|Tonight was another special treat. The clouds cleared up, the moon set early and with the exception of medium high moisture in the air, it was a very clear night. Because of the moisture, the sky was not as dark as I've seen it here in my backyard, but definitely a night to break out the equipment.
I made a special new effort tonight. I've seen and momorized the locations of all of the current Messier objects, so I wanted to do something different. I recently learned about the Caldwell 109. A list of 109 northern and southern hemisphere objects that are not in the Messier list.
Using Starry Night Pro, I selected the objects in the N/NE/E section of the sky. About 30 objects came up on the screen. This sounds like fun.
Here is the object list. Most of these are new objects to me though to my surprise I had already not only seen a handfull of Caldwell objects, but have them momorized. Cool.
C-22 (Blue Snowball)
Distinctly planetary and distinctly blue. Cool. I always love this object because it's cool and small and in color. Tonight I tried to see if I could see the central star, but no such luck. However, I did push my scope to 600 power for the first time on this object, and threw in the UHC fiulter for good measure and for the first time I could see structure in the nebulosity. It was clearly a ring shape with a brighter inner ring, fuzziness on the inside and a bit outside the bightest part of the ring. Normally I'm used to seeing this object as a small blue fuzzy dot. Cool.
I star hopped to the exact region and stared to my hearts content, but no galaxy was going to show itself here tonight.
A nice open cluster. This one fills my 1 degree eyepiece almost perfectly. A nice mix of many bright and dim stars.
Wow. What a tiny insignificant cluster. I barely saw it. There are a few stars in it that I can make out tonight and I had to star hop in order to even find it. I also had to increase power to make anything out of it. The coolest part is the "tail" looking piece that kind of reminds me of a mini Scorpius.
Small but obvious cluster. A hand full of bright stars enclosing an undefined group of a faint open cluster.
C-11 (Bubble Nebula)
Tonight I saw a hint of nebulosity in this nebula as I have seen in the past. But I nave never seen the bubble itself. I'm not sure what it takes to see it. Aperture I suppose!
C-13 (Phi Cas Cluster)
I've lways known this one as the Owl Cluster, but tonight it is C-13 Phi Cas Cluster. It always looks distincly like an own and I love this object.
Talk about tiny and dim. In tonights sky I may only be imagining I'm seeing this one. It's not anything more than a tiny pinpoint that only differentiates from the stars around it by having an ever so slightly fuzzy haze around it. I really can't make ou any more than that. I found both this one and the other M31 companion C-18 (NGC 148) by star hopping from M31.
This is the second time I've looked at this object. It's very faint. I can see it, but just barely. It's surprisingly bright at the core and doesn't have much more than that. I don't see hardly any hazier fuzz around the small dim fuzzy nucleus.
I found this one looking for another open cluster in this neighborhood,. This one was very small and reminded me of a triangular christmas tree. There were only a few stars in it, but there are more faint stars that were undefinded because of the moon that hasn't quite gone down yet.
A small faint open cluster. It's hard to believe it's C-1. Though I spotted it in the 32mm at 47 power, it was framed nicely by balowing that eyepiece. It was still pretty faint, but it appears to have a large number of stars in the cluster. It's just hard to make them out.
This was a very fun object. I had to star hop to it because it's so small. But once I got there, I used nearly every eyepiece to try and see it better. The nebulosity was pretty cool, though it was a small planetary nebula. What I realized because of Starry Night is that there is a quintuple star system at the center of this thing! So I went in deeper to try and see it. The best I could get was an elongated blurry star telling me there is more than one star there, but I could not define the 5 stars like the 4 in the Trapezium or something. I also tried my UHC filter to see if that made a difference, and it did a little, but not much and not enough to be significant.
C-4 (Refection Nebula)
Thi one either doesn't exist in this location or I can't see it.
C-9 (Cave Nebula)
This object just didn't happen tonight. I suppose the sky was not dark enough or I have the wrong equipment. I'm not sure how large this nebula is or what you need to see it. I'll do a little more digging.
This object often eludes me from my backyard. I have looked for it many times. I have also seen it many times from darker skies. Tonight I see it, but just barely. It is nothing more than a faint fuzzy, though not too small of one... a very faint fuzzy between a double and a trio of stars.
*C-6 (Cat's Eye Nebula)
In knowing it's location, it was easily spottend in the 32mm (47x). At 150 power, it looks almost identical to the Blue Snowball. At 600 power with the UHC filter, it barely began to take shape. It never resolved much more than a bluish fuzzy spot.
I can't belive I found this one. In all of the stars in that region, it all looks like one giant open cluster. But sure enough, there is a small group of stars that looks more "clusterish" than the ones around it. Ths is what they call Caldwell C-16.
C-14 (Double Cluster)
Always an amazingly cool object, the Perseus Double Cluster was on the list tonight because I am looking at the Caldwell objects in the N/NE/E region tonight.
*C-24 (Perseus A)
Wow. Talk about faint. At 11.6 mag, this galaxy looks like it's possibly an eliptical. It was hard to see, and I had to zoom in to 150 power to really know that I was seeing it. A small faint fuzzy to be sure.
While looking at C-24, I noticed that there are many faint galaxies in this region. This is another one that I could make out, but just barely. At Indian Trail Spring I can probably easily see this along with many of the other galaxies in this field of view. I'm looking forward to seeing this group in dark skies.
Similar scenario to NGC 1272, I saw this one in the field of view while observing C-24. This galaxy is listed as 13.6 mag while 1272 is listed as 13.0. The difference is that this one has a larger core so the object overall is brighter and more easily found (if you can say that... it took tons of examining before I could see either one!)
Once again, a very satisfying evening of observation. A particularly special night of nailing 20 or so objects off of a new list for me.