Deep Sky Winter Observations January/February 2021

Conditions | Observation Overview | List of Observed Sky Objects | References

In January and February 2021, I did simple "deep-sky winter observations," which might be of interest to other beginners and are therefore described here. They took place in Mühlhausen/Kraichgau.

 

Conditions

Sky Region and Objects

In January and February 2021, I observed mostly the following sky area (some observed objects are indicated):

Click the map for a larger version - it opens in a new window (Image Courtesy of SkySafari Astronomy, www.simulationcurriculum.com)

Observation Time

The observations were done in January and February 2021, mostly directly after sunset.

Observation Location

The observations took place in Mühlhausen/Kraichgau (Germany):

Devices Used

I used the TLAPO1027 on the Star Discovery mount, the C5 on the AZ-GTi and AZ Pronto mounts, and the Skymax-127 on the AZ Pronto and the Star Discovery mounts. I also used the Sony RX10 M4 on the AZ-GTi and AZ Pronto mounts.

General Conditions

In Mühlhausen/Kraichgau, the sky was not particularly dark.

 

Observation Overview

Date
2021
Observed Objects Details, Remarks Further Observations and Remarks Devices Used Eyepieces Used
Jan 10
MH
OC: M 35, M 37, M 45
GN: M 42/43
Comparison C5 - Skymax-127:
M 42/43: C5 mostly with 2" zenith mirror and eyepieces (26, 40 mm); SM127 with 24, 25, 32 mm - both tubes on par
M 45: C5 with 40 mm, SM127 with 24 mm: C5 shows M 45 more or less completely (nice), SM127 only a section (nice as well, but not the same...)
M 35: C5 with 26 mm, SM127 with 24 mm - both tubes in par >> nice bent star chain
M 37: C5 with 26, 40, 16 mm, SM127 with 24 mm - SM127 better initially; C5 on par after I had added a dew cap (to prevent stray light) >> M37 small, like a nebula at small magnifications

Comparison C5 - TLAPO1027
M 42/43: C5 with 26 mm, TLAPO1027 with 16 mm - both tubes on par

Overall, the C5 did well (mostly used with 2" accessories), but the Skymax-127 is at least on par.

The TLAPO1027 refractor was somewhat disappointing at M 42 compared to the C5 - I expected it to be better...

C5 on AZ Pronto, Skymax-127 on AZ Pronto and Star Discovery, TLAPO1027 on Star Discovery 40, 32, 26, 24, 16 mm
Feb 11
MH
OC: M 45
GN: M 42/43
M 42 (several times, 1 s), M 45 (1 s) Photos taken with the Sony RX10 M4 on AZ Pronto

See page DSO Photos with Sony RX10 M4 - February 2021

Sony RX10 M4 on AZ Pronto mount ---
Feb 12
MH
OC: Mel 25, M 35, M 45, M 50
GN: M 42/43 , M 78, NGC 2024
1) Order: Constellation Orion (start photo), M 43/43 (two times), M 45 (Pleiades), Mel 25 (Hyades), M 35, Alnitak (NGC 2024, Flame Nebula; nebula invisible), M 78, M 50; all exposed with 1second

2) M 42/43 exposed with 5, 10, and 30 seconds

1) Photos taken with the Sony RX10 M4 on AZ-GTi (GoTo with handbox) with angle bracket for camera, exposed for 1 second

(2) Photos taken with the Sony RX10 M4 on AZ-GTi (GoTo with handbox) with angle bracket for camera, exposed 5, 10, and 30 seconds

See page DSO Photos with Sony RX10 M4 - February 2021

Sony RX10 M4 on the AZ-GTi mount ---
Feb 13
MH
OC: M 35, M 36, M 37, M 38, M 45, M 50
GN: M 42/43, M 78
Order of observations:
M 42/43: observed several times, got better over time
M 45: only a part visible in the eyepiece
M 35, M 36, M 37 (compact), M 38
M 78: very faint
"NGC 2044" was not accepted by the mount control; nothing to see around Alnitak, which I used instead... I was in error, I wanted to see NGC 2024 (Flame Nebula)! But there was nothing to see as well...
M 1: not found
M 50: initially hidden (too low), later found with some effort (tested with Sirius for the GoTo error; then I was able to find it...)
Crescent of the moon just visble (the dark area as well)

Starting at about 7 p.m. with C5 on AZ-GTi (handbox, 2 star alignment using Rigel and Castor), f/6.3 reducer/corrector and 24 mm eyepiece
The aligment was always a bit off, the wanted DSO too far to the left, but just visible in the eyepiece...

After 15 minutes tracking test, M 42/43 was lost in the eyepiece, but I was able to get it back by issuing a GoTo command for M 42/43 (it was nearly at the center after that); seemed to be wrong or no tracking???

C5 auf AZ-GTi, f/6.3 reducer/corrector, 1.25" visual back 24 mm

Bold: First observation during this observation period; all observations done in Mühlhausen/Kraichgau (MH); G = galaxy, OC = open star cluster, GC = globular star cluster, GN = galactic nebula, PN = planetary nebula, P = star pattern, DS = double star

 

List of Observed Sky Objects

Object details can be obtained via the links to the relevant deep sky objects.

DSO
Details
Name Constellation Type Bino* PS72 SM127 TLAPO
1027
C8 C8R C5 C5R RX Remarks
M 35   Gemini OC     yes       yes yes yes Nice, saw a star chain
M 36   Auriga OC               yes   Nice
M 37   Auriga OC     yes       yes yes   At low magnification like a nebula, smaller than M 35, most compact of M 36-38
M 38   Auriga OC               yes   Nice
M 42/43 Orion Nebula Orion GN     yes yes     yes yes yes Orion Nebula nice, my objective was in part to compare several of my telescopes.
M 45 Pleiades, Seven Sisters Taurus OC     yes       yes yes yes Nice, "rich field" with 40 mm at the C5 (2"); only a section wiuth the SM127
M 50   Monoceros OC               yes yes Found after some GoTo issues...
M 78   Orion GN               yes yes Very faint (photographed quite OK)
Mel 25 Hyades Taurus OC                 yes Large
NGC 2024 Flame Nebula Orion GN                 no Nothing to see, only Alnitak...

*) LT = 10 x 25 binoculars, TS = 10 x 60 binoculars; G = galaxy, OC = open star cluster, GC = globular star cluster, DS = double star, P = star pattern, GN = galactic nebula, PN = planetary nebula, MW = Milky Way, C = comet

 

References

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27.02.2021