Observing Report – 1/20/2001

Merope Nebula

NGC 1435 [credit: WIYN/T.A.Rector – University of Alaska Anchorage/R.Cool – University of Arizona]

Faint Nebulae at Midnight.

Facts

Telescope:  Takahashi FCT-76
Location:  Cedar Park, Texas, USA
Time:  12 am – 1 am
Seeing:  9
Sky Transparency:  7
Limiting Magnitude:  ~ 4.5
Lunar Phase:  Waning Crescent

Background

While I was doing my observing notes for 01/19/2001, I decided to take stock of several nebulae during the late hours because of the night’s incredible sky conditions.

Observations

  • NGC 1435 – The Merope Nebula.  Tonight was the first night from suburbia that the Pleiades’ stars shown with a hazy glow around the brightest members.  The UHC filter actually subtracted the nebulae and made everything harder to see!
  • NGC 2237/2244 – The  Rosette Nebula.  Barely – I mean barely could I see a glow around the cluster NGC 2237.  My UHC was of little help again so I continued to observe without it.  Time for a light bucket.
  • M 42 – The Orion Nebula is always a saving grace for small scope owners like myself, and tonight was no exception.  On the best nights, M 42 shines with a white glow in the shape of a flower with dark interior dust lanes directly visible.  At low power [~ 30x], the nebula rapped around the trapezium stars and almost looped a complete circle.  Averted vision brought out the flower-like appearance so vividly that strands of gas were weaving outward with the dust lanes popping in and out of view, and sometimes a greenish hue was noted towards the center of the nebula.

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