Monday, November 18, 2013

2013 Deep South Regional Stargaze

In spite of rainy and windy weather, the 2013 Deep South Regional Stargaze had two nights of good weather which allowed good views of deep sky objects. Unfortunately, I was only able to stay Friday night due to work considerations. Nevertheless, I made good use of the time spent there to observe deep sky objects.
NGC-7094 is a very faint planetary nebula in Pegasus that eluded me from my usual local observing sites. At 227X, it still required an O-III nebula filter to be certain that I had indeed found this slightly oval planetary nebula. This object has two brighter regions along the rim, as well as a prominent central star.
NGC-7437 is one of many fainter galaxies in Pegasus, and until now eluded me from the locally light polluted skies. Small, round and faint, NGC-7437 displays little structure other than a weak central brightening and spans 1.8 arc-minutes. This face-on system has a classification of type Sc which is consistent with the very weak central core, and a magnitude of 13.4, which explains why it was as tough to see locally.
NGC-7538 is a small emission nebula in Cepheus. Quite small, it is also quite bright with a pair of stars inside it. Nicely visible without a nebula filter, an O-III filter greatly improved the view. The nebula's irregular outline and woolly appearance belies it's nature as a cloud of very hot, ionized gasses. Spanning some 8 by 7 arc-minutes, it is certainly with range of much smaller telescopes than a `15-inch.
The galaxies NGC-7463, NGC-7464 and NGC-7465 form a compact trio accessible to medium and large aperture telescope. NGC-7463 is a spiral galaxy of type SBb peculiar with a magnitude of 12.7. It is the largest of the three. NGC 7464 is an elliptical galaxy and the faintest of the three at magnitude 13.4. NGC-7465 is a SBO barred spiral galaxy with an apparent magnitude of 12.4 and the brightest member of this galaxy trio. 
This is a nearly edge-on, very elongated galaxy that resembles a large, ghostly cigar at 227X. NGC-7497 is some five arc-minutes in length and shines with a magnitude of 12.4, and yet appears nearly as faint as NGC-7437. It's pointed northeast to southwest in the sky with a fairly strong central brightening. This galaxy like NGC-7437 is also a Sc spiral galaxy but because of the brighter magnitude and near edge on orientation, was easier to spot.
Unfortunately the skies gave out at 2:30 and observing came to an end. I covered the mirror and went to the cottage for the rest of the night. After eating breakfast next morning, I packed up the telescope and returned home. Turnout was quite good given the bad weather Wednesday and Thursday, which I had hopes to also make use of. Once again, the weather was a disappointment like last year. I was hoping for more than one night of good skies, and since I had to return home Saturday which led to me missing the good weather that night. Nevertheless, I had an opportunity to see objects I could not from my usual observing sites. I'm probably going to try enrolling in the annual Spring Scrimmage at the same site so I can observe spring and summer objects before the haze and murky skies close in next year.