(IAAC) Fwd: [RASCals] McNeil nebula

Here's a nice chronology of early observations of Jay
McNeil's now "famous" new cometary nebula in Orion, as
well as some handy observing tips for this object.

Forwarded without permission of the author.

Clear skies!

Lew Gramer
Webmaster: http://www.visualdeepsky.org

-----Original Message-----
From: Alan Whitman <...>
To: <rascals@lists...>
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2004 1:18 PM
Subject: re: [RASCals] McNeil nebula

>   Thomas Kovacs asked:
> >I've seen several reports of McN-1 being spotted by Canadians - but
> >there any idea who was the first? I lost track, but would that be (as
> >far as this list goes anyway, but I'd imagine it is pretty
> >Alan Whitman?
> These were the first reported visual observations of McNeil's Nebula
> worldwide on Amastro, Starrynights, and RASCals (don't know about
> lists such as AAVSO) in chronological order:
> Feb 11th
> Chuck Dethloff (the Oregon Star Party organizer and a custom telescope
> manufacturer) with his 24-inch Dobsonian from his rural backyard in
> north-west Oregon
> Feb 12th
> Alan Whitman with his 16-inch Newtonian from his rural backyard in the
> southern Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
> Feb 14th
> Barbara Wilson (probably the world's finest visual observer) with the
> 36-inch of light-polluted George Observatory in or near Houston,
> [Barbara signs herself "proud mama" in relation to Jay McNeil. I'm not
> sure whether she means that literally (their ages are right, I think),
> or whether she just means that she was Jay's mentor who took Jay to
> the Texas Star Party year after year when he was a teenager and taught
> him to be a leading-edge visual obserever.]
> Feb 15th
> Timo Karhula with a 17.5-inch in Sweden
> Later Feb 15th
> Dave Healey, Doug Snyder, Neal Galt, and Gary Myers with the 20-inch
> Ritchey Chretien of Dave Healey's Junk-Bond Observatory in Sierra
> Arizona. They also saw McNeil's Nebula in a 16-inch SCT and (barely)
> with a C-14.
> Feb 15th:
> Very experienced observer Bill Ferris wrote a VERY detailed report on
> Amastro and Starrynights (and even more detailed on his website, with
> accurate sketch) of his 10-inch observation  from Anderson Mesa,
> (a premier darksite outside Flagstaff).
> In the last four days probably a dozen or more people have seen the
> nebula including at least three Canadians, Vance Petriew, Larry Wood,
> Denis Boucher.
> Note that on Feb15th Wes Stone of Chiloquin, Oregon belatedly reported
> that he had seen McNeil's Nebula with his 10-inch back on Feb 11th
> same night that Chuck Dethloff did) but gave absolutely NO details --
> just mentioned it in passing on Starrynights. Dethloff (private
> communication) accepts Stone's belated claim as valid and he knows him
> as an observer from the Oregon Star Party. Stone has since made a
> observation with his 10-inch and gives proper details for the second
> observation.
> >And how about the smallest aperture used so far? I bet a 10" would do
> >it.
> There have been four reports of McNeil's Nebula being seen with a
> Wes Stone (two observations -- see above)
> Bill Ferris as detailed above
> Kenneth Drake of Willis, Texas on Feb 16th (reported by Barbara Wilson
> with a detailed followup report from Drake).
> Kent Blackwell of Virginia Beach saw it with his 10-inch from
> North Carolina AFTER having viewed it a night or two earlier with his
> 25-inch. He then stopped the aperture down to 9-inches and still saw
> McNeil's Nebula (which doesn't say that he could have found it from
> scratch with a 9-inch).
> All of the 10-inch scopes were Newtonian reflectors so I don't doubt
> someone will pull it in with a slightly smaller refractor eventually,
> it is at a fine dark site.
> The Herbig-Haro object HH 24-26 4 is located ONLY 6' SSW of NcNeil's
> Nebula and it is similar in size, BUT is easier to see. There have
> been several reports of success with McNeil's Nebula in which there
> was no sighting of HH 24-26 4 mentioned. Reports of observing
> McNeil's Nebula are very suspect if they don't report seeing the
> easier adjacent nebula HH 24-26 4, given the few FAINT stars that
> are available for starhopping in that heavily dust-obscured field.
> Best,
> Alan

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