Thursday, 7 April 2011

Observing, 6th April 2011

I hadn't been observing since 23rd March thanks to the weather. The one time it was clear was Friday and Saturday night last week and I couldn't observe thanks to dental problems (infected back tooth and root canal). Pity that because Friday night, especially, was as clear as clear could be with no haze and no light domes from nearby towns.
The weather this week has cleared up, although the high-pressure haze is back, so it was time to get into the galaxies. Among my targets were UGC 5470/Leo I (when Leo got high enough out of the murk), Hickson 44 and Hickson 56, as well as a few Herschel 400, and other, galaxies.

Click to enlarge photos and charts.

Date: 6th/7th April 2011
Conditions: Clear but with some haze, mist forming later, 9% illuminated waxing crescent moon. Chilly, around 9C. Very dewy.
Seeing: I
Transparency: II-III
NELM: 6.0
Equipment: 12" f/5 dobsonian, 22mm Televue Panoptic (69x), 15mm Televue Plossl (101x), 8mm Televue Radian (190x), 5mm Televue Radian (304x)

Hickson 56, galaxy group in Ursa Major - Just south of NGC 3718 this is a small faint group. With averted vision and plenty of looking, components 56B (UGC 6527), 56C (PGC 35618; the brightest member at mag 14.8v) and 56D (PGC 35615) all seen as an elongated area of brightening. 56A (MCG+9-19-113) and 56E (PGC 35609) were not seen. 190x, 304x.
Hickson 56, chart generated with MegaStar 5

NGC 3718, galaxy in Ursa Major - Large and bright eye candy after Hickson 56. Oval, not bright. Halo round non-stellar core. Elongated north-south. 190x

NGC 3729, galaxy in Ursa Major - Next to 3718, this is smaller and fainter. Round with non-stellar core. 190x

Hickson 44, galaxy group in Leo - Easily located in the head of Leo, this is eye candy for a Hickson! Three are visible at low power (69x) while all four are visible at higher power (190x). At 190x they all fit nicely into the field of view (31')
44A (NGC 3190/Arp 316) is the brightest member of the group. Oval with a nice dust lane on the south side of the galaxy seen at 190x. 3190 is a peculiar galaxy, Arp 316
44B (NGC 3193) is a round and bright even glow located next to a mag 9 star.
44C (NGC 3185) is oval and quite faint.
44D (NGC 3187) is the dimmest member of the group at mag13.4v. Elongated streak of light just east of 44A.

Hickson 44, chart generated with MegaStar 5
NGC 3185, photo from DSS

NGC 3190 and 3187, photo from DSS

NGC 3193 and 3190, photo from DSS

UGC 5470 (Leo I), galaxy in Leo - Next to, and just above, Regulus this is easy to find but not so easy to see. It is very dim oval glow, barely seen against the sky. 101x, 190x.

Leo I, showing position just above Regulus, concentric circles are Telrad field. Chart generated with MegaStar 5.

NGC 3412, galaxy in Leo - Small, oval, bright. Bright core. 190x.

NGC 4251, galaxy in Coma Berenices - Small and bright. Elongated east-west. Bright core. 69x, 190x

Messier 84 (NGC 4374), galaxy in Virgo - Large, bright and round galaxy in a busy area stuffed with galaxies. 69x, 101x

Messier 86 (NGC 4406), galaxy in Virgo - Next to M84, this is the same size as its neighbour and almost as bright. Also round. 69x, 101x

NGC 4388, galaxy in Virgo - Adjacent to M84 and M86 and is the apex of a triangle with the two big Messier galaxies. Considerably fainter than the Messiers. Flattened oval, elongated east-west. 190x

NGC 4438, galaxy in Virgo - Moderately faint. Oval. Elongated NNE-SSW. 190x

NGC 4435, galaxy in Virgo - Brighter and slightly rounder than NGC 4438. Elongated NE-SW. 190x

NGC 4402, galaxy in Virgo - Very faint, elongated east- west. 190x.

Packed up at 0010 BST after a quick sail around Markarian's Chain. I need to get in there properly to knock off a load of Herschels but with worsening dew I decided to call it a night.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, Faith.

    Several years ago, you wrote a review of my then-new book titled "Objects in the Heavens." I'm proud to announce that the 5th Edition has recently been released. Please see the sample spreads and full information at

    I did a presentation last Friday at the Chicago Astronomical Society's monthly meeting and they kept me talking for an hour.

    Thanks for your review; I hope to interest you into writing another on this edition.

    - Peter Birren


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