Last Saturday night... (10/29/05)
- Ok, let me pull a Kent:
Last Saturday night at Tuckahoe was a fine night, even though I was a
bit under the weather and had wished I had brought out the easy-to-set
up 12-inch and not TJ, my 20-inch f/6.4. I've recently started a new
project of observing the Herschel 400 list, taking notes and making a
drawing of each object as I go along. In three observing sessions, I've
picked off perhaps 30 objects. Saturday was a light weight session, as
I made seven observations before calling it a night.
The Herschel 400 objects are the brightest 400 objects discovered,
visually, by William Herschel in the latter 1700's using long focus
reflecting telescopes from England. Herschel's original observations,
combined with those of his son, John, created the "General Catalog" of
about 5,500 deep sky objects (compared to Messier's 110!). The amazing,
but almost unknown John Louis Emil Dreyer (1852-1926) combined
additional discoveries from other observers in the early 1900's to
create the "New General Catalog" of 7,400 objects that today we know as
the "NGC" catalog. A modern survey of the NGC done in the 1960's, known
as the "Revised New General Catalog" (RNGC) upped the number of objects
to about 8,100. After the Messier catalog, the NGC catalog makes up the
core of the objects routinely observed by modern amateurs.
Here are my notes from the session. All observations made with a
20-inch reflector. It was cool, in the mid-30's with frosty dew forming
on exposed surfaces and no wind. All of these objects are pretty bright
and are possible to see in smaller telescopes from darker skies.
NGC 6229: Globular cluster in Hercules. Small, barely resolved at 120x.
Low in the light pollution in the east. Scope not cooled down yet.
Would expect to be more resolved under better conditions. Pretty
concentrated, tight core.
NGC 7006: Globular in Del. Easy find, an old friend! Nice rich star
field. Not resolved with 20mm (170x). Almost resolved with 12mm
(280x). Perhaps with better seeing it would be resolved. Not a tight
core, sort of flat central region with a gradual dimming to the edge.
Pretty small,but hight surface brightness.
NGC 6934: Globular in Del. 170x What a nice object and another old, old
friend. Bright star in field, Resolved all the way across. Faint
outer halo of resolved stars extended way out to the nearest bright
star. No central core.
NGC 6885: Open Cluster. 89x Large open with bright star towards center.
Sort of pretty. Perhaps 50 stars.
NGC 7479: Galaxy. 120x Nice galaxy. edge on between two stars. Bright
central bar that is uneven in brightness, with slight brighter side to
one end. Hints of lots of detail here.
NGC 7448: Galaxy. 170x Nice, bright galaxy. Slightly elongated with
bright central bar. More oval then edge on. Uneven brighting to
center, so there is some detail there.
NGC 7331: Galaxy. 170x Old friend and friends! Stellar core. Sharp
preceding edge. Following side, close to core suggests a dark lane.
Large outer halo. At least three other galaxies in field.