IC 5070

With the moon so bright on Saturday evening i continued to image in Halpha. 10min exposures and a total of 4hrs stacked and calibrated in pixinsigth. A very cold night as i remember ! Pleased with the result but not sure the longer exposures have added any detail to the cygnus wall from my previous post on the north American nebula. You can definitely see why IC 5070 is called the pelican though.

Sword of Orion – – 31/10/2018

After having endured a certain amount of leg-pulling at the trustees meeting last night concerning widow-sills and double glazing, lo and behold, Orion was in view from the aforementioned window-sill after I got home.

This month’s Deep Sky Tour in the Sky at Night mag. was all about objects in Orion’s sword, so despite a prominent moon, I acquired some images.

Starting with NGC1981, the “crocodile” cluster and NGC 1977

NGC 1977 is in fact the “Running man” nebula, so the next image was a longer exposure and processed to bring out the nebulosity:


Then on to NGC 1980, together with M42, just to orient yourselves.

Again this was then processed to bring out more of M42’s nebulosity:

The next 2 images are NGC 1980 without the focal reducer to bring out the rather nice double Struve 747

Although I didn’t try to image M42 and M43, here is a reprocessed one from last winter with the same set-up to complete the “set”.

Curiously, in the same issue of the magazine there is an article about the best winter clothing for observing – it might be interesting to note that I was in my pyjamas during all this – – – !

(BUT I am NOT going to attempt to demonstrate this at the next Science Day!)

Current planetary nebulae.

Swadlincote 29/10/18 C6r reduced to 120mm.13mm Nagler.

Very well worth finding , mostly brightly coloured blue to blue green.

These are very obvious in the field of view , being non stellar. You can take the brightest up to x200. Indeed the “Esquimaux Nebula” in Gemini will show its hood and central white dwarf star. I had M27 filling the field at x200. Its surprising to see the different sizes and brightness of these most beautiful nebulae .

I recall a night when Andy arrived and we hit many on this list and my details of more obscure planetaries. They blink either with direct or averted vision. Some respond very well to UHC filters.

Personally I like the names and what has happened to give us a view of these temporary features, Nick.

Pegasus stars !

Swadlincote 28/10/18 C6r reduced to 120mm aperture.

Lovely clear forecast , set out the chair , looked at at a huge rainbow and heavy rain. Set up the mount at 5.30, hurrah for dark evenings.

Some chill , but superb seeing before the Moon climbed up. I reduced the aperture to 120mm to get more contrast , certainly worked. Pegasus gave some  stunning binaries.

I had a look at Bu1.  The triple in NGC 281 (“Packman nebula” in Cassiopeia). Very pleased not only to get some tight splits , but some faint companions, clear skies ! Nick.

Observing Log 28/10/2018 Andrew & Kevin, Bignor Hill, Sussex Downs

Observing Log

Bignor Hill, Sussex Downs, near Bognor Regis, 50º 47′ N 000º 41′ W,

28/10/2018, 21:00-22:45.

Andrew Thornett and Kevin Stone.


Equipment: Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 80mm OTA on Manfrotto photo tripod and video head with counter-balance arm added and choice of series of counter-balance weights, 8x50mm finder scope, Baader Hyperion 8-24mm zoom eyepiece, Tele Vue 8-24mm eyepiece attached to Tele Vue 2x Barlow lens (giving equivalent of 4-12mm zoom -reason for separate zoom eyepiece on Barlow lens is for convenience during swapping eyepieces), Sky Safari 6 Pro software on iPad.


The family and me are on holiday in Bognor Regis visiting old friends from when Ean Ean and I lived in Chichester. Tonight, I took one such old friend out for his first ever observing session with a telescope.


Bright Moon just over half full, Milky Way visible overhead, dark sky observing location which would have been brilliant for DSOs had it not been for substantial light pollution from the moon……but perhaps at the end of the week if clear……..who knows?


Andromeda Galaxy,M 31,NGC 224,UGC 454,PGC 2557,MCG 7-2-16,CGCG 535-17,2MASS 00424433+4116074,Current Location  50º 47′ N 000º 41′ W,50.783090627813934,-0.6827541544616841,0,0,0,Big bold and beautiful. We also saw M32 in orbit. A chance to discuss galaxy formation and the latest idea that M32 is the centre of a much larger cannibalised galaxy by M31.

I could also just see M108 but that was a but too much for Kevin to be able to pick out of the sky – too faint for him.


Albireo,$b1 Cyg,6 Cyg,HR 7417,HD 183912,SAO 87301,BD +27 3410,HIP 95947,STFA 43,Current Location  50º 47′ N 000º 41′ W,50.783090627813934,-0.6827541544616841,0,0,0,Introduced Kevin to double star observing with this particular pairing and discussed colour and star temperature and its implication for star development and age.


Double Double Star in Lyra,$e1 Lyr,4 Lyr,HR 7051,HD 173582,SAO 67310,BD +39 3509,HIP 91919,STF 2382,Current Location  50º 47′ N 000º 41′ W,50.783090627813934,-0.6827541544616841,0,0,0,Who couldn’t discuss double stars without looking at the Double Double?


Mars,4,Current Location  50º 47′ N 000º 41′ W,50.783090627813934,-0.6827541544616841,0,0,0,Dark central continent evident even at the low magnifications available to us tonight. Sky and Telescope magazine’s online Mars Profiler tool demonstrated that this was Syrtis Major.


Ring Nebula,M 57,NGC 6720,ARO 9,PK 063+13.1,PN G063.1+13.9,VV 214,Current Location  50º 47′ N 000º 41′ W,50.783090627813934,-0.6827541544616841,0,0,0,First time Kevin had seen the objects tonight and this included the Ring Nebula, giving him another wow moment. Smoky ring in Equinox 80.


Pleiades, Seven Sisters, Subaru Cluster,M 45,Mel 22,Current Location  50º 47′ N 000º 41′ W,50.783090627813934,-0.6827541544616841,0,0,0,Bright in binoculars and telescope at low power. Kevin was able to compare the view through the telescope, naked eye and binoculars. We discussed star formation and open clusters and our own Sun.


Moon,301, 50.783090627813934,-0.6827541544616841,0,0,0,We finished with a stunner – the Moon! The craters with high walls, central peaks, and often overlying smaller craters led to discussions about the formation of the Moon, ageing its structures and day and night on the Moon.


Kevin’s conclusions: On the way home, Kevin told me that there were no negative parts of the session. Most exciting had been the double star colours as he had not expected much difference between them. This surprised me together with his next statement that viewing the Andomeda Galaxy was the last interesting aspect of the session. His reasoning behind that was that galaxies are fuzzy and in distinct. He had found my brief discussion of the astrophysics illuminating and helpful. I will include more double and coloured stars in my outreach sessions from now on!



IC 1396

A clear night was forecast on Friday evening so i contacted some members through the whatsapp group with the prospect of imaging/observing in my garden. Nick turned up around 6ish and we set up his wedge mounted evostar in good time. Nick then did his standard alignment and then polar alignment but we wanted to test the accuracy of the celestron polar alignment software. To do this we set up a QHY polemaster and went through the quick and easy procedure. As it turned out the software was reasonably accurate and both were within a few arc minutes of each other. Nick started imaging the Ring nebula and around half 8 i started a series of exposures on the elephant trunk Ic1396. I was able to collect 4 hours of images which i stacked and processed in pixinsight. 10min exposures at iso 800.