Time: 21:45-03:00 (local time)
Observing site: El Retamar (2100m), Teide N.P., Tenerife, Spain
Instrument: L80/400mm (3” refractor)
Darkness of the background sky: 1
Weather: Clear sky, calm/light wind, +8 – +4 C
Objects observed: Messier 68, 83, NGC 1851, 2477, 3132, 3201, 5128, 5139, 4945, 5286, 4755, 5694 and IC 2391
During my first observing night of my 2nd Tenerife observing trip, I was able to observe in really good conditions and calm weather on Mt. Teide! I also had very productive observing session that night, I made 13 observations in total!
So this time it was mostly calm, and temperature was comfortably 8 to 4 C -degrees above zero! This time I had decided that I won’t drive further to the caldera, because the conditions don’t seem to differ much when compared with the outer parts of the caldera. During this 2nd observing trip, I stayed every night at my El Retamar observing site just outside the actual caldera in the SW side of the caldera, just at the border of the national park. That place was closest good observing spot for me from my hotel. In this place I had a zero horizon to south and car headlights were disturbing as little as possible.
I started my night by observing NGC 1851, which is a globular cluster in Columba. The cluster is located in SW corner of the constellation, 5 degrees SW from epsilon Columbae. When I was observing this globular cluster, it was already setting and it was at very low altitude in western horizon. Of this object, I wrote following notes:
A small, pretty bright globular cluster, the cluster gets clearly brighter towards the core, the cluster is not resolved into stars.
My next stop was NGC 2477, an open cluster in Puppis. This cluster is located 2,5 degrees from zeta Puppis to NW. This is very rich and concentrated cluster, but with my modest instrument, it appeared quite modest. Of this object, I wrote following notes:
A rather small, compact and pretty faint open cluster, the cluster is well detached and concentrated towards the center. The cluster appears to be rich, the cluster is mostly visible as a starglow.
From Puppis I continued my journey to the neighbouring constellation known as Vela. In this constellation, my first object was IC 2391, also known as Omicron Velorum cluster. This is a large and scattered cluster concentrated around star omicron Velorum. It is located less than two degrees NW from delta Velorum. My notes from this observation are as follows:
Large, beautiful and bright-starred cluster, moderately rich, well detached, not very concentrated.
My next object is also an object in Vela, this time not an open cluster but a planetary nebula. NGC 3132 is a large and bright planetary nebula in northernmost part of Vela, just at the Vela-Antlia border. This object is also known as Eight Burst Nebula or Southern Ring Nebula. Because I didn’t have powerful enough instrument, I wasn’t able to see any fine structure or details in this object. But anyway, my notes are as follows:
A planetary nebula, that appears to be a rather large one, because I was able to see it non-stellar with this small aperture instrument. The nebula was visible as a small, non-stellar bright disk.
Before leaving Vela for now, I had one more object in this constellation to observe! This object was NGC 3201, a globular cluster in eastern part of the constellation. This object is located 6 degrees NW from mu Velorum. Of this object, I wrote following notes:
Large, bright globular cluster, not resolved, gets slightly brighter towards the core.
My next object is the 2nd las Messier object, that I still hadn’t observed before this trip. This object was Messier 68 in southern part of the constellation of Hydra. This globular cluster is located below the constellation of Corvus, 3,5 degrees SE fom beta Corvi. Of this object, I wrote following notes:
Large and bright globular cluster, not resolved, brightens towards the core.
After having observed Messier 68, I still had one more Messier object to be observed, and then I would have finished observing Messier catalogue! That very last missing Messier object for me was Messier 83 in southernmost part of Hydra. This spiral galaxy is located just at the Hydra-Centaurus border, 7 degrees SW from pi Hydrae, a star that is marking the tip of the tail of Hydra. Of this object, I wrote following notes:
Large and bright, almost face-on galaxy, the galaxy has a bright, almost stellar core, otherwise no structure visible
Yey, and there it is, I had dinally completed observing Messier catalogue! After having completed Messier catalogue, I went on further south into the starry realms of the constellation of Centaurus. In Centaurus, my first object was NGC 5128. NGC 5128 is also known as Kentaurus A, which is a large, elliptic galaxy, that has a dark dust lane cutting the object in half. This is one of the most famous deep sky objects in the whole sky, and it is also known as a radio object. Of this object, I wrote following notes:
Large, pretty faint galaxy, a little bit oval shaped (long axis in SW-NE direction), the dark dust lane was quite weakly visible with averted vision.
After observing Kentaurus A, I went on to observe an object, that is known as the largest globular cluster in Milky way! This object is NGC 5139, also known as Omega Centauri! It is very large globular cluster, and it’s apparent diameter is about 30′, which roughly equals the diameter of full Moon! Of this object, I wrote following notes:
Very large and very bright globular cluster! The cluster is not resolved, but it appears weakly granular. The cluster brightens slightly towards the core. The object was an easy naked eye -sight, and it was stunning already through the finderscope! Really magnificent object!
Also my next object is located in Centaurus. NGC 4945 is a thin, edge on -galaxy located 4 degrees east from gamma Centauri. This object is pretty faint for my modest instrument (9,3 magnitudes, surface brightness 13,6 magnitudes), and it was a little bit challenging to observe, but nevertheless, I was able to observe it:
Very faint and thin edge on galaxy (long axis in W-E direction), the galaxy is visible weakly with averted vision and sweeping.
After that thin galaxy, I stayed in Centaurus. My next objec was NGC 5286, a globular cluster roughly two degrees NE from epsilon Centauri. Of this object, I wrote following notes:
A small and pretty faint globular cluster, brightens towards the core, not resolved.
After having observed that globular cluster, I was about to leave Centaurus for tonight. At this time, I noticed that the constellation of Southern cross was already visible at the southern horizon! Teide is actually little bit too north after all, because for example the southernmost parts of Centaurus are below horizon and also the southernmost star of Southern cross is below horizon. But nevertheless, the three northernmost stars of the Cross were now above horizon! When seeing the stars of this legendary and famous constellation, I couldn’t resist temptation of trying to actually observe something from the Cross! I noticed that the famous Jewelbox -cluster was just barely above horizon (it’s elevation was only about 1 degree!), so I tried to observe it! It was visible poorly because of very low altitude, but nevertheless, I was able to observe it! My notes of this observation are as follows:
The Jewelbox cluster! The cluster was very weakly visible because of very low altitude, but to my surprise, I was at least able to see the cluster from horizon of Teide! Only the brightest stars of the cluster were visible.
After having a peek on the famous Southern Cross, I went on to have yet another stop in the constellation of Hydra.In the easternmost part of Hydra, there is a small globular cluster, NGC 5694. It is located 5,5 degrees WE from sigma Librae and 7,5 degrees E from pi Hydrae. Of this object I wrote following notes:
A small and faint globular cluster, gets brighter towards the core, not resolved
So, that was my first night of observing during my 2nd Teide observing trip! After having finished observing, I still was admiring the beauty of the southern skies before heading down to my hotel for a sleep.