Tuckahoe September 2nd, 2011...
- Tuckahoe September 2nd, 2011I decided to go to Tuckahoe again for a night of observing because the weather promised to be good. All day it was cloudy and it looked like there wouldn’t be any observing due to the clouds. When I arrived at Tuckahoe it was still heavily clouded over. I decided to wait it out and sure enough, by about 6:00 it started to clear off nicely.Once again I wanted to find the supernova SN 2011fe in M101 and the comet, C/2009 P1 (Garradd). Tonight the comet was going to be right next to the Coathanger cluster in Vulpecula, also known as Collinder 399 or Brocchi’s Cluster. Once it got dark enough I went straight to M101 to catch the supernova before it sank too far into the northwest. The supernova proved to be an easy target even before it was completely dark. I used a field star to estimate its brightness. I gave it a magnitude 10 for tonight. The comet was the next target. It was right next to the cluster and looked fantastic next to all of those bright stars. Its coma seemed larger than the last time I observed it. It was also more elongated with what appears to be a small stubby tail. I also observed it in my 20x80 binoculars. Having the entire Coathanger and comet in that large field was simply amazing.For the remainder of the night I wanted to hunt down a few planetary nebulae, move on to double stars to finish up a few lists and finally, when Cassiopeia was high enough, open clusters. The night was exceptionally steady as I was able to split double stars down to 1.2 arc seconds. Highlights include NGC6210 and the double stars in the same field of view as this planetary nebula. STF2087A and STF2094A were both in the same field as the Turtle Nebula. It’s amazing how many objects can be found in the same fields of view as more common objects. I thoroughly enjoy looking for multiple objects in one field of view.Cassiopeia is absolutely full of open clusters. It isn’t difficult to spend an entire night just hunting them down. For the next set of open clusters I wanted to find, they were all within just a few fields of view of each other. First I started with Berkeley 58. In the same field was NGC7790. From there I just followed the line of clusters… NGC7788, Frolov 1 and Harvard 21. Then I spent the remainder of the night finishing off as many open clusters as I could before the sun rose. I’m never disappointed with the variety of shapes and forms that open clusters display. Certainly no two are alike. The shapes they display sometimes are hard to believe. My three favorite constellations for open clusters are Cygnus, Cassiopeia and Canis Major.Clouds had been a bit of a problem throughout the night. They would roll in and obscure the sky for 5 or 10 minutes at a time and just as quickly disappear. Best part was when the clouds cleared they left behind pristine skies. But finally at 3:45am the clouds rolled in permanently. I left at 4:00am and headed home.From the logs...SN 2011fe Really bright tonight! I would estimate magnitude 10 as it is the same brightness as TYC 03852-0301 1, in the same field of view with 24mm Panoptic. Middle star in a three star line up in the upper right FOV of the 24 Pan.C/2009 P1 (Garradd) Right next to Collinder 399, The Coathanger. Amazing amount of coma surrounding the nucleus even compared to just a few nights ago. It is really growing! It is moving extremely fast through the sky. Observed the comet and cluster in the 20x80 binoculars. Amazing!STF2087A Right next to NGC6210. Just in the same field with 24mm Panoptic. Two equal magnitude stars at 4.9" separation. Both blue/white. Nice to see in same field as 6210.NGC 6210 Bright and very small halo at low powers. Higher powers bring out more nebulosity. At highest powers, starts to show some structure. Nearly round but slightly square in the brighter core. Fainter and more diffuse halo seems more round. Fades evenly into sky, does not seem to have a defined edge.STF2094A A very close 1.2" double. Identical magnitudes. Both blue/white. Split with 13mm Nagler but wide with 13mm Nagler and 2.5x Powermate. Awesome challenge. The C component is magnitude 11 and is easily seen at highest powers separated widely from AB components. Very nice triple system. Same field as NGC6210.HJ 1471A A very wide pair at 32.4" but there is a very large difference in magnitudes. In a rich field of stars and even though this is a wide pair it is a beautiful pair. Primary brilliant blue/white. Secondary very much fainter and appears more blue. A really pretty pair best in 24mm Panoptic.STT 358A AB pair is 1.54" separation. Equal magnitudes and same white color. The C component is considerably further away at nearly 200". Nearly same magnitude as AB pair. AB pair split with 13mm Nagler but 13mm Nagler and 2.5x Powermate split them wide.Dolidze 13 A fairly large, randomly distributed loose open cluster. Best views with 24mm Panoptic and 19mm Panoptic. 20 or so brighter members with a handful of fainter ones.Berkeley 62 A small, sparse and loose open cluster. Shaped with two parallel lines of 3 stars each. A few fainter members other than the 6 but only a few. Best view with 24mm Panoptic but 15mm Panoptic opens the cluster up pretty nicely.NGC103 A small, rich, elongated open cluster. Not round but elongated shape. A very few brighter members peppered across the cluster. At highest powers the cluster is semi resolvable. In a rich field of the Milky Way.Berkeley 58 A very faint, medium sized cluster that barely sticks out against the background. When higher powers are used it starts to really stand out and shows a rich cluster of stars with a smattering of brighter members over the rich faint stars. The 13mm Nagler really opens the cluster up nicely. Best view is with 19mm Panoptic. Same field as NGC7790 and NGC7788.Frolov 1 A very sparse cluster. 7 or 8 members in the shape of a Y. Highest power shows the stars nicely and separates the individuals best. Lower powers make the cluster stand out better against the background.Harvard 21 This small cluster lies on the upper right edge of a triangle of three bright stars. It is a circlet of 6 stars. Best view in 24mm Panoptic.King 12 A fairly rich, small, elongated open cluster. Maybe 15 members in a small area that is stretched lengthwise and is a beauty at all powers. Low power shows it to be rich in nature and higher powers open up the cluster nicely. A double star, ES 1932A is brightest on top of the cluster. Easy wide pair. White stars.ES 1932A A double star on top of the open cluster King 12. A wide easy pair of equal magnitude white stars. A real beauty to see a bright double within the cluster! Easy at all powers but best in 13mm Nagler.NGC 886 A large, loose and random pattern of stars in a generally round overall shape. A few bright members, a few more semi-bright members and a good amount of fainter stars. Low powers show the entire cluster with random patterns. Higher powers separate out the stars and make all members easily visible. Best view with 24mm Panoptic.M52 Outstanding open cluster!! Big, bright, rich cluster with a bright double star, BLL 58A crowning its face. An overall shape that is triangular and not round. One of the best of the evening! Best in 24mm Panoptic.BLL 58A Double star in M52. Wide separation and a nice difference in magnitudes. Brilliant blue/white primary. Stark contrast against the cluster M52.Czernik 43 Same field of view as M52. A loose and sparse open cluster with 10 to 15 members all of the same magnitude. Arranged in a semicircle. Best view with 19mm Panoptic. But having M52 and this cluster in the same low power field is quite a contrast between rich and sparse open clusters.NGC 743 Absolutely awesome open cluster!! An unquestionable triangle! All brighter members form the triangle to enclose the few fainter members. 20 or so members in this cluster. Best in 19mm Panoptic.Doug Norton