Deep Sky Winter Observations February 2019

Observation Conditions | Observation Overview | Remarks | References

From the end of February 2019, I conducted simple deep sky "winter observations", which might be of interest to other beginners and are therefore described here.

List of observed deep sky objects (the links lead to pages describing the DSOs):

I mostly selected my observation objects on the basis of my previous observations.

 

Observation Conditions

Sky Region and Objects

I initially restricted myself to the sky region around Cancer, Gemini (Twins), Orion, Auriga, and Taurus (Bull) because these constellations were more or less in the same direction for me (southwest to south).

Overview Map

The following map shows approximately the sky region that I primarily browsed during my observations:

Click the map for a larger version - it opens in a new window. The deep sky objects that I tried to observe are indicated by red dots.

Observation Time

The observations of deep sky objects started after it was sufficiently dark.

Observation Location

All observations were conducted in Mühlhausen/Kraichgau (Germany):

Devices Used

General Conditions

The observations started nearly a week after full moon so that the moon did not disturb my observations any more.

In general, the sky above Mühlhausen/Kraichgau is "light-polluted" and does not invite you to search for deep sky objects. This is certainly one of the reasons why I found some of the deep sky objects that I wanted to observe only sometimes or not at all.

 

Observation Overview

Observation Dates

Date
2019
Observations Details, Remarks Further Observations and Remarks Devices Used Eyepieces Used
Feb 25 GE: M 42/43 (Orion Nebula) Orion Nebula M 42/43: Trapezium very good, nebula not so good to see... -- Heritage 100P 7 mm, 4 mm

 

Feb 26 GE: M 42/43
OC: M 35, M 45 (Pleyades), Mel 25 (Hyades), Mel 20 (Mirfak Cluster)
PS 72/432: Orion Nebula M 42/43 very nice, including the nebula (EP: 16 mm, 7 mm, 4 mm)
Pleyades M 45 beautiful, Hyades Mel 25 also beautiful, like an ice cone...), Mel 20 (Perseus) (16 mm, probably all also observed with 24 mm)
M 35: Many fine stars, not quite sure whether it was really M 35...
Heritage 100P: M 42/43 very good including the nebula (EP: 16 mm, 7 mm, 4 mm)
M45 beautiful (EP: 16 mm, 24 mm)
TS binoculars: M 42/43 a round glow, M 35 a faint glow, M 45, Mel 25, Mel 20
Observations done with Heritage 100P, PS 72/432, and TS binoculars Heritage 100P; PS 72/432 on AZ Pronto Mount; TS binoculars 24 mm, 16 mm, 7 mm, 4 mm
Feb 27 OC: M 35, M 37, M 42/42, M 44 (Praesepe), M 45, M 41, M 46, M 47, M 48, M 50, Mel 20, NGC 2244 (star cluster in Rosette nebula) PS 72/432: Orion Nebula M42, nebula also very good to see (EP: 24-7 mm)
Praesepe M 44 large, beautiful fine stars
M 41 also fine stars
M 46 larger, more wide-spread, M 47 fine, smaller; both together within the field of view (24 mm)
M 48 fine; M 50 faint
NGC 2244 only stars (star cluster in Rosette nebula)
M 45 (Pleiades) beautiful, Mel 20 (Perseus) observerd only briefly
M 35: Many fine stars
M 37: very small, "normal" at higher magnification (7 mm)
TS binoculars: M 42/43 (round glow), M 41, M 45, Mel 20, M 35 (glow), M 44, M 48 (fine stars), M 50 (faint)
Cancer: M 67 not found PS 72/432 on AZ Pronto Mount; TS binoculars 24 mm - 7 mm

Bold: First observation during this observation period; all observations in Mühlhausen/Kraichgau; GE = galactic emission nebula, GR = galactiv reflection nebula, PN = planetary nebula, G = galaxy, OC = open star cluster, GC = globular star cluster

Observed Sky Objects

DSO Details Name Constellation Type Bino* 100P PS 72/432 Remarks
M 37   Auriga OS     yes very small, "normal" at higher magnification
M 45 Pleyades Taurus OC yes yes yes large
Mel 25 Hyades Taurus OC yes   yes very large
M 42/43 Orion Nebula Orion GE yes yes yes in part very beautiful
M 35   Gemini OC yes   yes many stars
M 50   Monoceros OC yes   yes faint
NGC 2237/2244 Rosette Nebula Monoceros GE     yes only star cluster found
M 41   Canis Major OC yes   yes fine stars
M 46   Puppis OC     yes M 46 larger, more wide-spread, M 47 fine, smaller; both together within the field of view (24 mm)
M 47   Puppis OC     yes
M 44 Praesepe Cancer OC yes   yes very large
M 48   Hydra OC yes   yes fine
Mel 20 Mirphak Cluster Perseus OC yes   yes very large

*) 10 x 60 TS binoculars; GE = galactic emission nebula, GR = galactic reflection nebula, G = galaxy, OC = open star cluster, GC = globular star cluster

 

Remarks

Preparation

When looking for deep sky objects, a good preparation is mandatory - you can read this, and I can confirm it. "Good preparation" basically means that you compile a list of the objects that you would like to observe, and to find out where and how the objects can be found.

Is it it or not?

If you point your telescope with the help of the red dot finder approximately to the desired sky object, look into the eyepiece and see nothing or only "nebulous clouds," but not something that resembles the object in question, the question arises: Is the sky too light-polluted that I can recognize the object or does the telescope point in the wrong direction? Admittedly, I was - even after repeated attempts - not able to clarify this question for some of the objects that I tried to observe manually.

 

References

All the star maps were created with SkySafari Pro for Apple Macintosh.

Books

On this Website

 

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gerd (at) waloszek (dot) de

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10.06.2019