Monday, 25 September 2017

Few quick observations @ Deep Sky Meeting 2017

Observing place: Tähtikallio, Artjärvi, Finland (Deep Sky Meeting 2017)
Date: 23./24.9.2017
NE Lim.mag: 6.8 (zenith)
SQM-L: 21.38 (zenith)
Background sky: 7/10 (fairly good)
Seeing: 7/10 (fairly good)
Transparency: 6/10 (decent)
Weather: Clear, slight breeze, +10°C.

Two of the observatory domes harboring Alluna RC-16 16" f/8 (left) and 36" Astrofox (right)
From the get go, I knew that time constraints, constant (human) traffic and stray light would be a big issue so I only had a few objects in mind and even less objects to sketch. I was simply armed: only packing my 4.5" Orion SkyQuest but I had the privilege to use the 10" GSO of Juha Ojanperä.

The weather was decent with surprisingly poor transparency. SQM-L readings were between 21.20 to 21.40. Seeing was so so and the images at the telescope(s) appeared too "soft" to my liking. It must  have been a transparency related issue (including a regular Finnish humidity issue) but despite the good SQM-readings from all over and several sources... I noticed right away that the weather just wasn't all that good. I showed a few objects to the audience and managed to properly try to view / view only a few objects:

NGC 206 + NGC 604 (GSO 10") - Both easily visible @ low magnification.

NGC 1499 (XT 4.5") - Decent view with 40 mm Celestron Plössl eyepiece + UHC filter.

Sh2-216 (XT 4.5") - I knew even without looking that I would not be able to see this object. Still had to give it a shot and most importantly getting myself acquainted with the field for a proper try using a bigger telescope.

Pease 1 (GSO 10") - Same as above. Even Messier 15 didn't look too good with the big telescope. Used the biggest magnification on M15 just to dispel my illusions of Pease 1 being an easy object to observe.

NGC 1491 (XT 4.5") - Sketched with a UHC filter. Noticed that I do not have a proper sketch of this so I did what I must.

Outer wisps of Messier 27 (GSO 10") -  Observed for a project however it proved to be far to difficult a task so instead I chose to sketch the inner regions of M27.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Observing challenges for season 2017-2018

The observing season has barely ended here in Southern Finland but it is already time to look ahead. I rarely do any visual observing (excluding LVAS Observer's Challenge and my column) any more but when I do, I try to concentrate on more challenging stuff. Here are a few objects I have on my to see list for the upcoming season.

Cygnus A (3C 405)

The famous 15th (visual magnitude 15.1) magnitude elliptical galaxy. One of the strongest radio sources in the sky. Wolfgang Steinicke has reported seeing the galaxy using a 14" telescope @ 450x [1].

Pease 1
Pease 1. Copyright STScI / HST

I'm not a big fan of stellar planetaries and I am especially not a fan of spotting one from a dense star fields of a globular cluster. Still, worth a try as I've never tried to seriously see Pease 1.

PGC 69457

Einstein's Cross. Copyright ESA

Huchra's lens. Another 15th magnitude galaxy at a somewhat low altitude in Pegasus. Seeing the actual Einstein Cross won't be happening with the 10 inch telescope but just seeing the lensing galaxy is still something.

Gyulbudaghian's Nebula (GM 1-29)

Variable nebula in Cepheus. Usually unfortunately faint.

Mayall "C" (C39) & Star B 342

Brightest globular cluster and brightest single star in Triangulum galaxy. With the extra 2 inches in aperture, seeing it will probably be fairly doable.

NGC 1554-5

A classic. Hind's Variable nebula.  Time for a new view.

Several Messier objects...

There are a bunch of Messiers I still do not have a proper sketch of. I will try to do a few of them in the upcoming season.