2012 10 20 – NGC 6960 / H 5.15

2012 10 20, 0600 UT NGC 6960 / H 5.15
16” Zhumell reflector f/4.5, 13mm Ethos, 138x, OIII filter
51F, 57% H, S: P6, T: 4/5, Alt 30deg 54´, Az 289deg 32´

Supernova remnant and emission nebula in Cygnus, 20h 45m 58.1s, +30º 35′ 43″, 70.0’x6.0′, also cataloged as LBN 191, GN, Sh2-109, h 2088, GC 4600.

The Veil Nebula is part of the Cygnus Loop and consists of NGC 6960 (Western Veil or Witch’s Broom); NGC 6992, NGC 6995, and IC 1340 (Eastern Veil); Pickering’s Triangle, NGC 6974 and NGC 6979 (northern central segments). The use of an OIII filter brings out stunning details, especially with increased aperture.

An OIII coupled with my 13mm Ethos was used during this observation in the northern portion of the Western Veil along the 16” f/4.5 reflector at 138x magnification. I distinctly remember seeing a bright blue star, but to my dismay, I didn’t record which star it was in my notes. There was luminosity around 52 Cygni reaching out to the 11th magnitude stars to the western vicinity. Two strands of nebulosity reached to the south from 52 Cygni with fainter wisps surrounding those strands. Once they reached HIP102468, there were three distinct strands narrowing back into one bright one as it curved back to 11th magnitude star TYC2687-1760-1. (Drat, I just noticed that I didn’t depict the magnitude of that star very well in my sketch as it looks to be more of a 9-10th magnitude star.) Faint wisps of nebulosity reached to the east of that star. The Western Veil continues on southward but is omitted from my sketch and its FOV.
Moving to the north, the nebulosity thickens and expands to the east of 52 Cygni, then segments quite a bit. There is a distinct “V” shape where it then splits off into three strands as it travels north with a couple faint stars speckling the eastern edges nearly halfway between 52 Cygni and 8th magnitude star TYC2687-801-1 to the north where the strands of nebulosity gradually go back to two and then one as it reaches beyond that 8th magnitude star.

For comparison, below is a photo Paul took of the entire Western Veil several years ago:

Image credit of Western Veil: Paul Rix

Other resources:
NGC/IC Project
Wikipedia – Cygnus Loop

Eyepiece sketch on white photocopy paper with black super-fine felt tipped pen for and #2 pencil, blending stump for the nebulosity. Template is from the Astronomical League.

Sketch before inverting


~ by Erika Rix on October 23, 2012.

5 Responses to “2012 10 20 – NGC 6960 / H 5.15”

  1. This is very beautifully done. How have you come to know and organize the magnitude of the stars in each drawing? This is one of the things I have the most trouble with. Is it just something you learn over time? Do you have a little personal chart somewhere–graduated dots corresponding to each magnitude?

  2. Hi Esther and thanks! Magnitudes are always tricky to represent in field sketches. An easy way to represent magnitudes in the sketch is to compare a star’s size and brightness with other stars in the FOV as well as the size of the target object. One way is to record the magnitude is by applying more or less pressure and twist on the pencil depending on how bright you want that star to be.

    I struggle with that method in that my brightest stars are still dull looking after scanning and blend in with the other field stars. Because of this, I use a super-fine felt tipped artist pen (Faber-Castell) to depict the brightest stars, a #2 pencil for the medium-to-faint stars and a 0.5mm mechanical pencil for the faintest stars. After scanning the sketch, I compare the magnitudes with star maps or software such as Starry Nights Pro Plus to see how close I was to what they really are. This spurs me to be more diligent for accuracy in my future sessions. 🙂

  3. Thank you for your thoughts. I am using the Mellish technique, so need to find other options, but checking with software and star maps is a good plan and should be very helpful.

  4. Nice sketch Erika! This part always reminds me of a “hollow tube” when I view it.

  5. Thanks, Markus! It does kind of look like a hollow tube, now that you mention it. 🙂

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