NexStar 50 Club Observation Log

Name: Donald Gallian
NexStar Telescope Models: CPC 800, CPC 1100

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Object: 1 - Orion Nebula… M42 / NGC1976
Date Observed: November 26, 2008, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic, 42mm GSO
Comments: A beautiful object in any telescope! “Layered’ appearance of nebulosity makes it look ‘3-D’. A wealth of detail is visible in the 1100. OIII or UHC filters enhance aspects of the view, but are not necessary to enjoy this showpiece object.

Object: 2 - Hercules Cluster… M13 / NGC6205
Date Observed: April 17, 2009, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: A magnificent globular cluster! A dense core with brighter stars superimposed gives a ‘3-D’ effect. Easily resolved. Gives the appearance of ‘arms’ radiating out from the core.

Object: 3 – Ring Nebula… M57 / NGC6720
Date Observed: November 26, 2008, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Large, bright, oval. Similar to planetary nebulae like the Blue Snowball except for the prominent dark center that gives M-57 it’s common name. An OIII filter increases contrast.

Object: 4 - Saturn
Date Observed: February 25, 2009, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: I’ve observed Saturn many times, but tonight was one of my most interesting views. I’ve seen Saturn when the rings were edge-on and they all but disappeared. However, currently the rings are near, but not quite, edge-on. Because of this, Saturn appears to have been ‘skewered’. A most interesting sight!

Object: 5 - Moon
Date Observed: January 5, 2009, CPC 11100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: While I normally prefer observing when the Moon is not present, it is certainly a great telescopic object! It’s bright, is easy to find, and has tremendous detail – no ‘faint fuzzy’ here! Tonight I observed the ‘Straight Wall’. ‘Rima Birt’, a long depression that roughly parallels the straight wall was easily visible as was the small crater Thebit D at the end of the Wall. I also observed Copernicus. Multiple peaks were visible on the crater floor and a wealth of ‘terrace’ detail was visible in the walls.

Because the Moon appears SO bright in the CPC 1100 at or beyond first quarter, I often use two polarizing filters to decrease the brightness. Turning one filter with respect to the other creates a ‘variable density’ filter that allows more comfortable viewing.

Object: 6 – Andromeda… M31 / NGC224
Date Observed: November 26, 2008, CPC 1100, 42mm GSO
Comments: Due to its large angular size, the CPC 1100 cannot really do justice to this celestial showpiece! A nucleus surrounded by a bright central area is easily visible. The spiral arms extend far beyond the eyepiece field. M-32 and M-110 are visible in the same field.

Object: 7 – Dumbbell Nebula… M27 / NGC6853
Date Observed: November 26, 2008, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Large, bright, roughly rectangular in shape. Mottled/textured appearance. One of my favorites! An OIII filter increases contrasts.

Object: 8 – Pleiades / Seven Sisters… M45
Date Observed: November 26, 2008, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Beautiful naked-eye cluster. Impossible to appreciate (or see!) in the CPC 1100 even with a low power eyepiece. It actually looks better in a 50mm finder!

Object: 9 – Jupiter
Date Observed: May 29, 2009, CPC 1100, 25mm Meade Series 3000
Comments: Every time I see Jupiter in a telescope, I’m reminded of the famous drawings in Galileo’s notebook. Here’s how it appeared: * ( ) * * *
This was my first chance to observe Jupiter this year. Even though it was quite low, some surface detail was still visible during moments of steady seeing. Of course, the Moon and planets appear best when near the meridian.

Object: 10 – Wild Duck Cluster… M11 / NGC6705
Date Observed: May 16, 2009, CPC 800, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: A favorite! Moderately bright stars in compact group. There is a prominent brighter star near the center.

Object: 11 – Bodes Galaxy… M81 / NGC3031 & Cigar Galaxy… M82 / NGC 3034
Date Observed: March 14, 2009, CPC 1100, 25mm Meade Series 3000
Comments: M-81 appears as a fairly bright oval with a brighter center. M-82 appeared large, elongated, and irregular compared to M-81.

Object: 12 – Swan Nebula… M17 / NGC6618
Date Observed: May 16, 2009, CPC 800, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Always nice to observe! Bright, elongated, distinct ‘checkmark’ shape with dark ‘omega’ shape at one end. A fantastic object!

Object: 13 – Albireo - Double… Double List
Date Observed: December 29, 2008, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: A “perfect” double – colorful, bright, wide separation - always a pleasant sight! Both stars easily separated even at low power. Distinct blue and golden colors.

Object: 14 – Perseus Double Cluster… NGC869 & NGC884
Date Observed: November 26, 2008, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic, 42mm GSO
Comments: The beautiful “Double Cluster”! You can’t really appreciate the ‘Double’ aspect in the CPC 1100 – my 42m GSO eyepiece barely gets both clusters in the field. However, observed individually each cluster is an excellent example of the class. Both clusters are rich, very bright and contain a prominent ‘reddish’ star.

Object: 15 – Whirlpool Galaxy… M51 / NGC5194
Date Observed: April 22, 2009, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Initially seen as two bright ovals with slightly brighter central areas. A bright core appeared in one of the ovals – most likely a foreground star. Using averted vision, more nebulosity was visible providing hints of mottling.

Object: 16 – Lagoon Nebula… M8 / NGC6523
Date Observed: May 16, 2009, CPC 800, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: A spectacular sight! A dark ‘bay’, bright nebulosity, and an open cluster all in one object! Doesn’t get any better than that!

Object: 17 – Beehive Cluster… M44 / NGC2632
Date Observed: December 28, 2008, CPC 1100, 42mm GSO
Comments: Large, rich cluster composed of bright stars. Unfortunately, even with low power, the CPC 1100 will never show the entire cluster because of its large angular size. Much like the Pleiades, it’s better viewed in a finder or binoculars.

Object: 18 – Western Veil Nebula… NGC6960 & Eastern Veil Nebula… NGC6992
Date Observed: May 21, 2009, CPC 1100, 25mm Meade Series 3000
Comments: The Veil is best observed from a dark site. My back yard requires an 0III filter for the nebulosity to be visible at all. With the filter, it appears as a ghostly meandering streak with very subtle hints of detail. The Western Arc – NGC-6960 – contains 52 Cygni, which a nice double that’s usually overlooked.

Object: 19 – Omega Centauri… NGC5139
Date Observed:
Comments:

Object: 20 – Globular in Sagittarius… M22 / NGC6656
Date Observed: May 16, 2009, CPC 800, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: M-22 is a spectacular globular cluster! Bright, large, and easily resolved. Reminds me of M-13.

Object: 21 – Butterfly Cluster… M6 / NGC6405
Date Observed: May 17, 2009, CPC 800, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Roughly ‘x’ shaped pattern gives its common name. A loose cluster of fairly bright stars.

Object: 22 – Double Double – Epsilon Lyra 1 & 2… Double List
Date Observed: April 17, 2009, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: An amazing sight! Two double stars of similar magnitude and separation placed close together in the sky. The orientation of the pairs is perpendicular. Both pairs form a flattened triangle with a fainter field star.

Object: 23 – Jewel Box… NGC4755
Date Observed:
Comments:

Object: 24 – Blue Snowball Planetary Nebula… NGC7662
Date Observed: November 26, 2008, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Small, round, diffuse, and fairly bright. I’ve seen the blue color on other occasions, but it appeared gray tonight.

Object: 25 – Spiral Galaxy… M66 / NGC3627
Date Observed: April 15, 2009, Celestron CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Moderate size, bright, elongated, with a brighter center. Somewhat brighter than M-65. In the same field as M-65 and NGC-3628 – the “Leo Trio”.

Object: 26 – Coathanger – CR399… Asterism List
Date Observed: May 16, 2009, CPC 800, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: The Coathanger really can’t be seen per se in any NexStar scope I own. When viewed with the 24mm, all that can be seen is a few bright stars. This object needs a ‘Rich Field’ scope or even binoculars to be observed properly. However, off the end of The Coathanger is a tiny, faint cluster – NGC 6802 – which I nicknamed the “Lint Nebula” years ago due to its elongated appearance and proximity to The Coathanger! First time I saw it, it reminded me of a piece of ‘cosmic lint’!

Object: 27 – Galaxy in Leo… M65 / NGC3623
Date Observed: April 15, 2009, Celestron CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Fairly bright, elongated with a brighter center. In the same field as M-66 and NGC-3628 – the “Leo Trio”.

Object: 28 – Ptolemy’s Cluster… M7 / NGC6475
Date Observed: May 21, 2009, CPC 1100, 25mm Meade Series 300
Comments: Because M-7 is so large, the CPC 1100 only hints at the beauty of this cluster. M-7 consists of bright stars and is a great binocular object.

Object: 29 – Bernice’s Hair Clip… NGC4565
Date Observed: April 15, 2009, Celestron CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Fairly large, very elongated. Fairly bright with slightly brighter central area. Best seen from darker areas.

Object: 30 – Globular in Pegasus… M15 / NGC7078
Date Observed: November 26, 2008, CPC 1100, 13mm Nagler
Comments: A beautiful globular cluster! Bright center and easily resolved with a 13mm Nagler. An excellent example of this class of object.

Object: 31 – Owl Cluster… NGC457
Date Observed: November 26, 2008, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Loose group of moderately bright stars dominated by 2 bright stars - the owl’s ‘eyes’. Sometimes called the ‘ET Cluster’ after the movie character.

Object: 32 – Milky Way
Date Observed: My 16, 2009, CPC 800, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Personally, I think the best way to observe the Milky Way is with the naked eye. Binoculars and telescopes enhance certain aspects such as individual objects, but no optical instrument can compare with a naked eye view of the Milky Way under a truly dark sky. I scanned the area around Sadr (Gamma Cygni) with the CPC 800. Looking anywhere in this area yields an eyepiece full of diamonds on velvet!

Object: 33 – Trapezium in Orion… Center of M42
Date Observed: November 26, 2008, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: A nice bright asterism made even nicer by its location in one of the most spectacular deep sky objects! 5 stars were visible tonight, but I have seen 6 in telescopes as small as an 8”.

Object: 34 – Open Cluster in Puppis… M46 / NGC2437
Date Observed: November 29, 2008, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: A nice loose cluster of stars of various magnitudes. BUT… planetary nebula NGC-2438 appears to lie ‘within’ M-46 so it’s even nicer! The planetary was more prominent with a UHC filter. Maybe M-46 should be called the “Cracker Jack Cluster” because there’s a ‘surprise’ inside!

Object: 35 – Double Triangle (Star Gate)… Asterism List
Date Observed: April 15, 2009, Celestron CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: A neat object! Consists of a small triangle of stars centered in a larger triangle of stars. This is another object I would probably never have seen if not for the NexStar 50 List. Thanks Mike!

Object: 36 – 24 Com Double… Double List
Date Observed: April 17, 2009, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Similar in appearance to Alberio, but not as bright. Golden and blue-green colors, wide separation. A very nice double.

Object: 37 – Open Cluster in Sagittarius… M25 / IC4725
Date Observed: May 17, 2009, CPC 800, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Sparse grouping of fainter stars. Several more prominent stars in a ‘bent’ line appear superimposed.

Object: 38 – Open Cluster in Gemini… M35 / NGC2168
Date Observed: November 26, 2008, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: A rich cluster of various magnitude stars. A nice sight.

Object: 39 – Open Cluster in Cepheus… NGC7510
Date Observed: November 26, 2008, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Compact. 5 stars in a very shallow arc, with two brighter stars of similar magnitude ‘below’ (in my field of view) - all superimposed on fainter background stars. A nice object I probably would never have looked for if not for the NexStar 50 list. Thanks Mike!

Object: 40 – Globular Cluster in Hercules… M92 / NGC6341
Date Observed: April 22, 2009, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Although it’s often overshadowed by its more popular neighbor M-13, M-92 is itself a very nice globular cluster. It is bright and easy to resolve, but smaller and less dense than M-13.

Object: 41 – 47 Tucanae… NGC104
Date Observed:
Comments:

Object: 42 – Galaxy in Andromeda… NGC891
Date Observed: December 29, 2008, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Dark skies are really needed to appreciate this object - an 8” at a dark site will provide a nice view. Tonight NGC 891 appeared as a ghostly sliver through my 11”. Averted vision was necessary to distinguish it from the sky background.

Object: 43 – Open Cluster in Ophiuchus… NGC6633
Date Observed: May 16, 2009, CPC 800, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Large, loose. Nice cluster of brighter stars

Object: 44 – Galaxy in Coma Berenices… M100 / NGC4321
Date Observed: April 15, 2009, Celestron CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Small, round, faint. Centered in a wide equilateral triangle of stars of different magnitudes.

Object: 45 – Table of Scorpius… NGC6231
Date Observed:
Comments:

Object: 46 – Trifid Nebula… M20 / NGC6514
Date Observed: May 17, 2009, CPC 800, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Despite its low altitude this evening, detail could still be seen. The view is improved with a filter. Narrow band or OIII seem to work best.

Object: 47 – Betelgeuse… Named Star
Date Observed: November 26, 2008, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Brilliant, reddish star in one of the most easily recognizable constellations in the sky. Some sources translate ‘Betelgeuse’ as ‘armpit’!

Object: 48 - Globular in Sagittarius... M55 / NGC6809
Date Observed: May 29, 2009, CPC 1100, 25mm Meade Series 3000
Comments: M-55 appears as a sprinkling of stars on a nebulous background. It is large, but not bright partially due to its low altitude from my location.

Object: 49 – Open Cluster in Auriga… M36 / NGC1960
Date Observed: November 26, 2008, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Loose group of moderately bright stars.

Object: 50 – Eagle Nebula & Cluster… M16 / NGC6611
Date Observed: May 17, 2009, CPC 800, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: An interesting object consisting of an open cluster superimposed on nebulosity. The cluster is very easy to observe, the nebula is more challenging. The CPC 800 view is not exactly like the Hubble ‘Pillars of Creation’ …

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Replacement Object 1 – M-2 Globular Cluster in Aquarius
Date Observed: November 26, 2008, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Medium size globular cluster. Round, fairly bright. Partially resolved at the edges.

Replacement Object 2 – M-37 Open Cluster in Auriga
Date Observed: November 26, 2008, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: A sprinkle of diamonds on velvet with a prominent reddish star. A good example of this type of object. I consider M-37 to be the nicest of the 3 Messier open clusters in Auriga.

Replacement Object 3 – M-38 Open Cluster in Auriga
Date Observed: November 26, 2008, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Large, loose cluster of moderately bright stars.

Replacement Object 4 – M-3 Globular Cluster in Canes Venatici.
Date Observed: April 17, 2009, CPC 1100, 24mm Panoptic
Comments: Round, bright, large. Easily resolved. ‘Arms’ of stars appear to surround the core. Very nice!