Wednesday, 2 June 2010

TSP - The Objects: Part 4

Thursday 13th May. This was an attempt at another of Larry's Lists, this time the 'Rings Over Texas' list from 2000. Again, it was Alvin Huey, Dennis Beckley and myself observing with Dennis' 18 inch. The notes are quite very sparse as I was observing with the others and we were trying to get the list done against interference by clouds and - for ten minutes - by a skunk.

Conditions: Partially clear with some drifting cloud interfering, lightning to the north east.
Location: Prude Ranch, Fort Davis, TX.
NELM: 6.9
Seeing: II-III
Transparency: IV (when the drifting clouds were not in the way)
Instrument: 18 inch f4.5 Obsession dob. 17mm Ethos (121x), 13mm Ethos (158x), 11mm Plossl (187x), 6mm Ethos (343x)

NGC 2685, polar ring galaxy in UMa - Bright, with a elongated centre and an oval outer halo. Nice. 343x

NGC 5122, polar ring galaxy in Virgo - Faint, oval with a brighter centre. 187x.

NGC 2793, ring galaxy in Lynx - Faint and oval. Even brightness. 158x.

AM 1358-221, ring galaxy in Virgo - Quite faint at mag 15.8, oval.

MCG -4-33-27, ring galaxy in Virgo - Brighter than AM 1358-221. Small and oval. Next to a bright star.

Arp 87, NGC 3808, polar ring galaxy in Leo - Double galaxy next to a bright star: one, 3808A is larger than the other (3808B). Quite dim.

NGC 3861, polar ring galaxy in Abell 1367 (Leo) - bright, round, with a brighter centre. This was interrupted by a skunk wandering around; we abandoned the scope for a few minutes until he passed. I'll get the pun in before anyone else does - we were skunked!

Minkowski 1-64 (PK64+15.1), planetary nebula in Lyra - Round, well defined. Star just off northern edge. 343x.

II Hz 4, ring galaxy in Lynx - Adjacent to a star this is very faint and pops in and out of vision (more out than in!). Round.

NGC 4650A, polar ring galaxy in Centaurus - Elongated. Not very bright.

Mayall's Object (Arp 148), polar ring galaxy in UMa - Faint, elongated dim glow.

M57, central star - Nearly forgot this one! M57's central star was on the Rings Over Texas list and we got it without too much difficulty. It popped into view, looking very stellar, during moments of good seeing.

By this time, clouds were beginning to be a real nuisance so we packed up around 3am without observing all 25 objects needed for the pin; we observed around 14 of them although I only wrote down 12. As Alvin and I were going to be back at the 48" the following night we wouldn't get a chance to finish the list this TSP.

Alvin and I also managed to knock off the 2010 TSP Binocular Pin. Sat in adjacent chairs with our pairs of binoculars it was a case of 'yep' [write down the time]...'yep' [write down the time]...'yep' [write down the time]...and so on. Easy and just as much fun as the faint, esoteric stuff in its own way. A bit of light, hit-and-run astronomy.

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