Observing Barnard dark nebulae 7/30/03 at Devastated Lot

by Steve Gottlieb

Although the weather was not too cooperative at Lassen a couple of weekends ago, we did have one transparent evening at the Devastated Area parking lot. With the tropical moisture flowing north, conditions were somewhat damp and seeing a bit soft, so I just stuck a 31 Nagler in my 18-inch f/4.3 and toured some of the Barnard dark nebulae in Aquila and Cygnus at 63x (1.3 degree field of view). Randy Muller and Mark Wagner had to put up with my enthusiasm for these obscuring dust clouds.

Barnard 330 = LDN 647 19 19 33.6 +07 34 00 Size 30x30

18" (7/30/03): large, darker dust cloud in a milky way field. Appears roughly circular, ~30' in diameter. A wide pair consisting of mag 7.8 SAO 124510 and a mag 10 companion at 54" is at the north edge of the cloud.

Barnard 335 = LDN 663 19 37.0 +07 34.6 Size 4

18" (7/30/03): fairly well-defined dark nebula at 73x, roundish, ~6' diameter. Mag 7.6 SAO 124844 is at the west edge of the cloud.

18" (6/27/03): somewhat darker starless region, ~4' diameter. Following three stars mag 7.5/10.5/10.5. This Barnard dark nebula is not prominent as it is embedded in a larger, low contrast darker cloud. The border of the surrounding milky way appears suddenly at the edges of this darker cloud.

Barnard 142 = LDN 688 19 40.7 +10 37 Size 80x50

18" (7/30/03): at 73x this is a huge dark nebula, elongated E-W, ~40'x15', and parallel to the two prongs of B143. At the west end, the dark cloud bulges out a bit, forming a bulb. The east end of the prong spreads out and appears to start winding into the milky way background field. Cannot view both B142 and B143 in one eyepiece field but the southern prong of B143 and B142 fit nicely in the field. These impressive dark nebulae are located ~1.5 degrees west of Gamma Aql.

Barnard 143 = LDN 694 19 40.7 +11 07 Size 60x60

18" (7/30/03): huge dark nebula, roughly 40'x40', with two main parallel sections oriented E-W and connected on the east side. The northern section is slightly narrower but the edges are more sharply defined against the milky way background. The eastern edge of the connecting section is irregular and a bit less defined. A similar parallel section, B142, is about 20' further south than the southern prong.

Barnard 145 = LDN 865 20 02.8 +37 43 Size 35x6

18" (7/30/03): with the 31 Nagler (73x), B145 appears as a distinctive, very elongated dark swath in the milky way at least 20' in length, elongated ~E-W. It narrows and darkens on the E end with a small offshoot at this end. It extends beyond a mag 6.9 star off the NW side, but is less distinctive west of the star. This is a fairly impressive Barnard dark nebula.

Barnard 352 20 57 15 +45 50 Size 10

18" (7/30/03): At 31mm, this is a fairly high contrast 10'x8' dark cloud in a rich milky way field, slightly elongated ~E-W. A gently curving line of 4 or 5 stars runs ~N-S through the dark nebula, slilghtly east of center. The edges of the cloud are ragged and I had the impression of several small fingers of dark nebulosity justting out from the main body. Situated just north of the North American Nebula!

Barnard 361 = LDN 970 21 12 46 +47 26 Size 17

18" (7/30/03): fairly large darker patch in a milky way field at 31mm, ~12'x9' in size, elongated WSW-ENE. It seems to encompass a mag 11 star on the west side. Two or three mag 12/12.5 stars mark the east end of the cloud.