Observing 17./18.2.2017 in Stormälö

Date: 17./18.2.2017
Time: 22:00-00:15
Observing site: Stormälö, Parainen, Finland
Instrument: N250/1200 mm (10” Newton)

NELM: 6.4
SQM: 21.22 – 21.35
Darkness of the background sky: from 1  (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, no Moon, only very little snow, aurora arc in northern horizon

Objects observed: NGC 2232, 2251, 2286 and 2311

During the night between 17th and 18th of February, I was able to do some visual deep sky observing in Stormälö, Parainen. During the night, observing conditions were rather good! Sky was clear, Moon was absent and there wasn’t much snow on the ground. During the night I observed following objects: NGC 2232, 2251, 2286 and 2311. All of these are open clusters in Monoceros and all of them are also listed in Herschel 400 observing list.

NGC 2232

My first object of the observing session was NGC 2232, an open cluster in SW corner of Monoceros. This cluster is rather large, it’s diamterer is 30′ which is comparable with diameter of full Moon! Of this object I wrote following notes:

@32x: Relatively large open cluster, moderately concentrated and detached, rather large brightness range, not very rich.

170217-18_NGC 2232
NGC 2232 observed with 10” Newton

NGC 2251

My next target was yet another open cluster in Monoceros. This cluster was NGC 2251, which is located near the famous Cone nebula, less than 2 degrees SW from it. I wrote following lines about this cluster:

@50x: a rather small, faint open cluster, the cluster has triangular shape, moderately detached, not very well concentrated.

170217-18_NGC 2251
NGC 2251 observed with 10” Newton

NGC 2286

My third object for this night was NGC 2286, yet another open cluster in Monoceros. This cluster is located about half way from beta Mon to delta Mon. About this cluster, I wrote following notes:

@50x: a faint-starred, scattered cluster, not very well detached, in rich star field.

170217-18_NGC 2286
NGC 2286 observed with 10” Newton

NGC 2311

My fourth and last object for this night was NGC 2311, an open cluster in Monoceros. This cluster is located about 5 degrees SW from delta Mon. This cluster is rather small and faint-starred. About this object, I wrote following notes:

@71x: a small, faint-starred open cluster, quite compact, well detached.

170217-18_NGC 2311

So this was my first observing session in February 2017. In february, I was able to do one more short observing session besides this, more about that later!

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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!