(IAAC) Obj: IC 349 (Barnard's Merope Nebula) - Inst: 14.5" f/6


Observer: Susan C. French
Your skills: Advanced (many years)
Date/time of observation: 2/3, 2/8, 2/9/99; 7:30, 9:30, 7 pm EDT
Location of site: West Glenville, NY (Lat 42.9, Elev 1000ft.)
Site classification: Exurban
Sky darkness: good <Limiting magnitude>
Seeing: g, p, p <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)>
Moon presence: None - moon not in sky
Instrument: 14.5" f/6
Magnification: 10.4mm w/occulting bar
Filter(s): no filter
Object(s): IC 349 (Barnard's Merope Nebula)
Category: Reflection nebula.
Constellation: Tau
Data: mag 13  size 30"
Position: RA 03:46.5  DEC +23:56.3
I decided to enter this one because I don't know any other amateur who
has observed it.  IC 349 is sometimes confused with the Merope Nebula,
but it is not.  IC 349 it a small, brighter patch within the Merope
Nebula discovered in 1890 by E. E. Barnard.  (I have the discovery
article in front of me as I type.)  It is only 30 arc seconds in
diameter and lies 36 arc seconds south and 9 arc seconds west of the
bright star Merope.  For this reason, I used an occulting bar in my
eyepiece to block out the glare from Merope.  I rotated the tube of my
telescope so that the diffraction spikes would straddle that object.
I left the scope's drive off, and oriented the occulting bar so that
Merope would gradually drift deeper into it.  On the first night I
though I could see IC 349, but wanted to try again.  On the second
night I could frequently spot it.  For comparison, I examined the area
between the opposing diffraction spikes (i.e. north of Merope) and saw
nothing.  On the third night, it almost looked too easy When the
occluting bar was arranged just right, I could see a small brighter
patch on every pass.  Checking for scattered light once again, I
examined the area between the opposite pair of diffraction spikes.
Nothing like this was seen over several repetitions of letting Merope
drift alond the opposite side fo the occulting bar.  These were not
exceptionally transparent nights.  9 Pleiads were easy to the naked
eye.  One more was a little tougher, and two more were possible.
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