Observing in Ulvila observatory 31.3.-1.4.2013

Date: 31.3./1.4.2013
Time: 19:00-21:00
Observing site: Ulvila observatory, Finland
Instrument: C280/2750mm (11” Catadioptric)

NELM: 5,7
SQM: 20,28
Darkness of the background sky: 4
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 2
Weather: Clear sky, -2 °C, calm, snow still on the ground, faint aurora arc in the northern sky at low altitude

Objects observed: Comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) (visual, sketching), NGC 5053 (visual, sketching), NGC 5466 (visual, sketching), SS Cyg (visual), R Cyg (visual)

When March was turning to April, I was doing some observing in Ulvila observatory, Finland. This time I observed comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS), NGC 5466, NGC 5053, SS Cyg and R Cyg. Observing conditions were OK, it’s not very cold anymore, the temperature was only 2 °C below zero. The nights are though getting shorter already, and the beginnig of the summer time means that the observing sessions are now starting even later.

The comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) was still visible, and it was now approaching the Andromeda galaxy. During this night, the apparent distance between the comet and the galaxy was less than 3º. I observed the comet with the large binoculars of Ulvila observatory (25×100), the binoculars have a FOV of 2º. The comet itself fitted in nicely in the field, but I wasn’t able to see both the comet and the galaxy in the same field. The comet wasn’t anymore visible with naked eye, but it was easy to see with the binos. The length of the tail seems to be about 45′ and it is pointing to position angle 340º. The coma is still very condensated, the DC is 8, the diameter of the coma is about 3′.

Comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) 31.3./1.4.2013
Comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) 31.3./1.4.2013

Besides observing and sketching the comet, I did also some deep sky -sketching. This time I observed and scketched globular clusters NGC 5466 and 5053. NGC 5466 appeared as a round, faint and fuzzy nebula. The cluster has pretty even brightness distribution. The cluster appeared to be granulated, some individual stars were also resolved.

NGC 5466 observed with 11'' Catadioptric
NGC 5466 observed with 11” Catadioptric

NGC 5053 appeared as a very faint and vague nebula, which was visible only with sweeping and averted vision. No hope of resolving any stars. I think this should have been visible better with my instrument, but the poor background sky darkness could explain the fact that it was visible only barely.

NGC 5053 observed with 11'' Catadioptric
NGC 5053 observed with 11” Catadioptric

After having done some deep sky -sketching, I observed also variable stars SS Cyg and R Cyg. Both stars are in their minimum brightness now, SS Cyg about 12.0, and actually I couldn’t even see R Cyg, so I made a negative observation of it, the magnitude of the star was <14.0.

Variable star observations:

Date Time Star Mag. Comp.
31.3./1.4.2013 02.53 SS Cyg 12.0 10.9/11.9
31.3./1.4.2013 03.12 R Cyg <14.0 14.0

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