8" Observing Logs


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Observation Report 04/08/08

Phil and I arrived at BC @ 4:30PM with a partially cloudy sky and dark rain clouds to the northeast.

We decided to wait until near sundown to decide to stay or leave.   By sunset the sky overhead was virtually clear so we prepared our equipment.

The goal of the night was to image SN2008ax (type Ib) mag 14 in NGC4490 in Canes Venatici 42' NW of Beta, Canum Vanaticorum and is highly elongated, 6'x3.5'.   NGC4490 has a 13th mag star superimposed 2' SE of the galaxy's center.  This galaxy is interacting with NGC4485 a 1.5' diameter bright patch lying 3.5' to the NNW.   I provided the observation position data and Phil imaged the pair with the 8" telescope and the ST6.

As Phil setup, I opened Cielo Claro and zeroed in the C8 which retained its orientation near perfect for early dusk Moon observation.     One feature of the Moon struck me as never before - the Rimae in the crater Petavius.    The shadow of the Rimae was accentuated by the angle of the Sunlight so that it was clear that it stretched from the rim of the crater to the upwelling at the center. Quite outstanding!

I decided not to image since it required mounting the ST7 and the cabling with my laptop, a 20-minute operation.    It was below freezing at 29degrees F; too cold for imaging in the unheated open observatory.

I observed Alpha and Beta CVn plus other bright stars nearby.   I also spent about 45 minutes observing the major stars of the Coma Berenices Open Star Cluster also known as the Coma Cluster.  This cluster is also catalogued as Melotte 111 and is about 5 degrees across composed of 5th and 6th mag stars.   It is 260 light years distant, the third nearest star cluster after the Ursa Major Moving Group and the Hyades, to the Solar System.   This cluster is estimated to be about 500 million years old and is in the process of complete disruption, having lost its low-mass red dwarf members into the Galaxy's general disk population.  This cluster is not included in the Messier catalogue nor NGC.

Because of the large size of the cluster I observed primarily with my TeleVue Ranger 70mm f/6.8, fl 476mm with a 30mm eyepiece providing a low 16x magnification.  This allowed me to see much of the cluster without moving the scope.  This cluster is also nicely viewed in binoculars with 8-10x magnification.

I also spent about 30 minutes memorizing the positions of the near midnight Spring sky which has Cas and Cephus lying close to the northern horizon to the west of the meridian.

The cold got the best of me so I retreated to the warmth of Phil's warm room and helped with the final imaging of SN2008ax.

We left @ 12:30AM, 04/09/'08. 

Tom McMahon                  See Projects Page for image of SN2008 ax.

Observation Report June 1, 2008

Arrived at Night Watch @ 6:30pm. Sky was clear and turned out to be a mag 2 sky when darkness arrived. We decided to make it a visual observing night at Cielo Claro with the 8".

NGC 5897 – Globular Cluster, mag 8.6. Has a diffuse low surface brightness, slightly elongated E-W. A few dozen stars are visible with averted vision. The brightest found on the NW edge.

NGC 5907 – Edge on galaxy, mag 10.4, elongated NNW-SSE, has prominent core with eastern edge better defined.

NGC 6229 - Globular Cluster, mag 9.4, low glow, brighter at the center.

NGC 5247 – Galaxy with circular glow with bright center

M4 – Naked eye visible, large core of bright stars with wide scattered surrounding stars.

M80 – (NGC 6093) Distance 28,000 ly, four times farther than M4, bright core of stars with bright outliers easily defined.

M83 – (NGC 5286) Bright spiral galaxy, with averted vision arms and star glow that suggests an emission nebula

M68 – Large Globular Cluster, mag 7.3, with very bright core of unresolved stars surrounded by bright individual star equally distributed around the edge.

M57 - (NGC 6720) Famous Ring Nebula. Nebula was well defined smoke ring with central star using averted vision.

M92 – (NGC 6341) mag 6.5, large Globular Cluster with very bright center of highly concentrated unresolved stars. It has bright individual stars encircling the core with a straight string of 6 or 7 stars on the east side like a bow with a curved string of some five stars. All readily observable.

SVAS Observatory Director, David Enigl, opened the observatory and was visually observing galaxies. Phil and I visited with him and were impressed with how neat and orderly the SVAS facility was due to his hard work. He told us that he had donated a small refractor and other equipment. Some of his donated equipment had been pilfered by one of the SVAS members with observatory status. Hard to believe!

We left Blue Canyon @ 12:45am.

Tom McMahon

    Visual Observations:  
    CCD Images:  


22 inch - Phil

14 inch - Bud

8 inch - Tom