(IAAC) Object: M76 - Inst: Newt 4.2" f/4.25

Observer: Lew Gramer
Your skills: Intermediate
Date and UT of Observation: 1996-11-12, 06:00 UT
Location: Medford, MA, USA (42N)
Site classification: urban
Limiting magnitude: 5.5
Seeing: 2 - good
Moon up: no
Instrument: Newt Reflector 4.2" f/4.25 (AstroScan)
Magnification: 20x, 40x, 65x
Filters used: None and Lumicon DeepSky
Object: M76
Category: Planetary Nebula
Constellation: Per
Data: mag 11.5?  size 2x1'
RA/DE: 1h42m  +51o34m
Under these less-than-ideal conditions, I was able to
spot the famous tiny planetary only with GREAT difficulty.
It was invisible at both 20x and 65x (even in the sweet
spot of the higher-power Ploessl), and SEEMED invisible
at 40x in the 12mm Nagler. But a session of slow, heavy
breathing, coupled with fixated averted vision, suddenly
brought out a mag 12(?) star into view just S of M76's
location, and out popped the planetary! (I wasn't hyper
ventilating and hallucinating, I swear. :>) The PN was
elongated roughly 2' by 1' ESE-WNW, and even a hint of
the famous "lobes" could be perceived. Below is a rough(!)
ASCII sketch of the field, with stellar mags noted in (),
for observers cursed with conditions similar to these:
     .(11)    '(12)       / (dir to Phi Per)
.            {M76}  o(8.5)

Karen Simmons & Lew Gramer dedalus@alum.mit.edu http://www.tiac.net/users/lewkaren