Archive for February, 2015

Playing catch up again!

As usual of late I appear to be on the back foot when it
comes to writing up my blog! So this is another catch up summary.

27th of  January I used the 6” refractor to take a look at the moon and make a Lunar
sketch, there was a time when I was production lots of these but I have gone
off the boil in that respect and have been giving myself a mental kick up the backside
to get back on track, after all I have plenty of inspiration from my good
friend across the pond, Frank McCabe who is both outstanding and prolific when
it comes to Lunar sketching.

Anyhow, out I went and produced a rather rusty and fussy
sketch of the lunar Apennine mountain range, which the afore mentioned Frank
kindly marked with a red dot to show the historic Apollo 15 landing site.


The other end of the day

PM 24th Jan 2015

After Jupiter in the morning the day stayed fine and bright and the sky clear, this continued into the evening allowing me some Deep Sky enjoyment. I wanted to get the 20″ back in action, with it being out of alignment with the 6″ refractor which I had been using to watch comet Lovejoy I needed to get both scopes pointing at the same object. As the sky darkened I used the crescent moon to achieve the alignment that I wanted, I also took the time to take out a monitor that had failed, a Sony Trinitron unit which had been my best and favourite, I replaced this with another unit that I had in stock but this didn’t perform either so I ended up installing a b&w monitor that worked but is of lower quality, at least I have 2 screens working now! I must invest in some new hi res flat screen technology soon. OK everything working, working together and ready to go. After some dinner and family time, I got out and started work, my first target was a tilted edge on mag 11.4 spiral galaxy with a dominant dust lane NGC 1055 in Cetus. I made the sketch, white on black, a style that I’m intending to continue after positive comments on other examples of this format that I have shared.

NGC 1055 in Cetus

Next I pushed onto Orion looking for galaxies which aren’t the usually target for astronomers, most have no idea that there are any there, they are simply agog for the bright nebulae 🙂 for which the Hunter is so well known. NGC 1682, is an elliptical galaxy fairly small, round and fairly bright it has a diffuse halo surrounding a brighter core, NGC 1684 also an elliptical is elongated 2:1 NNE-SSW, this is larger and brighter at mag 13 than 1682 which is mag 14.5. 1684 has a fuzzy halo surrounding a bright core. Not a startling pair visually but as I said before, galaxies in Orion are something of a bonus anyhow.

NGC’S 1682 & 1684 in Orion

Also in Orion, NGC 1924 is visually a more striking galaxy, almost face on I was able to detect spiral structure in this small mag 13.2 gem found just a short hop below the mighty nebula. Herschel picked it up on a sweep in October 1785. There is a notably bright star 6.5′ to the WNW

NGC 1924 a pretty galaxy just below the 'great nebula'

Owen Brazell the Webb Deep Sky Society galaxy section director had posted NGC 2749 as galaxy of the month for Jan, so that is what brought my scope to rest upon it and its close and slender neighbour NGC 2752. NGC 2749 is the brightest member in a small group of galaxies, it radiates at mag 13 and is elongated E-W.  East of 2749 is the attractive, very elongated (E-W) mag 13.7 spiral, a central brightening was detected. The 20″ and cooled Watec 120N+ video camera was used for this observation and sketch.

NGC 2749 & NGC 2752

As the above 2 galaxies were members of a wider group I also took a look with the smaller 6″ refractor and uncooled Watec as although they didn’t afford such a detailed view they gave me a larger field of view.

In the sketch below edge on NGC 2752 is recognisable to the upper centre, follow its elongation down to NGC 2749, upper right is NGC 2747 and lower centre is NGC 2751

NGC 2749 group in Cancer

All in all an excellent if long day (as it was now past midnight having been up since before 5am) of astronomy and sketching.

Pax Stellarum, Dale




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