(IAAC) Obj: NGC1647, M42 - Inst: Orion Optics UK 10" F4.8 Vixen GP/DX

Observation Poster: Barry Sharpe <barry.sharpe@btinternet.com>
Observer: Barry Sharpe
Your skills: Beginner (< one year)
Date/time of observation: 26 November 2001
Location of site: Hertfordhsire England (Lat 53:27:0, Elev 02:31:0)
Site classification: Suburban
Sky darkness: 5 <Limiting magnitude>
Seeing: 7 <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)>
Moon presence: Major - gibbous or near object
Instrument: Orion Optics UK 10" F4.8 Vixen GP/DX
Magnification: 25mm, 12 1/2mm, 10mm, 5mm 
Filter(s): Moon
Object(s): NGC1647, M42
Category: Open cluster. Reflection nebula.
Constellation: Tau, Ori, Aries
Data: mag   size 
Position: RA :  DEC :
Weather Conditions	
Weather cold about 0c No noticeable cloud but some ground frost and fog makes seeing very difficult.
Moon Phase		
Ύ moon, very bright moonlight has drowned out all of the southern side of pieces,   
Conditions Noted		
My backyard, south facing, town house Welwyn Garden City, England 	Orange haze from town lights, scale 1= bad – 10 = Good visibility = 7 a lot of moonshine but manageable.
General Outline		
It has seemed ages since we have had a clear sky, so I will not waste this one. This has been an opportunistic moment so not much pre work covered. However I have new equipment to be listed 1 10mm plossi and one new all aluminium case for eyepieces. Both bits of equipment will be tested tonight. My plan tonight as an opportunistic act will be to do some lunar observations and test new equipment, M42, Betelgeuse, the belt stars and the surrounding area. Also I will try to find an as yet unknown object I had located in my 7*50 binoculars almost one year ago right by Rigel. And lastly I will attempt M74.     
Pre Work
19:21 – Started Sighted moon really easily. Used 25mm on my f4.8 10-inch scope. Looks bright, all the mares are easily identifiable plus large craters. I am adding my Barlow *2 to the 25mm which gives me 12 ½ mm. I can now see more craters and some obvious white spots, which looks like they have been thrown out in a symmetrical pattern from Tyco. Now using my 10mm plossi superb lens see the dimples inside some of the larger craters especially Tyco, I can make out some mountain ranges and more detail can be seen inside the mares themselves. Will now add Barlow *2 to the 10mm plossi effective 5mm eyepiece size. Very bright almost too bright will add moon filter to the eyepiece that is in fact much better, just letting the moon roll across my FOV the detail in the craters is excellent most satisfied with the outcome. 
19:40 – My next target is the M74 spiral galaxy face on spiral I am informed. Will start with 25mm plossi. Not having much luck with M74 2 possible reasons one I am in the wrong area or 2 the moonshine has overcome the galaxy. Either is possible. I will have to switch to something else. 
19:54 – My next target I decide is Saturn, I managed to get Saturn very easily actually my first view with the 25mm shows the ring system barely with no identifiable features, and a milky coloured type planet which does seem squished at the poles. On to the 12-½ mm eyepiece can now make out the Cassini division very well but the planets appearance is much the same, if not just a little larger in the FOV. Swapped to the 10mm eyepiece Horrible maybe conditions is not good enough noticing some ground frost and slight fog appearing at low levels. Change to 5mm even worse not surprising really could not even get a proper image. 
19:57 – Orion has not raised his sleepy head at the moment, so will now try a look at the comet which is WM1Linear 2001, will try with 25mm eyepiece as comet magnitude is said to be about 5.3. 
20:08 - Well I thought I had it but not so sure the blue tinge to it has suggested that I may have just located a star. I am not sure what to expect really will I be able to notice the tale or will it be a very faint object that will only show itself by it’s movement through the sky.  
20:17 – Still have not got far with the comet. However I will continue to try. I have a 6 * 30 finder scope this has got to go!!! Will rest my back a little try again in 10 minutes
20:37 – Still no luck with this comet but for some reason I cannot let it go. I feel I am in the right area in Aries but I have trouble relating what’s on the screen on Skymap pro 8.0 demo version with objects in the sky I reckon Skymap Pro screen size is of sever limitation for a newbie like myself. 
20:56 – Still no luck with the comet I have given it a good go but will leave it there until another night.
21:04 – I have gone back to Saturn as it is much higher in the sky I may getter a better image. Went straight to the 5mm option but still no better. Went to 10mm no better my best view of this planet tonight is with a 12 1/2mm.
21:08 – Skymap pro 8 has an excellent utility if you create a view of a constellation it gives you various objects not listed on the main screen. I did this with Taurus and have noted that just south of Saturn is an open cluster called NGC 1647 have no idea what this looks like so will try to find with 25mm eyepiece. Found it at last a deep sky object, my very first that I have single headedly found it feels good I have done some really horrid drawings of what I have seen.
21:41 – Made a big mistake with Saturn had moon filter on 10mm plossi what a plonker no wonder I had trouble getting a crisp image. Had a sweep again for M74. Still no luck, Is M74 and comet wm1 linear in the same part of the sky to within 15 deg of each other also I shall search the Internet for images of this comet. 
21:46 – Back to Saturn still a little blurred in 10mm but much better. Notice the rings and the FOV on the 5mm I can’t get all the moons in the same FOV which is quiet something and has just reinforced what it means to have a 10 inch scope.
21:47 – Guess what Jupiter is laid bare I have been meaning to give this planet some serious viewings and up until now I have been unable to. This is surly a stately planet in 25mm the two heavy bands on Jupiter can be seen clearly, when I use my 10mm I can see more bands in the north and south equatorial regions. Jupiter is the jewel in the crown as far as I am concerned. And I will have many more nights with this planet on a one to one basis. Sounds like a certain mobile phone advert. In my quest for M74 that I still have not found. However, I have managed to split  (eta pie) into a double of blue white stars with a 12-½ mm plossi on the above scope. Tried a higher magnification in my search for M74.
21:59 – On to M42 now that Orion is fairly high in the sky, located it no problems but still quiet low in the horizon split (theta Ori) into the trapezium of 4 stars could not split into 6 is there 6 I think I read somewhere that may be the case. However, after applying my 10mm plossi I still could not get no more than 4 stars. M42 looks like it cradles the trapezium stars which is significant considering it is the mother of the above stars. Romanticism
Questions Raised
How to locate M74?
How to locate comet WM1 linear 2001?
How many stars to the trapezium?
Questions Answered:
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