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Saturday, August 30 2008, Marsha, Randy, Jane, Bill and I met at Atwater to caravan up to Plettstone.  We arrived to a gathering of about 10 other TACos already setup with scopes ranging from 8” to 18”.  This is a great and rare gathering of a small group of TAC and TAC-Sac observers.  All but two were setup in front of Michelle and Paul’s driveway.  There were quite a few 18” reflectors, at least 5.

 Thanks again to our gracious hosts, Michelle Stone and Paul Plett for inviting us, TACos to their property in the Sierra foothills, just outside of Yosemite.    They served burgers, sausages and drinks.  We supplied the sides, chips and dessert.  I had a good time.

As far as I can remember, the folks up there other than the hosts were;
Mark Wagner – 18” Obsession
Richard Navarette – 18” Obsession and 4” TV-101
Rashad Al-Mansour – 16” NightSky
Randy Muller – 18” Starmaster
Bill Porte – 18” Plettstone
Marsha Robinson and Jane Smith – 14.5” Starmaster
Greg LaFlamme – 16” and 12” Homebuilt Highe-style scope
Rob Hawley – 18” Homebuilt Highe-style scope and another scope
Bob Jardine – 18” or 16” Plettstone
Scott Baker – 14.5” Starmaster
Elisabeth Oppenheimer – 8” Starhopper and 4.5” Starblast
One guy setup near me with a 10” Orion.  Sorry forget his name.
Joe Lin plus 2 or 3 others came back at midnight – Don’t know what scope he had
Alvin Huey – 22” homebuilt
At least 6 other visitors.

 Anyways, on to my OR.  I decided to ramble on some obscure planetaries and one NGC.  Many of these are first observations.

Minkowski 4-11  (18 54 17.7  -10 05 10  mag 14.9p   mag* 18.7  size 21”)

22" - At 306x, it is picked up as a faint, round, even surface brightness glow. It is a little brighter on the east end.  About 20” across.  The 18.0 magnitude central star not detected even at 460x.  A collinear set of 13-14th magnitude stars lies NW.  Responds well to O-III.

Minkowski 4-9  (18 14 18.3  -04 59 22   mag 16.0p   mag* 20.3   size 54”)

22" - At 306x, it appears as a considerably faint, round glow with a slightly darker center and well defined outer edges.  About 45” across.  The 20.3 magnitude central star was not detected.  It responds well to O-III.  An 11.0 magnitude star lies 5.5’ west and 11.7 magnitude star lies 5.4’ SSE

Kohoutek 3-4  (18 31 00.3  +02 25 23   mag 15.7p   mag* -   size 20”)

22" - It appears as a faint, round, even surface brightness glow with well defined edges at 306x.  Smallish at about 15” across.  No central star detected.  It responds well to O-III filter.  A 10.6 magnitude star lies 1.9’ NNE.

Minkowski 4-15  (19 32 57.8  +26 52 41   mag 16.9p   mag* -   size 35x7”)

22" - After I located the field, I scanned the area without the O-III filter and did not detect it.  Then employing the O-III filter at 306x, this strange planetary is finally picked up as a very faint, thin streak.  It is about 30” across and less than 10” thick.  PA = 80.  A 30-60-right triangle of 14th magnitude stars lies NE.

Wein 1-9  (20 09 04.7  +26 26 55   mag-   mag*  21.0   size 24”)

22" - At 460x, it was intermittingly picked up as an extremely faint, small round glow.   It is visible only 50% of the time with averted vision.  About 25” across.  A 15th magnitude star lies 45” SSW.

Sharpless 2-80  (19 11 30.9  +16 51 35   mag 8.2IR   Mag* 11.1  size 1.8’)

22" - At 115x and 230x, Merrill’s Star was easily found, but the nebula was not detected.   I tried both the Orion UltraBlock and Lumicon O-III but no avail.  I did not try the H-beta filter.

Sharpless 2-71  (19 02 00.0  +02 09 23   mag 12.2p   mag* 13.7   size 2.6x1.5’)

At 115 and 230x , the irregular planetary appeared as a faint, irregular 3:1 elongated patch with an off-centered bright “double” central star, located on the west edge.  The separation of the double star is about 12” and the north is about 50% brighter.  The detached east end is parallel and about half the size of the main piece and is extremely faint.  The brighter half is 1.6’ long and fainter piece is 0.9’ long.  PA = 0.  The next object, PK 36-1.2, lies just 55’ NNE.

PK 36-1.2  (19 02 59.4  +03 02 20   mag-   mag* -    size 12”)

At 460x, it is picked up as a very faint, very small, round glow.  About 9” across.  A 16th magnitude star lies less than 10” away to the NW.

PK 35-0.1  (18 58 10.6  +01 36 55   mag 12.8 IR   mag* 15.1    size 30”)

The field was easily located, but the object was not seen with any magnification between 115 and 306x.  The central star is easily located.  It is located at the 60 degree angle of a 30-60-right triangle of stars.

Jones 1  (23 35 53.6  30 28 02   mag 15.1   mag* 16.1   size 5.3’)

This object is a treat to view after observing some of the tougher planetaries earlier in the evening.  It appears as a considerably bright round structure with two bright lobes at 115x.  The north lobe is slightly brighter.  Both lobes are about 2.5’ long.  The rest of the PNe is mottled.  Best with O-III.  Five stars occupy the center.  The central star was one of them, the middle of the set of three collinear stars.  6 other stars were detected within the disk.  At the west end of each lobe is a 13 or 14th magnitude star.  About 5’ across.

Minkowski 2-55  (23 31 51.5  +70 22 16   mag 14.3p   mag* 21.1   size 63x45”)

At 306x, this object appeared as a considerably faint, round glow with even surface brightness with well defined edges.  The central star was not detected.  It responds well to the O-III filter.  About 40” across.  The two extensions to the NE and SW were not detected.

NGC 40  (00 13 00.9  +72 31 19   mag 10.7p   mag* 11.5   size 70x60”)

I went after this as I noticed that there was a faint extension to the NE on the DSS image.  The main planetary is very pretty, with several dark lobes.  Two bright arcs were detected on the west and east sides.  The central star is very bright.  The “extension” was not detected.

Minkowski 1-80  (22 56 19.9  +57 09 20   mag 14.0p   mag* -   size 8”)

At 115x, it appeared stellar and after increasing the magnification to 230x, it appeared as a distinctly non-stellar round glow.  Responds well with O-III.  About 8” across.  It forms a rough box with three other stars ranging from 10 to 13th magnitude.

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