Friday, 4 December 2015

NGC 1514




NGC 1514
Planetary nebula
Taurus
Distance 2400ly
Mag 10.8

Date 4/11/15
Transparency 6/10
SQM 19.8

Telescope 12" f/5.3
EP 6mm Delos x265 (TFoV 16')
Filter DGM NPB

Sketch notes
A lot fainter than the sketch actually shows with no real outer shell but two brighter lobes to the NW and SE.
Both NPB and OIII filters really helped but the OIII dimmed the faint glow with increased magnification. Without filters the faint nebulosity got even more elusive although the bright 9.4 magnitude central star made it easy to keep centred.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Petavius




Petavius
27/11/15 2230UT
Phase
Lunation
Illumination
Antoniadi II
305mm OOUK VX12L / 8mm Delos x198

Sketched in the evening lunar sun with a diameter of 177km Petavius is a large crater with its distinctive Rimae running for 80km along the crater floor.
I always find sketching craters off the terminator very hard, its the fine differences of contrast that makes craters like this really stand out but are also very hard to capture.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Jupiter 23/11/15




My first observation of Jupiter this apparition was fairly successful given the fairly low altitude and small disk size of Jove.
Its also my first colour sketch of the planet, it could do with being a little cleaner but I still prefer it over my older graphite sketches.

Some notes to go with the sketch -
Both polar regions were a smooth grey colour.
The STB showed very little detail, maybe some darkening on each edge but was very hard to tell.
Great Red Spot showed an almost burnt orange colour, very different from the SEB.
A dark rift stretched 3/4 of the way across the SEBs with one large white oval from the wake of the GRS.
EZ was clear with no festoons.
NEB showed two separate blue patches with the shadow of Ganymede just crossing the CM on the NEBn.
The NTB was split on the preceding side and gradually getting fainter towards the following edge.

Mersenius D and Rimae Mersenius




Mersenius D and Rimae Mersenius
22/11/15 1930 UT
Phase 43.4˚
Lunation 11.02 days
Illumination 83%
Antoniadi II
305mm Orion Optics UK VX12L f/5.3 dobsonian - 7mm Pentax XW x227

Scanning along the terminator my eye was caught by a fairly small crater just off Mare Humorum.
A jet black crater with a tangle of local Rimae and craterlets was just too enticing to pass up so out came the pastels!
The upside down teardrop shaped crater of Mersenius D isn't large by any means large with a diameter of around 34km but it was the small rimae around it which I really found fascinating as they weaved around a pockmarked surface. Even though seeing conditions were good I just didn't have time to record all the detail as the surface changed by the minute.
Rimae Mersenius is around 2km wide....A few weeks ago I sketched Crater Prinz and Rilles which had a similar effect on me that its just incredible that we can see this fine detail on objects so far away!!

Monday, 2 November 2015

NGC 7027




NGC 7027
Constellation Cygnus
Planetary nebula
Distance 4900 Ly
Mag 8.5

Date 1/11/15
Transparency 4/10
SQM 21.39

Telescope 12" f/5.3
EP 5mm Pentax XW x318 (TFoV 13')
DGN NPB filter

Sketch notes
Small and bright, easy to see even unfiltered and showed itself as a bright blue fuzzy star with a low power EP.
Increasing the magnification and trying both OIII and NPB filters did little to show and detail within.


NGC 7635 - The Bubble nebula




NGC 7635
Constellation Cassiopeia
Emission nebula
Distance 1400 Ly
Mag 11

Date 1/11/15
Transparency 4/10
SQM 21.45

Telescope 12" f/5.3
EP 14mm Delos x114 (TFoV 38')
Astronomic OIII filter

Sketch notes
This was the second attempt to observe this little nebula, a few weeks ago in near perfect transparency in nearly 21.6 skies I couldn't see it. Last night I observed from the same location with fairly poor transparency and the Bubble was clear to see?!!
The nebula appeared to curl itself around a central star, uniform brightness, a narrow point at one end widening and fading the further it went out.
I tried both NPB and OIII filters, the OIII seemed to pick out the fainter nebulosity slightly better.

NGC 7331 (NGC 7335, NGC 7340)




NGC 7331
Constellation - Pegasus
Galaxies
Distance 48MLy
Mag 9.5

Date 1/11/15
Transparency 5/10
SQM 21.42

Telescope 12" f/5.3
EP 10mm Delos x159 (TFoV 27')

Sketch notes
Average at best transparency made seeing the 'fleas' very tricky. Only two of them were visible. In the past I could quite easily hold NGC 7337 with AV but conditions just wasn't good enough last night.
NGC 7331 showed a bright core but no sign of the dust lane or detail.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Crater Prinz and Rilles




Prinz + Rilles
24/10/15  2115UT
Phase 37.7˚
Lunation 11.85 days
Illumination 89%
Orion Optics UK VX12L

To start with very poor Antoniadi V conditions showed Prinz crater swimming in turbulence with no sign of the small rilles that I was looking for. The jet stream forecast was for it to move north as the evening went on so I headed back inside hoping seeing conditions would change.
The view an hour later was completely different, Prinz glowed in the early morning lunar sun and below it even with a medium powered EP I could see the dog leg rille of Prinz I.
Increasing magnification still didn't show Prinz II, hoping the seeing conditions wouldn't quickly change for the worse I made a quick sketch of everything I could see in the area.
It wasn't until later that I realised I had actually seen the deepest section of Prinz II and marked it on my sketch.
Seeing such small details on the lunar surface, making a sketch and then confirming what I'd seen later was a very enjoyable experience.

More details on the Prinz Rilles here .

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

NGC 6939




NGC 6939
Constellation - Cepheus
Open Cluster
Distance 5900 Ly
Mag 7.8

Date 12/10/15
Transparency 6/10
SQM 19.8

Telescope 12" f/5.3
EP 14mm Delos x114 (TFoV 38')

Sketch notes
Faint grouping of stars which looks far more impressive when framed with a low power EP and including the nearby NGC 4946 Fireworks galaxy from a dark site.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

NGC 6946 / The Fireworks galaxy




NGC 6946
Constellation - Cygnus
Spiral galaxy
Distance 20MLy
Mag 8.8

Date 8/10/15
Transparency 4/10
SQM 21.2

Telescope 12" f/5.3 OOUK
EP 10mm Delos x159 TFoV 27'

Sketch notes -
Lovely face on spiral galaxy, kinda reminds me of M33 but easier to observe.
Transparency was fairly poor, at first all I could see was an elongated smudge but during patches of clear skies the first two upper and lower arms came into view. Changing from a 14mm to 10mm with 1.9mm exit pupil really helped making those arms more prominent and two smaller side arms were revealed.
Total observing time was around 30minutes.

NGC 6888 / The Crescent nebula




NGC 6888
Constellation - Cygnus
Emission nebula
Distance 5400 Ly
Mag 7.4

Date 7/10/15
Transparency 5/10
SQM 21.2

Telescope 12" f/5.3 OOUK
EP 14mm Delos x114 (TFoV 38')
Filter - DGM NPB

Sketch notes -
Average transparency making detail very hard to see.
The central spike was very hard to see, more of a bump than the spike like I have seen in the past. In the past its always reminded me of a Euro € sign but it was more of an actual crescent shape last night.
The lower edge was thicker and brighter.
I tried both OIII and NPB filters but I preferred the NPB, maybe in better transparency the dimmer but more contrasty OIII would have been better?

Saturday, 3 October 2015

NGC 281 - The Pacman nebula




NGC 281
Constellation - Cassiopeia
Emission nebula
Distance 4100 ly
Mag 7.4

Date 2/10/15
Transparency 7/10
SQM 21.6

Telescope 12" f/5.3
EP 24mm ES x66 (TFoV 1.2˚)

Sketch notes -
At first glance the central mouth area was most obvious with a small group of stars inside just about to get swallowed up. The longer I observed it the more nebulosity became visible until I could see two 'corners of the almost triangle shape nebula stretch quite far out from the main body.
Interesting nebula that is worth another visit soon.

NGC 1491




NGC 1491
Constellation - Perseus
Emission nebula

Date 2/10/15
Transparency 7/10
SQM 21.6

Telescope 12" f/5.3
EP 14mm Baader Morpheus x114 (TFoV 4')
Astronomik OIII

Sketch notes -
Odd emission nebula with little shape or structure to it, wider on the side opposite the 'centre' star.
Another object where I wish I had a UHC over the OIII.

NGC 40 / The Bow Tie nebula




NGC 40
Constellation - Cepheus
Planetary nebula
Distance 2700 ly
Mag 10.6

Date 2/10/15
Transparency 7/10
SQM 21.2

Telescope 12" f/5.3
EP 6mm Baader Morpheus x245 (TFoV 18')
Astronomik OIII

Sketch notes -
Fairly small at x245, a OIII help show an almost rectangular shape, the two longest sides appeared slightly brighter. I had a couple glimpses of an outer halo, maybe a UHC type filter would show this better?

Friday, 2 October 2015

NGC 7000 / The North American Nebula




NGC 7000
Constellation - Cygnus
Emission nebula
Distance 2600ly
Mag 4

Date 1/10/15
Transparency 9/10
SQM 21.4

Telescope - 9x50 finder
Astronomik OIII filter

Sketch notes -
As everyone knows the NA Nebula is a huge object, way too big for my 1600mm f/l telescope even with the widest EP.
It was just visible to the naked eye, using a OIII filter increased its presence but it wasn't until I popped that filter onto of my finder that the small increase in magnification gave me the best view.
In a race against the rising moonlight I turned all my lights off and got properly dark adapted and then the fainter IC 5070 (Pelican nebula) glowed but was very faint.

NGC 5907




NGC 5907
Constellation - Draco
Spiral galaxy
Distance 44 Mly
Mag 10.3

Date 1/10/15
Transparency 7/10
SQM 21.3

Telescope 12" f/5.3
EP 9mm Baader Morpheus x177 (FoV 25')

Sketch notes-
Small almost edge on spiral galaxy with very few background stars.
Occasionally appeared to have a mottled appearance but was sure enough of this to record it in the sketch.

NGC 6210




NGC 6210
Constellation - Hercules
Planetary Nebula
Distance 6500Ly
Mag 8.8

Date - 1/10/15
Transparency 7/10
SQM 20.8

Telescope 12" f/5.3
EP - 6.5mm Baader Morpheus x245 (FoV .18')
Filter - Astronomik OIII

Sketch notes -
Very small PN even at x245, the only way to could distinguish it from the nearby stars was it had a fuzzy glow instead of sharp pin points of light.
I used a OIII filter to try and make it stand out against the background stars more than improve contrast to see detail but due to its size I don't think it would make much difference filtered or not.
Its not a show stopper but worth a look just for the challenge.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

NGC 869 / NGC 884 - The Double Cluster




NGC 869 / NGC 884
Constellation - Perseus
Open Cluster
Distance 6.8Kly + 9.6Kly
Mag 6.3 + 5.3

Date 30/9/15
Transparency 5/10
SQM 19.5

Telescope - 12" f/4.5
EP - ES 24mm 82˚

Sketch notes -
Even from home with moderate light pollution and average transparency the Double Cluster still filled the FoV. I think its been said many times before but observing it really is like seeing diamonds on black velvet!
The last time I saw it was through my 16" in dark skies where it really is almost overwhelming to sketch, just so many stars, almost too many to accurately plot. Sketching it from home was the easier option but still very enjoyable.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Some recent lunar sketches

Well I've returned to astronomy after a short break and straight into a great run of clear skies which has been fantastic for lunar sketching.
I haven't added any details on each crater, to be honest its just been nice to get out and enjoy the stars again but with the now waning moon I shall be carrying on sketching the RASC Finest NGC's list and trying to complete it by the start of next summer.