Equipment: 16” Dobsonian, 55mm, 6mm, 12mm TeleVue eyepieces, Paracorr.
New objects observed: NGC 4216, NGC 4251, NGC 4278, NGC 4274, NGC 4283, NGC 4526, NGC 4414
Previously viewed objects: None. All new things this time.
The weather’s been pretty nice here over these last few days. Now that I’ve observed all of the Messier objects, I decided to take a crack at the Herschel 400. Everything I was looking for this night was pretty difficult; there were a number of galaxies that I was looking for that I never was able to definitely find, but I was able to find many of the ones I did set out to find. Most of the galaxies I found were 9th to 10th magnitude, but one (NGC 4283) was 12th. I didn’t expect to be able to see something that dim from my house in the city, but I kept seeing it with averted vision while looking at NGC 4274. I think it was just in a really good spot in the sky.
I fell into a general routine while looking for galaxies of this magnitude with the light pollution issues I have. I had a fair amount of success with using the 55mm eyepiece to look around at the general area until I could find where I thought the galaxy was. Sometimes I could just see it with the 55mm eyepiece, but sometimes if I couldn’t see it with the 55mm I could with the 12mm TeleVue, so once I found the general area the galaxy ought to be I’d pop the 12mm TV in and look around with that. Sometimes it didn’t work, but generally this process worked pretty well. I had to use averted vision a lot, however; these were pretty dim galaxies, after all. At one point I tried using the 6mm eyepiece when the 12mm TV wasn’t cutting it, but it didn’t actually help. I think I’m getting spoiled by the big eyepieces.
I also used the Paracorr coma corrector again for the first time in a while. It does help smooth the view out and didn’t seem to hinder finding the galaxies too much. It does narrow the field of view, though, which is why I don’t always use it. Still, it makes the stars look more point-like, which is always nice.