Observing Session at Tegg's Nose 13th. July 2001.
Present: Paul Clark, Colin Henshaw, Mike and Warren Cook, and Don Utton.
Primary objective: To observe Comet C/2001 A2 (LINEAR).
The comet was seen by everyone, and was around mag 4.5. Colin Henshaw found that it was very diffuse and because of that he could not defocus the comparison stars sufficiently to make a magnitude estimate. Paul Clark suspected a tail but Colin Henshaw couldn't confirm it. Both suspected it with the naked eye. While everyone was setting up, Colin Henshaw secured an estimate of Delta Scorpii, which was still bright at about 2m.0. Warren and Mike looked at deep sky objects using their Dobsonian, and superb views of M13, M27, and M57 were obtained. We also looked at several objects in the Sagittarius area like M8 and M25. We also looked at the Double Cluster in Perseus. Colin Henshaw tried to photograph the comet, but he experienced problems with his drive. Cloud came over for at least 45 minutes which frustrated everbody. When the Moon rose we packed up and went home. Two foxes were seen by Paul Clark and Colin Henshaw on the way back through Wilmslow. Once he had got back Colin Henshaw secured some more variable star observations from his back garden, but was forced to stop again through cloud. Towards dawn it cleared again, and just before he turned in he decided to investigate the planetary line-up visible before sunrise. Venus and Saturn were spotted first, close to Aldebaran, and later he was able to find Jupiter. Mercury was then seen below Jupiter using binoculars.
by Unknown ADAS member
Paul Clark's Report
Friday 13th July with lucky CLEAR skies.
Don (with the Critchley Meade), Warren and Mike (with Mike’s 10” Dobsonian, 15x80s and Short tube 80 refractor), Colin (with bins.) and Paul (with the 20x100s and his OMC 140) gathered at Teggs Nose at about 11pm on Friday 13th. The sky was clear and became surprisingly dark. This was the first session for some time for four of us. It became cool and very pleasant. The first target was Comet LINEAR 2001/A2. Soon found in all the instruments (Don managing with the Meade after I’d given up with the small finderscope). This became an impressive sight in Pegasus as the night became darker, shining at about mag. 5 with a large coma and tail to about 1 degree.. Colin and I were also convinced we could see it with the nakedly by about 1 am. After browsing around for a while I became very surprised at the darkness and clarity of the sky and started to work on some Herschel 400 objects low down in Ophiuchus. Initially I had a great deal of success picking off globulars and planetaries (the Box and Little Gem nebulae) in between ‘rests’ with the brighter Messiers. Colin did a few variable estimates including delta Scorpii however, his efforts to photograph the comet were frustrated when a cloud bank passed through at a critical time. Meanwhile Warren and Mike were getting some very impressive views with the 10” Dobsonian. The Dumbbell and Ring Nebulae were excellent, an OIII filter greatly enhanced the contrast between these objects and the darkened background sky. The Milky Way became brighter and could be followed down as far south as the Small Sagittarius Star Cloud (M24). This tempted me to go for some more objects lower down in Sagittarius. Half an hour of ‘failure’ followed. No new objects but some excellent views of the brighter Messier objects. The globulars M22 and M28, the Lagoon, Triffid and Swan nebulae. During this time I missed some bright meteors and Iridium flares… My view of the night was through the 10” with an OIII filter. Mike called me over to see ‘something’. This turned out to be the Swan Nebula (also known as the Omega nebula or M17). The view was the best I’d had and when the filter was added revealed great filamentary detail as well as the obvious Swan shape. The rising last quarter Moon washed out an attempt to find the Veil Nebula in Cygnus and brought a halt to the proceedings at about 1:45. It was great to be out again under the stars. Paul Clark.
by Paul Clark