Observations of Deep-Sky Objects
These are the observations made by amateur astronomers from around the globe. I'm keen to present the work of an observer (members or not) to further the aims of the Webb Deep-Sky Society. Images, sketches or even your observing notes are of interest.
If you have any observations of your own that you'd like to submit I'd be delighted to hear from you. Please try to include as much detail about the object (after all that's why we observe them) as possible. Time, date, location and observing conditions are useful.
We have observations of these Objects
Which fall into these classes
And these Constellations
Or if you'd just like to browse through our most recent observations
IC 504 group in Hydra
I was looking forward to this month’s challenge, because the chosen galaxies were IC galaxies. It is always interesting and a challenge to explore IC galaxies as a change to NGCs. Noting that they are magnitude 13 galaxies meant I would need a decent night. The night 20th March presented a NELM of 5.5 and for GB skies a night with slightly lower humidity levels.
I headed for IC 504 first as it is the brightest and immediately picked it up – x181. At x470 it clearly had a core, which I describe as a “soft core” – bright central area and gradually fading further out. IC 504 sits at the end of a delightful curve of mag 11/12 stars – useful to locate the galaxy as well as a “pretty sight”.
Putting the 13 ethos back in I was able to just locate IC 505 and IC 506 using AV, but it required a magnification of x294 to be certain of their position. At x470 I could detect a small, tight core in IC 505. Lying between these two galaxies is a delightful collection of mag 14 stars.
Just for interest I wondered if the 3 PGC galaxies would be detectable (all magnitude 15+). PGC 23509 is at the other end of the star curve from IC 505 and with concentrated viewing I spotted a faint patch of fuzz. Next up I was able to locate PGC 23493, using averted vision (AV2). Finally after much squinting I kept getting hints of PGC 23510 (AV3).
The following night, under similar conditions I was observing with Andrew Robertson, using his driven 600mm Dob. The observation went something like this: Andrew at the eyepiece, myself on the ground.
see the line of curved stars at the top of the fov
look to the left of the curve.
look to the right of the curve.
now look to the far right of the fov.
got them both.
see the brighter star in the centre of the fov and look a little below...,
Yep got itbefore I finished my sentence.
now look below 504 and...,
Yep got itwas heard again before I finished my sentence.
So in the space of 5 minutes Andrew saw all 6 galaxies, whereas it had taken me the best part of 30 minutes teasing them out in my 500mm Dob. It just goes to show the considerable greater light gathering of a 600mm Dob over a 500mm Dob.
After this enjoyable adventure, we wandered off to the Twin Quasers in Ursa major – now that did take a bit more effort, including using AV but wonderful to see an object 8.7 billion light years away.
Mike Wood (and Andrew Robertson) - 23 March 2017
More of February's Galaxy of the Month
This is my sketch of the NGC 3801 galaxy group, or part of it made using the 20" and Watec video camera on 16 January 2016. I didn't know it as that group name when I observed it.
Dale Holt - 17 February 2017
Arp 43 and some bonus NGCs in Bootes
A clear sky drags me from my warm bed and out to the observatory carrying the obligatory cup of tea. I’m moved by the sky that greets me once outside of the back door; despite the fact I’m not dark adapted the sky is still spectacular.
As I enter the observatory I decide that I shall hunt down an Arp galaxy in Bootes for a sketch and I decide on Arp 43.
I fiddle with the monitor and camera settings before deciding
this is the best view I will getand freezing the frame. It is now 5am and dawn will not be far off, with the frame frozen I can sketch at my leisure with no fear of losing my target. I get the stars draw in ink and add the galaxies, the very faint stars I add last with gentle dabs of a pencil.
I noted on the Carte du Ciel display that close by was another galaxy. Not sure what would show up at 6am, I sent the scope there and was delighted to see a pair of fairly bright galaxies close together.
I twiddled the knobs, froze the frame and sketched NGC 5859 and NGC 5857, the former showing quite considerable spiral detail and being the larger of two. NGC 5857 however had a noticeably brighter core, a very nice pair of, as I found later, non interacting galaxies.
The full story behind making these observations can be read on my Blog.
Dale Holt - (6 February 2017).
NGC 3801 group in Leo from Suffolk
I had looked February's Galaxy of the Month up a few days ago and was looking forward to viewing it.
The early hours of 4th February had superbly transparent skies (NELM 5.6) and so NGC 3801 was my first target of the session with the 20" Dob.
I immediately saw NGC 3801 followed by its partner NGC 3802. It took a little bit of effort to locate NGC 3790.
I began my sketch of the view with the 13 ethos. Twenty minutes into the sketch, thinking I was done, I caught a hint of of fuzz, North of the obvious bright star. This of course was NGC 3806 which I had totally forgotten about. It is definitely the hardest of the four galaxies to see.
- NGC 3801: easy, immediately obvious and with a distinct core.
- NGC 3802: slightly fainter than NGC 3801, smaller and elongated, hint of a core at 470 times magnification.
- NGC 3790: elongated and smaller still.
- NGC 3806: easy to miss as it's large and faint, circular patch of fuzz.
This group provided a very rewarding 45 minutes of observing.
Mike Wood - 4 February 2017
NGC 3801 group in Leo from Norfolk
Was totally unprepared for the clear skies this morning, so didn’t get out of the house until 1.30am. Would have taken too long to get the 24" going as fully battened down because of the strong winds forecast so the 12" Mewlon it was.
Got observing by 1.50am but initially looking at Jupiter and a couple of Messiers with the 4” refractor whilst the Mewlon was acclimatising. Decided to see what I could detect of February's Galaxy of the Month in the Mewlon.
Spent over half an hour on it. Didn’t look at the charts beforehand and it was a full month ago that I observed the group with the 24" so couldn’t remember what was where, just had two numbers in my head; 3801 and 3806.
Sent the scope to NGC 3801 with 40mm Pentax in giving just x89. Immediately saw NGC 3801 but it was faint and nothing else seen. Put the 27mm Pan in giving x135 and started suspecting a faint galaxy directly above it (NGC 3802). Switched to 22mm Pan (x162) and confirmed this AV2.
I then kept to the 22mm Pan and 20mm Pentax (x179) alternating between the two eyepieces and couldn’t decide which was best so I think this was the optimum power for the conditions which I should say weren’t bad at this point; 21.1 SQM and NELM 5.5.
I was using a diagonal and they were on the meridian so North was up and West to the left in the eyepiece. After some scrutiny I picked up a galaxy to the left (NGC 3790), I think this was a tad easier in the 20mm Pentax (AV3).
Couldn’t detect anything else. So I then sent the scope to NGC 3806 whilst looking in the eyepiece. NGC 3801 moved to the lower left and slightly below centre I was picking up NGC 3806 AV3. I think it was just too close to the edge to pick up when NGC 3801 was in the centre.
So this sketch was made BEFORE looking at the chart. I then looked at the chart and had a look for NGC 3803 but no chance, also a bit of clagg was coming in and I now wasn’t seeing NGC 3802 either. I probably spent about 45 minutes scrutinising the field.
Switched to doubles as the skies got claggier and packed in just before 5am, not a bad unexpected session.
Andrew Robertson - 3 February 2017
Observations of the NGC 3842 Group in Leo
This is my sketch of the NGC 3842 group near by to NGC 3804. I was very pleased to get so many of the group but then the conditions were about as good as they get in GB. The early hours of 4th February 2017 had superbly transparent skies (NELM 5.6).
- NGC 3842 - oval with a small core, easy to see.
- UGC 6697 - lovely edge on.
- NGC 3837 - also showing a hint of a core.
All remaining NGC galaxies were faint but seen direct.
- PGC 169975 - hint of fuzz.
- PGC 36544 - AV located it.
- PGC 36478 - AV located it.
Mike Wood - (4 February 2017)
A Fantastic Arp in Lynx
Had a great observation last night 😀
Wow! what an interesting and unusual pair of interacting galaxies making up this Arp 143 is a member of the class 'Material Emanating from E Galaxies'. The Atlas note says "diffuse counter filament".
The north galaxy (bottom) is NGC 2444 and the very strange beast to the south is NGC 2445. The two galaxies appear to flow into one another. There is a lot fine detail visible in the image on my CRT monitor.
The little spiral near the lower left of my sketch (northwest) is CGCG 206-22.
NGC 2444 is mag 14.2 NGC 2445 is mag 13.9. I made the sketch on Jan 28th 2017 using the 505mm mirror and cooled Watec 120N+ deep sky video camera. N is down in the sketch.
More about making the observation on my latest Blog. 😀
Dale Holt - (29 January 2017).
Observation of Arp 180
A rather better sky showing SQM 20.50 on the sky meter and some advice via the telephone from Andrew Robertson on how to use my AWR intelligent handset to better effect, this I did and reasonably quickly located Arp 180, although I failed to locate a couple of other Arp’s using the same system.
I strongly suspect that the main mirror is now losing so much contrast that I simply can no longer spot faint objects readily. The Atlas image shows ARP 180 so much better than my sketch as does Aladin which my system used to match so closely.
Arp 180 found in Eridanus is a member of the class Narrow Filaments. The Arp Atlas of Peculiar galaxies note says
south arm kinks back, thin filament connects nuclei.
Additionally there are many small galaxies in the field, including four Mitchell Anonymous, my sketch only captures 1. The Arp itself is MCG-1-13-34.
I sketched on January 19th 2017 using 505mm Mirror and Watec 120n+ cooled video camera, North is down. I’m certainly struggling to hit the kind of observing form with my set up that I had in the past with my Hickson observations and sketches.
Dale Holt - (19 January 2017).
S503 and S502 in Orion
January 14th saw a cold and crisp window of observing before the moon would interfere. I had previously looked at S503 and decided the best view for this wide double would be at low power using my refractor.
At x64 the surrounding star field provides a lovely context for this double of the month. Also the view is further enhanced by the presence of the double S502 to the west.
Having enjoyed the view and sketched it I then wandered over to see Rigel and its close companion. Always a superb sight.
Mike Wood - 15 January 2017
The Bubble Nebula (NGC7635) in Cassiopeia
The Bubble Nebula in Cassiopeia, AKA Caldwell 11, is a favourite object for visual observers and imagers. The 'bubble' is about 10 light years across and some 11,000 light years away. The bubble has been created by a fierce stellar wind from a hot, young and massive central star. The star, SAO 20575, is thought to have a mass of 10 - 20 solar masses.
I have been gathering data on the Bubble Nebula as a narrow band project for the past two months and have acquired some five hours of H-alpha, six hours of OIII and nine hours of SII. The SII signal is particularly faint. I then gathered a further 30 minutes each of RGB data to colour the stars.
I'm still processing this data and keep returning to it to see what further can be done, but since the results thus far are quite attractive, I thought I'd share them with you on this Christmas Eve (which he did, I'm just a bit slow sharing it with all of you - James).
I've constructed a 'super luminance' image from the sum of the narrow band images and applied it to the RGB image to produce the LRGB image, above. The narrow band image is presented in the Hubble palette, but I have yet to substitute the RGB star data to correctly colour the stars.
- 8-inch Ritchey Chretien at f/8.
- QSI 583 plus Astrodon RGB filters and Lodestar guider.
- Modified Skywatcher NEQ6
- Deep Sky Stacker, Pixinsight and Photoshop
David Davies - (24 December 2016).
For more images from David please visit his Flickr Photostream.