[AZ-Observing] Sunglow report May 17-20

  • From: "Chris Adamson" <adamsonfamily@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <AZ-Observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 23 May 2001 00:33:45 -0700

I spent another enjoyable 3-4 days at Sunglow Ranch in SE Arizona last
weekend, though this time the weather did not cooperate, only getting one
night of observing in (the other nights rained).  The one night that was
clear had very poor seeing as a cold front was moving in.  I brought my
family along this time, so my observing loss was their gain as they spent
the days hiking, fishing, horseback riding and just generally enjoying being
away from city life.  I did get one night in, the following is the observing

DATE/TIME (UT) :  3:30 to 10:00, May 18
LOCATION:  SunGlow Ranch, (about 220 miles SE of Phoenix)  Apprx Longitude:
109.40 degrees W, Apprx Latitude: 31.50 degrees N
SEEING:  2 of 10.  Mars was not good, small splits were not easy.
TRANSPARENCY:  Generally 7 out of 10 (please note this is a relative scale
for Sunglow only, for most sites this would probably at least 9 of 10).
Estimate limiting mag 7.0+.  Did see apprx 15th mag galaxy and field stars.
WEATHER:  50's
EQUIPMENT: 16" StarMaster, 31, 22, 17, 12, 9 & 7 Naglers: 10, 8, 6, 5, 4
Radians;  Paracorr; also TV Pronto

Exact object stats listed at the end of each of the viewing notes below
(mag, surface brightness and size) are from the Night Sky Observer's Guide
and/or The Sky.

Mercury - started the night looking at Mercury first in the Pronto at 121x.
It was approximately 10 degrees above the horizon, about three degrees above
Jupiter.  I also snuck a peak at it with a nearby 7" f7 AP at near 150x.  It
looked about at half phase (the Sky shows it at 46.7%).  Nothing exciting,
but it is always nice giving it a quick peak.

NGC2355 (H6) Open Cluster in Gemini - a bright 7.8 mag star (GSC775:995)
about 6 minutes north of the cluster points the way to this nice object.  At
118x, a sprinkling of 30-50 stars, compact and dense for an OC.  To the east
is a slightly orange-yellow star, probably about magnitude 9 or 10.  Mag 10,
size 9', RA 07h16m57s, Dec +13d46'51".

NGC3395 (H116) and NGC3396 galaxies in Leo Minor, at 118x and 168x, is a
nice interacting set (sometimes called the Butterfly), one stretching south
from the point where they touch, the other east (forming an 'L').  NGC3395
looked slightly wider and brighter, though both look similar.  NGC3396 has a
slightly more stellar core.  Not a lot of detail, but a nice positioning of
the two.  NGC3395 Mag 12.46, SB12.3, 2.1' x 1.2', RA 10h49m53s, dec
+32d58'38".  NGC 3396 is mag 12.61, SB13.6, 3' x 1.2', RA10h50m00s, Dec
+32d59'09".  A third galaxy, IC2604, at Mag 14.71 could just be glimpsed as
a small, dim glow 13 minutes away to the SW.

NGC3414 (H362) and NGC3418 galaxies in Leo Minor at 91x, 118x and 168x.
NGC3414 has a round core, not stellar, surrounded by a diffuse, round halo.
A couple bright stars are off to the west, which form a triangle with the
galaxy.  NGC3418 is slim, not any real detail.  It may be averted
imagination, but I thought I could pick up the ever so thin slight marking
of UGC5958, a 15.32 magnitude galaxy, just 7 minutes south.  I really cannot
confirm this, but I think so.  NGC3414 is mag 11.82, SB13.1, 3.5' x 2.6', RA
10h51m20s, Dec +27d58'18".  NGC3418 is Mag 14.07, 1.4' x 1.1', RA 10h51m28s,
Dec +28d06'30".

NGC3486 (H87) galaxy in Leo Minor is reasonably large, not spectacular.  At
118x, relatively dim, moderate core, unremarkable, though better the longer
you let your eyes adjust.  Sits right in between a triangle of stars at
13.48, 14.48 and 14.65 magnitudes all seen with direct vision.  Mag 10.68,
SB 14.1, 7' x 5.2', RA 11h00m27s, Dec +28d58'18".

Moving towards the galaxy NGC3504 (H88) in Leo Minor, I came across an
asterism that looks exactly like a mini Lyra, with a bright star on top of a
parallelogram of four stars.  Cool!.  Checking the Sky later, I think this
was around GSC1980:1076 at RA 11h02m12.219s and Dec +27d52'08.124'.  As for
the galaxy, at 91x and 118x, it is pretty bright, strong core, surrounded by
a diffuse glow.  Averted vision shows a dim star just off the core, almost
touching the halo. The Sky shows a 14.85 and 14.52 star near this point.
Another galaxy, NGC3512 is 12' to the NE.  It is dim, averted vision shows a
point at the center, sits in between a cradle of  at least four stars.
NGC3504 is Mag 11.82, SB 12.6, 2.7' x 2.1', RA 11h03m14s, Dec +27d58'10".
NGC3512 is mag 12.99, SB13.1, 1.6' x 1.5', RA 11h04m06s, Dec +28d02'04".

NGC4147 (H19) Globular Cluster in Coma Berenices at 224x is a very small
globular.  With averted vision, you can resolve many stars in the outer 1/3
with the core not resolving.  Mag 10.30, BR 14.5, 4', RA 12h10m10s, Dec

NGC5634 (H70) Globular Cluster in Virgo at 224x is interesting; a nice field
as it sits in between a bright triangle of three stars, the brightest of
which shines a nice yellow-orange to the east (GSC4983:1614 I believe at
7.95 mag).  Some very minor resolution on the outer edges (I think), looking
grainy.  Small, but seemingly a bit bigger than NGC4147 which I had just
looked at.  Mag 9.60, 4.9' RA14h29m40s, Dec -05d59m20".

NGC5694 (H196) Globular Cluster in Hydra backing down to 168x as the seeing
was declining. Right next to a pair of 10.5 magnitude stars about a minute
apart.  Very small.  A strong core, a hazy outer edge, but not really
resolvable.  Mag 10.19, 3.6', RA 14h39m41s, Dec -26d32'22".

Mars - with very poor seeing it was hard for any of us to get much.  I could
not go much above 118x.  I tried a 6" aperture mask and a 25 filter, both
helped a bit (the best was the full 16" with the 25 filter).  It was a
relatively featureless part of Mars showing anyway, with Mare Sirenum being
the only real feature filling much of the southern third of the
planet. -1.61 mag, 17.13 ", Meridian was 151.41.

NGC5982 Galaxy in Draco at 118x, along with NGC5985 and NGC 5981 was one of
the more interesting and enjoyable objects of the night.  In one triplet
field, and in a line, is a good example of a spiral, an elliptical and an
edge on.  NGC5985 is the largest, face on, a central core, a bit more than
stellar, stands out.  NGC5982 is brighter, not as diffuse, smaller, strong
core with slight haze around the core.  NGC5981 is a thin line and is
dimmest, no real detail.  Check this field out.  NGC 5982 is Mag 12.23,
SB13, 2.5' x 1.9', RA 15h38m44s, Dec +59d21'10".  NGC 5985 is Mag 11.69, SB
13.9, 5.5' x 3', RA 15h39m42s, Dec +59d19'45".  NGC 5981 is mag 14.11, SB
12.6, 2.8' x .5', RA 15h37m57s, +59d23'22".

NGC6144 Globular Cluster in Scorpius at 168x. Only 40'NW of Antares.  Dim, a
bit more diffuse then the others I have mentioned tonight and larger. Can
resolve a handful of cluster members.  Just on the northern tip of where
heavy star fields start.  Mag 9.10, 9.3', RA 16h27m23s, Dec -26d02'09".

NGC6441 Globular Cluster in Scorpius at 168x is in a very rich field east of
the tail of Scorpius, below M6 and M7, 4' east of 3.2mag G Scorpii.  Some
hints of resolution, small, tight and bright core.  Mag 7.4, 7.8', RA
17h50m18s, Dec -37d02'57".

Bernard 72, Dark Nebula, the "Snake Nebula" in Ophiuchus at 66x.  Once my
eyes adjusted to this rich field and the scale of this object, I could
clearly see the large 'S' shape of this dark nebula.  It really was one of
my favorite views of the night.  I am wondering how easy this really is from
less than superb sites.  Relatively faint, requires good contrast.  Opacity
6, 10' diameter, 30' length.

NGC6337 Planetary Nebula in Scorpius at 168x.  An interesting planetary
called the "Cheerio".  NNE is a 12th mag star on the outer ring.  An averted
vision on the SSW one star can be seen on the nebula.  The O-III really
brings out the annularity, making look very ring-like and I am sure giving
it the name Cheerio.  Mag 13, 48" diameter, RA 17h22m24s, Dec -38d30'01".

NGC6302 Planetary Nebula in Scorpius at 168x. The Bug Nebula.   More galaxy
looking than planetary.  Pretty bright center.  Extensions come out on each
side of the pinched middle.  The western extension seems slightly easier to
see and slightly curves  to the north.   A bit of mottling.  Mag 13, .8', RA
17h13m48s, Dec -37d06'02".

NGC4036 (H253) galaxy in Ursa Major at 168x is a spindle galaxy.  Sits
within four stars. Reasonable core, halo extends equally out in both
directions (E/W).    Another galaxy, NGC4041 (H252) is in the field, face
on, strong center and rather bright.  NGC4036 is mag 11.55, SB12.7, 4.3' x
1.7', RA 12h01m32s, Dec +61d53'33".  NGC 4041 is mag 11.79, SB13.2, 2.7' x
2.5', RA 12h02m16s, Dec +62d08m13".

The Beehive is gorgeous in the Pronto at 22x (and 3.7 degrees).  While I got
this scope to be my finder for my upcoming TEC, tonight I gained a huge
appreciation of it for what most of you already knew.  What a great wide
field, low power dynamo.  The view of the Sagittarius Star Cloud at 16x (and
5.3 degrees) was one of the most rewarding views I have had in a long time.
It also splits doubles very nicely, as examples Castor and Alcor (showing a
color contrast of yellow/orange to silver/blue that I had not noticed

Over the night I also did some favorites like M51, M13 and Omega Centuari to
show some of the nearby astrophotographers what dark skies and large
aperture with a binoviewer can do :)

In the day, I did do some solar viewing with the Pronto and Baader film.
Not a lot of action, but about 6-7 minor sunspot groups were visible.


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  • » [AZ-Observing] Sunglow report May 17-20