The run of clear nights continues, but  consecutive Midnight starts is just too much during the week.  Fortunately, this evening was a Friday, so after a good night out at my local Astronomy club, it was still clear when I got back – so I opened up.
I’ve had another bash at drawing. I got a pencil assortment which contains one each of  2B, B, HB, H and 2H grades. While these seem OK, I think I still need something a lot softer to use to represent nebulosity and galaxies. From reading a few astronomical sketching blogs, it looks like I will also need a pointed eraser which will be needed to pick out those darker dust lanes within star fields and nebulosity as well as a piece of chamois used for blending and smoothing galaxies and nebulosity.
More on this subject once I’ve had a little more time to practice.
While there was no Moon, the afterglow from the Sun 13 degrees below the horizon, is washing out all but the brightest galaxies and nebula. At this time of year I really ought to be content to observe Open Clusters and leave the faint stuff for another month or so.

Session Data

Date: 20/06/2014 Time: 23:09 – 00:33 UT

Seeing: I Perfectly  Stable, Transparency: Mostly Clear. Temp: 14C,  Humidity 87%, Wind Speed: 7mph

Caldwell 2, NGC40

INGC40
NGC40-draw
In the Altair Astro 250mm, Delos 14mm, 145 X, 29.8′, West is to the 10 O’Clock.
I can see three bright stars forming and inverted triangle with C2 between the two and slightly above the baseline stars. These are SAO4061, ASCC760 and the point of the triangle is ASCC876 ( all shown in Red on the image).  Changing to the Altair Astro 250mm, Delos 10mm., 203 X, 21.3′, C2 has a stellar core and a faint outer halo. However, I now wish I had an eyepiece in the 6mm F/L range as I couldn’t make out the Bow Tie wings described in other observers notes.
All in all a bit disappointing, but at least I found it this time.

Caldwell 10, NGC663

NGC663
In the Altair Astro 250mm, Plossl 40mm, 51 X, 52′, West is to the 11 O’Clock.
What strikes you on first time of looking,  are three lovely Red/Orange  8.0 mag stars to the West and South (Marked red on the Image). On the other side of the cluster as two more White 9.0 mag stars ( Marked Green on the Image) to the North and S/E. These form a rough rectangle oriented N/W – S/E with the cluster in the centre. The Cluster itself is made up of about twenty 10.0 to 12.0 mag stars slightly elongated in the N/W – S/E direction. Running through the Cluster is a dark lane – devoid of stars that starts at the N/W side and arcs through the cluster towards the South. ( Marked Yellow on the Image). Switching to the Altair Astro 250mm, UWA 18mm, 113 X, 35.6′, doesn’t really offer anything more.

Caldwell 8, NGC559

NGC559
NGC559-draw
In the Altair Astro 250mm, UWA 18mm, 113 X, 35.6′, West is to the 11 O’Clock.
There are three bright stars on the FOV SAO11170 to the West, SAO11781 to the North and SAO11793 to the East( Marked red on the Image) There are a small grouping of faint stars around SAO11793 and seem to form their own little cluster. NGC559 in the centre of the FOV contains 3 or 4 brighter stars, but is basically formed around a loose cluster of fainter stars, some of which are unresolved producing a slight nebulous effect. The nebulous glow runs N/W to the edge of the FOV.  From the core, there are three stars heading to the N/W where they meet a zig-zag line of 5 to 6 stars forming a line running  N/E – S/W. The stars form a ‘T’ or slight ‘J’ asterism ( Marked Green on the Image).