Sunday, March 31, 2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Well it seems this new supernova could be a "bust"

What may be happening is that this particular T1 supernova has a lot of "celestial" dust between the SN and the outer portions of M-65. In other words the light is being block or absorbed between this exploding star and us, decreasing the visible light output very significantly.

I may be able to see it with the 22", but not with the smaller 6" refractor or even the 8" refractor.

We'll keep an eye out for any change, but not looking promising to be a stand-out SN in such a nearby and wonderful galaxy. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Looks like a new Type II supernova in Messier 65 (2013am). It's very young (and faint) at this time, but should brighten substantially.

Will give updates here, and hopefully will put on a show for the upcoming April dark window.

We'll hopefully get some images from Blue Mountain Vista Observatory.

I'll also do some sketching using either in the 6" refractor or the big 8" refractor.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Earlier in the day this past Thursday longtime CAS member Rob Cordivari and I were trying to get a hold on the forecast. Some weather sites said mostly clear to party cloudy with the wind dying down.

For both of us it’s a bit of a commitment to go to our darkest site called DS-Edge (1 hr 40 min. drive) with an iffy forecast, and we weren't even quite sure DS-2 (about an hour drive) would be worth it. So later towards dinner time we decided to just go to old faithful DS-1. A decent dark site about 30 minute drive for me, and less then 10 minutes for Rob.

Well the wind was more by far then predicted, but the transparency was quite good, with not a single cloud till we finally broke down around 4:00am.

Rob had his 16” f/4 dob, and as usual I had two scopes as in my trusty 12.5” f/4.8 dob, and my all-time favorite grab-an-go scope the 4” f/10 refractor.

First views as usual this time of year was with Ngc 2903 in both scopes. The 4” refractor with a 24.5mm SWA eyepiece gave a nice wide-field view of the galaxy. With a 12mm WF eyepiece the galaxy showed some detail with a bright elongated center (the bar) within a very oval mottled disc.

The 12.5” dob’s view with a 10mm UWA eyepiece was terrific for DS-1, that certainly brought back some memories. I’m thinking this was the first time in nearly 10 years I had this big scope here. Anyway, much of the detail I was seeing was similar to the views I had at the darker DS-2 about a week earlier.

Next for the 12.5” was a nice view of Ngc 3226/3227 with Ngc 3222 in the FOV using a 12mm WF eyepiece. Staying in the area with Hickson 44 (Ngc 3190 grp) brought out a great view with even the faint Ngc 3187 seen.

With the 4” refractor I swung over to M-81 and M-82 with Ngc 3077 in a 20mm SWA eyepiece in the focuser. Really a terrific view.

Other highlights in the 12.5” dob was Ngc 4485/4490, Ngc 4449, Ngc 4460 (and double star), M-51, and some terrific sights in the Virgo cluster.

In the 4” refractor I pretty much followed the same objects as in the 12.5”, and here again with some surprising results. In fact taking a Virgo tour using this scope and a 12mm WF eyepiece was lot of fun with numerous galaxies bright and faint being seen.

Rob and his 16” shared some terrific views of numerous objects like M-104, M-51, Ngc 4754 & Ngc 4762, and of course Ngc 4565 as for some examples.

Ended the night with the 4” refractor’s views of M-13 and M-57, with both objects showing why they appeal to us lovers of the night sky.

With the 12.5” dob I ended things with Ngc 2841 and M-51 using a 8mm SWA eyepiece. The Whirlpool was quite beautiful showing why it’s given nickname, with those wonderful spiral arms. Though my view of Ngc 2841 for old-time sake was heartwarming. You see it was about 20 years ago from this old friend called DS-1 observing site, that the view of this nice galaxy later influenced “first light” with my current largest scope the 22” f/4.5. That view is still stuck in my mind’s eye, and I think it will be for a long time to come.

So a great night with two old friends as in DS-1 and of course longtime observing partner, CAS member and friend Mr. Rob Cordivari. A terrific way to start a birthday weekend.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

It’s been said that the “sickle” of Leo is the nighttime signal that spring is coming.

As for me as a galaxy observer the first sign of spring is my first good and renewed view of Ngc 2903 on the northwest side of the sickle.

For decades now and every late winter observing run no matter which telescope I’m using, I always take a gander at this great spiral galaxy. Even thru the spring it’s usually the first object I view for the night. It’s like a great song (for me Foghat’s Night Shift) that you can listen to over and over. So Ngc 2903 is a galaxy that I can view anytime and anywhere.

I guess part of the reason is if you live in the northern states, you get anxious for spring after a cold winter, but this is really a fine galaxy for deep space observers.

On the night of March 8 2013 I had a very good observing night at one of our dark sites. I took two scopes, which since the Galaxy Log videos started I’ve seem to be doing more & more. This night I had my 6” f/6.5 refractor and my 12.5” f/4.8 dob.

After setting both scopes up, I viewed a couple regulars of late winter like M-1, M-35 (with Ngc 2158), and so on.

I then put both scopes on Ngc 2903. Even at low power at 55x and 76x respectively the views were great, and though it was a cold slightly windy night, those views warmed me up.

Increasing the magnifications to where both scopes were around 125x brought out some interesting views.

In the 6” refractor Ngc 2903 showed a very bright large elongated core in an oval mottled disc, with a patchy look and a hint of spiral.

The 12.5” dob of course produced a brighter image. Here the same detail was seen as in the 6” refractor, but more vivid. The central bar structure was easily seen, as well as a “patch” in the outer northern section. Here the spiral arms started to come into view. So pumping the power to 190x and showed the beginning or “hooks” of the northern and southern spiral arms.

The larger scope showed the best view of course, but the 6” refractor’s view was quite good, and could satisfy many galaxy observers with those eyepiece views.

8" f/9 refractor by Sheree Krasley

In the 22” f/4.5 dob this magnificent galaxy takes on a photo-like view, but that will be something we’ll talk about in a future Galaxy Log here and the video series.

Spring is coming and so are those great spring galaxies…the most wonderful time of the year!!!

Friday, March 1, 2013

The March Galaxy Log video is due out Saturday (March 2).