Tuckahoe August 30th, 2011...
- Tuckahoe August 30th, 2011
It was a mini star party at Tuckahoe tonight. A lot of people showed up and it was nice to see some familiar faces. The weather promised to be exceptional and it turned out to be just that. I decided to go to Tuckahoe so I could get a low horizon in the south to hunt down some objects in Scorpius and Sagittarius. We were lucky enough to see the International Space Station go over in the northern part of the sky.My goals for the evening were to see Comet Garradd and the supernova SN 2011fe in M101. As soon as the sky was dark enough I went straight to M101 to see the supernova. Luckily Tim’s 24-inch scope helped me confirm the location of the supernova within M101 and it turns out I had actually observed it two nights before. It was bright. Very bright considering it lies nearly 21 million light years away. That observation made my night. M101’s arms and nucleus were really nice. After spending the time to look around for the supernova all the detail of M101 came through.Once everyone got a good look at the supernova I moved over to find the comet. It was bright as well. It had a really bright nucleus and it sported an ever so slight tail. It wasn’t an obvious tail but more of an elongation of the coma; slightly longer than my previous observations. Throughout the night it moved quite rapidly through the sky. STF 2552 was a nice little double star in the same field as the comet. A really nice sight.For the rest of the night I wanted to hunt down planetary nebulae. I also visited a lot of other objects like the Veil Nebula, NGC6712 and IC 1295. The night sky was simply stunning. It was a very steady and transparent night. The later it got the better the sky became. The Milky Way was stunning. I decided to leave at 2am because I had to work the next day. Tim and I left at the same time and Mike Lecuyer said he was going to leave shortly as well. It was a fantastic night, well worth the trip to Tuckahoe.From the logs...NGC 6139 Globular cluster in Scorpius. Pretty bright, medium size easy in 24mm Panoptic. Bright core. No resolvable stars. Pretty rich field of stars surrounding cluster. 19mm Panoptic brings out a bit more contrast. But I caught this cluster on the downslide into the trees in the south before it was completely dark. This cluster will require a re-observation at a lower latitude.M101 A large and easy galaxy. Lots of detail seen in the arms which are well defined. NGC 5455 is a knot of star forming nebulosity in the arm. Just above this knot and between stars GSC 03852-0180 and GSC 03582-1128 is SN2011fe. This galaxy is large and fills the 24mm Panoptic.SN 2011fe Supernova in M101. Really bright! Easy to see at any power as well as the field stars to guide off of to point to the supernova! Best view in 13mm Nagler. Stands out well against the galaxy with the nucleus of M101 in the same field of view. Amazing to see such a bright star at 21 million light years away!STF2552A Double star right in the tail of Comet C/2009 P1 (Garradd). Amazing little double star! Brilliant blue white primary. 5.2" separation. Slightly dimmer secondary more white. Awesome! Best in 24mm Panoptic.C/2009 P1 (Garradd) Really bright! Same field as STF2552A. Tail is becoming increasingly more apparent. Also viewed it in Tim Milligan's 24-inch telescope. C8 shows really nice contrast and shows a really bright nucleus. Best view so far as Tuckahoe's skies tonight are off the charts!M 1-71 He 2-439, PN G055.5-00.5, PK 055-0.1; PN in same low power field of view as Comet Garradd. A really small nearly stellar PN at low powers. Higher powers increases the nebulosity. 15mm Panoptic and 2.5x Powermate show its nebulosity really well. UHC filter does nothing to help. High mag is the best for this PN.IC 4732 PN in Sagittarius. Stellar at nearly all powers except with 13mm Nagler and 2.5x Powermate. Almost like blinking planetary. Direct vision makes the nebulosity stand out while central star disappears. Averted vision makes the nebulosity disappear while central star appears. A very tough planetary but the central star is easy and bright at all powers.NGC 6749 Extremely faint and tough globular. Second observation to confirm first view. Must stare at the location for several minutes to get a hint of the feeble glow of this globular. Medium power will show just a hint of the globular against the background sky. One tough globular. No core. No resolvable stars.NGC 7175 A large open cluster in Cygnus. A mess of a cluster barely discernible from the surrounding star clouds. Many members in a haphazard pattern. Large and fills 24mm Panoptic field of view. Very pretty nonetheless.NGC 7058 A small open cluster with a triangle asterism at the heart. In a rich field of Milky Way star clouds which makes it difficult to spot at first. But the triangle at the heart makes it easier to identify. 10 or so brighter members lying about the field. All of the bright stars are brilliant blue/white. Best in 24mm Panoptic.Doug Norton