Tuesday, August 12, 2014

SKETCH: NGC 6543

NGC 6543, 10 inch, 810x

Telescope: TEC 250mm F/12 Maksutov Cassegrain
Eyepieces: Televue Ethos 3,7
Transparency: 4/5, 21.7 SQM
Seeing: 3/5
Date: 2014

Notes: Another difficult planetary. High surface brightness, but very low contrast. Very faint extensions at the sides. Not all the "bright" zones are regular, they are formed of bright arcs, and lower contrast parts. High power, patience and perfect seeing are necessary.


Photography, finder charts

Saturday, August 2, 2014

SKETCH: NGC 6250, Barnard 86 and Djorgovski 2 (Palomar 9)

NGC 6520 with 4 inch telescope

Telescope: Astro-Physics Traveler EDF 105mm F/5.8
Eyepieces: ZAO II 16mm + Zeiss Barlow 2x
Transparency: 2/5, 21.3 SQM
Seeing: 2/5
Date: 02/08/14

Notes: Terrible conditions. Djorg 2 was outside field of view, and was extremely faint. It's not usually that faint. Barnard 86 has two zones and it's darker near the bright yellow star. The other zone shows the effect to surround NGC 6520. The bridge between two zones is somewhat darker than background, so they are not completely separated.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A trip to Cazorla

At least once per year, I usually go to find new places to observe. In the summer you can go to remote high altitude places without the risk of snow, wet roads and freezing temperatures.

It's getting harder and harder to find dark spots in Spain, the light pollution it's getting worse over the years.

This is maybe the darkest place in Spain, with 21,6-7 skies (classic SQM). High altitude of above 1700 meters and no light domes above 10-15ยบ.

M31 is no longer a fuzzy patch, it's clearly a galaxy with nucleus and it's BIG. The milky way extends well into Ophiuchus, and it's extremely complex. The effect is that the sky itself it's glowing, it's clearly bright, without any artificial light shining distracting that view.

The seeing is mind blowing, unless the wind is coming from the South, which is hot and turbulent, and destroys transparency.

We stayed three nights, two of them were 21,4-5 SQM with excellent seeing, and one of them with 21,6-7 and average to good seeing (the weather was changing).








TEC 250 F/12 and AP 900 waiting for dusk at observing site

Above 1700m the pine trees don't grow, we found a clear spot full of thistles and rocks


Back to Madrid, inside Cazorla's National Park

Here you can see some sketches done those days:

NGC 6888, The Crescent Nebula sketch
NGC 6712 and IC 1295 sketch
NGC 7662, The Blue Snowball sketch
NGC 6826, The Blinking Planetary sketch

SKETCH: NGC 6826, The Blinking Planetary

NGC 6826, 10 inch, 810x
Telescope: TEC 250mm F/12 Maksutov Cassegrain
Eyepieces: Televue Ethos 3,7
Transparency: 4/5, 21.7 SQM
Seeing: 3/5
Date: 2014

Notes: What a nightmare of object. While at low powers it's beautiful, even in small instruments, at high power it's like a fuzzy featureless ball. With great effort, these are the things that can be seen:

- Inner ring extremely difficult to see, not like in the photographs. Only visible in some parts.
- A thin zone at about 60% of the inside of the nebula, seen as a small light change
- Two brighter zones that come and go, one is thicker than the other. Not on the outside, they lay about 80% of the path.

I've tried to draw how ghostly it's the view at the eyepiece.

SKETCH: NGC 7662, The Blue Snowball Nebula

NGC 7662, 10 inch, 810x

Telescope: TEC 250mm F/12 Maksutov Cassegrain
Eyepieces: Televue Ethos 3,7
Transparency: 4/5, 21.7 SQM
Seeing: 3/5
Date: 2014

Notes: The view was breathtaking, very contrasty and really easy to see. Something that is not common in planetary nebulae. One of my all time favourites. The central ring is not uniform and has some brighter parts. There is one more distinct and brighter zone down, while the others are fainter and harder to see. Central star is bright, and at low powers it's a color show.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

SKETCH: NGC 6888, The Crescent Nebula

NGC 6888 with 10 inch Maksutov

Telescope: TEC 250mm F/12 Maksutov Cassegrain
Eyepieces: Televue Nagler 31mm, ZAO I 34mm
Filter: DGM OIII
Transparency: 4/5, 21.6 SQM
Seeing: 3/5
Date: 27/07/14

Notes: Best view was given by ZAO 34mm, which shown the Crescent within the field of view. Right side is brighter, sharp and distinct, with a hole inside. The center is less interesting, with a faint "Y" inside, not easy to see. The left side is fainter but more homogeneous, it has a quite clear brightening.

SKETCH: NGC 6712 and IC 1295

NGC 6712 and IC 1295 with 10 inch Maksutov


Telescope: TEC 250mm F/12 Maksutov Cassegrain
Eyepieces: Televue Nagler 31mm, ZAO I 34mm, ZAO I 25mm
Filter: DGM OIII
Transparency: 3/5, 21.5 SQM
Seeing: 4/5
Date: 26/07/14

Notes: The "C" inside IC 1295 is extremely difficult to see, most of the time the nebula can be seen as a ring, but with the ZAO 34mm I was able to see it and then check it out in a photograph. There's no doubt that we saw it. You can try with high magnification without the filter, the result is basically the same. There is a faint shell that surrounds the nebula outside the "C" shape.

NGC 6712 is bright and contains a lot of mag 15 stars, with some brighter members. It's interesting even in 4 inch refractors.