Observing 27./28.1.2017 in Stormälö

Date: 27./28.1.2017
Time: 20:30-22:30
Observing site: Stormälö, Parainen, Finland
Instrument: N250/1200 mm (10” Newton)

NELM: 6.6
SQM: 21.03 – 21.00
Darkness of the background sky: from 2  (a scale from 1 to 5, 1 best, 5 worst)
Seeing: 2 (a scale from 1 to 5, 1 best, 5 worst)
Transparency: –
Weather: Clear sky, calm, light breeze, only very thin layer of snow on the ground, no Moon, +2C – -3C, some mist rising from the sea at the end of the session

Objects observed: NGC 1980, 2215

This was my last observing session in January 2017. This time I was able to do some observing in my Stormälö observing site in Parainen. During the night conditions were relatively good, but dew and frost were causing problems in the later part of the session. During this session I observed two objects listed in Herschel 400 list: NGC 1980 and 2215.

NGC 1980

This object is a small bright nebula immediately to south from famous Orion Nebula Messier 42. The cluster is also known as Collinder 72. NGC 1980 refers to the nebula. I tried to observe the nebula, and I was quite convinced that I was able to see it. Of my observation, I wrote following notes:

@50x: a small, poor cluster, that is located immediately south of M42, the cluster is relatively well detached. Not very well concentrated. Some weak nebulosity is visible around the brightest star of the cluster (iota Ori) and slightly SW from that star. The outer edges of M42 are extending all the way to iota Ori. The nebulas were visible without filter, UHC filter enhanced the view only slightly. No moisture observable on optical surfaces, good conditions.

170127-28_NGC 1980
NGC 1980 observed with 10” Newton

NGC 2215

My second and last object for this session was NGC 2215, an open cluster in Monoceros. This object is located 2 degrees WSW from beta Mon. About this object I wrote as follows:

@71x: an obvious open cluster, pretty well concentrated, well detached, relatively faint-starred.

170127-28_NGC 2215
NGC 2215 observed with 10” Newton

So, that was my last observing session in January 2017. Next time I was making observations in February, I’ll post something about the February observing sessions later.


Observing 19./20.1.2017 in Ulvila Observatory

Date: 19./20.1.2017
Time: 20:15-00:00
Observing site: Ulvila Observatory, Finland
Instrument: C280/2750 mm (11” Catadioptric)

NELM: 5.7
SQM: 19.85-20.05
Darkness of the background sky: 3-4
Seeing: 2
Transparency: –
Weather: Some high clouds in the beginning of the session, later the sky cleared up, fresh breeze, surprisingly warm and dry air, only thin layer of snow on the ground, no Moon, surprisingly good conditions considering the time of year

Objects observed: NGC 2194, 2261, 2024, 2175

This was my first observing session in year 2017. During this session, I made four observations, all observed objects were listed in Herschel 400 list. Conditions were relatively good considering the season.

NGC 2194

My first object of this session was NGC 2194, an open cluster located in northern part of Orion, near Gemini border. The cluster can be located 1,5 degrees SE from xi Ori. Of this object, I wrote following notes:

@117x: faint-starred open cluster, which is moderately detached, the cluster is mostly visible as a starglow, some individual stars were visible.

170119-20_NGC 2194
NGC 2194 observed with 11” Catadioptric

NGC 2261

My second object of this night was NGC 2261, the famous reflecting nebula known as Hubble’s variable nebula. Of course the nebula itself is not variable, but the star illuminating it is. The illuminating star is R Mon, a variable star of type T Tauri, varying from 10 to 12 magnitudes. This nebula is located in Monoceros, very close to famous Cone nebula, and it can be located ~1 degree SW from the nebula. Of this fascinating object I wrote following notes:

@165x: this famous nebula is known as Hubble’s variable nebula, it appeared surprisingly large and bright, the shape is clearly wedge-like or comet-like, the nebula extends northwards from star R Mon. The star R Mon is like the nucleus of the comet, and the nebula is like the tail of the comet. The nebula was easily visible without filters. Nice object!

170119-20_NGC 2261
NGC 2261 observed with 11”Catadioptric

NGC 2024

My third object of this session was very challenging in thse observing conditions, but nevertheless, I decided to give it a try. This object was NGC 2024, also known as Tank Track Nebula, a famous bright nebula in Orion. This nebula is located very close to Alnitak, zeta Ori. About this challenging object I wrote following lines:

@117x: This nebula was poorly visible in these conditions. The nebula appeared as a very faint, diffuse glow of light slightly east from Mintaka. The nebula was weakly visible without filter, UHC filter enhanced the view slightly. The nebula was visible all the time only with averted vision and sweeping.

170119-20_NGC 2024
NGC 2024 observed with 11” Catadioptric

This observation left me hungry for more, and I need to observe this one again in better conditions!

NGC 2174/2175

My fourth and last object for this session was NGC 2174/2175, an open cluster/nebula in northernmost part of Orion, near Gemini border. This cluster can be located ~1,5 degrees ENE from Chi2 Ori. The name of this object is quite ambiguous, and it is not very clear, which designation is for the nebula and which one is for the cluster. The nebula is also widely known as Monkey Head nebula. Of this object, I wrote following notes:

@117x: a rather scattered, poorly concentrated, poor open cluster. The cluster is weakly detached, with OIII filter I suspected very faint nebulosity around the brightest star of the field.

170119-20_NGC 2175
NGC 2175/2174 observed with 11” Catadioptric

So know I had finished this observing session. There were two objects, that left me a little bit unsatisfied because of poor observing conditions. These objects were NGC 2024 and NGC 2174/2175. I need to re-observe these objects during next season!

After this, there was one more observing session in January 2017. More about that later!


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