Sunday, 30 May 2010

TSP - The Objects: Part 3

The third night I was at TSP, Wednesday 12th May, I observed on the Ranch. Larry Mitchell invited me to observe with him and the 36”. He was putting together the Advanced List for TSP 2011, which was to be faint objects near Messier Objects.

Conditions: Clear, cool.
Location: Prude Ranch, Fort Davis, TX
NELM: 6.9
Seeing: II
Transparency:  III
Instrument: 36” Obsession; Eyepieces: 13mm Ethos

First up, we looked for a faint galaxy next to M108 in Ursa Major. This was one of Larry’s own MAC galaxies, MAC 1110+5538 but this was incredibly faint. I was not sure I saw anything in that area, maybe a slightest of brightening of the background sky but no more than that. Several people looked, including Larry, but none of us could say for sure that we saw it. As Larry said, if you can’t see it in a 36” scope, people with smaller scopes are not definitely going to see it so it was pointless putting it on the list.

M108 itself was huge in the eyepiece, stretching almost the width of the field. Evenly bright right across, apart from some mottling in the eastern part of the galaxy.

MAC 1111+5536, galaxy in UMa - this was also in the vicinity of M108, located just south of it. This was a faint, nondescript smudge in the eyepiece, elongated NE-SW. It is slightly brighter than MAC 1110+5538 at mag 17.0 instead of 17.5.

NGC 5907, galaxy in Draco – Very large and bright. Stretches across field of view. Dust lane visible. Edge on.

IC 4617, galaxy in Hercules  – Very small and quite faint. Not well defined. There’s some brightening towards the centre. Elongated.

Hickson 82 in Hercules– Nice little group, with nine galaxies visible. I sketched it but omitted a description.

NGC 4038/38, galaxies in Corvus – Huge in the eyepiece, bright and full of detail. HII regions are bright and the tidal tails are seen with relative ease. I made a sketch which I'll scan and upload at some point, but I have a few to do so it might be some time before they appear!

It was at then that the effects of only ten hours’ sleep since Sunday were making themselves felt and things were becoming decidedly ‘not fun’. I could hardly keep my eyes open, I was cold and my feet were killing me so I reluctantly told Larry that I had to give up for the night. I hated wasting half the night, as it was only 0230 but, as Larry pointed out, only ten hours’ sleep in three days is overdoing things a bit!

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