Don Utton, Paul Clark and myself went to Llyn Brenig on Thursday night, 5th Dec. The sky had been gloriously clear all day, and my hopes of taking some good photos were raised. I was greeted on arrival by a pristine clear sky, the Milky Way visible from horizon to horizon, but unfortunately this was not to last. Throughout the night, large bands of cloud kept sweeping in, and observing was only possible during the clearer periods, which thankfully were fairly long. I managed to view a few favourites, M15, 37,78, 42, NGC 1977,(Running Man Nebula) 7331, (mag 9.5 galaxy in Pegasus) 2264, (open cluster adjacent to the Cone Nebula in Monoceros) and about half a dozen other open clusters from my target list, heading southwards to NGC2239, the open cluster at the centre of the Rosette Nebula. I did manage to take a couple of photos, piggybacking a camera and 300mm lens, but by 1.30am the periods of cloudy sky became longer than the periods it was clear for, so the decision to pack up was made.
by Dave Timperley
The weather has been so bad for dark sky trips! We are now into December and this was only the second rather patchy observing session at Llyn Brenig since mid-summer.
Don and I arrived about 18:00. It clouded over after 5 minutes. After setting up the scope it cleared for about an hour. I looked at the Veil for a treat and then searched low down in Aquarius for an obscure and pale mag. 11.3 globular cluster NGC 7492. A re-visit to the area around 1 Arietis found 8 galaxies down to mag. 15 arranged in a ‘tick’ formation.
We waited for gaps in the cloud. Abell planetary nebulae are usually faint but realitively large and un-starlike. Numbers 84 and 77 were found near the zenih. Near the Owl Cluster lies another big planetary Sh2-188, originally thought to be an emission nebula this looks like a nice brushed curl of nebulosity.
Dropping down to Pisces I(could only just)C 1613 is a very low surface brightnes face-on local group galaxy. A nice trio of NGC galaxies is on the way there. Another similar trio was seen up in Andromeda, NGCs 48, 49 and 51, I don’t know where 50 went.
Again intermittent cloud gave opportunity for a coffee break. I found out Dave T had already been there for an hour or so. Abell 4 is near M34, a stiff target at mag. 16.7? The visual magnitude must be higher, it came forth using the OIII filter. Whilst in that area I got an excellent view of the pale edge-on spiral NGC 891. I also picked up 17 other nearby galaxies.
Hopping off from the Double Cluster landed me on Maffei I, another local group galaxy. If this was not hidden by the dusty Milky Way it would be *way* bright. I also showed Mayall II to Dave. This is the brightest of the Andromeda galaxy globular clusters. Another big planetary was picked up in Auriga along with the small globular Palomar 2 at mag. 13.
The sky became very clear for a while. I saw good spiral arm detail in M74 and also the Horsehead nebula without the aid of a filter.
A brief respite allowed some nice views of M35 and NGC 2175, a cluster with lots of nebulosity. Abell 10 in Orion was the last of the night along with some nice views of M42.The cloud set in so we set off home.
by Paul Clark