(IAAC) Obj: M-76 - Inst: 20" Starmaster F 4.5 GOTO/Tracking Dob

Observation Poster: Mike Myer <mdmyer@humboldtks.com>
Observer: Mike Myer
Your skills: Advanced (many years)
Date/time of observation: 5 DEC 2001 8:30pm CST
Location of site: Humboldt Kansas (Lat , Elev )
Site classification: Rural
Sky darkness: 7 of 10 <1-10 Scale (10 best)>
Seeing: 6 of 10 <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)>
Moon presence: None - moon not in sky
Instrument: 20" Starmaster F 4.5 GOTO/Tracking  Dob
Magnification: 161 to 675
Filter(s): None
Object(s): M-76
Category: Planetary nebula.
Class: Planetary Nebula
Constellation: Per
Data: mag 12.2  size 67"
Position: RA 01:42  DEC +51:34
At 161x, 2" Paracorr and 16mm Nalger, I could see the two distince lobes and I noticed the western lobe was brighter. This lobe was round but it seemed there was a brighter area in the shape of a flat oval that ran across the lobe and near the center of the lobe. There was a faint star right outside the western lobe, the nebula did not extend to the star. I thought I was seeing a star in the western lobe as well as a fainter one in the eastern lobe. The stars inside the lobes seem to come and go with the seeing, the one outside the lobe was steady.
Increasing the power to 290, Paracorr and 9mm Nagler, I was seeing knots and patches of nebula across the western lobe. The eastern lobe also had a brighter area but it was not as noticable. The eastern lobes brightness seemed to be in a triangle shape. At 500x, 2" 2x Big Barlow and the 9mm Nagler I thought I was seeing another star in the nebula, this one was at the center of the whole nebula or at the place where the two lobes come together. This star came and went with the seeing but I was seeing it often enough that I was sure it was there.
I wanted to observe a higher power so I installed a 1 1/4" 3x barlow in the 2" 2x Big Barlow and installed a 20mm Meade Research Grade Erfle, 675x. This did not seem to help with the star at the center of the nebula, it still came and went with the seeing. I could see what appeared as mottling or dark knots across the brighter area of the western lobe. All of these observations were made without a filter.
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