faint outer halo.  A mag. 12 star lies on the north tip, seemingly a bit brighter, and it stands out very well, at all magnifications.  

NGC 4394:  Smaller and much fainter than Messier 85, with a bright stellar nucleus, lens shaped and elongated NW-SE. 

M85 Roger

 

Glenn Chaple:  Observer from Massachusetts

M85 (NGC 4382) – Lenticular Galaxy in Coma Berenices (Mag: 9.1 Size: 7.1’ X 5.5’)  

NGC 4394 Barred Spiral Galaxy in Coma Berenices (Mag. 10.9 Size: 3.6’ X 3.2’)

The last two Observer’s Challenges, the 11th magnitude galaxies NGC 2859 (March) and NGC 3877 (April), were, well – challenges! If you’d like an easier target this month, we have something for you. If you’d like another challenge, we have something for you as well. The “easy challenge” is the 9th magnitude lenticular galaxy M85; the “challenging challenge” is its 11th magnitude neighbor, the barred spiral galaxy NGC 4394.

M85 is the northernmost Messier galaxy in the Virgo Galaxy Cluster and can be found about a degree ENE of the Magnitude 4.7 star 11 Comae Berenices. I described M85 is “easy,” because it’s relatively bright. I’ve seen it with a 3-inch reflector and a magnifying power of 30x.  Here’s a challenge. Can you capture it with binoculars?

If you look 8.5 arcminutes east of M85, you’ll see the faint glimmer of the barred spiral NGC 4394. Under dark sky conditions, a 10-inch scope will reveal the bar, which has a NW-SE orientation.  If you’re viewing NGC 4394 with a large-aperture scope, look for the outer halo, as seen in large telescope images. 

M85 was discovered by Pierre Méchain in early 1781. William Herschel picked up NGC 4394 three years later. Both galaxies are about 60 million light years away.

fullsizeoutput_1246

 

Joseph Rothchild:  Observer from Massachusetts

I observed M85 and NGC 4394 on May 21, 2020 on Cape Cod with my 10-inch reflector.  M85 was easy to locate by making a square out of the three stars forming the constellation Coma Berenices.  M85 showed a condensed core and there was a field star overlying the galaxies outer glow.  

Nearby NGC 4394 formed an isosceles triangle with M85 and a field star and was approximately 1/4 the size and brightness as M85.  No structure could be seen, nor the central bar. 

 

Mike McCabe:  Observer from Massachusetts 

For the May Observer’s Challenge I was able to view the galaxies M85 and NGC 4394 together in the eyepiece on the nights of May 13th and May 22nd.  

On the 13th I used a 6-inch refractor under a Bortle 6 sky, with a transparency rating of 3/5 and a seeing rating of 2/5. M85 was obviously brighter at the core, but no orientation was evident, nor was any structure such as arms. NGC 4394 was a significantly dimmer nebulous patch, with brightening towards the center seen with averted vision.

On the 22nd I used a 10-inch Newtonian reflector under a Bortle 7 sky, with a transparency rating of 2/5 and a seeing rating of 2/5. In the 10-inch a new star was visible embedded in the outer nebulosity, and the brighter core of NGC 4394 was now seen with direct vision. 

The poorer sky quality on the 22nd negated most of the advantage of wielding a larger instrument on the targets.

M85 NGC4394 McCabe

 

Richard Nugent:  Observer from Massachusetts

For many observers, the sheer number of galaxies in the Virgo-Coma Cluster make this area of the sky a difficult one to navigate! I enter these waters by finding the large T-shaped asterism (Containing 6 Coma Berenices.) just to the east of Denebola, Beta Leonis. To find our monthly challenge, I push my telescope north and east to the magnitude 4.7 star, 11 Coma Berenices. Messier 85 can be found a little over a degree to the east and a little north of this star. The galaxy is bright and relatively easy.  I was able to observe this object many times using my 10-inch and 20-inch  scopes. In addition, there are several neighboring galaxies worthy of our attention.  Richard Nugent:  

Observing in these Covid times has been limited to my Framingham home with its typical magnitude 4.8 skies. One evening in April was  particularly clear and offered a NELM closer to magnitude 5.1! On that evening I was using the smaller scope but was able to make observations of not only M85 but it’s neighbors, NGC 4394, 4293, and 4450.

In the 10-inch scope, M85 shows a bright nucleus and an extended diffuse glow. I could bee no hint of any structure. This galaxy is adjacent to the magnitude 10.4 star, BD +18 2609 and is involved with a fainter star, magnitude 13.2 star. This fainter star is near the galaxy’s nucleus and might easily be mistaken for a supernova!

Just 7’ 38” to the East lies the magnitude 10.8, barred spiral, NGC 4394. In the 10-inch scope under the 5.1 magnitude skies this galaxy could be seen with direct vision. It appeared as a faint, uniform, diffuse patch of light. Under the slightly brighter skies, this galaxy took on a ghostly appearance…it’s there most of the time, but it’s location and borders are sometimes difficult to pin down. 

In the 20-inch scope both of these galaxies are quite pretty. In the larger scope, NGC 4394 was easier and could be observed with direct vision. No structure could be seen in either galaxy.

I visited two other neighboring galaxies. Just 1° west of M85 a stream of five, 10th-12th magnitude stars lead to the magnitude 10.8 galaxy, NGC 4293. This 6.2 x 3.7 arcmin, low surface brightness galaxy appeared as an extremely faint diffuse oval glow. Ghostly in the 10-inch scope but easier with the 20-inch. Still, a darker sky would make this galaxy pop out!

Moving 1.3° south-east from M85 lies the magnitude 9.9, spiral galaxy, NGC 4450. This object is brighter than NGC 4293 but still appeared ghostly in the 10-inch scope. In the 20-inch the object was more impressive. The galaxy appeared brighter in the middle, surrounded by a uniform, diffuse glow that was easy to view with direct vision.

Before leaving this area be sure to visit the beautiful double star, 24 Coma Berenices. Just 3-1/2 degrees east of 11 Coma Berenices, this pair of orange and blue, magnitude 5 and 6.3 stars are separated by 20 arcseconds.

fullsizeoutput_124f

 

 

Venu Venugopal:  Observer from Massachusetts 

After a few tries after clouds came to spoil the view, on 5/27 I was able to capture the challenge objects.   Galaxies M85 and NGC 4394.   Venu Venugopal:  Observer from Massachusetts 

Location : Chelmsford, MA

20 minutes exposure – 8 second subs. Stacked in Sharpcap, flats/darks.

Equipments: 8-inch f/4 reflector with a Zwo533MC , GEM45  

East is to the left, and North is the up. 

image0

 

Fully Shielded LED Streetlights In Chimney Rock, North Carolina: Population 140

Posted April 18, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Light Pollution Issues

     While driving through Chimney Rock (population ~140 ) I noticed some very nice fully shielded streetlights.  This is a small tourist town in the North Carolina Mountains, about twenty miles southeast of Asheville.  

     However, I did note some “unshielded” high-intensity LED street-lighting, also in the area.  But, I’m hoping the “seemingly” new shielded lights are the future lighting objective or plans for Chimney Rock?     

     I’ll try to find out more about these lights, maybe this week (April 19th 2020.) I have no idea of the wattage or (temperature) Kelvin of the lights at current, but just the  (fully-shielded) design is a welcome relief as compared to the (unshielded) lights for the past 70 plus years!  

     However, unnecessary high wattage LED lighting without any type of shielding continues to be a problem.   No one seemed to have known how bad the LED lighting revolution would be, as related to light pollution, human health and environmental hazards.  

     Yes, little seems to be known (even today) of the human health and environmental hazards the “invisible” blue lighting of high-intensity unshielded LED lights have created.   

     Hormonal cancers  (prostate and breast cancer) are greatly increased with the new LED lighting, based on the latest AMA studies and report.  

     See the latest report by AMA Trustee, Dr. Mario Motta:  

AMA Light Pollution Study Concerning Highway Safety and The Heath Hazards: By Guest Host, Mario Motta, MD, FACC

https://www.mariomottamd.com/

     Chimney Rock is only a mile or south so from the very small community of Bat Cave, NC. (population ~176)  and about an hour from our house.  

Roger Ivester 

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Modern and Improved, Full Cut-Off Lighting Fixtures In Matthews, NC: Also an Example of Very Poor Lighting In Shelby, NC

Posted March 7, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Full Cut-Off Lighting Fixtures In Matthews, North Carolina

     Since late summer 2019, my wife and I have had regular business (Animal Eye Clinic) in Matthews, North Carolina, which is a town on the outskirts of Charlotte.  

     Matthews has some excellent and very attractive, full cut-off lighting fixtures.  Lighting should be “fully-shielded” and directed downward to avoid glare and excessive light pollution, as the following photos show.  I can’t be for sure if they are 3000k or less, but hopefully not 4000k, and have no idea of the wattage, which is just as important as fully shielded.   

     Many of the lights have back-shields which eliminate unnecessary light shining on or in house windows.  This is a great feature.  Proper outdoor lighting should direct light where it’s needed only.  

     The lights in Matthews, which I’m discussing are in a “seemingly” newer business and residential area.  An example below:   

IMG_1418

      Currently, the trend is to light residential areas and sidewalks in cities are the “short pole” colonial style fixture with 360º of 100 watt, 4,000k LED’s.  

      This type of lighting, especially with the short poles (directing light into the line-of-sight of a driver) which can make it almost impossible to see in the rain.  

      This can cause it to be difficult to see a pedestrian walking on the side of the road, a cyclist, or any road hazard, and especially difficult for drivers with poor night vision. 

     The following photo is an excellent example of poor lighting that I am referring to, with “many having only been recently installed” in Shelby.  

      I’ve heard from others saying the lights create a real problem, due to the glare creating a hazard, especially in the rain.  

Re: Lighting in Shelby    

      Each light (as pictured below) provides 360º’s of “high intensity” 100 watt LED lighting, which is the equivalent of  ~four (4)  “60 WATT, HIGH-PRESSURE-SODIUM” lights!   

IMG_1635 

     The four lights shown in the following photo is the equivalent of ~sixteen (16) 60 watt “high-pressure sodium lighting fixtures” and without any type of shielding!  And this is only in ~100 feet, or less!    

     No, I’m not suggesting that lighting is bad, but lighting should be of “intelligent” design…used only where necessary.   And that would be using lighting of an “acceptable” wattage and with a temperature of (3000k or less) and with “full shielding” to prevent glare and unnecessary and “excessive” light pollution!  

     What is a “high-pressure-sodium” light?   This is “mostly” the “barrel shaped” lighting fixtures we’ve seen on the top of utility poles, all of our lives. 

  IMG_7374       

     High-intensity LED lighting and all other “excessive” light pollution is proven to damage or injure wildlife, insects, and also increases the risk of cancer (especially) hormonal cancer(s) in both men and women, being prostate and breast cancer.  

     The following was taken (directly) from an IDA “International Dark Sky Association” article.   See their site, to learn more about light pollution:  

https://www.darksky.org/

Exposure to Artificial Light at Night Can Harm Your Health

Humans evolved to the rhythms of the natural light-dark cycle of day and night. The spread of artificial lighting means most of us no longer experience truly dark nights.

Research suggests that artificial light at night can negatively affect human health, increasing risks for obesity, depression, sleep disorders, diabetes, breast cancer and more.

Circadian Rhythm and Melatonin

Like most life on Earth, humans adhere to a circadian rhythm — our biological clock — a sleep-wake pattern governed by the day-night cycle. Artificial light at night can disrupt that cycle.

Our bodies produce the hormone melatonin in response to circadian rhythm. Melatonin helps keep us healthy. It has antioxidant properties, induces sleep, boosts the immune system, lowers cholesterol, and helps the functioning of the thyroid, pancreas, ovaries, testes and adrenal glands. Nighttime exposure to artificial light suppresses melatonin production.

A 2016 American Medical Association report expressed concern about exposure to blue light from outdoor lighting and recommends shielding all light fixtures and only using lighting with 3000K color temperature and below.   IDA

 

Re: Excellent lighting fixtures (below) in Mathews, as following:        

      As I have mentioned earlier, this is a good illustration of excellent full-shielded” lighting fixtures.  Note the “apparent” optional back-shield on the following light, which prevents light from entering through house windows or other…behind the fixture.  

IMG_1499

IMG_1498

      An example of some excellent “fully shielded street lighting fixtures” mounted on standard height utility poles, in Chimney Rock, North Carolina.  A  tourist town, with a very small population. 

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NGC 3877 – Galaxy In Ursa Major: April 2020 Observer’s Challenge Report #135

Posted February 28, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

MONTHLY OBSERVER’S CHALLENGE

Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina

&

Sue French, New York 

April 2020

Report #135

NGC 3877 Galaxy in Ursa Major  

“Sharing Observations and Bringing Amateur Astronomers Together”

 

 

April Observer’s Challenge Report:

April 2020 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE _ NGC 3877

James Dire:  Observer from Illinois 

     NGC 3877 is an 11th magnitude spiral galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major. To find the galaxy start at the star Megrez, the star where the handle of the Big Dipper connects to the cup.  Follow an arcing line from Megrez through Phecda (bottom star in cup below Megrez) curving south to the third magnitude star El Kaphrah.  The three stars are close to equally spaced with El Kaphrah a tad dimmer than Megrez.  NGC 3877 is a mere 17 arc minutes directly south of El Kaphrah, making it one of the easiest 11th magnitude galaxies to find star hopping.

     NGC 3877 is a nearly edge on spiral galaxy 5.4 arc minutes long and 1.2 arc minutes wide. The galaxy is classified Sc, which means is has a very small core surrounded by whirling spiral arms.  William Herschel discovered NGC 3877 in the year 1788 using his 18.7-inch Newtonian.

     Through an 8-inch telescope the galaxy looks cigar shaped with a bright stellar-looking core.  No detail can be seen in the spiral arms. 

     I imaged NGC 3877 with an 8-inch f/8 Ritchey–Chrétien Cassegrain (with a Televue 0.8x focal reducer/field flattener yielding f/6.4) using an SBIG ST-2000XCM CCD camera.  The exposure was 180 minutes.

     To image this galaxy with a reflector is tricky because if you don’t get the star El Kaphrah out of the field, the required exposure to pick up the galaxy would cause the star to drown out the image.  In my image the bright star near the top of the image is 8th magnitude SAO43884.  El Kaphrah is outside of the field of view straight above (north) of the galaxy.  During my three-hour exposure, ghost reflections of El Kaphrah appeared on the image as well as two bright diffraction spikes from my secondary mirror spider.  I removed those from the final image.

     About 5 arc minutes to the northwest of the core (upper right) lies a magnitude 9.9 star with four diffraction spikes. Just below this star is a magnitude 16.7 star that is very red in color.  Just at the edge of the lower right diffraction spike is an even very fainted red star shining at magnitude 17.7.  This is one of the faintest stars in the image

     The image picks up the tightly wound spiral arms of the galaxy. In between the arms are several dark dust lanes.  The three stars that appear on the outskirts of the galaxy are Milky Way foreground stars.

fullsizeoutput_1244

 

Roger Ivester:  Observer from North Carolina 

Telescope:  10-inch f/4.5 reflector:  Date: February 22, 2020  

NGC 3877:  Dim slash with very low surface brightness, oriented NE-SW with a subtle brightening in the central region along the highly elongated core.  The galaxy arms show some mottling and uneven texture.  

Pencil sketch:  5 x 8 blank note card with the colors inverted:  

image001

 

Sue French:  Observer from New York

4-18-2020, 10-inch f/5.9 Newtonian, Seeing: fair. Transparency: good. Gusty wind.

43×: NGC 3877 appears highly elongated and grows gently brighter toward the center.

187×: Sketch. The galaxy grows longer with averted vision, and it harbors an elongated core.

image001

 

 

NGC 2859 – Galaxy in Leo Minor: March 2020 Observer’s Challenge Report

Posted February 27, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

MONTHLY OBSERVER’S CHALLENGE

Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina

&

Sue French, New York

March 2020

Report #134

NGC 2859 Galaxy in Leo Minor

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.

NGC 2859

NGC 2859 is a double-barred galaxy with an external ring that may be the remains of spiral arms that slowly detached themselves from the galaxy’s interior. Easier to observe, the central region is mostly spanned by a SSE to NNW bar with arcs capping each end, thus giving it a somewhat dumbbell-like appearance. NGC 2859 also hosts a small nuclear bar, nearly perpendicular to the first. The most current measurement places this galaxy at a distance of 93 ± 7 millon light-years.

William Herschel discovered NGC 2859 in 1786. His journal entry reads, “Very bright, much brighter in the middle, round, the brightness confined to a small place; the chevelure extending to about 3′ diameter.” 

Complete Observer’s Challenge Report Link as following:

March 2020 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE _ NGC 2859

 

 

Sue French:  Observer From New York 

254/1494mm (10-inch f/5.8) Newtonian. Seeing: below average. Transparency: good. 

I logged this galaxy a couple times in the past, in 1983 and 2003. My only sketch of the galaxy was made for this Observer’s Challenge on 3-21-20.

At 43×, NGC 2859 was a faint, roundish glow near a yellow-orange, 7th-magnitude star. It was an easy star-hop 41 arcminutes E×N from orange Alpha (α) Lyncis.

A magnification of 115× showed a tiny, very bright nucleus; a small, bright core; and a faint halo.

The sketch was made from the view at 299×. To me, the core plus its bar looked somewhat like a spiral galaxy seen edge-on. This structure was enwrapped in a fainter halo spanning about 1½ arcminutes. There was no sign of the galaxy’s outer ring.

Alan and I took a look at C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) after I was done. It was a large, pretty bright, diffuse glow — maybe a little brighter in the center.

IMG_1487

 

Mario Motta:  Observer from Massachusetts

A very interesting galaxy!   Imaged with my 32-inch, total 1 hour imaging time, SBIG 1001E camera.

This galaxy has a “ansae” type bar (which gets brighter at the tips of the bar) and an inner ring, no defined spiral structure, and a detached outer ring. 83 million light-years away, Leo Minor.

Fascinating object, you choose these objects very well, enjoy getting them.

NGC2859

 

James Dire:  Observer from Illinois 

NGC 2859 is a rare barred lenticular galaxy located on the southwest edge of the constellation Leo Minor.  The closest bright star is Alpha Lyncis.  The galaxy can be found 40 arcminutes east and 7 arcminutes north of this 3rd magnitude star.  The galaxy shines at magnitude 10.89 and is face-on measuring 4.6 x 4.1 arcminutes in size.

Barred lenticular galaxies like NGC 2859 are disk galaxies with no spiral arms.  The bars in these types of galaxies tend to be brighter at their edges. The bar in NGC 2859 is close to being due north-south as it is tilted only a few degrees to the west on the north side and east on the south side.  The galaxy also has a very faint detached ring beyond the disk containing the bar.  The galaxy’s core is quite bright compared to the rest of the galaxy.  The bar should be visible in 10 to 12-inch telescopes. The faint outer ring is beyond amateur telescopes visually and not counted in the quoted angular size of the galaxy.

I only managed to get one two-hour exposure of NGC 2859 this month due to an unusually cloudy winter here in Central Illinois.  The image was taken with an 8-inch f/8 Ritchey–Chrétien Cassegrain (with an 0.8x focal reducer/field flattener yielding f/6.4) with a SBIG ST-2000XCM CCD camera. I stretched the pixels containing the galaxy’s outer, detached ring, more than the rest of the image to make it more apparent. The bright star to the right of the galaxy is magnitude 7.2 SAO61446.  The other bright star, near the bottom of the image, is SAO61457 shining at magnitude 7.7.  

The yellow arrows show three very small faint galaxies captured in the same field of view as NGC 2859.  The one near the top is PGC26663, a magnitude 15.6 galaxy. To its right is magnitude 16.6 PGC3529815.  The third faint galaxy is PGC2048993, which is magnitude 17.6. This third galaxy appears to be an edge on spiral galaxy which appears brighter than the other two because its light is concentrated on a much smaller area.

NGC2859

 

Roger Ivester:  Observer from North Carolina 

Date: February 21, 2020

Telescope:  10-inch f/4.5 reflector

NELM:  4.9 

Very small, fairly bright, easy to locate and see at 57×.  When increasing the magnification to 208×, this galaxy is elongated, oriented NNW-SSE, however very subtle.  The core is much brighter than the outer round halo, which I could not see.

Pencil sketch:  5 × 8 blank note card with inverted colors.

image001

 

 

NGC 1931 – Bright Nebula and Cluster in Auriga: February 2020 Observer’s Challenge Report

Posted January 23, 2020 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 2020

Report #133

NGC 1931 Bright Nebula and Cluster 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.

NGC 1931 

NGC 1931 is a small emission and reflection nebula with an involved cluster. The brightest part of the nebula has a trapezium system at its heart. Somewhat at odds with their name, trapezium systems can consist of more than four stars, and they don’t have to be arrayed in a trapezoidal shape. The term was initially coined to mean “a multiple star system whose pairwise separations are of the same order.” Some later researchers include groups whose stars may not be gravitationally bound. NGC 1931 is roughly 7500 light-years away from us.

William Herschel discovered this NGC 1931 in 1793. His journal entry reads, “Very bright, irregularly round, about 4 or 5′ diameter. Seems to have one or two stars in the middle or an irregular nucleus. The chevelure diminishes very gradually

 

February Observer’s Challenge Final:  Click on the Following link: 

February 2020 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE _ NGC 1931

February:  NGC 1931 – Bright  Nebula and Cluster – Auriga; Mag. V= 10.1;  Size 6′ 

RA:  05h  31m   Dec.  +34º  14′ 

 

The embedded Stars in NGC 1931:  by Sue French   

     Don’t be surprised about not seeing the stars in NGC 1931.  Folks get very mixed results.  Go to http://www.deepsky-archive.com/ and type NGC 1931 in the Designation box, then look at everyone’s sketches.  

     Here’s a long-ago Amastro post from Brian Skiff that gives the magnitudes of the trapezium system embedded in the brightest part of the nebula.  I see one of these stars, or a blend of them, in the 105mm scope.  The 10-inch at 213× gives me six stars in the brightest part of the nebulosity plus several mag 11-13½ stars scattered to the south.  I’ve pasted an image below Brian’s data and labeled the stars on it.  The image is in infrared so that the nebulosity doesn’t blot out the stars. Below the Aladin image is a WEBDA chart showing which stars I saw in the main group through the 10-inch..

     While cleaning up some star-lists, I collected data for stars in the nebulous open cluster NGC 1931 in Auriga.  The group contains a faint trapezium system, ADS 4112, that might be of interest to ‘amastro’ folks. The specs for the group are shown below.  The V magnitudes for the stars come from modern photoelectric or CCD studies.  The separations derive from positions in the 2MASS catalogue, which should be better than the 100-year-old visual micrometry, but which in any case match the old data to within a few tenths of an arcsecond. The brighter trio is straightforward in a small telescope; in 1989 I was able to make out the fourth ‘E’ component very faintly in my 6-inch refractor at 200x.  The very faint, close ‘D’ companion to star ‘B’ doubtless requires a very large aperture.  The data quoted for it is from S. W. Burnham’s work; the magnitude is possibly too bright.  The 2MASS coordinates are listed at the bottom.  Star ‘D’ does not appear in any astrometric catalogue.  The spectral types for the three brightest stars, by the way, are B0V, B0.5V, and B1V.  Thus the object should contain some emission, although there must be a substantial reflection component, since filters do not provide much contrast enhancement.   

\Brian

 ————————————————

ADS 4112 = BD+34 1074:  5 31 27  +34 14.9 (2000)

V mags      sep    pa

AB  11.5,12.3    8″.1  239

AC       13.0   10″.5  310

AE       14.0   14″.6   17

BD      (15.8)   2″.3  322

   

RA   (2000)   Dec

A   5 31 27.08  +34 14 49.6

B   5 31 26.54  +34 14 45.0

C   5 31 26.43  +34 14 56.3

E   5 31 27.50  +34 15 03.2

 

Sue French: Observer from New York

254/1494mm (10-inch f/5.8) Newtonian. Seeing: fair. Transparency: a little better than average.

43×: NGC 1931 is just a short hop westward from starfish-like M36. It presents a small hazy spot surrounding a star.

115×: The nebula spans about 3 arcminutes, and the star now appears triple. Several additional stars straggle south through west-southwest of the nebulous mass.

213×: Six stars are now buried in the nebulosity, three brightest members arranged in a little triangle.

The WEBDA cluster plot below marks the four trapezium-system stars viewed as well as two additional stars spotted within the nebula.

V-magnitudes of the trapezium stars according to WEBDA:

A=11.4, B=12.3, C=13.0, E=14.0. There is a component D in the trapezium system very close to B, but it’s thought to be magnitude 15.8 or dimmer and was not seen. The two arrowed stars were visible: the northern one shining at magnitude 14.1, and the southern one at magnitude 14.5.

After the star-plot is the sketch I made at 213× with the 10-inch scope on 17 February 2020 at 7pm EST. It was a pleasant night for February. The temperature was in the lower 20s and there was no wind. Unfortunately the seeing and transparency were both below average, and there was full snow cover on the ground. I couldn’t see the 14.5-magnitude star mentioned in the previous observation. I decided to sketch just the part of the nebula I could see and the four stars visible within it. My sketch looked pretty good to me, but a scanned image didn’t show the faintest parts, so I penciled over the original sketch to make it scan better, I hope without changing anything too much.

fullsizeoutput_1236Pencil Sketch:  Sue French:

North is up and west to the right

image002

 

 

Mario Motta: Observer from Massachusetts

Taken with my 32-inch telescope, and SBIG STL 1001E camera.  One hour of H-alpha, one hour of Sulfur S2 filters, and only 20 minutes of O3 filter as there was essentially no Oxygen signal.

Processed in PixInsight.

NGC1931

 

Roger Ivester: Observer from North Carolina 

On the night of January 28, 2020, the transparency and seeing were very good.  Using my 10-inch, f/4.5 reflector, NGC 1931 was very easy to locate and see at 57×, appearing as a star with a mostly round halo of nebulosity. 

When increasing the magnification to 267×, using a 12mm eyepiece and a 2.8× Barlow, the bright nucleus revealed a tiny trio of faint stars, with a fourth, much fainter star, toward the WSW.  This fourth star was extremely difficult, and could not be held constantly, but intermittently at best.  The nebula was elongated, with a NE-SW orientation.  

The first time I observed NGC 1931 was with poor seeing, on January 8, 1994, and could not see the trio of stars.  My second attempt to see the trio of stars was in January, 2020, but again with poor seeing and transparency, and was unable to see any of the faint stars.   

Pencil sketch, with the colors inverted:   

 

image001

 

 

 

James Dire:  Observer from Illinois 

NGC 1931 is a mixed emission and reflection nebula with an embedded star cluster found in the constellation Auriga. The nebula is an active star forming region. The complex is located about one degree west and a tad north of the star cluster M36. NGC 1931 also lies 5.75 degrees north and one degree east of the star Elnath. NGC 1931 measures roughly 3 arcminutes in size and lies 10,000 light years away. The nebula is estimated to be magnitude 10.

NGC 1931 contains myriad young, hot O and B stars whose radiation is responsible for the blue hues of the reflection nebula. Four stars in the center of the nebula form a trapezium similar to that in the Orion Nebula. Sometimes NGC 1931 is considered a mini version of the Orion Nebula. A much larger vast region of nebulosity known as IC 417 surrounds NGC 1931. The emissions from IC 417 are the characteristic red colors from H II ions.

My image of NGC 1931 was taken with an 8-inch Ritchey–Chrétien telescope operating at f/6.4 with the use of a focal reducer/field flattener. The camera used was an SBIG ST-2000XCM CCD cooled to -20°C. The exposure was 100 minutes. The bright white area in the center contains the trapezium. The exposure was not long enough to bright out the red emissions of IC 417, which would have filled most of the region captured in this image.

NGC1931

 

 

NGC 1999 – Reflection Nebula With Hole: January 2020 – Observer’s Challenge Report

Posted January 23, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

rogerivester

MONTHLY OBSERVER’S CHALLENGE

Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina

&

Sue French, New York

January 2020

Report #132

NGC 1999 Reflection Nebula in Orion

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…

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