Ghost Hunting

I got a little excited on the way to the observing site last night, as I thought the night looked quite crisp and clear. Unfortunately, the seeing wasn’t that great. These days I use M110 as a guideline to seeing, and it was barely visible through the 10” mirror. Hmmm.
I started with a new object. NGC 1333 is a reflection nebula on the border of three constellations, though it is actually in Perseus. it’s right by Aries and Taurus too. I found it tonight and though I’m happy to add it to my observation list, it is quite underwhelming in the eyepiece. I have noted it as a star in a triangle with stars of a similar magnitude; however the one star displays a haze, which is obviously the nebula. Not as rewarding as emission nebula M78 which I also visited tonight, and M78 could be said to be underwhelming also tonight.
Staying with reflection nebula, I did something I’ve been meaning to do for a while, and spent some time on the Pleiades looking for the nebulosity. I’ve never paid much attention to it before, preferring to view M45 in binos, but around the stars Alcyone and Atlas, it was very obvious they were lighting up clouds of cosmic gas. I should spend more telescopic time on this cluster, it’s wonderful.
On my ‘new to me’ hitlist was also ‘Mirach’s Ghost’, an apparently small galaxy that is right by the bright star in Andromeda. I couldn’t see it tonight but suspect a higher power eyepiece might be better. As usual I was lazily using the same 28mm eyepiece for the whole session.
I also spent some time around Alnitak to try and see the ‘Flame’ nebula, (or ‘The Ghost of Alnitak’ if you prefer, another ghost!). I could tell myself, at times, that I could see it. But that’s not good enough, and on a night when M110 is barely visible,  I think my chances of honestly seeing this faint nebula is slim. So it doesn’t get an entry in my ‘observed’ list.
M35 was superb tonight though, and the neighboring NGC 2158 cluster is so easily recognisable now, I wonder how I ever got confused by it.
I visited the ‘Poor Man’s Double Cluster’ again, and found M1 just to prove to myself how easy it is when you’re looking from the right star. It appeared quite dim, which is testament to the somewhat bright skies tonight.
NGC1907 looked smashing tonight though. This little cluster ‘underneath’ M38, and I’ve been meaning to re-visit it for some time. I did image it successfully, but it looked poor compared to the telescope view.
I also visited the open cluster NGC 1981 (above the Orion Nebula), which often gets overlooked because of its close proximity to the nebula. Very pretty tonight, and I noted NGC 1977 in my log book also, as the nebulosity was easily observable. What an amazing part of the sky this is for the observer.
I visited some old favourites; The Double Cluster, M103 (open cluster in Cassiopeia), The galaxies M81 and M82 (pleasingly bright tonight), caught a very vague glimpse of galaxy M108, (no sign at all of M97 nearby). The Beehive cluster was lovely in the bins, and it’d rude not to visit the little beehive (M41) with Canis Major so high at the moment.
Leo is visible, but caught in the horrible Wolverhampton skyglow seven miles away. I was wondering if it would move away from the glow for me to start galaxy searching, but the clouds started rolling over, which signaled the end for this short but most enjoyable session.