NexStar 50 Club Observation Log

Name: Farid Char
NexStar Telescope Model(s): NexStar 8 SE

* Location: My backyard in Antofagasta and selected places at the Atacama Desert (for faint/low objects).
* I used a 10 mm, 20 mm and 25 mm as regular EPs; occasionally I also used a 32 mm and an OIII filter.
* Substitution objects in this log: M37, M33, M104, M38 and M4.


Object: 1 - Orion Nebula… M42 / NGC1976
Date Observed: 2008-12-20, 02:30 UT
Comments: One of the most beautiful objects in the night sky! It is a very bright nebula, sharp, very well defined at 25 mm E-Lux eyepiece. Seems like a delicate piece of silk being blowing for the wind and magnificent for astrophotography, even with my modest Canon PowerShot A470 camera.

Object: 2 - Hercules Cluster… M13 / NGC6205
Date Observed: 2009-04-25, 06:31 UT
Comments: A very nice cluster, prominent, bright toward the center. The edges form a “spider” shape when I look at it with 10 mm EP. This gives a similar view to NGC 2070, I think.

Object: 3 – Ring Nebula… M57 / NGC6720
Date Observed: 2009-04-25, 07:32 UT
Comments: A beautiful planetary nebula! The ring is very fine but well defined, and the form is perfectly spherical at my 20 mm Plössl, even with some of light pollution.

Object: 4 - Saturn
Date Observed: 2009-01-19, 05:14 UT
Comments: A magnificent view with three satellites, the rings almost in edge-on. Saturn’s appears yellow colored and very interesting for webcam captures at 10 mm EP.

Object: 5 - Moon
Date Observed: 2009-01-17, 06:08 UT
Comments: This crescent Moon was nice. It’s the better instance for have a look to the craters, its shadows and other interesting structures. This date in particular I can see the famous Rupes Recta rille, clearly at 10, 20 and 25 mm eyepieces.

Object: 6 – Andromeda… M31 / NGC224
Date Observed: 2008-12-28, 0:50 UT
Comments: This huge galaxy doesn’t fit in my eyepieces! The borders are very soft and fines, the core is bright but diffuses outwards. M32 look very good and bright at any magnification.

Object: 7 – Dumbbell Nebula… M27 / NGC6853
Date Observed: 2009-04-25, 07:27 UT
Comments: This is a very big nebula, with an impressive effect in dark skies. You can see it easily as round shaped, but in a better exam is possible to visualize its “sandglass” form. Probably I can see better results with an OIII filter.

Object: 8 – Pleiades / Seven Sisters… M45
Date Observed: 2008-12-28, 03:40 UT
Comments: Another spectacular jewel of the sky. M45 has a nice contrast with the background sky, and is a better objective for binoculars. However, the vision at 25 mm is impacting, with mucho more than seven brilliant stars.

Object: 9 – Jupiter
Date Observed: 2009-04-25, 07: 39 UT
Comments: Observing this planet is always a pleasant experience, especially with the N8SE. The cloud bands are very clear, and the Great Red Spot is visible! During my observing session, I can see Europa to the left, Ganymede and Callisto to the right, and Io emerging in the left.

Object: 10 – Wild Duck Cluster… M11 / NGC6705
Date Observed: 2009-05-20, 04:25 UT
Comments: One of my favorite open clusters! M11 have a rich stellar field, in fact, is almost like see a globular cluster. I can see 3 stars brighter than the rest, but my personal impression about this cluster is that really looks like a duck!

Object: 11 – M37 (Southern hemisphere substitution for M81 & M82)
Date Observed: 2009-01-19, 02:17 UT
Comments: A nice open cluster, maybe “egg-shaped” in my opinion. The core is interesting, brilliant and dense.

Object: 12 – Swan Nebula… M17 / NGC6618
Date Observed: 2009-06-20, 01:08 UT
Comments: This is a notable object, the “typical” stuff you can found in the great Sagittarius area. M17 is very bright, dense, and the “swan” is quite obvious in a first exam.

Object: 13 – Albireo-Double… Double List
Date Observed: 2009-04-25, 07:33 UT
Comments: A beautiful pair of stars. The blue and orange components, and the angular separation, for a moment make me remember the view of the Venus-Jupiter conjunction, in past December.

Object: 14 – Perseus Double Cluster… NGC869 & NGC884
Date Observed: 2008-12-28, 02:01 UT
Comments: A “must see” pair of open clusters, definitely. You get a better view with binoculars, in my opinion, but in 32 mm EP you can observe it like “two round eyes”.

Object: 15 –Whirlpool Galaxy… M51 / NGC5194
Date Observed: 2009-06-20, 23:54 UT
Comments: This is a magnificent galaxy! I assumed will be a challenge for my location like a southern observer, but M51 was impressive and clear during a stargazing session in the Atacama Desert. The core is dense and their arms, as well as the companion, NGC 5195, can be easily resolved.

Object: 16 – Lagoon Nebula… M8 / NGC6523
Date Observed: 2009-05-20, 03:28 UT
Comments: Another great object in Sagittarius, and an interesting “competence” for the well known M42. M8 is big and brilliant, even in polluted skies, and NGC 6530 is the perfect companion for this nebula-star combination.

Object: 17 – Beehive Cluster… M44 / NGC2632
Date Observed: 2009-01-19, 03:19 UT
Comments: This is an large and great open cluster, very bright, much better for binoculars. I can note a triangular pattern in the distribution of stars.

Object: 18 – Western Veil Nebula… NGC6960 & Eastern Veil Nebula… NGC6992
Date Observed: 2009-06-20, 06:02 UT
Comments: Large and elegant formations, very large and impressive! NGC6960 and NGC 6992 are nicely curved and great objectives if you have an OIII filter. First I used the bright double 52 Cyg for guiding, and later used a friend’s OIII filter (I expect to purchase soon this fantastic accessory!) and the view was outstanding.

Object: 19 – Omega Centauri… NGC5139
Date Observed: 2009-05-20, 01:32 UT
Comments: This cluster is huge, is a great round-shaped globular visible to naked eye, and a wonderful view in 25 and 32 mm. It becomes diffuse toward the edges, and a lot of stars can be resolved in a first analysis. Although is the bigger globular cluster in the sky, NGC 5139 is #2 in my ranking of this kind of object.

Object: 20 – Globular in Sagittarius… M22 / NGC6656
Date Observed: 2009-05-20, 03:00 UT
Comments: Compact, spherical and notable, even in polluted or turbulent skies. Almost all the stars in this globular cluster have similar magnitude.

Object: 21 – Butterfly Cluster… M6 / NGC6405
Date Observed: 2009-05-20, 03:05 UT
Comments: A beautiful object for any telescope. In polluted skies you can see clearly the shape of a butterfly, but in very dark skies I can see the cluster surrounded by a blue tonality, in a nice contrast with the black background.

Object: 22 – Double Double – Epsilon Lyra 1 & 2… Double List
Date Observed: 2009-06-20, 05:09 UT
Comments: Nice, curious and funny stars in Lyra. Epsilon 1a Lyr and 2a Lyr can be resolved easily, and 2b Lyr is just 2.5’’ of separation.

Object: 23 – Jewel Box… NGC4755
Date Observed: 2009-05-20, 01:49 UT
Comments: Vivid and sharp cluster at any magnification. At 25 and 20 mm the “A” pattern is beautiful, and I can resolve at least 60 individual stars, remarking some notable red, blue and white stars forming the main figure.

Object: 24 – M33 (Southern hemisphere substitution for NGC7662)
Date Observed: 2009-06-20, 09:50 UT
Comments: This is a very elusive galaxy, but sometimes, of course depending of climate conditions; it is visible to the naked eye! In my session was hard to find, very low brightness, but peripheral vision is useful to resolve it.

Object: 25 – Spiral Galaxy… M66 / NGC3627
Date Observed: 2009-01-19, 04:52 UT
Comments: Thin and diffuse galaxy, the core is bright, but the most remarkably aspect is the presence of M65 at the same FOV, with my 25 mm eyepiece.

Object: 26 – Coathanger – CR399… Asterism List
Date Observed: 2009-06-15, 05:39 UT
Comments: An interesting asterism, don’t fit at my 25 mm EP, but I enjoyed exploring this zone containing a prominent red star.

Object: 27 – Galaxy in Leo… M65 / NGC3623
Date Observed: 2009-01-19, 04:56 UT
Comments: It is diffuse, but a big object, an interesting objective in clear skies without (or low) light pollution. M66 is at the same FOV.

Object: 28 – Ptolemy’s Cluster… M7 / NGC6475
Date Observed: 2009-05-20, 03:56 UT
Comments: This is an amazing and big open cluster, visible to naked eye, as spectacular as M44 or even M45. I can get a better view across binoculars, but at my N8SE I enjoyed long time sweeping this area dominated by 3º, 4º or 6º magnitude stars.

Object: 29 – Berenice’s Hair Clip… NGC4565
Date Observed: 2009-05-23, 01:23 UT
Comments: This is brilliant, elongated and fine galaxy, with thin and long arms. The view is similar to the experience of observing NGC 253. Nice object.

Object: 30 – Globular in Pegasus… M15 / NGC7078
Date Observed: 2009-06-20, 06:35 UT
Comments: This globular is dense at the core, with a triangular shape. The structure is soft and compact at a first analysis.

Object: 31 – M104 (Southern hemisphere substitution for NGC457)
Date Observed: 2009-01-19, 06:53 UT
Comments: This galaxy is always welcome to any stargazing session. Even at my modest 114/900 Celestron FirstScope, but particularly at my N8SE, I can see the soft “sombrero” shape crossed by the band of dust, so evident.

Object: 32 – Milky Way
Date Observed: 2009-05-20, 06:20 UT
Comments: The most famous structure in the sky is really a gift to any southern sky watcher. From this location I can see the entire Milky Way; this cloudy and whitish band crosses the zenith between June and July, during the winter solstice. Looking at the center in Sagittarius is definitely a great experience.

Object: 33 – Trapezium in Orion… Center of M42
Date Observed: 2008-12-20, 02:25 UT
Comments: The trapezium is a very sharp formation at M42, but at 20 and 25 mm in my N8SE I can see clearly something invisible to my old 114/900: three additional and very low brightness stars adjacent to the main components of this cluster.

Object: 34 – Open Cluster in Puppis… M46 / NGC2437
Date Observed: 2009-05-20, 0:07 UT
Comments: This is a well-defined open cluster, stars of similar magnitude in a rich field. The planetary nebula NGC 2438 is clearly resolved in the northern edge, and appears like a blurred gray dot. Nice mix of cluster and nebula.

Object: 35 – Double Triangle (Star Gate)… Asterism List
Date Observed: 2009-05-23, 02:13 UT
Comments: A very curious formation, so symmetric and notorious. From my perspective, the triangular patterns draw something similar to the Star Trek insignia, lol!

Object: 36 – 24 Com Double… Double List
Date Observed: 2009-06-20, 0:25 UT
Comments: A pretty pair of yellow and orange stars; the difference of brightness is of 1 magnitude in a wide angular separation.

Object: 37 – Open Cluster in Sagittarius… M25 / IC4725
Date Observed: 2009-06-15, 02:31 UT
Comments: A cluster with faint and dispersed stars, but nice and good level of detail in 20 mm EP.

Object: 38 – Open Cluster in Gemini… M35 / NGC2168
Date Observed: 2009-01-19, 03:19 UT
Comments: This cluster has faint stars, is not an impressive object, but is surrounded by other interesting clusters like NGC 2158, IC 2157 and the nice “Jellyfish” nebula (IC 443).

Object: 39 – M38 (Southern hemisphere substitution for NGC7510)
Date Observed: 2009-01-19, 01:45 UT
Comments: An open cluster of 7º magnitude, small and faint, but I can distinguish a “V” shape in the dispersed stars. This cluster is near (32’) to NGC 1907, more compact and dense.

Object: 40 – Globular Cluster in Hercules… M92 / NGC6341
Date Observed: 2009-06-20, 04:01 UT
Comments: This object is small, compact and round-shaped, bright to the center, becomes diffuse toward the edges. I have best results with my 25 mm EP and dark skies.

Object: 41 – Tucanae… NGC104
Date Observed: 2008-12-20, 01:40 UT
Comments: Definitely my favorite globular cluster in the sky, #1 in my ranking! Although is not the bigger globular (but is big anyway!), NGC 104 is much more compact, round and brilliant to the center than NGC 5139, appearing like a solid white dot. With a size of 30’, NGC 104 is one of the most exquisite objects in the southern latitudes.

Object: 42 – M4 (Southern hemisphere substitution for NGC891)
Date Observed: 2009-06-20, 0:52 UT
Comments: M4 is an small globular cluster near Antares, maybe not so spectacular in small apertures, but in the N8SE the cluster is very attractive in my 20 mm EP. The structure is dense to the center and much of its stars can be resolved without problems, using my 10 mm EP.

Object: 43 – Open Cluster in Ophiuchus… NGC6633
Date Observed: 2009-06-15, 04:19 UT
Comments: A cluster easy to resolve, I can distinguish about 60 stars and estimate a curved shape. The components have similar magnitude, with at least two prominent yellow stars.

Object: 44 – Galaxy in Coma Berenices… M100 / NGC4321
Date Observed: 2009-06-20, 0:40 UT
Comments: A great galaxy with oval shape, uniform brightness, more dense toward the center. Is a notable objective in dark skies which provides a better contrast with the background.

Object: 45 – Table of Scorpius… NGC6231
Date Observed: 2009-06-15, 02:31 UT
Comments: This cluster is quite easy to resolve, especially in very dark skies, although during this session I experienced some of atmospheric turbulence. I can see at least four yellow stars and two red ones in the 25 mm EP.

Object: 46 – Trifid Nebula… M20 / NGC6514
Date Observed: 2009-05-20, 04:28 UT
Comments: This object can be observed like a slight cloudiness, with its characteristic trifid pattern caused by a central dark nebula. In a first exam this is difficult to be noticed, but the peripheral vision is very useful, and the bright star HIP 88333 (magnitude 7.2) is a good guide if you get lost.

Object: 47 – Betelgeuse… Named Star
Date Observed: 2008-12-20, 02:16 UT
Comments: One of the most famous stars in the sky, appear orange-red colored, very brilliant, is quite obvious you’re seeing a super red giant!

Object: 48 - Globular in Sagittarius... M55 / NGC6809
Date Observed: 2009-05-20, 05:28 UT
Comments: This is a compact and oval-shaped cluster. Brilliant under clear skies, and I can distinguish two outgoing structures at the opposite edges of the object, like “protuberances”.

Object: 49 – Open Cluster in Auriga… M36 / NGC1960
Date Observed: 2009-01-19, 02:01 UT
Comments: This is an small cluster, three dominant stars inside this field with a rare shape, maybe a “trapezium”, maybe a “square”… but is much similar to a square, I think.

Object: 50 – Eagle Nebula & Cluster… M16 / NGC6611
Date Observed: 2009-06-20, 02:51 UT
Comments: M16 is located in a zone with a star cluster very useful for get oriented in the exact position of the nebula. Is very difficult confirm visually the presence of the nebula (an OIII or UHC filter is mandatory), but I can confirm the capture of the cluster surrounding M16. In a second exam, I attempted to make a long exposure image with my Canon A470 in primary focus, and the result was a faint and blurred spot near the cluster; so, I can confirm the success with the Eagle nebula!