(IAAC) Obj: Hickson 50, Abell 2065, M104, M13, many others - Inst: 82" f13.1 cass. focus

Observer: Paul Alsing
Your skills: Intermediate (some years)
Date/time of observation: 5/2/00
Location of site: Mc Donald Observatory, near Ft. Davis, Texas (Lat 31 N, Elev 6700)
Site classification: Rural
Sky darkness: 9 <1-10 Scale (10 best)>
Seeing: 9 <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)>
Moon presence: None - moon not in sky
Instrument: 82"  f13.1 cass. focus
Magnification: 847
Filter(s): none
Object(s): Hickson 50, Abell 2065, M104, M13, many others
Category: Other.
Constellation: many
Data: mag   size 
Position: RA :  DEC :
I had the great opportunity, along with 27 others, of spending an
entire night, dusk 'till dawn, at the eyepiece of the 82" telescope at
the McDonald Observatory near Ft. Davis, Tx, during the week of the
Texas Star Party. Rather than submit a separate observation for each
object, I thought I would share a narration of the highlights.
We started off by splitting Castor, to evaluate the nights' seeing. In
the 5 minute field of view it looked as though we could have driven a
bus between the components. I would estimate that we easily had
sub-arcsecond seeing.
Next on the list was the Ghost of Jupiter Planetary. This object
completely filled the field of view. The inside was comprised of
several overlapping crepe rings of a pastel blue-green color. I know
they were overlapping because the color was much more intense at those
overlaps, and the delineation was razor sharp. Around the outside of
the nebula was a ring that I can only describe as a race track, a wide
oval with well defined edges, but with the color now being a brilliant
rose hue. The most colorful object of the entire night.
Several observers requested that the galaxy group Hickson 50 be on the
night's list because it is the faintest of all Hickson's, and will
probably never be seen by the vast majority of amateurs. Even in the
82" it was not impressive.  I personally saw 3, maybe 4 galaxies, but
all were very faint. But good enough to log on my Hickson list! The
brightest of the group is mag. 18.4, and there are a total of 5 in the
For the same reason, I asked to look at the Corona Borealis galaxy
cluster, Abell 2065, because of the faintness of it's members. With
over 200 members in the cluster, our tiny 5 arcminute field yielded
somewhere between 6 and 8 galaxies to my old eyes, although I must add
that most people only saw 3 or 4. The brightest in this cluster is a
whopping 16.5!
We also looked at some of the more popular objects in the sky. M104
was staggering, even though it spans about 16 arcseconds. We could
only look at the middle third, but that was enough. The dust lane
through M104 looked as if someone had carefully removed part of the
galaxy with a razor blade, the edges were that clean. What also
impressed me was that in real-time, with the large aperture, the
smaller portion of that galaxy is really small, compared to how it
looks on photographs.
NGC 4565 was much the same, with only the central bulge and most of
one side only being able to fit into the field. But in this case, the
prominent dust lane clearly had a very turbulent edge, with lots of
swirls and whorls evident all along it's length.
I have more, but I will need to refer to my notes to do them justice,
and my notes are not with me now. Another time.
Optional related URLs: 
** This observing log automatically submitted via the Web from:
To UNSUBSCRIBE from the 'netastrocatalog' lists, use the Web form at: