Sunday, 13 September 2009

Observing 12th Sept 2009

After the previous night's short session, I was hoping for a clearer night last night and fortunately it was, although very wet (85% humidity and falling dew) and a little murky. There is a music festival (it's called 'Bestival' but 'Craptival' would be more accurate. There are some bloody awful acts on the bill and it has a ghastly 'family friendly' vibe to it) underway at the moment, a couple of miles away, and the sounds of dodgy music were floating down the valley so I got the iPod and listened to much better music instead. Not only that, this thing was flooding the north-western and western sky with light pollution - fortunately it's only one weekend a year.
The dew was a nuisance, completely fogging the Telrad and finderscope meaning I had to keep wiping these off every few minutes. I need to buy a dew heater when I have some more money (unfortunately my car tax is due at the end of the month so I have to save for that).

Cool (11 C), 85% humidity, lots of dew. Limiting magnitude around 6.0 later on, due to rising last quarter Moonlight being scattered around the sky. No wind. Seeing steady but transparency not as good as recently (when clear!).
Instrument: 12 inch f/5 Dobsonian

Made a few sketches, of NGC 404, NGC 7332 and NGC 6910 before getting hacked off with the rubbish dewy conditions, light pollution from both the Moon and the pop festival and a bad arm (I have an infection in my left arm and hand) and packing my stuff away and going to bed at 1 am. I also spent far too much time looking for NGCs 147, 185, 7292, 7459 and 7662 but failed to see them. Given the conditions - constant dewing of Telrad and finderscope and the less-than-great transparency - it was not surprising I failed to see the galaxies (147, 185, 7292 and 7459) but failing to even find 7662, aka the Blue Snowball, a planetary nebula in Andromeda, was surprising.

NGC 7332, a galaxy in Pegasus, was easy to find. It is a bright, edge-on galaxy with a brighter core. 190x

NGC 6910, an open cluster in Cygnus, is a nice object. It is dominated by two bright orange-yellow stars and is shaped like a branch or crooked 'y'. There are nine or so other stars, which are fainter, white ones plus some even fainter ones. 138x.

It was annoying to make so few observations but, as I had spent (wasted!) a lot of time looking for other stuff and the conditions were a pain it was better than nothing.