Later that night, May 11 2010, when we were observing, Jimi asked me if I wanted to see the Sweet Pea and, naturally, I said 'yes'.
Sweet Pea, planetary nebula(?) in Draco - The Sweet Pea was round and fairly faint. I didn't sketch it, although I wished I had now! I initially saw it without a filter and it was tough, seen as a round brightening against the sky. It was definitely fuzzy, not stellar and a UHC filter helped a bit. 48" Dob @ 488x. Jimi and Alvin had already seen the Sweet Pea before, so that apparently made me the third person ever to visually see it. That's pretty amazing and what hard-core deep sky observing is about.
So, why didn't I mention the Sweet Pea when I wrote about the TSP way back last May? Well, Alvin and myself were sworn to secrecy as, understandably, Jimi did not want anyone else to nip in and steal the discovery for themselves, until the astronomers up at McDonald Observatory had studied it and confirmed it. It has now been confirmed, using the Hobby Eberly Telescope at McDonald Observatory (although the co-ordinates are not yet released), is now in the public domain and Jimi was awarded the Lone Stargazer Award for the discovery at this year's Texas Star Party.
I understand that the Sweet Pea was a major target for Larry's 36" and others at TSP this year, although I don't know if anyone saw it or not. It was tough with a 48" under dark and transparent Texas skies, it will
Jimi and professional astronomer Steve Odewahn from the HET feature in a program on Marfa Public Radio, talking about the Sweet Pea. Click here to listen. Go to Jimi's Page on Dark Skies Apparel for more about the Sweet Pea and some of Jimi's other observations.
I am hoping to catch up with Jimi and Alvin, as well as my other friends, at TSP 2012...