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Bio: Richard Ford

In 1996, when I was 24 years old, I purchased a 60mm refractor telescope. Since then I never looked back. Upon observing the phases of the moon, I was equally fascinated by what I had seen in my scope that time. I enjoyed observing the mountains and rilles on the moon.

Although I had a small telescope at time, I managed to observe the phases of the evening star, Venus which underwent phases similar to the moon. Saturnís rings and Jupiterís moons were noticeable through my 60mm refractor telescope. Somehow I managed to learn my way around the night sky.

Back in the early days one of the first deep-sky objects I observed was M42 (Orion Nebula) in Orion and NGC 3372 (Eta Carina Nebula) in Carina. One of my favourite open clusters that I enjoyed at that time was M6 (Butterfly Cluster) and M7 in Scorpius. The Lagoon Nebula was plainly visible in my 60mm refractor that time.

After observing for 4 years with my 60mm refractor telescope, I decided to plunge a little deeper when I purchased an 8"-inch dobsonian reflector telescope. It was only in 2000 when I came across Cape Centre member, Chris Forder who built me an 8"-inch reflector telescope.

In July 2000, when I purchased my newly built 8"-inch dobby from Chris Forder. He demonstrated to me how to use this scope. Up today I never looked back.

With my 8"-inch dobby, I explored objects like Omega Centauri and 47 Tucanae, two brilliant globular clusters whose stars were resolvable in my scope that time.

My 8"-inch reflector telescope made a great difference in light gathering compared to my small 60mm refractor telescope.

In 2004, after signing up as a member of the Cape Centre of the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa, I was welcomed by warm and friendly people with kind gestures like Karin Koch, Dudley Field, Laurie Simone and Tony Jones. They made me feel at home.

As a member of the Cape Centre, I had a fruitful connection with other amateur astronomers like me. In the beginning it was hard for me as an observer as a result of my rebellious nature that I had as a youngster. It was not sunshine and roses for me in the Cape Centre on account I was faced with criticism and antagonism from senior members of the Cape Centre. At times my over sensitivity got in my way. Somehow I had to endure it. However, on the other hand it was Dudley Field who introduced to dark sky evenings at Contermanskloof.

When I first started attending dark sky at Contermanskloof in 2004, I was equally amazed of what I can see through my 8"-inch dobby. That moment I developed a passion of sharing the night sky with other observers.

From 2004-2008, I worked hand in hand with my 8"-inch reflector telescope, exploring open clusters, nebulae, planetary nebulae and galaxies millions of light years away. If Contermanskloof was not good enough for me, I developed a second observing site at Sutherland. Every time I am on vacation, I travel up to the guest farm, Koornlandskloof at Sutherland, where I am under the darkest of skies away from city lights.

After mastering the basics of deep-sky observing, I decided to plunge deeper when I purchased a 12"-inch dobsonian reflector telescope in 2008.

One of the treasured memories, I enjoyed observing with my 8"-inch dobby was the great comet in January 2005, "Comet Macholz" at Contermanskloof. The best comet I have seen in my life at Sutherland was "Comet Holmes over the Roggeveld Mountains in Sutherland.

From 2008 up to now, I managed to explore to elliptical structure in the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies. One of my favourite globular clusters I enjoyed observing through my 12"-inch was Omega Centauri which was well resolved into a large agglomeration of stars. I always had my star atlas "Atlas of the Night Sky" by Storm Dunlop.

As the years have passed by, I worked with observers like Auke Slotegraaf, the Deep-Sky Director whenever I observe with him in Sutherland under the night sky. I am also fascinated by other deep-sky observers like Magda Streicher, whose work in deep-sky is of outmost quality to me.

I enjoy every moment under the night sky when itís close to new moon when the weather is clear, so that I can organize dark-sky outings for the Cape Centre.

Through the years Astronomy and Cosmology has helped me to build up my destination in life of what I have achieved in 14 years.

Journals

Journal entries: 22

  1. Winter Observing Session (2016 Jun 04)
  2. Autumn Observing Journal (2013 Apr 13)
  3. Autumn Observing Session (2013 Mar 09)
  4. Blesfontein, Sutherland (2013 Feb 06-12)
  5. Winter Observing Session (2012 Aug 18)
  6. Autumn Observing Session (2012 Mar 23)
  7. Spring Observing Session (2011 Oct 29)
  8. Winter Observing Session (2011 Aug 27)
  9. Winter Observing Session (2011 Jul 30)
  10. Autumn Observing Session (2011 Apr 30)
  11. Summer Observing Session (2011 Jan 08)
  12. Summer Observing Session (2010 Dec 04)
  13. Karoo Star Party (2010 Aug 06-09)
  14. Winter Observing Session (2010 Jul 03)
  15. Autumn Observing Session (2010 May 15)
  16. Sterland, Sutherland (2010 Feb 12)
  17. Spring Observing Session (2009 Sep 19)
  18. Perdeberg, Cape Town (2009 Aug 15)
  19. Perdeberg, Cape Town (2009 Jul 18)
  20. Perdeberg, Cape Town (2009 Mar 21)
  21. Koornlandskloof, Sutherland (2009 Jan 25)
  22. Philadelphia (2008 Oct 25)

Objects recorded

Objects logged: 399

NGC 1792, NGC 1808, NGC 1851, Crab Nebula, Messier 78, Messier 47, Messier 46, Calabash Nebula, Butterfly Cluster, Praesepe, Messier 67, Messier 95, Messier 96, Messier 105, NGC 4372, NGC 4565, NGC 4590, Black Eye Galaxy, Lacaille I.4, NGC 4945, NGC 5189, NGC 5286, Triangulum Pinwheel, NGC 772, IC 2448, Lacaille I.9, Messier 80, Butterfly Cluster, Ptolemy's Cluster, Lacaille I.12, Delle Caustiche, Saturn Nebula, Ring Nebula, Messier 56, Dumb-Bell Nebula, Al Sufi's Cluster, Messier 71, Silver Coin, NGC 247, Great Orion Nebula, Jewel Box, The Antennae (NGC 4038), The Antennae (NGC 4039), NGC 2808, Lacaille II.3, Tarantula Nebula, 47 Tuc, omega Centauri, Hamburger Galaxy, Messier 79, eta Carinae Nebula, NGC 3623 (in Leo Triplet), NGC 3627 (in Leo Triplet), NGC 2903, Crowbar Galaxy, Messier 84, Messier 86, Lagoon Nebula, Trifid Nebula, Swan Nebula, NGC 6326, R CrA Nebula, NGC 6723, NGC 5979, NGC 5970, NGC 5962, NGC 6342, Messier 9, NGC 6356, Messier 107, Messier 62, Messier 19, Messier 12, Messier 10, Little Ghost Nebula, IC 5148, Helix Nebula, NGC 6804, NGC 7314, 37 Cluster, NGC 2022, NGC 1788, Flame Nebula, NGC 2185, NGC 1999, NGC 1977, Messier 41, Lacaille II.10, Pleiades, tau Canis Major Cluster, Southern Pleiades, Gem Cluster, Clown Nebula, Ghost of Jupiter, Blue Planetary, NGC 4361, Messier 61, NGC 362, NGC 346, NGC 376, NGC 5483, NGC 5530, NGC 5367, NGC 2442, Southern Pinwheel Galaxy, Lacaille III.11, Spirograph Nebula, NGC 1964, de Mairan's Nebula, Smoking Gun, Messier 49, NGC 1832, Spindle Galaxy, NGC 3324, Messier 53, Messier 60, Messier 59, Siamese Twins (NGC 4567), Siamese Twins (NGC 4568), Messier 58, Messier 90, NGC 6164, NGC 6165, Messier 89, Table of Scorpius, Bug Nebula, NGC 6441, Wild Duck Cluster, Messier 26, NGC 6712, IC 1295, Messier 28, Messier 54, Lacaille I.14, NGC 6681, Blue Flash Nebula, NGC 6934, NGC 7006, NGC 7793, NGC 246, NGC 625, Messier 15, NGC 7331, Andromeda Galaxy, Messier 18, Messier 23, Messier 25, Messier 72, Messier 30, Messier 75, Little Gem Nebula, Lacaille I.11, NGC 5897, Messier 14, NGC 6803, NGC 6886, NGC 55, NGC 6760, NGC 6751, NGC 288, NGC 5172, NGC 5174, NGC 7176, NGC 7173, Messier 74, NGC 1365, NGC 1360, NGC 1514, Caroline's Cluster, Thor's Helmet, NGC 2223, Giraffe's Head, NGC 1313, NGC 1533, NGC 1549, NGC 1553, Messier 35, NGC 1543, NGC 2207, Christmas Tree Cluster, NGC 2244, Rosette Nebula (NGC 2237), Rosette Nebula (NGC 2239), Rosette Nebula (NGC 2238), Hubble's Variable Nebula, Heart-Shaped Cluster, NGC 2346, NGC 1097, NGC 1532, NGC 1531, Cleopatra's Eye, NGC 2090, Eight-Burst Nebula, NGC 3201, NGC 2391, NGC 2669, NGC 5986, Retina Nebula, NGC 1981, NGC 2683, Intergalactic Wanderer, Messier 98, Coma Pinwheel, Messier 100, Messier 85, NGC 4394, NGC 4293, Messier 88, Messier 91, NGC 3593, NGC 3367, NGC 3377, NGC 2440, NGC 5898, NGC 5903, NGC 1261, NGC 1973, NGC 1975, NGC 1300, NGC 1291, NGC 2371, NGC 2372, NGC 2467, Lacaille II.4, Lacaille I.3, NGC 2451, NGC 2818, NGC 2818A, NGC 2613, Lacaille III.4, Superwind Galaxy, Fine Ring Nebula, NGC 4976, NGC 5253, NGC 6144, NGC 6139, NGC 6192, NGC 6216, NGC 6235, NGC 6284, NGC 6287, NGC 6293, NGC 6304, NGC 6316, NGC 6318, NGC 6352, NGC 6362, NGC 6388, NGC 6440, Crescent Nebula, NGC 6522, NGC 6528, NGC 6544, NGC 6553, NGC 6496, NGC 6569, NGC 6541, NGC 6253, NGC 6584, NGC 6624, NGC 6642, NGC 6652, NGC 7410, NGC 6638, NGC 7213, Grus Quartet (NGC 7590), Grus Quartet (NGC 7599), Grus Quartet (NGC 7582), NGC 7496, Grus Quartet (NGC 7552), NGC 1084, NGC 1187, NGC 1309, NGC 1332, NGC 1395, NGC 1407, NGC 1400, NGC 1546, NGC 1566, NGC 1672, NGC 2204, Fornax A, NGC 1350, NGC 1380, NGC 1399, NGC 1404, NGC 1387, NGC 1398, NGC 1317, NGC 1344, NGC 1379, NGC 1381, NGC 1374, NGC 1375, Cl Ruprecht 1, IC 2165, NGC 2217, NGC 2243, Cl Ruprecht 2, Cl Ruprecht 3, NGC 2266, NGC 2304, NGC 2331, NGC 2339, NGC 2395, NGC 2355, Medusa Nebula, NGC 2420, Cl Collinder 132, Cl Basel 11A, Tuft in the Tail of the Dog, NGC 2374, NGC 2383, Cl Ruprecht 18, NGC 4302, NGC 4298, NGC 2997, NGC 1411, NGC 1433, NGC 1448, NGC 1493, IC 2631, NGC 3620, NGC 2129, IC 2157, NGC 2158, 9-12 Geminorum Cluster, Cl Bochum 1, NGC 2234, NGC 2188, NGC 2280, omicron Canis Minorum Cluster, NGC 2325, NGC 2345, NGC 2354, NGC 1512, NGC 1527, Cl Ruprecht 97, Cl Ruprecht 98, IC 2948, NGC 5090, NGC 5102, NGC 5161, NGC 5266, NGC 5307, The Eyes (NGC 4438), The Eyes (NGC 4435), NGC 4402, NGC 4388, NGC 4425, NGC 1617, NGC 1763, NGC 1783, NGC 1818, NGC 1866, NGC 2214, NGC 2298, NGC 2489, NGC 2627, NGC 2671, NGC 2972, Boomerang Nebula, NGC 5011, NGC 4608, NGC 4596, NGC 4638, NGC 4461, Markarian Chain (NGC 4458), Markarian Chain (NGC 4473), IC 4296, Cl Melotte 105, NGC 3960, NGC 5617, NGC 5824, NGC 5927, NGC 6005, NGC 5999, Cl Trumpler 23, NGC 6167, NGC 6134, NGC 6101, NGC 4697, NGC 4699, NGC 3923, Messier 77, NGC 1232, Sombrero Galaxy, NGC 2506, NGC 3621, NGC 5068, NGC 5634, Cartwheel Globular, The Furious Dancer, Messier 2, IC 1459, Sculptor Pinwheel, NGC 613, NGC 4753, NGC 5061.

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