The RASC Finest NGC’s
By Luca Vanzella
For Canadian astronomers, a natural progression for deep sky observing after the Messier Catalogue is the RASC Finest NGC List, a list of another 110 of the Finest NGC objects compiled by Alan Dyer and published by the RASC.
My record keeping was not the best until I started using SkySafari so my log of observing the Finest NGC’s has a few entries that required reviewing old emails and documents. Here is summary of the log.
My first observation was in April 2012 at Blackfoot with my brand new 12″ SkyWatcher GoTo Dobsonian telescope. But I didn’t really get going on the Finest NGC’s until a fine night in September 2012 when I got 16 objects. In February 2013 in Arizona I was able to log 63 objects in two very productive nights with a friend’s 11″ Celestron CPC goto telescope. The project slowed a bit in 2013 as I only picked up 19 objects in August (8) September (only 1!) and December (10). The project really slowed to a crawl in 2014 (not sure why) with only 2 objects in August at Blackfoot.
By August 2015 at Saskatchewan Summer Star Party (SSSP), I had observed all but six objects in the RASC Finest NGC list. By then I had decided that my next observing project would be the Herschel 400 and I would pick up the remaining Finest NGC’s along the way. In August 2016 at SSSP, I got four of the remaining objects and I bagged the final two in March 2017 after an aborted Bimarathon in Maui. Or so I thought.
When assembling the observing log for this project, I noticed that my September 2012 comment for NGC 281 (Pacman Nebula) says “Got the field, but could not see the nebula.” I guess I am not finished! [As of April 2020, even after finishing the Herschel 400, I have not observed NGC 281].
As the RASC Finest NGC List contains 83 objects that are also in the Herschel 400, completing the former makes significant headway on the latter.
Elapsed time to complete project: 4 years, 11 months, 4 days
- Started: April 21, 2012 (NGC 4216)
- Ended: March 25, 2017 (NGC 4214)
- The bulk of the observations (104 objects) were made in about 3 years from September 2012 to August 2015.
Most Productive Sessions: 3 (89 objects)
- 63 February 5,6,7, 2013 at Kelly’s Place (Arizona)
- 16 September 17, 2012 at Blackfoot (Alberta)
- 10 December 1,2,3 2013 at Arizona Sky Village
Number of observing sites: 5
- 1 in Alberta
- 1 in Maui
- 1 in Saskatchewan
- 2 in Arizona
Number of Telescopes Used: 3
- My 10″ Genstar (Newtonian Reflector)
- A friend’s 11″ Celestron CPC (Schmidt-Cassegrain) (thanks Sheldon and Kelly!)
- My 12″ SkyWatcher (Newtonian Reflector)
Most Used Eyepiece: It was likely the 10mm Televue Delos (I did not always note this bit).
© 2020 Luca Vanzella
Featured Image © Tenho Tuomi