Monday, March 14, 2005

Objects observed from Chile

Here are some observing notes from the trip (left many out). There are *many* objects I didn't get to, but that's fine, there will be future trips to southern skies... I'll write some other time about *being* in Chile... it was a wonderful experience...

All objects viewed with 10" f/5.7 CPT except as noted.

From La Silla airport in the southern Atacama Desert

47 Tucana12 Nagler. Fills 90% of FOV, very dense and resolved to the core with slight elongation in the outer spray of stars to the E/W. Seems less dense NNE & WSW - several dense arms extending straight out - ENE, N, SSE, E and SW. Extremely long reach W and N.
M4212 Nagler. Object is at about 75 degrees elevation. Very bright, E&F stars very steady. Green hue around Trapezium, ochre hues in "wings". With 7 Nagler dark intrusion behind the Trap shows bright channel near tip - reminds me of the Horsehead Nebula, Stars just outside to the S with dim dark lane running to the E going N/S. M43 nearly attached to M42, contrast difference in dark lane between M42 and M43. All sorts of dark mottling in M43.
Eta Carina20 Nagler with UHC. NE portion of E section is very thick and bright nebulosity, has dark knots with embedded star clusters. Wisps trail off in a large oval to the E with thickest section to the S. Clusters are in the N & S ends of the thick N/S section. Wide dark lane runs along the SW/NE side of the brightest section. Incredible detail. Dimmer yet still bright nebulosity is E of the thick section - separated by the large wide dark lane, arcs around paralleling the N/W-S/E bright section. Dark lanes extend S & E in very large diffuse nebulosity on the E end. More dark lanes - wide ones, extend E of the E end of the nebula - a bright section arcs all the way around. I drew a picture, but it doesn't do it justice.
IC2602Southern Pleaides - overflows the 20 Nagler. About 20 bright stars over 1 degree field with several in nebulosity. 4 bright stars to W run N/S. 4 bright stars E run N/S. This is a beautiful cluster. Mel 101 is close by to the N - nice evenly bright cluster.
NGC3132Eight Burst Planetary - 7 Nagler with 2X Barlow. Very bright central star with dark area surrounding it. Very bright edges, brighter on the E & W edges. W is brighter edge, seems ragged on the outside. This is a great view.
JupiterThe seeing was so steady, we looked at it. The view was rock steady with tons of detail. GRS was jumping out and had great detail itself. There were many bands - I'm not a planetary observer, but to my count I came up with 20 bands alternating dark and light. The bands has tremendous amounts of mottling. All four moons were easy very steady discs.

La Frontera

NGC4833open cluster - bright- looks like a globular. Dense center diffusing out. Near a bright star.
NGC4372open cluster - large, dim, rich, with bright star embedded. Also near a bright star.
NGC5189planetary nebula - large, obvious. W/NW - E/NE bar with strong condensation to the NW. Responds well to OIII.
IC2944open cluster. Large, bright, fairly even mags, in rich Milky Way field. Obvious in 9x50 finder.
NGC1300 and NGC1297larger is large and moderately bright galaxy WNW/ESE. Other is NE, dimmer, smaller, elongated mostly E/W and may be showing some spiral structure.
NGC1316 and NGC1317galaxies - Very bright, nearly stellar core with large flattened halo and diffuse arms edge on extending E/W. Other is close by to E, smaller, round with stellar core.
NGC2207 and NGC2163galaxies - very close together and oriented E/W. W galaxy seems to have stellar core, E galaxy may be larger and disturbed.
NGC1566galaxy - large fairly bright spiral galaxy with 2 obvious arms terminating to N & S. Stellar core with large halo.
NGC1546 and NGC1602galaxies - 1546 was bright and easy, I could not find 1602 in my 10" (hints of it in Ray's 13").
NGC2467Emission nebula - large, bight, round glow with bright star embedded. Ragged on the N side, W of faint nebulosity that extended over large distance to the E.
NGC2997galaxy - large face on spiral, bright with little detail at low power. Slightly brighter core. With 7 Nagler the core is obvious, round, smallish. Arms curve to E & W in backwards "S".
NGC3109Irregular galaxy - very large and diffuse, runs almost E/W. Several stars overlay it with the brightest star just off center to the W.
Jupiterwe had a shadow transit followed by the moon visible on the disk of the planet. GRS was just past meridian.
NGC3100 and NGC3095Both galaxies appear irregular. W galaxy appears to have a dark band, E has a visible core.
NGC3115galaxy - nice elongated edge on spiral with a stellar core, good tight central bulge - long extended thin arms SSW/ENE - similar to NGC4565 but a bit thicker core. May have dust lane on E side. Viewed with 7 Nagler.
ScorpiusNaked eye; Arch is laying over the eastern Andes - hugging the mountaintops. Stinger is curving down eastward and around, pointing N. Thick band of dark nebula crosses into the curve of the tail from the south, spreading out and ending near the stinger. Attaches to great dark swath of dark neb W of the eastern curve of the tail, extending S and curving W, ending by Alpha Cent, before the bright southern Milky Way, before the Coal Sack and Southern Cross. This dark nebula behind Scorpius looks like the Shadow of the Scorpion!
NGC6397globular cluster - Large and bright globular in Ara, may be the equal of M13 for beauty. Mag 5.7. Very tight circular central core with many outliers and stings extending outward.
NGC7269, NGC3271, NGC3267, NGC3268...and more. Galaxies. Amazed that in my 10" Dob I could count up to 15 galaxies all close together in tight clumps. This is a VERY interesting cluster of galaxies, and made me pine for my 18" Dob!
NGC3354, NGC3358, NGC3357galaxies - the center galaxy was the brightest, all evenly spaced apart in a row from E to W. W is the dimmest.
B92dark nebula and open cluster - laying just over the top of the eastern Andes, it is a tremendous sight. Dark lanes are all over the place from this southern view - extending all around the cluster rather than just to one side as I am accustomed to from home. The dark neb seems rather square around the cluster. There are huge black areas of dark neb.
NGC2516open cluster - very large and bright. Naked eye. Many bright stars, coarse, fills most of the FOV, evenly distributed and round.
Shapley 1planetary nebula - large, annular. Brighter in W part of ring, slightly elongated E/W.
NGC2808globular cluster - Nice glob, nicely condensed core, perhaps elongated N/S with more stars to the W than E.
Vela SN remnantFills half the FOV with 20 Nagler and OIII in Ray's 13". Long thins strips run N/S.
NGC2867planetary nebula - small planetary is round, bright, with small dark center. Possible mottling. With 7 Nagler and 2X Barlow - disk seems to change in areas of brightness, seeming to indicate areas of internal structure. Very blue planetary.

Limiting magnitude star count in Corvus (nearly at zenith) - mag 7.7

NGC3114open cluster - beautiful, large rich OC with bright star to E of center and striking arc of stars curving from N to W to S that seemed to define leading edge. Bright star at N tip. A dark "moat" seems to encircle cluster and run inside the edge of the arc of stars.
M83galaxy - in 13". At zenith - best view ever. Bright core with distinct N/S bar. Arms trail off ends of bar - haze fills in between arms and bar. Core is very bright.
NGC3199nebula - locally called the Gabriella Mistral Nebula - or Southern Crescent. With OIII, large half circle - actually full circle, very large. SW portion very bright. Elongated N/S. N part of bright section is ragged. Rest of bright section is faint by comparison. 1 degree E is round blob of neb with dark mottling, about 1/4 size of 3199. To E of that is dim N/S swath of neb to the S of a bright star.

Cool view! Omega Centauri in 20 N with top of Andes silhouetted in same FOV!

NGC3293open cluster - Nice open, medium size with many bright stars, compact - jewel-like. In same FOV with 20 Nag and OIII is a crescent of nebulosity larger than the cluster, W side very bright, perhaps a complete circle. The OIII shows round nebulosity surrounding this cluster. A bright star is on the S edge of the neb (the wide edge), neb dims around the E and S edges, with no neb on the NW edge. Great view!
NGC3324nebula - described in NGC3293 above.
NGC3352open cluster - huge! fills FOV in 20 Nagler. OIII reveals N half of cluster is in faint nebulosity - like M45, so cluster is really E/W 2 to 1 in somewhat of a box shape.
NGC3576nebula - very complex mix of bright and dark nebulosity - large faint swath running WNW/ESE with 2 bright sections that appear similar to Flame Nebula with extensions N/S. E section is smaller extending E/W. Large dark lane on N and S sides, not dark lanes after all (higher mag) - actually another large area of dimmer neb to the N running E/W. With 12 Nagler & DGM filter W section is four individual pieces of nebulosity - S part is smallest but brightest section to the WNW of a bi-lobed section - actually 2 sections of neb at right angles to each other. E section, removed from the complex part is "tadpole" in shape with a dark lane W of an embedded star. Even more complex in Ray's 13".

At this point we had 11 people out looking through the telescopes - the two imagers, property owner and his 21 year old son, and Cecelia (the chef).

NGC3766open cluster - bright, right and fairly large. Many curving chains and streamers. Brightest 3 stars are red and yellow on the W, E and SE side of the cluster.
NGC3915planetary nebula - bright, blue - with 7 Nagler central star is in and out. With 7 Nagler and 2X Barlow it is bright with a large even disk with a dark ring around the edges, elongated E/W. Outside is a very large oval halo elongated E/W and off center with more to the W.
NGC4755open cluster - The Jewel Box - 7 bright stars over a fairly rich medium sized cluster. 3 stars in the center have outstanding color - red, blue and gold.
NGC4945galaxy - huge elongated galaxy reminds me of The Slug. SW/NE with possible disturbed NE end. Dim core with possible mottling along the length and hints of HII regions. Nearby dim planetary with visible star, small dim round halo and dimmer outer halo elongated N/S, not on my charts, may be galaxy?
NGC5128galaxy - Centaurus A. Large, round, bright with bifurcated dark dust lane across entire galaxy running NW/SE. Split in dust lane in more pronounced in SE end.
NGC5139Globular Cluster - Omega Centauri at 75 degrees elevation in 20 Nagler fills over 1/2 FOV. Stars are resolved across the object. Inner 1/2 is a dense ball. It is difficult to believe the size of this cluster. Not as dense looking as others, but truly enormous (and naked eye).
Gum 12SN remnant - huge, wisps are very long and curving, criss-crossing back onto itself. At times there are 2 sections in the same FOV. This object is so large, Ray and I "walk" around it in his 13".
Naked Eyewe put our equipment away and Ray and I sat looking naked eye at the southern sky. The Southern Cross overhead with the Coal Sack seeming to be its shadow, equal in size. The False Cross, Omega Centauri, dark lanes from the bottom of Scorpius south, the barrens of Antlia, Eta Carina region, Alpha and Beta Centauri, the LMC and SMC circumpolar on the southern horizon, Scorpius laying along the peaks of the Andes to our east, Canopus blaring away. The sky is black, there are no light domes, the air is crisp and clear at 6,000 feet. The southern sky is just now beginning to become familiar and friendly. I look forward to seeing it again...

Clear (southern) skies,

ps: thanks to m, who gave me the incentive to make this trip a reality.

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