Medusa at the Peak

by Bob Jardine

As Peter said, we had a pretty good night at the peak, although a bit short. Not the best possible night, perhaps, but well worth the drive. Who's gonna argue with that after all the great weather we've been having?!

The transparency varied from fair to poor, but the seeing was pretty darn good. Got nice splits of several doubles while it was getting dark & some of the early high clouds were moving through.

The highlight for me was getting a peek at the Medusa Nebula, a PN in Gemini. I read about this object in The Backyard Astronomer's Guide (Dickinson & Dyer). Seems it is one of the "nearby" PNs to earth, like the Helix. It is very large, although not as large as the Helix, and much dimmer.

Pk 205+14.1 (also Abel 21) -- the Medusa Nebula Fremont Peak, 2003 Jan 25 TeleVue NP-101, 12mm Nagler (45x) & Lumicon UHC filter
Quite large, quite subtle -- a dim, more-or-less circular glow; no detail seen. Needed to pull out all the tricks just to see it -- observing hood, averted vision, and patience. Can't see it at all without the UHC. The field is quite easy to find, hopping up straight North from Beta CMi, to 1 and 6 CMi. NGC 2395 is nearby.