[AZ-Observing] Half an observing report from Fri. 3/19/04

  • From: Joe Larkin <joeclarkin@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2004 13:23:19 -0800 (PST)

[I haven't gotten around to completing this report from 3/19/04 but I
figured some real observing might fit on this list as opposed to
"fantasy marathons". ;-)]

I decided a bit late to go to Vekol Road on Friday (3/19/04). I was
packed for observing for a week but the weather has been mostly

So as Friday evening got better and better weather wise, I got more
motivated to get out.

I met up with Mike Mello out at Vekol about 8pm. He was already set
up and observing with his 12" Starmaster. The conditions were near
perfect. It was a very pleasant temperature and clear. The
zodiacal light was so bright I first thought it was haze.

I unpacked my trailer and put together my 16" truss dob. I got to use
my new Kendrick laser collimator and later my new Herald-Bobroff
Astroatlas. The collimator made geting the secondary lined up a
breeze even without light. More on the charts later.

My main observing program are the DSOs from Burnham's. I'm about
halfway done. I also observe from the H400, EVAC 200, Best NGC and
Challenge objects from RASC, and I am going through Messier's objects

Spring is my nemesis. I've got about five hundred galaxies to go. I
mostly have just a little clean up for the other seasons. 

Mike also has extensive lists of object to observe. Our lists often
overlap, which adds quite a bit to the observing experience. We had
few common objects early in the evening. I planned on observing
mostly in Lynx. 

But before that I observed NGC 2403, a large and bright galaxy in
Camelopardalis. This showed a hint of spiral structure and a dim arc
leading to the fuzzy path that is NGC 2404.

I also wanted to spot NGC 1465, a galaxy in Perseus that has eluded
me in my 10" scope as well as in the 16" in less than optimal
conditions. It eluded me for a bit until I looked up the exact field
using Mike's computer and The Sky. The galaxy is faint, very
elongated and very small. I don't know why I had so much trouble with
it. Perhaps I should have been looking at higher power. The object
was best at 145x with a 14mm Meade UWA.

I then moved on to Lynx. My first object was the small and round but
bright galaxy NGC 2415. I noted that it was a nice object in a rich
field at

Mike then noted that Pyxis was well placed and he had an object to
observe in it. Switching gears suited me as Pyxis is a deep south
constellation that isn't visible long, unlike Lynx. Burnham's lists
seven objects for this constellation and I had observed none before.

The first object I observed was NGC 2818. This is a fair open cluster
that is dominated by a large and bright planetary nebula. I found the
cluster to be rather unimpressive, but the PN was about 1' around and
very bright. Apparently the nebula shows a dumbell like shape at high
power, but I didn't crank the power up enough. This was Mike's object
in Pyxis but I had several to go.

Burnham's also lists three other decent open clusters, NGCs 2635,
2658, and 2627. All were easy in not super impressive clusters. It
also lists two galaxies.

NGC 2613 is large, elongated and bright, about 6'x2'. It showed a
bright inner part and very extended outer halo. It is a very nice
galaxy. It is the kind of object that keeps me using Burnham's. I
usually don't even look at the descriptions at first so I can be
surprised by objects like this. 

The other galaxy was a much more pedestrian type. NGC 2688 is a small
(0.5') dim spot with a brighter middle.

Mike showed me a nice galaxy pair in Canes Venetici. NGC 4111 is a
bright edge on spiral about 3x1'. Directly opposite a fairly bright
field star is NGC 4117, a dim round spot about 1.5' across. It was
interesting comparing the view in the 12" and 16" scopes. The dimmer
object was more apparent in the larger scope, but the view was
otherwise quite similar.

After all this, I was ready to tackle Lynx. Burnham's lists one
globular, one planetary nebula, and 13 galaxies. I also looked at a
couple more galaxies that were plotted in the HB atlas.

NGC 2419 is an extragalactic globular. It is small but bright and
well concentrated. I saw no resolution or mottling. 

Burnham's list a NGC 2474 as a planetary. Apparently this is a common
error. The Planetary is JE1 aka PK 164+31.1. I first looked for it at
145x and saw nothing, even with a UHC filter. I switched to a 22mm
panoptic and searched at 90x but still saw nothing. I noticed a very
faint large patch with the UHC filter so I switched to a 27mm pano
for 65x. At this power the nebula was faint but definitly visible
with the filter. Without the filter it was still very barely visible.
I noticed no structure even though the nebula is anullar with two
brighter concentrations. I am now not sure if I saw the whole object
as a faint patch or merely one of the concentrations. 

[More later when I get a round toit]

As a very short review, the HB atlas is a great obseving aid. It is
far superior to the SA2000 for my type of observing.

Joe Larkin

Mike had one object to observe in Pyxis and I had 7 from Burnham's. 


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