Two planetaries in winter sky

Date: 23./24.12.2013
Time: 21:15-23:10
Observing site: Ulvila observatory, Finland
Instrument: C/280/2750mm

NELM: 5.0
SQM: 20.57
Darkness of the background sky: 3
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 2
Weather: Clear sky, windy, +3C°, no Moon, no snow

Objects observed: NGC 2022, IC 2149

In the night between day before christmas eve and christmas eve, I went to the Ulvila observatory to do some observing. This time Moon wasn’t glowing in the sky, and there was no snow on the ground, and thus the background sky was relatively dark. That made me thinking about deep sky observing, especially because I hadn’t been doing that for a while.

During this night, I decided to observe two planetary nebulas, that are well located in the winter sky in this time of year in northern hemsphere! This objets were NGC 2022 and IC 2149.

NGC 2022 is a small planetary nebula in constellation of Orion. In the constellation, this object is easy to find, it is located just about 1,5° degrees SE from Lambda Orionis. I observed this object with the 11” Celestron of Ulvila observatory. I wrote following notes from my observation: @69x: a very small and faint nebula @367: rather small, round, diffuse nebula, no central star or internal structure O III didn’t improve the view much.

NGC 2022 observed with 11'' Catadioptric
NGC 2022 observed with 11” Catadioptric

The other target of the night was IC 2149, a very small but excessively bright planetary nebula in constellation of Auriga. About this target, I made following notes: @69x: bright, stellar object @183x: very small and bright disk, no more stellar @367x: bright, small, oval-shaped disk, the long axis of the oval is oriented in direction NNW-SSE. No central star or internal structure visible. This object appears as a very bright glowing disk with OIII, but it doesn’t improve the view much.

IC 2149 observed with 11'' Catadioptric
IC 2149 observed with 11” Catadioptric

So far, this winter has been unusually mild here in Finland. This year we didn’t have white christmas, at least not here in Southern Finland. It has also meant, that the weather has been very cloudy and rainy. But I was lucky to do at least some observing also in December, although the weather hasn’t been very favourable. And even now when i’m writing this post, there isn’t any snow on the ground, but according to the weather forecast, it should be getting colder, much colder, at least temporarily..