NexStar 50 Club Observation Log

Name: Ken Munson
NexStar Telescope Model(s): NexStar 5
 

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Object: 1 - Orion Nebula… M42 / NGC1976
Date Observed: 3/16/02
Comments: Observed in twilight during Messier Marathon. Even in twilight, using the LPR filter, this beautiful nebula shows a great deal of structure. Absolutely gorgeous!

Object: 2 - Hercules Cluster… M13 / NGC6205
Date Observed: 7/10/02
Comments: Magnificent, giant globular star cluster. Very bright and can resolve many stars. As always, a breathtaking sight!

Object: 3 - Ring Nebula… M57 / NGC6720
Date Observed: 7/10/02
Comments: Small, grey, ring-shaped planetary nebula. Can make out the central hole.

Object: 4 - Saturn
Date Observed: 10/6/2002
Comments: First good view of Saturn this season! Had to stay up all night to see it. Great viewing out in the Mojave Desert tonight. Can see the Cassini Division and some cloud bands. Can make out at least 5 moons, Titan, Iapetus, Rhea and I can't remember the names of the other two. Did something I've never been able to do this morning. Left the telescope running and tracking Saturn when I went to bed at 5:00 AM. Got up again at 8 and checked. Saturn was still there and visible even with the sun in the sky!

Object: 5 - Moon
Date Observed: 6/14/02 - 7/22/02
Comments: Spent two intense months observing the moon at every opportunity while completing the Nexstar Lunar 50 List. Such a great way to get reacquainted with my old childhood friend. Learned a thing or two about using magnification properly, too. Interesting to note how the moons surface color often changes as the sun angle on it changes.

Object: 6 - Andromeda… M31 / NGC224
Date Observed: 9/8/02
Comments: The Andromeda Galaxy shone in all its glory tonight! Northeast sky was very stable. Can clearly see the disk of the spiral arms surrounding the very bright core. Companions M31 and M110 are also clearly visible.

Object: 7 - Dumbbell Nebula… M27 / NGC6853
Date Observed: 7/11/02
Comments: Bright, large planetary nebula. Large, bright 'wings' connected by bright central shaft. Fainter material lies on either side of the central shaft.

Object: 8 - Pleiades / Seven Sisters… M45
Date Observed: 3/16/02
Comments: Beautiful, very large, very bright open star cluster. Too big for FOV even with the 25mm eyepiece. Spectacular!

Object: 9 - Jupiter
Date Observed: 10/6/2002
Comments: Jupiter rose around 2:00 this morning. However, the eastern sky had become very turbulent and the seeing wasn't good. Could barely distinguish the equatorial cloud bands. Not a chance of seeing the GRS which was supposed to transit around 3:30 AM. Saw the four Galilean moons which quickly became 3 as Io went behind the planet. My partner of the evening, Greg, had left his 8" Meade tracking Jupiter and we were able to see it even at 8:00 AM.

Object: 10 - Wild Duck Cluster… M11 / NGC6705
Date Observed: 7/11/02
Comments: Tight, dense open star cluster in a triangular shape with one bright star near the apex.

Object: 11 - Bodes Galaxy… M81 / NGC3031 & Cigar Galaxy… M82 / NGC 3034
Date Observed: 3/16/02
Comments: Can fit both of these galaxies in the same FOV with 25mm eyepiece. Contrast is interesting. While M82 is merely an oblong fuzzy object, M81 is larger and appears to have more of a disk shape to it.

Object: 12 - Swan Nebula… M17 / NGC6618
Date Observed: 7/10/02
Comments: Beautiful, large, bright diffuse nebula in the shape of a swan floating on a pond. Wind has died down now and the telescope is steady again. With the LPR filter, I can clearly see the long delicate curve of the 'neck'.

Object: 13 - Albiero-Double… Double List
Date Observed: 7/11/02
Comments: Colorfully mis-matched pair of double stars. Albireo appears to be an orange-white while its companion is more bluish in color.

Object: 14 - Perseus Double Cluster… NGC869 & NGC884
Date Observed: 9/8/02
Comments: Magnificent pair of very bright open star clusters. Completely fills the FOV with large number of stars. My favorite star cluster!

Object: 15 - Whirlpool Galaxy… M51 / NGC5194
Date Observed: 7/10/02
Comments: Face-on spiral galaxy with companion galaxy. The bright cores of both show up clearly. The sky is so steady and clear tonight, I can even make out the ghostly disks of the spiral arms!

Object: 16 - Lagoon Nebula… M8 / NGC6523
Date Observed: 7/10/02
Comments: Large nebula associated with nearby open star cluster. The nebula dwarfs the cluster. Nebula seems to have 3 distinct sections. Brightest section seems to have a very tight grouping of 3 or more stars inside.

Object: 17 - Beehive Cluster… M44 / NGC2632
Date Observed: 3/16/02
Comments: Big, beautiful open star cluster made of many bright stars. Sorry but I've still don't see it as a 'beehive'.

Object: 18 - Western Veil Nebula… NGC6960 & Eastern Veil Nebula… NGC6992
Date Observed: 7/11/02
Comments: Delicate, faint curving wisps of nebulosity. The LPR filter really improves the contrast. Looks like giant cobwebs spun between the stars. The 6960 section has a bright star in the middle of it.

Object: 20 - Globular in Sagittarius… M22 / NGC6656
Date Observed: 7/10/02
Comments: Bright globular cluster. Fairly loose. Even low power resolves individual stars. Higher power (10mm eyepiece, 125x) resolves many stars.

Object: 21 - Butterfly Cluster… M6 / NGC6405
Date Observed: 7/10/02
Comments: Lovely open star cluster with numerous bright stars. The cluster resembles a buttery fly with wings opened. One wing looks slightly larger than the other.

Object: 22 - Double Double - Epsilon Lyra 1 & 2… Double List
Date Observed: 7/10/02
Comments: Two magnitude 5 stars in a double star system. Windy tonight and telescope too shaky to resolve the close doubles. Have done so on previous occasions.

Object: 24 - Blue Snowball Planetary Nebula… NGC7662
Date Observed: 9/8/02
Comments: Small, bright gray ball. Clearly does not resolve to a point of light like the nearby stars. Even with higher power was unable to resolve any more detail.

Object: 25 - Spiral Galaxy… M66 / NGC3627
Date Observed: 3/16/02
Comments: M66 appears to be a bright galaxy. Mostly face-on. Can only make out the central core. Shares the FOV with M65.

Object: 26 - Coathanger - CR399… Asterism List
Date Observed: 7/11/02
Comments: Six bright stars in a line form the cross-piece while four others in a curving arc make the hook. Too big to fit in the FOV of the 25mm eyepiece but scanning back and forth reveals the coathanger shape of the asterism.

Object: 27 - Galaxy in Leo… M65 / NGC3623
Date Observed: 3/16/02
Comments: M65 seems to be slightly dimmer than M66 and slightly more spread-out. Maybe more face on? M65 and M66 shave the FOV with NGC 3628, another galaxy. Together they make up the Leo Triplets. Showed them to my triplet daughters who were delighted to find a set of triplets among the stars.

Object: 28 - Ptolemy’s Cluster… M7 / NGC6475
Date Observed: 7/10/02
Comments: Beautiful, large open star cluster visible to the naked eye as a bright fuzzy object in Sagitarrius. The 25mm eyepiece reveals numerious 3rd to 10th magnitude stars tightly grouped in a box-like formation.

Object: 29 - Bernice’s Hair Clip… NGC4565
Date Observed: 7/10/02
Comments: Edge-on spiral galaxy. Fills about 1/3 of the FOV in 25mm eyepiece. Using averted vision, can clearly see the central bulge.

Object: 30 - Globular in Pegasus… M15 / NGC7078
Date Observed: 7/11/02
Comments: Compact, fairly bright globular star cluster. Can't resolve any stars.

Object: 31 - Owl Cluster… NGC457
Date Observed: 9/8/02
Comments: One of my personal favorite, it once again is seen with great clarity. Owl Cluster? Looks more like ET, the Extra-Terrestrial to me. Many stars could be resolved in the 'body' with long streamers of stars extending outward on either side as the 'arms'. Two bright stars made his feet while two dimmer stars made his eyes looking to one side with his neck extended.

Object: 32 - Milky Way
Date Observed: 10/6/2002
Comments: Swept the Milky Way from Cygnus to Cassiopeia. I'd just traverse the scope and watch as the star fields passed before my eye. Not surprisingly, I guess, the star fields seem to get a lot denser as you get towards Cassiopeia. Lots of small dense open star clusters. A few of which I recognized from previous observations with my Nexstar 5.

Object: 33 - Trapezium in Orion… Center of M42
Date Observed: 3/16/02
Comments: Even at low power, I can spot the Trapezium cluster. Higher power (10mm, 125x) easily resolves the four stars of this little group.

Object: 34 - Open Cluster in Puppis… M46 / NGC2437
Date Observed: 4/7/02
Comments: First trip to Mid Hills Campground in the Mojave National Preserve. Best viewing ever of objects in the southern hemisphere. Had been observing several comets when I noticed a fuzzy object in M46, a bright, large and very beautiful open cluster. Had never seen it in such detail before. Thought I'd found a comet only to find later, the fuzzy object is planetary nebular NGC 2438.

Object: 35 - Double Triangle (Star Gate)… Asterism List
Date Observed: 7/10/02
Comments: Two bright stars of about 7th magnitude form one side of a triangle with a fainter (10th mag?) star at the third corner. Inside a faint double star pair makes a 2nd triangle inside the larger one.

Object: 36 - 24 Com Double… Double List
Date Observed: 7/10/02
Comments: Nice double star system. Bright one appears to be yellow-orange while the companion appears to be more a pale yellow.

Object: 37 - Open Cluster in Sagittarius… M25 / IC4725
Date Observed: 7/10/02
Comments: Loose open star cluster made up of moderately bright stars (5th mag). Tighter grouping of stars at one end.

Object: 38 - Open Cluster in Gemini… M35 / NGC2168
Date Observed: 3/16/02
Comments: Dense, very bright, open star cluster.

Object: 39 - Open Cluster in Cepheus… NGC7510
Date Observed: 9/8/02
Comments: Small, dense star cluster composed of faint stars with the two brightest stars at either end. Cluster is oblong in shape. Using the 10mm eyepiece I was able to resolve many more stars in the cluster.

Object: 40 - Globular Cluster in Hercules… M92 / NGC6341
Date Observed: 7/10/02
Comments: Nice, bright globular star cluster. Not as big and bright as M13 but still beautiful. Can resolve a number of individual stars.

Object: 42 - Galaxy in Andromeda… NGC891
Date Observed: 10/6/2002
Comments: Long, thin, faint line of light in a dense star field. Wasn't noticeable earlier in the evening. Had to wait until it was nearly overhead. Of course! After a month of coastal fog, the night I head out to the desert, LA skies are crystal clear. Lot of light pollution spilling out of LA to the south making it hard to see faint objects.

Object: 43 - Open Cluster in Ophiuchus… NGC6633
Date Observed: 4/7/02
Comments: Pretty, very loose open star cluster of about 10 bright stars in a trapezoidal shape with a point at one end. Smaller triangular grouping of stars is off to one side.

Object: 44 - Galaxy in Coma Berenices… M100 / NGC4321
Date Observed: 3/16/02
Comments: Faint, circular fuzzy patch. Too windy tonight to see the detail I've seen on better nights.

Object: 45 - Table of Scorpius… NGC6231
Date Observed: 6/10/02
Comments: Very beautiful, very tight grouping of many bright (2nd to 6th mag) stars in an open cluster. Awesome in the 25mm eyepiece.

Object: 46 - Trifid Nebula… M20 / NGC6514
Date Observed: 6/10/02
Comments: Bright diffuse nebula surrounding a star. Sky is so dark here at Mid Hills Campground in the Mojave National Preserver that, with the LPR filter, I can easily make out the structure of the nebula and the dark lanes that divide it into sections like a Trifid. Best I've ever seen this nebula!

Object: 47 - Betelgeuse… Named Star
Date Observed: 10/6/02
Comments: Very bright and very red. Makes it hard to see any of the fainter stars that are nearby.

Object: 48 - Globular in Sagittarius... M55 / NGC6809
Date Observed: 7/11/02
Comments: Hazy, large globular star cluster. Cannot resolve any stars in spite of its apparent size. Suspect thunderstorms to the south are interfering with visibility this low on the horizon.

Object: 49 - Open Cluster in Auriga… M36 / NGC1960
Date Observed: 3/16/02
Comments: Bright, pretty open star cluster.

Object: 50 - Eagle Nebula & Cluster… M16 / NGC6611
Date Observed: 7/10/02
Comments: Large open star cluster surrounded by wisps of nebulosity. Wind has risen so it's hard to pick out any details. Used the LPR filter to try to enhance contrast. Even so, with the wind shaking the scope, the nebula remains just a hazy ghost.