Observations 04 September 2020

2 months 2 weeks ago - 2 months 2 weeks ago #109399 by Until_then-Goodnight!
Observations 04 September 2020 was created by Until_then-Goodnight!
Hello all,

I hope you are all keeping well. On Friday night I set up my 250mm TS Optics Newtonion Reflector on a Dobsonian base in my eastward facing back garden at 21:00 IST. I began my observational session at 21:41 IST. This was my first observational session since my visit at the Sugar Loaf a month ago, so it felt great to be observing the night sky again!

First up was Saturn. With an estimated apparent magnitude of 0.33 the 'Ringed Planet' was easily visible to the naked eye. Using a 9mm Expanse eyepiece, which provides a 66° AFOV, I counted a number of Saturn's moons. For example, at 139X I believe I observed Rhea, Dione, Titan, and Thethys. In addition, the Cassini Division was visible, but not all the way round. It seemed that the eastern side of it was easier to make out through the eyepiece. So, I decided to push a little further with a 6mm Expanse eyepiece, which also provides a 66° AFOV, but there was too much shimmering to observe any distinguishable difference. In saying that I did notice a satellite fly by at 21:49!

Switching back to the 9mm, the North Equatorial Belt (NEB) was visible, and so too were North Equatorial Zone (NEZ). In recent weeks I understand that some amateur astronomers have observed and sketched the Enke Gap - I have yet to see this feature. I wonder whether anyone on the forum has observed it and if so, what equipment and conditions were required?

After approximately 40 minutes with Saturn, I moved to some Deep Sky Objects (DSO). While Messier 31 was positioned favourably it was nothing more than a smudge of light in the 2" 32mm Plossl eyepiece. In saying that, its bright core was noticeable, but it really needs a dark site to see those dust lanes. I did see Messier 110 though. From these galaxies I decided to try and locate NGC752. Some of you may know this DSO as C28, Collinder23, or Melotte. I star-hopped from Almach to 59 Andromedae, and then slewed to this beautiful open cluster. It is a loose grouping of stars, and slightly to the east of it are two very nice stars. I have since discovered that these stars are 56 Andromedae and HIP9001, and they are quite distinctive.

Following on from NGC752, I decided I would take a look around Cassipoeia. Where to start, but M103 of course The contrast in colour is gorgeous, and I'm sure it will be revisited as we get closer to Christmas. From M103 I decided to take a look at an old friend: ET. NGC457 always puts a smile on my face. And with events in recent weeks I needed something to lift the spirit. As some of you may know my Dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2019. Sadly, he passed away on the 26 August 2020. He was living with my sister and her family in Baltinglass Co. Wicklow for the past few months, and thankfully we were able to get him out of the hospital to spend the last week of his life in her home surrounded by his family. You might remember that at the end of July we spent time observing the Moon from my sister's home. He was captivated by the Moon, and it will be a nice memory I'll always have.

As always, many thanks for reading and your comments are always welcome.

Clear skies to all,

Darren.
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2 months 2 weeks ago #109403 by flt158
Replied by flt158 on topic Observations 04 September 2020
Hello, Darren.
Can I offer you my deepest sympathy to you over the death of your Dad?
My own father died in 1990; so I know full well what you are going through.
I managed to show my Dad Halley's Comet in 1986 and the planet Neptune just before Voyager sent back those historic images in July 1989.

I have never observed Enke Gap.
So 'nuff said about it.
I know it is enormously tough to observe.
Imagers have a better time with it.
By the way, Tethys has only 1 "h" in it. Lol.

The open cluster NGC 752 is a huge favourite of mine.
I believe it's bigger than the Full Moon.

Yes! Cassiopeia is back!
And I am very pleased you have already observed M103 and NGC 457.

I don't know when I am free to observe right now.
I've to prepare the Observer's Corner for Orbit.
That always takes time.

And I've an NCT to do early on Saturday morning.
But I'm confident the car will pass.

Clear skies from Aubrey.
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2 months 2 weeks ago #109405 by Until_then-Goodnight!
Replied by Until_then-Goodnight! on topic Observations 04 September 2020
Lovely to hear from you Aubrey, and very many thanks for your condolences. It's never easy losing a parent especially when they are young. And on that, your father must have been young man when he left this world. I was sorry to read that he passed away when you were a young man too.

When I read that other astronomical sketchers managed to illustrate the Enke Gap, which I was unaware of until recently, I was surprised. I've a hard enough time observing the more common features to observe such as the Cassini Division! Hence, why I was keen to hear from anyone from the IFAS of whether they have managed to observe this feature. Also, I must keep an eye on those typos - I'm dreadful with them!

Like you, NGC 752 has moved to the top of my favourite Deep Sky Objects. I spent some of this evening reading up on this mighty fine open cluster. So, I'm definitely going to revisit it at the next available opportunity - whenever that might be?

And speaking of future observational sessions, I'm going to spend a prolonged period in Cassiopeia over the next couple of months. I remember reading your reports on it the time and thinking to myself how much there is to see in and around the constellation. So, I'm going to spend the next few nights reading over your suggestions again to help me make the most of Queen Cassiopeia.

The very best of luck for the NCT, and I hope the writing goes well too. I really enjoy reading Orbit, and the Observer's Corner is one my favourite pieces in the publication.

Kindest regards, and clear skies to you.

Darren.
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2 months 2 weeks ago #109406 by flt158
Replied by flt158 on topic Observations 04 September 2020
Well actually I was 30 when my dad died. Dad was 70 years of age. Which by today's standards is not old. But he is 30 earth years in paradise. Today I have an uncle who is 85.

Do come back to us with your observations in Cassiopeia, Darren. You can spend years observing within its borders!

Orbit is coming along very nicely.
Thanks be to God!

Aubrey.
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2 months 2 weeks ago #109407 by Until_then-Goodnight!
Replied by Until_then-Goodnight! on topic Observations 04 September 2020
Good morning Aubrey, 

30 years is way too young to lose a parent, but as you said he is in paradise. 

I'll certainly keep you updated on my observations in Cassiopeia. I managed to squeeze in a short planetary session last night before clouds decide to interrupt. I managed to observe Jupiter and Saturn. The four main moons of Jupiter had an interesting spacing - three close to the planet and one out quite a distance. Unfortunately, transparency was very bad, so I had to contend with lots of shimmering. I found it best not to go beyond 100X on both planets. 

Clear skies, 
Darren. 
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