Crescent Moon, Jupiter and high clouds

Last night (6./7.2.2011) I was again observing in Parainen. During the day, sky was completely clear, but when I arrived in my observing site, I saw some high clouds in western horizon. Also Moon was visible, it appeared as a narrow crescent and Jupiter was close to it, and together they were a beautiful sight! But this time I didn’t came to observe objects of Solar system. I had planned to observe some open clusters in Monoceros-Orion-Puppis area. But those high clouds really ruined my plan. I couldn’t observe all objects I had planned to, and especially I wasn’t able to observe all nebulae that I wanted to see. So, transparency was weak and background sky was all but completely dark, so what to observe? Collinder clusters of course! Many of these clusters are visible also in poor conditions, so these are suitable choice for an evening like this.

I observed following objects: Collinder 91, NGC 2186, Collinder 107/104 and Collinder 106.

Collinder 106 and 107/104 are in a small area in Monoceros with many other clusters including NGC 2244 with Rosetta nebula. I also tried to observe that, but I could only see a one bright section of the nebula, so I decided to skip that for this night. Collinder 106 and 107/104 are poor, weakly detached clusters and they have relatively large apparent size. Collinder 91 is is slightly smaller in apparent size, but it is otherwise similar to the other typical Collinders in Monoceros. It is also situated 4° to SW from the area around NGC 2244/Collinder 106, -107/104. NGC 2186 is a nice, small compact cluster in Orion.

Summay for this session:

-Session id: #12/10-11
-Date: 6./7.2.2011
-Time: 20.00-22.00
-Instrument: N250/1200 mm
-Site: Stormälö, Parainen
-Conditions: NELM 6,0; seeing 3; background sky 3, calm/weak NW breeze, -4 °C, high clouds in the sky, weak transparency
-Objects observed: Collinder 91, NGC 2186, Collinder 107/104, Collinder 106.

Collinder 106 – another typical Collinder cluster (in winter sky)


Small nebulae and problems with freezing

Second time I was observing this year was very interesting. Weather was brilliant, it was completely calm and only – 2°C. Only problems were caused by high amount of moisture in the air. Because of that, transparency wasn’t as good as it might be and also because it was so calm – the moisture was condensing and freezing to all surfaces — including all mirrors and lenses of my scope. And I also heard fox screaming somewhere at distance, that was little bit spooky!

Nevertheless, I was able to see and sketch following objects: NGC 1999, Jonckheere 900, Collinder 121 and Collinder 65 with NAE. I had planned to observe much more, but because of intense moisture problem I had to quit observing earlier than I had planned.

NGC 1999 is a small emission nebula in Orion, just south of Sword of Orion, it is tiny but very interesting: there is a big dark globule visible in the nebula, I just wasn’t able to see that because of poor conditions. Jonckheere 900 is at least apparently even smaller nebula. It is a small planetary nebula in Gemini. Collinder 121 is a large, sparse and poor OCL in Canis Major, which is at quite low altitude here in Finland. Collinder 65 is similar cluster in Taurus, but this one is better visible than the one in Cma.

Summary of this session:

-Session id: #11/10-11
-Date: 2./3.2.2011
-Time: 20.25-22.45
-Instrument: N250/1200 mm, naked eye
-Site: Stormälö, Parainen
-Conditions: NELM 6,0; seeing 2; background sky 1, calm, -2 °C
-Objects observed: NGC 1999, Jonckheere 900, Collinder 121, Collinder 65 NAE

NGC 1999 – A small emission nebula in Orion

First observing session of this year!

I was obsserving for first time this year 31./1.2.2011 in my Parainen observing site. Sky was clear, but it was very windy. Temperature was only -2 °C, but because of the wind, it felt much colder. Winter Milky way near Orion was visible as good as it ever can be here in Finland, but NELM wasn’t too good, it was only around 5,7. Background sky was as dark as possible, but transparency was not so good. Objects observed this time were NGC 2301, Christmas tree cluster and Messier 47 with NAE.

Summary of this session:
-Session id: #10/10-11
-Date: 31./1.2.2011
-Time: 21.55-23.35
-Instrument: N250/1200 mm, naked eye
-Site: Stormälö, Parainen
-Conditions: NELM 5,7; seeing 2; background sky 1, windy, -2 °C
-Objects observed: NGC 2301, Messier 47 and NGC 2264 (The Christmas tree cluster)

NGC 2264 – The Christmas tree cluster