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23rd October 2002 Gradbach Report

This is a report from Saturday October 12th. I managed to grab 3 hours of observing through a gap in the bad weather. The conditions were average for Gradbach however, not as bad as I first thought when completing some later observations and logging some pretty faint galaxies.

I have become quite addicted to nebular filters! A new 2” OIII from Germany coupled with the wide field of a 31 mm eyepiece shows up endless nebulosity around the Milky Way. I also use a 1 1/4” filter with a 13 mm eyepiece for some higher power views of planetary nebulae.

First off was NGC 7008, this is a large planetary on the Cygnus/Cepheus border. I’d failed on the star hop from Deneb previously. The effort is well worthwhile with lots of ‘lumpy’ detail, superimposed stars and an almost bi-lobed look.

Next I had a good go at the Cepheus region. The larger aperture really makes this constellation come alive. I found several nebulous regions from the Sharpless catalogue. A few planetary nebulae NGCs, ICs and Abells, some with good detail were observed. Finally, an excellent view of the large face-on spiral NGC 6946 revealed spiral arm detail.

Moving over towards Cassiopeia I made out the Bubble of the Bubble Nebula and two large areas of nebulosity nearby, Sh2-157, a broad curving arc and NGC 7538 (as noted in November’s AN this is indeed the twin of M78, with 2 cloaked stars).

Pegasus was transiting the meridian and despite a rather light sky looked high enough to go for a few galaxy groupings off the bottom right-hand star of the ‘Square’. Three areas of interested were explored. First down to the southwest around NGC 7385, then up to the northwest NGCs 7463/4/5 and others formed an excellent grouping. A longish hop towards the middle of the square found a faint grouping. This is Hickson?? I was downbeat with the difficulty I was having picking out some of the objects however, when I came to log them the magnitudes 15.5 and fainter explained why!

A light haze was starting to encroach from the southwest so I spent the final 20 minutes using the lower power wide-field eyepiece with and without OIII filter to explore the area between Cassiopeia and Perseus. Starting at the Double Cluster, full of colourful and doubled stars, I swung north to Stock 2, a magnificent field of diamonds. Northeast from here the fields become filled with nebulosity (OIII required). IC 1805, IC 1848 and NGC 896 offer clusters of cloud covered stars. This whole area is excellent for low power and wide field views.

by Paul Clark

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