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addendum Re: Herschel 400 progress

PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:07 pm
by rene-gedaly
**** Okay you nit-pickers, whippersnappers, curmudgeons, etc. No, it's not entirely what wikipedia has listed as Bortle 3, but what I saw that night was closer to Bortle 3 than Bortle 4. We are probably at the point unfortunately where we need a Bortle 3.5 just as we have Bortle 4.5, etc. Just know that a couple of days before I had had an earnest discussion with a fine observer of many years about whether to go back and star hop the 30 or so Herschel objects I had not star hopped to. He advised me not to go back. I was still on the fence. However, when presented with the awe-inspiring universe that was that night, I choose not only to <not> star hop, but to Go-To-It with a vengeance. I had seen many of these objects before, a kind of two in the view thing that I put aside and didn't log as it would slow me down in the mighty quest of list completion. But this was seeing on a whole different level. Not astronomical seeing, but communing. I was in the zone and felt no pain, little fatigue. My wish is that you, too, experience that kind of wonderment in this hobby.

Dare I post this? I'm not usually timid but this does give me pause.

Last night at the HAS Dark Site was a truly wondrous night for astronomy, absolutely for the visual astronomer but also for the astroimager, I was told. The sky quality ranged from 21.27 to 21.34 over a seven hour period. That's Bortle 3***, the qualitative scale we're more accustomed to. I've been taking quantitative measures off and on for a couple of years with a Unihedron SQM and now an SQM-L meter which measures in mags/arcsec**2.

Pasteur said "Dans les champs de l'observation le hasard ne favorise que les esprits préparés." Chance favors the prepared mind is one translation.

I'd changed the way I study the Herschel list, frankly because it was getting a little boring and tedious. I switched from studying objects in "RA list form" to taking in the sky constellation by constellation. I've also rediscovered the Night Sky Observer's Guides and a new to me treasure Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders. I do have O'Meara's Herschel 400 Observing Guide but, while excellent, uses an approach I'm moving away from--but will likely return to at some time.

Enough hedging. I viewed, verified, and logged 88 Herschel objects in one night. That's about one object every four and a half minutes. Now that's not how I did it, I moved around in little neighborhoods, but I could not have done so without the finely tuned AstroPhysics mounted C14 (thank you, Chris Ober and observatory team). But that's the average of what was done over seven hours of the best observing in one night I've experienced.

22 to go.

Re: Herschel 400 progress

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:35 pm
by owiens
I have one left, NGC7814, mag 11.6 galaxy. I'll get that sucker this summer.

Re: Herschel 400 progress

PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:31 am
by rene-gedaly
owiens wrote:I have one left, NGC7814, mag 11.6 galaxy. I'll get that sucker this summer.

Orv, that's wild! Sbr can be tough but as you know there are tougher. I spotted this one at an ESP.

Re: Herschel 400 progress

PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 2:27 pm
by rene-gedaly
Now this is more like it: I saw one, just one, Herschel last night. By accident looking at the transit shadow of Jupiter during class at the observatory. You know what they say, the last 20 are the hardest.

380 observed; 20 to go.

Re: Herschel 400 progress

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:48 pm
by rene-gedaly
Done. :D
Only took me 8 years. 257 objects star-hopped, 143 objects via GoTo.

Observing locations: Anahuac, Columbus, Eldorado, Fort Davis, Galveston, and Montgomery, Texas.
Resources (for advance study, planning, and verification): Kepple et al The Night Sky Observer's Guide Vols 1, 2, 3; O'Meara's Herschel 400 Observing Guide.

Re: Herschel 400 progress

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:34 pm
by stephen-jones
Just saw this. Congrats Rene!

Re: Herschel 400 progress

PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:47 pm
by clamison
My congratulations too Rene! Amelia told me last month to start logging the NGC's I came across while doing the Messiers in Virgo since I was going to need them. I probably have a few but will need to see which ones. Enjoyed the comments in all these posts and was inspired and daunted by turns. Still need to wrap up the Messiers however before I get serious about the 400.

Craig Lamison

Re: Herschel 400 progress

PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:57 pm
by owiens
Congratulations Rene! Way to go!

I just finished my last object July 14. I'm submitting to Doug McCormick for approval.

Re: Herschel 400 progress

PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:20 am
by rene-gedaly
Congrats, Orv! Saw your name in the latest Reflector. :D