Saturday, 19 May 2018

NGC3242 PN "Ghost of Jupiter"

Burnham writes “This is a fine PN, easily located 1.8”deg south of star Mu Hydrae. In the small telescope it shows as a pale bluish disc about 40” x 35”, appearing like a “Ghost of Jupiter”. The total magnitude is about 9; the central star is 11.4 visually. 
      Several logs of this  PN  were merged in a coloured sketch on black paper. “Ghost” is one of the most complex PNe I've attempted. It has at least four distinct parts:
     Outer Halo. Almost circular but  faint, maybe 20% the brightness of the central Ellipse. The Ellipse. This is a bright shape three times longer than its width – and fits neatly in the Halo. Inside this is the Iris: an almost circular ring, at least twice as bright as the Ellipse. A star-like 'thing' lies at the E end of the Iris. The central star was not seen but another 'thing' might lie at the W end. More work needed!

Friday, 23 March 2018

Summer's Blue PN: NGC3918

Southern summer has the Carina end of the 'Carina-Sagittarius' galaxy arm high overhead. Rich and dusty, it is packed with remarkable nebulae and star-fields. This 'gem' needs some magnification, but is I think the brightest and bluist of any PNe I've seen. No one else sees a central dimmer region! As summer advances we see more and more of this dense galactic arm until mid-winter,  when we gaze toward the MWG core.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

M42 in pencil

This Summer nebula brings to mind 1960's school days - and  first views with a friend's 4inch 'scope. I took a lot of photos. Yet this 2010 pencil sketch seems more natural - why? The bright stars have been tweaked with software to suggest their dazzling presence. Specs: 10in. F5. H-beta filter, at an urban site.

Planetary Neb in M46

Planetary nebulae are elusive targets - and can be more so if  sited amid bright stars. This one adorns star cluster M46 (NGC2438). Often a narrow-field e.p. helps reduce competing glare. This is a pencil sketch but the stars have been enhanced to show their true sparkle: its a beautiful cluster, but we see just a small part here. The nebula is a chance alignment and the 'central' star is unrelated to it.