A lot of people showed up for some stargazing at the overflow parking lot at Henry Coe state park. The conditions were pretty good overall:
- Light winds coming from the north west
- Temperature in the high to mid 60s
- Good seeing
- Average transparency
While waiting for the sky to turn dark, I pointed my scope toward Antares, which was showing a fairly clean split while still high in the southern sky. The dim companion, a white dwarf, was located just to the west of the red giant.
I then spent most of the evening tracking down some bright targets from the Herschel 400 list. Among the highlights, the Saturn nebula (NGC 7009) was showing a lot of details (see description below)
Before wrapping up around 1am, I looked at Jupiter. The view was absolutely incredible, although the wind proved to be a bit of a problem with my light weight scope. The great red spot was more colorful than I can ever remember. Its color used to be a very delicate pink mixed with a little bit of gray a few years ago. But this time, it was definitely orange. A lot of tiny details could be spotted throughout the bands, and even in the polar regions! What a view to behold!
Here are my observations. Overall, it was a good night, and I’m glad I went out. Cheers!
Location: Henry Coe state park [Elevation 2600 ft]
Telescope: Meade Lightbridge 12″ F/5
- Televue Panoptic 27mm (56x – 1.2° TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 16mm type 5 (95x – 52′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 9mm type 6 (169x – 29′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 7mm type 6 (217x – 22′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 5mm type 6 (305x – 16′ TFOV)
(All times are PDT)
NGC 7128 OC Cyg 21h44m19.3s +53°45’39″ 11.3 mag 09:30p
About 15 moderately bright stars within an area roughly 4′ x 2′ elongated NE-SW. The brightest star, located NE of the cluster, shows a nice orange/reddish color.
NGC 7086 OC Cyg 21h30m49.2s +51°38’39″ 11.6 mag 09:40p
About 50 moderately bright stars within 10′.
NGC 7062 OC Cyg 21h23m50.4s +46°25’18″ 8.3 mag 09:45p
About two dozen moderately bright to moderately faint stars located within 5′. Slightly elongated E-W.
NGC 7006 GC Del 21h01m58.1s +16°13’44″ 10.6 mag 09:50p
Small, faint, small fairly bright core, fairly faint halo, unresolved.
NGC 7009 (Saturn Nebula) PN Aqr 21h04m44.6s -11°19’22″ 8.3 mag 10:30p
At low power (95x), this planetary nebula appears small, fairly bright, elongated 3:2 WNW-ESE, and exhibits a delicate blue/green color. At higher magnification (217x and 305x), the center of the nebula appears very slightly darker. Faint extensions show up on both sides of the oval disk, terminated by a tiny slightly brighter knot. The extension on the ESE side seems to slightly bend toward the NE. Finally, during brief moments of better seeing, a ring elongated 2:1 appears inside the nebula. The central star was not detected.
NGC 6940 OC Vul 20h34m52.3s +28°19’09″ 7.2 mag 10:45p
About 80 stars within an area 25′ x 10′ elongated WNW-ESE. Orange star in the center.
NGC 6885 OC Vul 20h12m27.3s +26°30’35″ 5.7 mag 10:50p
Sparse cluster of roughly 20 fairly bright stars within an area 20′ in diameter, centered around 20 Vul (mag 5.9) Another open cluster, NGC 6882, is embedded inside NGC 6885.
NGC 6882 OC Vul 20h12m13.2s +26°50’35″ 10:50p
About 20 moderately bright stars within an area roughly 10′ in diameter located about 10′ NW of 20 Vul (mag 5.9), and inside another open cluster, NGC 6885.
NGC 6939 OC Cep 20h31m44.1s +60°41’48″ 10.1 mag 11:10p
About 80 moderately bright stars within an area roughly 10′ in diameter. The southern boundary seems delimited by an almost perfect alignment of 5 brighter stars. Slight triangular shape, like an arrow moving west… Forms a superb couple with galaxy NGC 6946. Both objects can be seen within the 1.2 degree field of view of the Panoptic 27mm.
NGC 7160 OC Cep 21h53m59.4s +62°39’00″ 6.4 mag 11:40p
About 20 fairly bright stars scattered within an area roughly 5′ in diameter, centered around two very bright stars (mag 7.0 and 7.9) separated by about 1′.
NGC 7380 OC Cep 22h47m46.7s +58°11’00″ 8.8 mag 12:40a
About 30 moderately bright stars within 15′. Apparently, this cluster is embedded inside a nebula (Sh 2-142) but I did not notice anything, and since I was not aware of it, I did not think of trying a narrow-band filter.
NGC 7510 OC Cep 23h11m30.4s +60°37’22″ 9.3 mag 12:45a
About 20 moderately bright to moderately faint stars within an area 5′ x 2′ elongated WSW-ENE.
NGC 40 PN Cep 00h13m36.3s +72°34’28″ 10.7 mag 01:00a
Moderately large and bright, fairly bright central star, very slightly elongated NNE-SSW. Appears pretty uniform at first. With careful examination, the southern region of the nebula shows a slight darkening. The rim is fairly well defined, and slightly brighter than the disk itself. Superimposed star on the SSW rim.