Here is my submission, which is, I think, not only my best sketch to date, but also my most valuable one: as I cannot find any other one of the nebula during its short 2008 outburst.
* Object Name (McNeil’s Nebula)
* Object Type (Likely emission nebulosity, outburst of V1647 Ori)
* Location (Santa Cruz mountains, north of Santa Cruz, California)
* Date (12-20-08)
* Media (graphite pencil, white black paper)
The sketch was made in my logbook after a long study about the the nebula, careful preparation of regional charts, and intense scrutiny during a session arranged just for this observation, using my Orion XT-10 Sky Quest 10 inch Dobsonian (f/4.7, 5 mm Orion Stratus eyepiece [240x, 1.1 mm exit pupil, ~17′ FOV], without filtration.)
Sue French, “Deep Sky Wonders” columnist for “Sky & Telescope” magazine, had carefully observed the previous outburst of McNeil’s nebula in 2004, with a 10″ Newtonian (confirmed by Joe Bergeron.) She studied my report and first and second drawings, and commented in reply, “You no doubt saw McNeil’s reflection nebula.”
My lengthy article about the nebula, and this observation, is found at:
This article discusses the meteorological conditions, and many other aspects of my quest to see it, and the actual experience, plus my background research. The viewing location was a rural private road in the Santa Cruz mountains, south of San Jose and north of Santa Cruz, at an elevation of 3,400 feet (site of some previous Don Machholz comet discoveries.) The drawing shown was confirmed by me with a second sighting and sketch made with a C-11 telescope, at Lake San Antonio further south, on 12-28-08.
Stephen R. Waldee
amateur astronomer, San Jose
Manager: Roper Piano Studio