Sketch of Messier 38 / NGC 1912

5 days 13 hours ago - 4 days 16 hours ago #108017 by Until_then-Goodnight!
Sketch of Messier 38 / NGC 1912 was created by Until_then-Goodnight!
Hi All,

Taking advantage of last night's clear sky I decided to take the XT6 (1200mm telescopic focal length; 150mm primary mirror; focal ratio 8; ) out to the back garden. My back garden, which is located under a Bortle 8 sky, faces eastward, so Auriga was perfectly positioned to be observed.

Being unsure which DSO in Auriga I was going to sketch, I decided to go for M38 because it looked best through the eyepiece. I understand that Messier 38 is also known as the 'starfish cluster', but I found it difficult to make out a starfish shape. In saying that, I could make an 'X' shape. There were two orange / yellow coloured stars in the FOV that added a nice splash of colour to the sketch.

I used a 32 mm Plossl eyepiece, so it provided me with 37.5 magnification and TFOV of 1.39 degrees.

Using the Pickering Scale I estimated the seeing to be 5, and transparency 4 - I could see fewer than five stars in the handle of the Ursa Minor.

I started to sketch M38 at 21:38 (UT), and finished at 22:02 (UT). Although it was a fairly short session, it felt great to be observing again, and I'm looking forward to giving this open cluster another go under a darker sky.

Clear skies, and thanks for taking the time to read the post.

Darren.

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5 days 1 hour ago #108020 by Fermidox
Replied by Fermidox on topic Sketch of Messier 38 / NGC 1912
Good effort Darren, under those light-polluted skies. M38 is one of the few astro objects which actually lives up to its (starfish) name, but as ever, deep sky targets need an inky black sky to be fully appreciated. I don't want to rub it in by mentioning how many stars I can see within Ursa Minor!

Best wishes,
Finbarr.
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4 days 16 hours ago #108021 by Until_then-Goodnight!
Replied by Until_then-Goodnight! on topic Sketch of Messier 38 / NGC 1912
Very many thanks for your message Finbarr. I'm keen to observe M38 at the Sugar Loaf with the rest of lads. From various reports I've been reading about the cluster it is possible to see 100 plus stars under a dark sky. 

I envy those who have good rural skies close to where they live. I suppose I can't complain too much considering Wicklow National Park is within a 30 minute drive from where I'm based. 

Clear skies, 

Darren. 
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4 days 13 hours ago #108022 by Fermidox
Replied by Fermidox on topic Sketch of Messier 38 / NGC 1912
That's a lovely part of the sky Darren; Ms 38, 36 and 37 in southern Auriga and continuing on to the even richer M35 in Gemini. NGC 1907 is another nice cluster in the same binocular fov as the Starfish; and NGC 1893 easily visible 2 degrees to the west.

Clear skies,
Finbarr.
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4 days 16 minutes ago - 3 days 12 hours ago #108023 by Until_then-Goodnight!
Replied by Until_then-Goodnight! on topic Sketch of Messier 38 / NGC 1912
Many thanks for your message Finbarr.

Prior to sketching M38, I was unaware of NGC 1907 being in such close proximity. So, it was a surprise to read about it when writing-up my observational report the other night. I suppose it highlights the value of having a plan in place before heading out with your scope, or binoculars for that matter. Out of interest Finbarr, how often would you work from plan?

Also, very many thanks for reminding me of M35, and for bringing my attention to NGC 1893: That's a new one for me! Based on your recommendation, and the fact that I'd like to sketch M36, and M37, I think I'm going to spend the next few weeks in and around Auriga. What's more, Aubrey's recent observational reports on Cassiopeia shows the value of spending a prolonged period of time focusing in on one area of the sky - he never fails to inspire!

And on that note, it is amazing to think back to this time last year. I was four months into the hobby, and I can remember seeing Auriga overhead. I was taken by its shape, and Capella looked so bright. It might sound strange to seasoned observers, but I often struggle to locate (and differentiate between) various open clusters that are near to each other, such as M38, and M36. Working with a 'red dot' finder and planisphere, I'll search for DSOs, but there are more times than not when I'm unsure whether what I'm observing is the object on the chart.

Fast forward to our most recent trip to the Sugar Loaf when I was shown how to use a Telrad though. My first proper outing with it was Monday night, and I can safely say it is a game changer for me. I can now locate a multitude of DSO will relative ease, and I'm pretty confident I'm on the right object - many thanks Paul!

Once again, let me take this opportunity to say that there are a great group of people on this forum. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to discuss and observe the night sky with these individuals who are only too happy to share their knowledge (and equipment) with newcomers like me.

Clear skies to you,

Darren.
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3 days 21 hours ago #108024 by flt158
Replied by flt158 on topic Sketch of Messier 38 / NGC 1912
Hello, Darren.
When I draw the curtains in the computer room those colourful stars are only magnificent!
M38 is definitely a most brilliant open cluster and it always delights me when I observe it at whatever magnification I use.
Some open clusters will be difficult to do as we see so many stars.

Please keep your sketches coming whenever you can.

Clear skies,

Aubrey.

Speaking of which: when is the next clear night??
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3 days 18 hours ago #108025 by Fermidox
Replied by Fermidox on topic Sketch of Messier 38 / NGC 1912
Darren, I generally concentrate on one specific target when observing. I've logged most of the low-hanging fruit at this point, so usually my plan involves an asteroid at opposition, a conjunction/occultation , or with any luck a comet. Occasionally when I'm restricted by time constraints to binoculars, I just generally star hop or engage in some Milky Way sweeping. I find the Stellarium android app very useful for identifying objects, as its magnitude limits fit in well with what is visible with my 20 x 80s.

Clear skies,
Finbarr.
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3 days 12 hours ago - 3 days 12 hours ago #108026 by Until_then-Goodnight!
Replied by Until_then-Goodnight! on topic Sketch of Messier 38 / NGC 1912
Very many thanks Aubrey for your kind words. Adding colour using GIMP 2.0 is great as there are many different shades to choose from, so you get pretty close to the colour you observe through the eyepiece. In saying that, a moderator on the CN sketching forum recently explained how to use different colouring pencils to add colour to an inverted image - keen to try that technique out soon. Funny, I was only thinking how much more time and effort it could take to attempt an open cluster sketch under a dark sky. Still, worth a go though! Fingers crossed we won't have to wait too long for another clear night. Kindest regards, Darren.
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3 days 12 hours ago - 3 days 12 hours ago #108027 by Until_then-Goodnight!
Replied by Until_then-Goodnight! on topic Sketch of Messier 38 / NGC 1912
Many thanks Finbarr for your response. Interesting to hear how others go about observing. I'd imagine you're looking forward to the next few months with Comet C/2017 T2 increasing in magnitude. I believe it's around mag 10 at the moment. 

I must have a look at the app you mention; only last night I discovered 'Telescopius'. I can certainly see the value of using apps like these to plan an observing session. 

Thanks again, and kindest regards, 

Darren. 

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3 days 37 minutes ago #108028 by Fermidox
Replied by Fermidox on topic Sketch of Messier 38 / NGC 1912
The Stellarium app does cost 2.99 but well worth it imo. Yes I'm a big comet fan ever since the days of Hale-Bopp and Hyakutake; to have those two passing by in successive years really was epic stuff and it wouldn't surprise me if we don't see a repeat for the rest of the millennium. Didn't even have a camera back then unfortunately.....

Finbarr.
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