NexStar 50 Club Observation Log

Name: Chris Lee
NexStar Telescope Models: NexStar 8SE
Eyepieces Used: 8-24mm Hyperion Zoom and occasionally 40mm
First observation – March 2009; Last observation: July 2010

View sketches here (must be a member of the Yahoo NexStar Group)

Object: 1 - Orion Nebula - M42
Date Observed: 01-03-2009; 11:35 pm. Seeing Conditions: I/II
Comments: Large bright nebula with dark lanes eating into the East and South. M43 just visible to the north. 4 stars of the Trapezium are easily visible but not the fainter ones. Nebula looks like a gull’s wing in flight.

Object: 2 - Hercules Cluster - M13
Date Observed: 24-05-2009; 00:35am. Seeing Conditions: I
Comments: Bright globular cluster with distinct chains of stars running north and south. Stars around the core are resolvable at high mag.

Object: 3 – Ring Nebula - M57
Date Observed: 28-04-2009; 01:00am. Seeing Conditions: II
Comments: “Smoke ring” clearly visible and slightly elongated along E-W. The central region is slightly blurred.

Object: 4 - Saturn
Date Observed: 19-04-2009; 10.00 pm. Seeing Conditions: I
Comments: Planet is a bright buttermilk colour with clear darkening on both poles. Ring very close to edge on and no structure was visible. Dione and Rhea visible in the field of view using 8mm. Under lower magnitude I observed Titan and Iapetus.

Object: 5 - Moon
Date Observed: 23-05-2010; 10.25 pm. Seeing Conditions: II
Comments: 10.5 day old moon; sketched the craters Mercator and Campanus. Mercator had a smooth lunar floor while two peaks could be seen in Campanus. The Kies volcano series was just visible to the North

Object: 6 – Andromeda - M31
Date Observed: 17-10-2009; 00:25 am. Seeing Conditions: I
Comments: Used the 40mm to capture the full majesty of this galaxy and its partner, M32. M31 had extended nebulosity but I could not see the dust lanes. However I could see several embedded stars in the region and the core was quite bright. M32 in the South was slightly diffuse but also had a bright core.

Object: 7 – Dumbbell Nebula - M27
Date Observed: 25-05-2009; 02:10 am. Seeing Conditions: II
Comments: Used the OIII filter to bring out the dumbbell shape to this nebula. The left hand side was slightly brighter than the right hand side. I observed that the dumbbells overlay a slightly circular backdrop of nebulosity.

Object: 8 – Pleiades / Seven Sisters - M45
Date Observed: 06-12-2009; 8:30 pm. Seeing Conditions: II
Comments: A cluster of bright stars that extends beyond a 40mm eyepiece. I sketched using multiple observations across the FoV. No obvious colour or nebulosity could be seen for the main stars but they were certainly dazzling.

Object: 9 – Jupiter
Date Observed: 02-08-2009; 00:10 am. Seeing Conditions: III
Comments: Used extreme mag (8mm plus Barlow) to observe finer details of the planet in rare moments of atmospheric stillness. However the observations were mainly conducted at lower mag. Two magenta bands could be observed; the northern band seemed thinner. Both bands had sharpish edges. The polar region had additional pale colouration but very blurry. Europa, Ganymede and Io could be seen in the FoV.

Object: 10 – Wild Duck Cluster - M11 Date Observed: 24-05-09; 01:30 am. Seeing Conditions: I
Comments: A sprinkling of stars in a large open cluster. No obvious core but dust lanes of absent stars could be noted towards the centre around a bright star

Object: 11a – Bodes Galaxy - M81
Date Observed: 18-03-09; 11:10 pm. Seeing Conditions: II
Comments: Fuzzy circular coma with brighter elliptical core. Little to distinguish in the FoV.
Object: 11b –Cigar Galaxy - M82
Date Observed: 27-04-09; 11: 15 pm. Seeing Conditions: II
Comments: A needle shape E-W across the FoV with two distinct dark bands just on averted vision that seem to split the galaxy into three pieces.

Object: 12 – Swan Nebula - M17
Date Observed: 24-06-09; 00:35 am. Seeing Conditions II/III
Comments: Lowish towards S; a faint “lamda” shape or “Swan” seen using the OIIII filter together with a small cluster in the FoV towards NE.

Object: 13 – Albireo- Double
Date Observed: 24-05-09; 01:40 am. Seeing Conditions: I
Comments: Coloured double star, seen as bright orange for the primary and white/blue for the secondary. The pair are widely separated along an E-W line.

Object: 14 – Perseus Double Cluster - NGC869 & NGC884
Date Observed: 13-09-2009; 00:10 am. Seeing Conditions: I/II
Comments: NGC 869 had numerous stars around two bright stars at the centre and several chains could be teased out in the FoV. Moving on to NGC 884 then the impression was more of triangles around a bright core of stars.

Object: 15 – Whirlpool Galaxy - M51
Date Observed: 19-03-09; 11:30 pm. Seeing Conditions: II/III
Comments: A faint blur towards the W with two knots. One large, one smaller in NE position just above it. There was some brightness to the larger core and a general swirly mistiness to the observation.

Object: 16 – Lagoon Nebula - M8
Date Observed: 24-06-2010; 01:40 am. Seeing Conditions: II/III
Comments: Observed from a darker sight than main base. Used OIII to delineate two main nebulous bands towards W of FoV. The northern nebula was smaller but had a bright “comet” feel around two brightish stars. The southern nebula was larger and more indistinct and spread towards the E rather like a sideways drawn comma. A darker lane was between the two. A sprinkling of stars in the East

Object: 17 – Beehive Cluster - M44Date Observed: 01-03-09; 11:30 p.; Seeing Conditions: I/IIComments: Sparse, open cluster with no real concentration. A dozen or so main stars..

Object: 18a – Western Veil Nebula - NGC6960
Date Observed: 24-06-09; 01:25 am. Seeing Conditions: II
Comments: Used OIII filter to detect this “S” shape just on averted vision spreading across the SW-NE FoV. Wispy. Starts near very bright star (52 Cygni).
Object: 18b –Eastern Veil Nebula - NGC6992
Date Observed: 24-06-09; 00:45 am. Seeing Conditions: II
Comments: Harder to detect than West Veil. Faint structure to the nebula along N-S axis showing some signs of curving. Needed OIII.

Object: 19 – Open Cluster in Auriga - M38 (Replaces Omega Centauri)
Date Observed: 03-01-10; 9.15 pm. Seeing Conditions: II
Comments: Said to resemble an oblique cross, I could certainly make out a cross shape especially the chain of stars running NNE but rather faint cross arm with stars on E side. Central bright stars were glimpsed as chains running W.

Object: 20 – Globular in Sagittarius - M22
Date Observed: 25-06-09; 00:55 am. Seeing Conditions: IV
Comments: Observed low to horizon. Globular with modest core exhibiting some mottling/stippling for just unresolved stars. Using Barlow pinpointed a few of these, which gave the appearance of arcing curves.

Object: 21 – Butterfly Cluster - M6
Date Observed: 05-06-10; 1:40 am. Seeing Conditions: III/IV
Comments: Observed from a darkish site but low down on S horizon; The cluster was faint and just a hint of the famous “Butterfly Wings”

Object: 22 – Double Double – Epsilon Lyra 1 & 2
Date Observed: 24-06-09; 1:50 am. Seeing Conditions: I
Comments: Epsilon Lyra splits into two doubles, both pairs very white and sharp. Close separations for the split pairs.

Object: 23 – Globular Cluster in Canes Ven - M3 (replaces Jewel Box)
Date Observed: 11-05-09; 11:30 pm. Seeing Conditions: II
Comments: A bright globular cluster with a tight core. Some speckling which under highest mag resolves into stars. Some faint chains to the West but little to the East.

Object: 24 – Blue Snowball Planetary Nebula- NGC7662
Date Observed: 12-09-09; 9.30 pm. Seeing Conditions: I/II
Comments: Blue tint to an isolated small ball/disc. No discernable patterning; two orange stars in the FoV towards E and NE

Object: 25 – Spiral Galaxy- M66
Date Observed: 19-04-09; 10:35 pm. Seeing Conditions: I
Comments: Could see both M65 and M66 in the same field of view using the 16mm. M65 was the brighter object – a faint circular blur with a noticeably brighter core towards the SW of the target. No arms could be seen.

Object: 26 – Coathanger – CR399
Date Observed: 05-06-10; 01:10 am. Seeing Conditions: I/II
Comments: Observed using the RACI 9x50mm finderscope. The famous “coathanger” asterism was clearly visible amongst a rich field of fainter stars.

Object: 27 – Galaxy in Leo- M65
Date Observed: 19-04-09; 10:35 pm. Seeing Conditions: I
Comments: Could see both M65 and M66 in the same field of view using the 16mm. M66 was the fainter object – a thin elliptical structure running NS. No arms could be seen.

Object: 28 – Ptolemy’s Cluster- M7
Date Observed: 04-07-10; 00:30 am. Seeing Conditions: II
Comments: One of the hardest objects to detect from my location. To even see these faint stars I needed to go into a dark site with a good southern horizon. Very few stars could be seen in this open cluster

Object: 29 – Bernice’s Hair Clip- NGC4565
Date Observed: 24-06-09; 00:20 am. Seeing Conditions: II
Comments: One of the hardest objects to detect from my site. This “needle-like” Galaxy could just be detected in averted vision north of centre in the FoV, running SE-NW and an edge-on view. No more than a line in the sky. No variable brightness or surrounding structure detected. l

Object: 30 – Globular in Pegasus- M15
Date Observed: 24-06-09; 02:35 am. Seeing Conditions: I/II
Comments: Globular cluster with a tight bright core. Faint stars in the surrounding vicinity and across the core. Clear chains of stars detected on North and West side.

Object: 31 – Owl Cluster- NGC457
Date Observed: 12-09-09; 11:30 pm. Seeing Conditions: I/II
Comments: Apparently looks like an Owl with two bright stars as “eyes”. However while I could see the two bright stars, I had difficulty fully “seeing” the owl. Many stars in this open cluster.

Object: 32 – Milky Way
Date Observed: 04-06-2010
Comments: Naked eye observation. MW could be seen as a faint cloud – more obvious via averted vision - stretching from a diffuse region just north of Cygnus and passing as a band towards a setting Sagittarius. I observed three main clumps around Cygnus – first around Deneb, then between Sadr and Albireo main clumps and finally just below Albireo into Sagitta. I also detected a clear clumping towards Sout east horizon around Scutum and Sagittarius.

Object: 33 – Trapezium in Orion - Centre of M42
Date Observed: 01-03-09; 11:35pm. Seeing Conditions: I/II
Comments: Inside the heart of M42; four stars easily seen in a trapezoid shaping with the brightest star being the bottom (southern) star in the formation. However I could not detect the fainter 5th and 6th stars in this cluster.

Object: 34 – Open Cluster in Puppis - M46
Date Observed: 20-02-10; 9:30pm. Seeing Conditions: III/IV
Comments: Mainly faintish stars in this open cluster, especially in the E side of the FoV. I could not discern the planetary nebula towards the N but four nights later I returned and spotted this with a darker sky and the OIII.

Object: 35 – Double Triangle (Star Gate) Asterism
Date Observed: 17-05-10; 10:50 pm. Seeing Conditions: III
Comments: Set of 3 stars in triangle formation within another set of 3 stars forming a larger triangle. The target was observed towards the S horizon and the inner triangle was only just discernable, as were many of the surrounding stars.

Object: 36 – 24 Com Double
Date Observed: 04-09-2010; 00:10 am. Seeing Conditions: II
Comments: very close double with one orange/yellow star and smaller blue/white star. A wide separation and clear of other stars in FoV

Object: 37 – Open Cluster in Sagittarius - M25
Date Observed: 25-06-09; 00:10 am. Seeing Conditions: III/IV
Comments: A wide open cluster with some long star chains; a few bright central stars. U Sag not so strong as expected.

Object: 38 – Open Cluster in Gemini - M35
Date Observed: 20-02-10; 10:30 pm. Seeing Conditions: II
Comments: A large cluster with a few bright central stars and noticeable chaining across north-south. Voids of stars could be detected in the central region? Could see numerous other stars with averted vision.

Object: 39 – Open Cluster in Cepheus - NGC7510
Date Observed: 12-09-09; 11:10 pm. Seeing Conditions: I
Comments: An open cluster. I observed a wider star field before I realised NGC 7510 was a smaller cluster shaped like a sideways “Y” in the eastern FoV.

Object: 40 – Globular Cluster in Hercules - M92
Date Observed: 254-05-09; 00:50 am. Seeing Conditions: I
Comments: Very tight and bright core while the surrounding stars are also quite compact. Resolvable stars in and around the core with averted vision.

Object: 41 – Globular Cluster in Serpens – M5 (substitute for Tucanae)
Date Observed: 04-06-10; 00:30 am. Seeing Conditions: I/II
Comments: Coils of stars around a bright mottled core, almost spiral in look; a faint glows extends past the main core and give the appearance of “bright sparks” against the dark background.

Object: 42 – Galaxy in Andromeda - NGC891
Date Observed: 12-12-09; 9:10 pm. Seeing Conditions: I
Comments: One of the hardest objects to find out of the Nexstar 50. Despite its high altitude it took over 3 months to find this. Very faint blur in averted vision at high alt (80 deg). Detected a possible E-W tail?

Object: 43 – Open Cluster in Ophiuchus - NGC6633
Date Observed: 24-06-09; 2.00 am. Seeing Conditions: I/II
Comments: A wide open cluster where the stars seemed to be dispersed in lots of triangular patterns. One bright star.

Object: 44 – Galaxy in Coma Berenices - M100
Date Observed: 02-03-09; 1:35 am Seeing Conditions: I
Comments: A slightly elliptical shape with indefinable edges but a noticeably brighter core.

Object: 45 – Open Cluster in Auriga – M35 (Substitute for Table of Scorpius)
Date Observed: 22-03-09; 10:30 pm Seeing Condition: III
Comments: A rich field of stars scattered around a central bright orangish star. Slightly triangular in shape.

Object: 46 – Trifid Nebula - M20
Date Observed: 04-06-10; 1:20 am. Seeing Conditions: III
Comments: OIII filter used. Observed faint nebulosity around a bright double. Three lobes could be discerned in this nebulosity. Main star cluster to the east was faint.

Object: 47 – Betelgeuse
Date Observed: 06-12-09; 10:00 pm. Seeing Condition: I
Comments: Bright yellow–orange star that is hard to miss!

Object: 48 - Globular in Sagittarius - M55
Date Observed: 04-07-10; 01:30 am. Seeing Conditions: II/IV
Comments: A straggle of stars towards south in FoV leading away from a faint blurry sphere that appeared brightest in its eastern region. No stars could be resolved in the core.

Object: 49 – Open Cluster in Auriga - M36
Date Observed: 03-01-10; 8:30 pm. Seeing Conditions: I/II
Comments: Coarse straggling and rich open cluster with a double star at the centre. Sometimes called the Pinwheel Cluster.

Object: 50 – Eagle Nebula & Cluster- M16
Date Observed: 25-05-09; 1:40 am. Seeing Conditions: IV
Comments: OC cluster attached to nebula clearly observed but no nebulosity could be seen with or without OIII due to its low altitude position. Disappointing.