Popular Astronomy

February 2016

This month, six Deep Sky section members sent in their      observations;  15 drawings and 20 images in total.

David Davies made this wide angle image (right) which highlights a number of deep sky objects in the constellation of Auriga.  Towards top centre is the open cluster M38, below it is a smaller open cluster NGC1907.  At bottom centre is emission nebula IC417, and bottom left emission nebula NGC1931, both regions of new star formation.  Below left is David's image of  the M37 region, also in Auriga.  David uses a Skywatcher Equinox ED80 refractor at f 5.3, a QSI 583 mono camera and colour filters.


Dale Holt sent in 12 drawings of deep sky objects;  the first four, clockwise from below left are NGC2340, a galaxy cluster in the constellation of Lynx - Dale counted eleven;  NGC2261 in Monoceros, known as Hubble's variable nebula; also known as Caldwell 46;  NGC2346 a bipolar planetary nebula also in Monoceros, and part of  PK205+14-1, a large planetary nebula  in Canes Minor, also known as the "Medusa" nebula.

Hubble's variable nebula is a reflection nebula illuminated by the star R Monocerotis, which is itself not visible, being obscured by dust;  indeed, the observed variability may be due to dense dust clouds periodically blocking the light from the star.   


The next four frawings are, clockwise from below left, NGC2174 and 2175, an emission nebula in the constellation of Orion with its associated open cluster;  Arp 63 (uppermost) and Arp 129, (the former appears to be three interacting galaxies, the latter, two);  NGC2341 and 2342, a pair of galaxies in Gemini, and NGC2964 and 2968, a pair of of galaxies in Leo.                                                                                                                                     

    Dale's final four drawings are (from below left, clockwise), NGC2918, a galaxy in the constellation of Leo, Arp 83 (a galaxy pair also in Leo),  M61, a barred spiral starburst galaxy in Virgo which has an active nucleus;  and NGC3634 - 5, a galaxy pair in the constellation of Crater (which might be an interacting pair, or just a line of sight overlap - the jury is still out on this one).   Dale made these observations using a 505mm f3.5 Newtonian telescope and a Watec  120N+ cooled video camaera, sketching from the live screen image.                                                




Alan Clitherow, SPA Planetary Section Director, sent in two images.  Below left is emission nebula IC443, also known as the "jellyfish" nebula, in the constellation of Gemini.  It is thought to be a supernova remnant, and is located near Eta Geminorum, and is about 50 arc minutes across, corresponding to about 70 light years if its estimated 5000 light year distance from the Earth is correct.  Below right is NGC2244, the "rosette" emission nebula in the constellation of Monoceros.  Alan has combined exposures taken with SII, H alpha and OIII  filters mapped to R,G and B respectively to produce a colour image in the well known Hubble palette.  Alan used an ED 80 refractor and astro modified Canon 600D camera.


Mark Beveridge submitted 12 images of deep sky objects to the section.  From the left, below and clockwise, the first is M97, the "owl" planetary nebula in the constellation of Ursa Major;  NGC672 and IC1727 are a pair of interacting spiral galaxies in Triangulum, NGC925 is a barred spiral galaxy also in Triangulum;  and NGC3184 is a face on spiral galaxy in Ursa Major, noted for a small nucleus and long well defined spiral arms.

            Mark's next four images are, clockwise from the left, are four galaxies in Ursa Major:  NGC3631 (also known as Arp 27, a peculiar galaxy categorised as "a spiral galaxy with one heavy arm"),  NGC2685 the "helix" galaxy (a rare lenticular, polar ring, Seyfert galaxy),  NGC3079, a barred spiral galaxy and NGC4051, a Seyfert spiral galaxy with a nucleus containing a supermassive black hole that has been known to emit X rays.                                                              

    Mark's final four images, from the left below, are NGC4244, an edge-on spiral galaxy in the constellation of Canes Venatici (aka Caldwell 26),  NGC4490 and NGC44485 the "cocoon" galaxy pair, also in Canes Venatici (aka Arp 269), NGC2903, a barred spiral galaxy in Leo;  and NGC2419, a globular cluster in Lynx (aka Caldwell 25), called the "intergalactic tramp"by Harlow Shapley because, at 275,000 light years from the Earth, he believed it was leaving the Milky Way galaxy for deep space (not so).  Mark used a 140mm f14.3 Maksutov Cassegrain telescope and a SXR-H814 mono camera plus R,G and B filters.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          


Steve Norrie sent in four images.  Below left is a wide field view of the M42 emission nebula region in the constellation of Orion, also including M43 and NGC1973/5/7, the "running man" reflection nebula at the top of the image.  Below right is M51, the "whirlpool" Seyfert galaxy in Canes Venatici, and its smaller companion NGC5195.



Steve's next two images are, below left, M81 and M82, galaxies in the constellation of Ursa Major.  M81 aka Bode's galaxy, is the brighter of the pair.  M82, aka the "cigar" galaxy, is a starburst galaxy which hosted a type 1a supernove in 2014.  

Below right is M101, aka the "pinwheel" galaxy, is also in Ursa Major.  This galaxy was home to a type 1a supernova in 2011.

  Michael Kinns, observing with an Orion Optics UK SPX 200mm f 6.3 Newtonian telescope, sent in three drawings.  Below left, using a magnification of 150x, is NGC2158.  Below right is NGC2355, and bottom is M35, these two observed at 100x;  all three open clusters are in the constellation of Gemini.   NGC2135 is about 2 billion years old and 9,000 light years from the Earth, and was once thought to be a globular cluster. NGC2355 is about half the age and half the distance of NGC2135.  M35 is closer still at about 2,800 light years, and considerably younger at around 100 million years.  It is a naked eye object when conditions are favourable.                                                        




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