Comet hunting and deep sky observing 12./13.11.2012

Date: 12./13.11.2012
Time: 23:05-00:40
Observing site: Länsi-Aure, Kuru, Finland
Instrument: L102/1000mm

NELM: 6,6
SQM: 21,23
Darkness of the background sky: 2
Seeing: 3
Transparency: 2
Weather: Clear sky, -2 °C, light wind, no snow, no Moon, faint aurora arc at low altitude in northern sky

Objects observed: Messier 39 (visual, sketching), Messier 77 (visual, sketching)

During this session, the sky was relatively dark, although there was some aurora in the northern sky, and thus I decided to try to observe the comet Hergenrother once again. This time I had very accurate maps with me, and I was looking for the comet carefully in the right place, but still I couldn’t find it. I deduced from this, that the unvisibility of the comet is caused only by the low magnitude of the comet itself.

Because I couldn’t find the comet and the sky was dark, I changed my plan and decided to observe some deep sky objects instead. This time I observed Messier 77, a galaxy in constellation of Cetus and Messier 39, an open cluster in constellation of Cygnus.

Messier 77 was found easily, and it was well visible with my instrument. The galaxy appeared as a round, little bit oval fuzzy spot. A notable feature of this galaxy is it’s significantly bright core. It is much brighter than the outer parts of the galaxy. This is a good object also for small telescopes.

Messier 77 with 4'' Refractor
Messier 77 with 4” Refractor

Messier 39 is a rather large, loose and poor open cluster in the constellation of Cygnus. A wide field and low magnification is required to observe this object. This cluster is clearly triangular in shape. There isn’t any observable concentration towards center in this cluster. There are some brightness differences between the stars of this cluster. This object is well suitable for small telescopes, and actually it is best observed with large binoculars or small telescope because of its large size.

Messier 39 observed with 4'' Refractor
Messier 39 observed with 4” Refractor

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