Author Topic: Making the most of it from the Peak  (Read 599 times)

mccarthymark

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Making the most of it from the Peak
« on: May 29, 2017, 01:28:32 PM »
Last Tuesday night the 23rd seemed to be the last possible clear night I could get out to observe, though it was predicted to be cloudy by 2am, and it was a work night.  Nevertheless I hauled my 20-inch up to the Peak.  I packed my primary mirror in a box so it could be in my air-conditioned office during the work day rather than baking in my car.  This was a wise move since it was relatively equilibrated when setting up at the Peak at 8pm.  Unfortunately the sky was not that great – good seeing but a thin haze most of the night.  SQML topped out at 21.1, and after chasing holes since midnight was finally shut down by 1:30am.  Here are some of the notable sights:

NGC 4637:  ! Small, fairly faint, but much elongated streak.  There is a long brighter bar or elongated core along its major axis, which is twisted.  NGC 4638 is just to the west, a bright and larger elliptical.  The pair is near M60/NGC 4647. 

NGC 4571: Bright egg-shaped core with very faint, large diffuse round halo.  Near bright (double?) star to NE.

NGC 4313: Tough hop to find.  Long, faint inclined spiral -- spiral structure hinted by mottling in the halo.  Averted vision brightens the halo and reveals a round core & just stellar nucleus.  5:1 NW-SE.  Nice!

NGC 4299 & 4294: Wow! 4294 moderately large, moderately bright inclined spiral 4:1 NNW-SSE, bright large core diffuse halo to tips.  Star on NW tip. 4299 faint, fairly large, round, very diffuse.  Orientated E-W of each other in same FOV.

NGC 4168: Fairly bright and large elliptical with bright core & stellar nucleus.  Two other smaller, fainter galaxies flank it to the NNW (NGC 4165-- small, fairly faint, stellar nucleus, faint halo elongated 3:1 N-S) and W (NGC 4164 -- small, round, bright small core and diffuse halo).

NGC 4212: Very diffuse halo with even surface brightness, very small stellar nucleus.  Some structure seen with averted vision: it becomes larger, with slightly brighter core, and mottling in the halo, 2:1 WSE-ENE.  Interesting galaxy.

NGC 4298 & 4302: Very remarkable!  4298 is to the west, pretty bright and large, 3:2 NW-SE, pretty much even surface brightness but with a largish bright core and diffuse edges.  4302 is very close to the east, a long edge on 6:1 N-S slightly mottled halo -- photos show a narrow dark lane which I did not see.  Low surface brightness and more diffuse than its companion.  Many stars scattered about...especially one at N tip of 4302 and one on NE rim of 4298.

NGC 4312: Fairly faint 4:1 N-S streak.  Double star following right in line with center of galaxy.  No core, even surface brightness, fading tips. [Did not notice faint galaxy near the double stars].  M100 is nearby, but which I didn't frame in FOV -- I only took a glance at it as I was star hopping to 4312.]

NGC 4340 & 4350: 4340 has a stellar nucleus, bright compact core, round fairly bright halo with diffuse edges; SB0-a.  4350 is bright, has a stellar nucleus, elongated core diffuse halo gradually fading, 4:1 SSW-NNE.

NGC 4260: Bright nucleus and core, elongated 3:1 SW-NE.  Near bright star with two small, faint round galaxies next to it [NGC 4269/IC 3155].

NGC 4264 & 4261: 4261 is large and bright oval shape, 3:1 NNW-SSE, very bright core and stellar nucleus.  Following it is its little brother 4264, fairly faint, small, slightly elongated.  Following it wherever it goes and looking like its big brother too.  There are many other galaxies in the area I did not note down.

NGC 4270: 4270 is fairly bright with a bright round core and elongated 3:1 NW-SE.  Four more galaxies in the field: NGC 4273, 4277, NGC 4259, and NGC 4281.

NGC 4339: Brightest of three galaxies in field.  Fairly bright and small, it has a stellar nucleus, and diffuse round halo.  Two others in FOV to SW: 4333 (small, faint, round) and 4326 (small, fairly faint, round).  All three form a right triangle.

NGC 4343: Brightest and furthest south of four forming a misshapen kite in the field.  Pretty bright and large, has a bright core 4:1 NW-SE.  Others are: NGC 4342 to north (fairly bright, small, stellar nucleus, elongated NNW-SSE); NGC 4341 farther to NE (small, faint, elongated 3:1 NW-SE), IC 3267 to the ENE (very faint, averted vision needed to see but can hold all the time, small, round diffuse halo).

NGC 4612: Near string of stars.  Bright, small, stellar nucleus, round core, diffuse round halo.  It looks like the last star in the string, but one that got smudged or is dissolving.

NGC 4519: Moderately large patch, compact brighter core in center of very diffuse oval.  Globular cluster like, a glow with brighter patches or knots.  [It is a face-on spiral -- did not notice smaller galaxy to NE].

NGC 4359: Not plotted on Interstellarum.  Very faint edge on.  Lovely!  Direct vision but need averted to brighten it up.  Very weakly brighter elongated core. but mostly even surface brightness halo 5:1 WNW-ESE fading imperceptibly at the tips. Very tenuous and hard won!

NGC 4395: Needed to switch to 121x for this one as it is large and spread out.  Brighter almost stellar core area in middle of very faint, diffuse round glow uneven surface brightness.  Probably a face-on spiral.  Don't see any arms, just unevenness. [Turns out those uneven patches are distinct NGC designations, HII knots in the spiral]

LoTr5 (Longmore-Tritton 5): The only Planetary Nebula on the menu.  It is the middle star of an arc of three, which with OIII blinks and shows the faintest of a fairly large irregularly lit shell.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2017, 10:23:24 AM by mccarthymark »
Mark

sgottlieb

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Re: Making the most of it from the Peak
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2017, 09:14:44 PM »
Nice set of mostly bright galaxies, but that one planetary -- LoTr 5 -- is a nasty faint shell surrounding a bright central star!

Bob King called it "easy" in this Sky & Tel online article, but I disagree -- http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/hunting-giant-planetary-nebulae/

DDK

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Re: Making the most of it from the Peak
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2017, 11:58:11 PM »
Bob King either dry-labs or fantasizes. Gotten to the point where I'll go get a finderchart and just not deal with his descriptions.
Seriously, one of many things I've long liked about TAC OR's is the honesty in people's observations.
TAC - astro anarchy at work <*>

mccarthymark

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Re: Making the most of it from the Peak
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2017, 12:35:19 PM »
I'll give Bob the benefit of the doubt.  I was at 205x, which is ok for all those galaxies I was viewing, but I should have lowered it for this PN.  In the caption to his sketches Bob mentions using only 64x--so perhaps my higher magnification spread out the shell making it appear fainter, vs. more concentration in lower magnification.  I had more aperture (his 15-inch vs. my 20-inch), but he might've had a darker and more transparent sky -- I observed this toward the end of the session when I was viewing through gaps in clouds.

Worth another try to see if the view improves.

Besides, Reiner Vogel calls this "not overly difficult," albeit with a 22-inch, in his excellent large PN observing guide.  http://www.reinervogel.net/pdf/Large_PN.pdf
« Last Edit: May 31, 2017, 01:04:20 PM by mccarthymark »
Mark

sgottlieb

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Re: Making the most of it from the Peak
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2017, 08:33:59 PM »
Perhaps, but it's also possible he misinterpreted some scattered light around the central star as nebulosity.  I've observed LoTr 5 in the 48" and I wouldn't call it a "Very easy object" even in that scope.