Re: Giles County night of 04/01/2014 (Coddington's Nebula a success)


Interesting, Nick.  It's funny I was just reading a Sue French column last week where she mentioned seeing Coddington's nebula in her 105 mm refractor and described it as 'a compelling sight' in her 10".  I had always thought this was too difficult for an 8", but after reading Sue &  your account, I will mark it down for future frustration, I mean fun.  ;-)

The antennae galaxies were quite nice when I first saw them last spring. I am waiting for a night at a dark site to revisit. I viewed the siamese twin galaxies last week and could just barely make them out from my backyard.

On Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 1:16 AM, Nick Anderson <nranderson.deepskyobserver@...> wrote:

I had a nice excursion from my studies on Tuesday night to spend some time under the stars. Over 2.5 hours, I managed to pick off two targets from my challenge list and also reobserved a few other objects I hadn't seen in a while.

Up first was SN 2014J in M82. It's still visible in my XT8, but only a remnant of what it was. It had the appearance of a tiny glowing ember waiting to be extinguished amongst the surrounding "ashes".

After that, I focused on a longtime challenge object of mine: IC 2574 (Coddington's Nebula). Dark skies are a must for this one. Like the first time I caught IC 405 (Flaming Star Nebula), it too is extremely faint, but its size allows it to be picked out without extreme difficultly when rocking the scope. I didn't even consult its exact position until after I speculated the elongated glow that is the galaxy. Pretty neat! Now I'll have to change my desktop background to another challenge object... :-)

Then I concentrated my efforts on locating Comet C/2014 E2 (Jacques), a rather recent comet discovery. It took a while to starhop to, due its position in the unfamiliar faint southern constellation of Antila. I think I've used stars in that constellation only once before (for an object in neighboring Pyxis).

At Kent's suggestion on the forums earlier in the day, I took another look at NGC 2903, a bright Leo galaxy missed by Messier. I didn't catch the spiral arms as I had hoped, but I did notice a knot in the NNE plane of the galaxy: NGC 2905, a star cloud.

I then unsuccessfully tried for 14th magnitude globular cluster Palomar 4 in Ursa Major. That's the third Palomar globular I've attempted (along with Palomar 1 and 2). Perhaps one of you can recommend one for a modest scope?

I caught a quick look at NGC 4038 and NGC 4039 (Antennae Galaxies) before moving on to M53 and the elusive NGC 5053. This was my first observation of NGC 5053. As for M53, I could not "un-see" my impression of a blue hue to the cluster. Weird, I've never had the impression of any color in a globular cluster before. Have any of you???

Then I wrapped up the night with Mars and Saturn. Given my relatively recent start as an astronomer in 2011, this is only the second Mars opposition I've followed with a telescope. At 15 arcseconds in apparent size, this is the largest I've seen the planet so far. The north polar cap and Mare Cimmerium (I think that's its identity) were not too difficult to spot. The NPC had a noticeable dark rim surrounding it. During moments of excellent seeing, also visible was what seemed to be a brightening near the center of the diskprobably Elysium Mons (a Martian volcanic region)surrounded by subtle features on either side. 192x magnification was used, viewed unfiltered and with the polarizing filter (to tone down the brightness).

My logs can be found on my new astronomy website (Mars will be posted later):

-Nick Anderson

Herschel II objects seen so far: 42

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