Archive for June, 2013

A surprise to be observing!

I was caught by surprise by the clear sky! No time for getting to bed early and getting up at midnight so I worked from about 11.30 through to 01.30. SQM read 20.60 at 01.30 so not a bad night. Lovely view of Saturn with the 6″ refractor and binoviewers for starters.
Sketched Abell 2151 (Hercules cluster) central region around NGC 6041 A&B.

Abell 2151 region around NGC 6040

The Hercules Cluster (Abell 2151) is a cluster of about 200 galaxies around 500 million light-years distant. It is rich in spiral galaxies and shows many interacting galaxiesand is itself part of the larger Hercules Supercluster. In my sketch I have only captured a portion of the cluster. In my sketch made with the 20″ mirror & Watec 120N+ video camera on June 13th 2013 during the few hrs of darkness to the NW are an attractive interacting pair NGC 6040 a & b, close to the centre we have a trio the brighter upper galaxy of the 3 is NGC 6041a, below is NGC 6041 and to the right is the smaller and fainter IC1170. At the very bottom of the sketch are 3 more galaxies, fainter than the central group, these are from L to Right PGC57000, PGC84715 & PGC56945. N is up W is right. 
Then did a visual of M13 with 20″ and 13 Nagler…   🙂 there’s lovely
Finished by failing (just) to get the scope onto HCG49, the clutches slipped when I was close, it had taken me 20 mins to star hop to that point….grrrrrrrr
Finished the night with another failure trying to get HCG65, that was too low, likely I had left it too late

Hoag’s Object

With a run of clear skies in the UK this week I have been pushing myself to catch that couple of hours between midnight and 2am to pick up a few more Arp peculiars, as an aside I went for Hoags object in Serpens Caput, a ring galaxy discovered by Arthur Allen Hoag in 1950 and designated PGC54559, identified at that time as being a planetary or peculiar galaxy. Subsequently Callum Potter has prompted me to recall that it was he who challenged me to sketch this object, I had completely forgotten that!
With a listed visual magnitude of 16 and being an extended object I wasn’t sure I would see anything with my 20″ mirror and Watec 120N+ deep sky video camera, especially as I had spent 2 evenings trying to tease out decent detail from Arps’s 79 & 177 and was feeling everythig was hard work at the moment! However when the telescoped stopped slewing, there it was, this perfectly round, surprisingly small and pretty faint ring a lovely thing.
Attached is both my inverted pencil sketch for your interest and a copy of my original observing form

My cropped & inverted sketch of Hoag's object

 I thank Jeff Young coming to my aid with inverting and balancing the scans, a move to windows 7 had stripped me of my old and trusted photoshop 🙁


My original observational sketch and record

 The Image below was kindly sent to me by friend Frank McCabe

 from the US, the caption text is his. 

Hoag galaxy taken at Kitt Peak by someone (likely Adam Block) during an overnight program using the 20 ” RC.
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