Deep sky -sketching, comet hunting and observing planet Neptune 8./9.11.2012

Date: 8./9.11.2012
Time: 19:30-22:30
Observing site: Länsi-Aure, Kuru, Finland
Instrument: L102/1000mm

NELM: 6,2
SQM: 20,80
Darkness of the background sky: 2
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 3
Weather: Mostly clear sky, -8 °C, calm, thin, discontinuous layer of snow on the ground, no Moon, no aurora

Objects observed: Neptune (visual, sketching), Messier 35 (visual, sketching), Messier 77 (visual, sketching)

During this session, I tried to find and observe comet Hergenrother, but I wasn’t succesfull in my attempts. Perhaps the comet was too faint for my instrument. Instead of observing comet, I then decided to observe some deep sky objects.

This time I observed open clusters Messier 35 in Gemini and Messier 37 in Auriga.

Messier 35 is really a pretty nice looking open cluster with my small refractor! @31x, the cluster is fairly large and rich and it is well detached from it’s background. The cluster isn’t very concentrated, and the center of the cluster even looks pretty empty! There is an arc consisted of stars on the NW edge of the cluster. This starry arc is one of the most prominent features of this cluster when observing visually. This is a really good target for visual observing, especially for telescopes with smaller aperture. Because of the relatively large size of the cluster, small magnification and large field are preferred for this object.

Messier 35 observed with 4'' Refractor
Messier 35 observed with 4” Refractor

@67x, Messier 37 appears to be a compact, bright and rich open cluster, which is well detached from it’s background. The cluster is elongated in W-E direction, and it is a little bit wedge -like in shape, getting narrower eastwards. The brightness range of the cluster is pretty even, although there are some brighter stars in the cluster. Messier 37 is a really good target for visual observations and especially for smaller telescopes!

Messier 37 observed with 4'' Refractor
Messier 37 observed with 4” Refractor

After observing two deep sky -objects, I decided to come back to the outskirts of our Solar system, and to try observe planet Neptune, which I actually haven’t observed ever before! So this was my first time to see the outermost planet of our solar system! The planet appeared totally star-like, and I actually even didn’t exactly know, which of the stars of the field was Neptune, but I knew that I was in the right field. Then I checked the location of the planet afterwards from Sky Map Pro.

Planet neptune observed 12.-13.11.2012 in Länsi-Aure, Kuru, Finland with L102/1000mm @ 25x.
Planet Neptune observed with 4” refractor @ 25x.

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