I've been exceedingly busy with programming and setting up my new
business, but I hate to lose out on decent nights, so I popped out for
a short stint tonight.
The night started out pretty clear and relatively crisp. Fairly steady skies and the moon was still below the tree line.
I spent most of my time in Auriga.
NGC 1893/IC 410 - Open Cluster with Nebulosity
the OIII filter on and looking for the Flaming Star, I came across this
cluster with a ton of nebulosity. It is large, and widespread (15
arcminutes or more). Mostly round in shape, but still somewhat cloud
like among the stars of the cluster. The nebulosity seemed to extend
quite a bit beyond the cluster of stars. I don't know anything about
this object, so I'm not sure if the nebulosity is part of the cluster
IC 417/LBN 804 - Diffuse Nebula
nebula is right next to Phi Aurigae. There are a handful of brightish
stars in the nebula perhaps lighting it up for us. The stars are not
very bright. 10th magnitude or fainter. The nebulosity has a long
triangular shape to it. It looks something like an elephant head with
the trunk pointing upward in the eyepiece away from Phi Aurigae.
LBN 795 - Flaming Star Nebula
nebula is also large, but much fainter. I tried all three filters (UHC,
OIII, H-Beta) and I think the OIII did the best. Compared to how large
the nebula actually is, I could only see a small hint of the brightest
part of it. I must need much darker skies to see it well. I'm adding
this to my dark sky list.
I also looked at the large open cluster of
which I have no idea if it has a designation. It's the elongated line
of stars between IC 410 and the Flaming Star. It contains the stars
Aurigae 14, 16, 17, 18, and 19 (and a few others I think). It's nearly
as bright as the Pleiades.
M45 - Open Cluster with Nebulosity
I threw the OIII filter on and looked at this awesome cluster. I've
never see nebulosity in it before, but I've never looked at it with a
filter either. I was amazed at how much nebulosity I could see with the
filter on. There was a halo around every star and some stars like
Merope and Alcyone had the cloud smudging away from the star.
This is really cool. Seeing detail on planets is facinating and Mars is no exception. The dark patch of Syrtis Major Planum
was the most outstanding feature, but there was a dark sort of belt that nearly crossed the entire planet. Sinus Sebeus,
Mare Serpentis and Mare Tyrrhenum forming the sort of belt of dark
patches. Without a polarizing filter the 12" mirror almost takes in too
much light. The lighter patches that should be been seen were not seen
at all. The disk was essentially white with dark patches. I think I'm
going to pick up a variable polarizer and a dark green filter (I
believe thats the one) for cutting out some of the light and pulling
out more detail. The map I used for the planet surface features is this
With the exception of Mars, I suppose you can say I was on an
open-cluster-with-nebulosity kick tonight. It was fun. It's sort of the
fall/winter equivalent of the Summer Nebulae. I had a very good night.