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Topics - sgottlieb

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Observing Intents / OI: Lake Sonoma Thursday night, Jan 22
« on: January 22, 2015, 11:26:01 AM »
If the weather looks pretty decent in the afternoon, I'm planning to head to Lone Rock tonight.  Arrival around sunset.

-- Steve

TAC Visual / Venus/Mercury pair!
« on: January 09, 2015, 05:54:51 PM »
Very nice show right now (5:45 PM, Friday), low in the west.  Pretty cool to see the pair together (41' separation) in the same low power telescopic field, as well as in binoculars and naked-eye, of course.

 -- Steve Gottlieb

Observing Reports / OR (brief): Last night (Monday) from Lake Sonoma
« on: December 23, 2014, 08:51:16 PM »
Wow, what a difference a day makes.  Sunday there was low, dark clouds and heavy fog all around the bay area and prospects looked pretty bleak for getting out on Monday night.  But 24 hours later, I was looking at Milky Way overhead, along with Carter Scholz and Bob Douglas.

But first, I happened to be looking low in the west right after sunset and spotted a bright light, which had to be Venus just a few degrees above the horizon.  But the real treat was a 24-hour ultrathin crescent moon to the upper right of Venus.  Pretty ghostly naked-eye and only 150° of arc.

Local conditions were quite moist early on, with anything vinyl or paper immediately getting wet.  The moisture in the atmosphere cut down on the transparency a bit -- SQM readings were a mediocre 21.2 for this site -- but still dark enough for Carter to pull in globular cluster Palomar 2 in his 16-inch and for me to capture some billion year-old photons from a distant galaxy (more in the full report in a few days).

A personal plug -- I have an article on observing winter planetaries in the February issue of Sky & Tel.  Should be available shortly.

  -- Steve

Observing Intents / OI: Lake Sonoma Monday 12/22
« on: December 21, 2014, 01:50:17 PM »
If it looks clear Monday night, I plan to head north to Lake Sonoma and join Bob Douglas and Carter Scholz.  Is it possible to get in an observing session given the recent weather?  We'll find out.

Observing Reports / OR: 11/24/14 from Lake Sonoma
« on: December 01, 2014, 10:49:01 PM »
It looked like the November new moon window for observing was going to be lost due to clouds and rain, but the weather cleared up on Monday the 24th and you have to take advantage of these opportunities if you want to observe this time of year. So, I arranged to meet Carter Scholz and Bob Douglas at Lake Sonoma. The weekday afternoon drive north up 101 was a bit slow, but I arrived before sunset to find Bob in the process of setting up his 28-inch f/3.6 reflector under a perfectly clear sky. Carter arrived a bit later and very quickly set up his homemade 16-inch reflector. My 24-inch f/3.7 Starstructure completed the collection of large glass.

With sunset now before 5:00, astronomical twilight ended by 6:30 and a thin crescent moon set shortly afterwards. With the early nightfall, I was able to quit by 1:40 and still observe a full 7 hours! Conditions stayed clear, calm and cool, with pretty good seeing and variable transparency. The only issue we had was dew started forming after midnight and started to make things a bit moist.

One small project I've started is to reobserve NGC galaxies that have faint companions, which were previously not seen in my smaller scopes. NGC 161, NGC 262, NGC 931 and NGC 7704 all met this criteria, and all revealed their dim neighbors. In the past, I've spent a great deal of eyepiece time identifying dozens of globulars, clusters and OB associations in M31. I added a couple of new members of the M31 contingent, which are highlighted below. Unless noted otherwise, all observations were made at 200x and 375x (13mm Ethos to identify the object and 6mm Delos to look for details).

Steve Gottlieb

NGC 161 and IC 1557
00 35 33.8 -02 50 55
Size: 1.3'x0.7'; Mag: V = 13.2

NGC 161 is fairly faint, fairly small, oval 4:3 SSW-NNE, fairly high surface brightness. It contains a small bright nucleus that increases to a stellar point. A mag 12 star is 1.2' N and a mag 12.5 star is 2' SSW. Located 6' SE of mag 8.8 HD 3205. IC 1557, just 1.7' S, is faint, very small, round, 12" diameter.

Lewis Swift discovered NGC 161 in the fall of 1886 with the 16" refractor at the Warner Observatory in Rochester, N.Y., but missed IC 1557. Herbert Howe discovered IC 1557 in 1899, using the 20-inch refractor at the Chamberlin Observatory in Denver. Most modern sources incorrectly equate NGC 161 with IC 1557.

NGC 262 and LEDA 212600
00 48 47.1 +31 57 25
Size: 1.1'x1.1'; Mag: V = 13.1

NGC 262 is moderately bright, small, round, dominated by a high surface brightness core that increases to the center, very low surface brightness halo, ~25" diameter. LEDA 212600 is just 1.2' E and appeared very faint, very small, round, 10" diameter, too faint (V = 15.4) for any details.

Lewis Swift discovered NGC 262 in September 1885 at the Warner Observatory, though he missed the companion just east. As of January 1991, this Seyfert 2 galaxy, which resides at a distance of ~200 million light years, was the second largest known, spanning 1.3 million l.y. A large H I halo may have been produced by the interaction of NGC 262 and NGC 266. Swift missed the faint companion to the east with his 16-inch refractor.

00 41 29.8 +40 51 00
Size: ~15"

This giant HII complex in M31 appeared faint, small, elongated 3:2 or 5:3 NW-SE, ~15"x10". A few times a stellar point was noticed at the edge. On the SDSS there is a mag 16.5 star (probably foreground) just 12" south. Located 13.5' W of the center of M32. Walter Baade and Halton Arp first catalogued this object as an HII region (#289) in their 1964 paper "Positions of emission nebulae in M 31" (ApJ, 139, 1027).

00 46 31.8 +42 12 25

This OB association in M31 is situated at the extreme northeast end of the galaxy, 1.2° from the center. At 200x, three HII complexes in a NW-SE string could be detected. C372/373 at the southeast end is the brightest and appeared faint, small, round, ~12" diameter, slightly brighter stellar point at center. On the SDSS, C372/373 this is a group of several HII complexes and I was probably picking up the combined glow of the two northern knots. Just 1' NW and 2' NW are fainter C378 and C381. C378 was extremely faint and small, round, 8" diameter, only occasionally popped. C381 was initially seen fairly easily at 200x, forming the southwest vertex of an equilateral triangle with two mag 11/12 star. But then I had a difficult time reacquiring the small, extremely faint 8" glow.

NGC 523
01 25 20.8 +34 01 30
Size: 2.5'x0.7'; Mag: V = 12.7

NGC 523 = Arp 158 appeared fairly bright, moderately bright, very elongated 7:2 ~E-W, ~1.1'x0.3'. This disrupted galaxy (or merger) appeared very asymmetric, widening a bit at the east end and tapering slightly to the west. A small, relatively bright knot (HII complex or core of companion?), ~10" diameter, is at the east end. An easily visible mag 14-14.5 star is embedded at the west end. The main body, which extends ~40" from the knot to the star, is fairly thin and only very weakly brighter in the center. With careful viewing, a very faint narrow plume extends west of the main glow.

Heinrich d'Arrest, observing in 1862 with the 11-inch refractor in Copenhagen, noted "Double Nebula, F, S, both very near". Although Dreyer only assigned a single NGC number, d'Arrest apparently resolved the knot at the east end.

NGC 777 trio
02 00 14.9 +31 25 46
Size: 2.5'x2.0'; Mag: V = 11.5

NGC 777 is bright, moderately large, elongated 4:3 NNW-SSE, sharply concentrated with a very bright rounder core, ~0.9'x0.7'. Two fairly bright stars are in the field to the south, mag 9.3 SAO 55174 lies 5' SW and mag 8.7 SAO 55185 is 6.4' SE. NGC 778 lies 7' SSE and was logged as moderately bright, fairly small, elongated 3:2 NNW-SSE, ~30"x20", weak concentration. A mag 8.7 star is 3' NE. KUG 0156+310 = PGC 74060 is 6' W and is an extremely faint 8" glow just north of a mag 13-13.5 star.

William Herschel discovered NGC 777 on 12 Sep 1784, but missed (as well as John Herschel) NGC 778. Truman Safford found NGC 7787 in 1866 with the 18" refractor at the Dearborn Observatory. The KUG was first catalogued in 1991 during the "Kiso survey for ultraviolet-excess galaxies".

NGC 931 and LEDA 212995
02 28 14.5 +31 18 41
Size: 3.9'x0.8'; Mag: V= 12.8

NGC 931 is moderately bright and large, thin edge-on 5:1 WSW-ENE, 1.5'x0.3', brighter core, sharp stellar nucleus. LEDA 212995, a very close (physical) companion, is at the north edge just 18" from center. At 375x, it was seen as an extremely faint and small glow, ~6" diameter.

Heinrich d'Arrest discovered NGC 931 (a Seyfert galaxy) in 1865 with the 11-inch refractor at Copenhagen, but of course missed the faint companion. LEDA 212995 was not catalogued by the various galaxy surveys in the 1960's and 1970's that were based on the POSS. I'm guessing a 16-inch will be necessary to clearly identify the companion.

NGC 7492
23 08 26.6 -15 36 41
Size: 4.2' ; Mag: V = 11.5

This class XII Globular (lowest concentration class) was picked up at 200x as a faint, large, low surface brightness glow with a very weak concentration, 4'-5' diameter. At 375x, a few resolved stars shine steadily and quite a number pop in/out view consistently. Perhaps two dozen are intermittently resolved, though too lively (particularly with averted vision) to count reliably. These are the brightest red giant members and range from mag 15.5 to 16+.

William Herschel, who discovered NGC 7492 in 1786, described this cluster as "eF, cL, iR. By changing and wiping the eye glasses, I saw it with both so as to leave no doubt. 5 or 6' dia." John Herschel also found it "eF; vL; 2 or 3'; the faintest thing imaginable." NGC 7492 is certainly among the faintest NGC globulars -- at least in terms of surface brightness -- though NGC 6380 and NGC 6749 are more challenging visual targets.

UGC 12548 triplet
23 21 57.3 +05 02 09
Size: 1.0'x0.2'; Mag: V = 13.8

This Pisces trio fits in a 5' circle. At 375x, UGC 12547 appeared fairly faint, fairly small, slightly elongated N-S, low and fairly even surface brightness. The outer portions of the spiral arms were not picked up. UGC 12548, just 2.4' NE, is fairly faint, moderately large, very elongated 7:2 NW-SE, 45"x12". MCG +01-59-071 lies 4.8' SE and appeared very faint, small, round, 15" diameter, low even surface brightness. On the SDSS, this a merged double system with two nuclei.

NGC 7706 Group (WBL 718)
23 35 10.4 +04 57 51
Size: 1.2'x1.0'; Mag: V = 13.2

NGC 7704 is fairly faint to moderately bright, oval 3:2 WSW-ENE, bright core, halo increases with averted, 0.6'x0.4'. A mag 15 star is off the SE side [45" from center]. PGC 214966 lies 2.0' WSW of center and appeared very faint, round, 10" diameter. Slightly brighter NGC 7706 is 4.6' NNE and appeared moderately bright and large, oval 4:3 WNW-ESE, contains a bright, elongated core and a faint, oval halo. A mag 14.8 star is on the south edge [27" from center]. Brightest in the WBL 718 group including NGC 7705 5.6' S. UGC 12689, 16' NNE, is fairly faint, fairly large, thin edge-on 5:1 NW-SE, 1.4'x0.3', contains a small brighter core. Nearly parallel to a 1' pair of mag 14 stars close east. The UGC, fist discovered in the 1960s on the POSS, is easily bright enough to have been discovered visually in the 18th century.

Observing Reports / OR 8/27/14: Lake Sonoma
« on: September 29, 2014, 04:38:24 PM »
Two days after new moon, I met Dennis Beckley at Lake Sonoma on Wednesday night last month (8/27/14).  Unfortunately, there was no way to escape the commute traffic up 101 midweek, and as expected it was quite slow from Rohnert Park to Santa Rosa.  Once I arrived at Lake Sonoma, Dennis was already there setting up, the sky was perfectly clear and soon a very thin crescent moon was just visible, very low in the west.  We had a very pleasant, quiet evening -- it was fairly warm, no wind or clouds, good seeing and reasonably dark (no SQM readings).  All in all, much better conditions than predicted on Clear Sky Clock.  I was planning to mainly observe eye candy objects, but spent most of the time on more challenging fare, as I discovered I could go fairly deep this night with my 24-inch.  Here's the rundown --

NGC 6677/6679/MCG +11-22-056 trio
18 33 36.1 +67 06 36
Size: 2.2'

NGC 6679 appeared  fairly faint to moderately bright, small, round, 18" diameter, fairly high surface brightness.  A mag 14.5 star is attached at the southwest edge.  MCG +11-22-056 = PGC 62026 lies just 0.6' N, and at 375x appeared extremely faint or very faint, round, just 8"-10" diameter.  Once in my averted vision sweet spot, I could nearly hold this galaxy continuously.  A mag 15 star (brighter than the galaxy) lies 0.3' NNE.  NGC 6677 lies 1.7' SSE and appeared fairly faint, fairly small, elongated 5:2 WNW-ESE, very weak concentration, ~40"x16".  A mag 14.5 star is barely off the SE end.

Terzan 7
19 17 44  -34 39 30
Mag 12.0V;  Size 2.6' dia

Immediately seen at 200x as a roundish, low surface brightness glow, ~1.5' diameter.  Forms the northern vertex of a triangle with two mag 11.5/12.5 off the south side.  At 260x, the surface brightness is clearly mottled and irregular and two or three superimposed stars twinkle in an out of view.  At 375x, three mag 14.5-15 stars are clearly resolved in a shallow arc on the E, SE and SW sides of the halo.  A couple of additional mag 15.5 stars are on the W and just N of center, for a total of a half-dozen resolved stars.

Terzan 8
19 41 45  -34 00 00
Mag 12.4V;  Size 5' dia.

Picked up fairly easily at 260x as a faint or fairly faint, moderately large, round glow.  A quasi-stellar nucleus stands out or perhaps a brighter superimposed star.  At 375x, a mag 15-15.5 star is cleanly resolved on the east side of a very small core (less than 30").  Occasionally 1 or 2 fainter nearby stars in the core flicker in and out of view.  The overall size was difficult to estimate, but perhaps extended 1.5'-2'.

Abell 65
19 46 33.8  -23 08 12
Mag 13.8V;  Size: 134"x72"

At 125x with OIII filter, appeared moderately bright, fairly large, elongated 2:1 NW-SE, ~1.8'x0.9'.  A mag 13 star is attached at the SE end and the planetary appears to extend in an irregular rectangular or oval shape to the NW.  A mag 12.5 is off the NW side, 2' from the center of the PN.  At 200x with NPB filter, the PN is slightly brighter at the SE end and fades out on the NW end. Averted vision increases the outer portion on the NW end.  The mag 15 star central star was faint, but easily visible unfiltered at 200x and 375x.

Abell 66
19 57 31.5  -21 36 46
Mag 14.9p;  Size: 295"x241"

Abell 66 was viewed at 125x with both OIII and NPB filters.  It appeared very faint, very large, ~3' diameter, roundish, very low surface brightness, but usually has a fairly crisp, well-defined edge. A mag 13 star is superimposed at the ENE edge.  Once in my averted vision "sweep spot", I could hold this huge Abell PN continuously with concentration.  At 375x (unfiltered), the PN was not visible but a half dozen mag 15 and fainter stars are superimposed in the position of the SW side.

Abell 70
20 31 33.2  -07 05 17
Mag 14.7V;  Size: 45"x40"

Abell 70 was viewed at 200x and 260x with and without a NPB filter as well as 280x and 375x unfiltered.  At 260x unfiltered, Abell 70 is moderately bright, fairly small, irregularly round, 0.6' diameter, with a slightly darker center and brighter rim, giving a weak annular appearance.  The galaxy PGC 187663 is an obvious brighter streak along the northern rim.  Adding a NPB filter, the PN improves contrast and the galaxy is less evident (though still visible).   At 375x, the galaxy dominates the view and appeared faint to fairly faint, small, very thin 3:1 or 7:2 WNW-ESE, 20"x6", very small bright core.  Overall, the best view of both objects was unfiltered at 280x (8mm Ethos).

Abell 72
20 50 02.0  +13 33 28
Mag 12.7V;  Size: 134"x121"

Excellent view at 125x and OIII filter.  Easily visible as a moderately bright, well-defined 100" disc with a fairly crisp outline, centered 2' ENE of mag 8.2 SAO 106544.  A mag 12.3 star is barely off the SW edge and a mag 11.8 is beyond the east end.  With careful viewing the rim appeared slightly brighter along portions of the rim, giving a weak annular appearance.  At 375x, the mag 16 (or brighter) central star was easily visible.  MCG +02-53-005 = PGC 65491, a very faint galaxy, lies just 1.9' SSE of the planetary and was barely visible as a 6" patch.  Situated between two mag 11.3 and 14.5 stars 50" E and 33" W, respectively.

Kruger 60
22 28 00.4  +57 41 49
Mag 9.8/11.3;  Size: 1.4"

Kruger 60 is an unusual binary, consisting of a pair of red dwarfs.  The period is only 44 years and the pair is currently near its minimum separation (1.4" in 2013-2014).  It was cleanly split at 375x and the primary had an obvious orange-red color.  The companion (60B) was too faint for color.  Excellent view at 500x with the two pinpoint components widely separated.   Kruger 60B, a flare star, is one of the least massive stars known, with a mass only 0.14 x (solar mass).

Observing Reports / OR 8/23/14: Willow Springs
« on: September 03, 2014, 03:22:12 PM »
On Saturday night, August 23rd I met Mark Wagner and Mark Johnston at Bob Ayers' Willow Springs property, roughly 30 miles southeast of Hollister and perhaps 20 miles northwest of Pinnacles National Park.  Here's the view from this 3000 ft site, looking south over the rolling hills of rural San Benito county with my scope in the foreground (24-inch f/3.7 Starstructure) along with Mark Johnston's 18" f/3.7 Starmaster.  Wagner and I had some equipment issues during set-up -- Mark discovered he forgot a battery as well as his finder and I had electrical issue causing a short in my Servocat/Argo system.  Fortunately, with some help from Mark Johnston the issues were resolved before it was fully dark.

Observing conditions were good with no wind, clouds or moisture though the transparency was on the low end of typical SQM readings (21.4-21.6) at this site (situated in a dark blue light pollution zone).  I observed until 3:00 and then crashed out in my minivan.  All in all, a very relaxing, productive evening!  The following Wednesday I was off again to observe at Lake Sonoma - more on that adventure in my next report.

NGC 6642
18 31 54.2  -23 28 34
Size: 4.5';  Mag: V = 9.4

This fairly bright gc contains a very bright core and an irregular 2' halo.  At 375x, stars stream out to the east and west creating an impression of elongation.  The core is very lively and a few brighter stars are clearly resolved, though packed together very tightly.  Roughly 20 stars are resolved in the halo.  At 500x, 30-35 stars are resolved (many popping in/out of view) including 8-10 in a clump at the center and close to the core.  A single brighter star is just south of the core and a nice pair (~3" separation) is in the halo on the NNE side.  A string of stars extends out of the cluster to the north.  Easily visible in the 80mm finder at 25x and the finder field contains M22 just 1.1° SE.  This HST image only includes the central core region of the globular!

Palomar 9 = NGC 6717
18 55 06  -22 42
Size: 3.9';  Mag: V = 9.2

I viewed this unusual globular -just 2' S of Nu2 Sgr - at 375x and 500x.  The "core" appeared as a fairly circular, fairly smooth glow, ~1' diameter, with a half-dozen stars superimposed.  With extended viewing a very low surface, irregular halo was noticed that increased the diameter to perhaps 2.5'.  At the center is in unequal pair oriented N-S (~5" separation), with the southern component, brighter and quasi-stellar.  A second pair of mag 14 stars at ~5" separation is on the NE side (this is IC 4802).  A mag 16 star is 10" S of this pair. Finally, another mag 14 star is at the WNW side of the core.

Palomar 12
21 46 39  -21 15 03
Size: 2.9';  Mag: V = 11.7

Picked up at 200x as a very low surface brightness 2.0'-2.5' glow, peppered with a few stars and a slightly brighter "core" region.  At 375x-500x, the brightest mag 14.6 star is on the northwest side with a mag 14.8 star 0.6' SE .  A 12" pair of mag 15.2/15.9 stars is near the geometric center (20" SE of the mag 14.8 star) and a mag 16-16.5 star was glimpsed on the northeast side.  A brighter mag 14 star is off the northwest side and probably not a member.  Pal 12 is situated 2' northwest of a striking mag 11/12 triple, including a 19" pair of mag 11.7/12.3 stars.

Abell 51
19 01 01  -18 12 15
Size: 64"x58";  Mag: V ≈ 14.0

Using 200x and NPB filter, Abell 51 appeared very faint but visible continuously, round, crisp-edged, nearly even surface brightness.  Also viewed at 225x (with filter) and a couple of superimposed stars were glimpsed.  At 375x unfiltered, two mag 15-15.5 stars oriented SW-NE were clearly visible at the position of the planetary.  Checking ALADIN afterwards, one is a mag 15.3 star at the SW end and the other is the mag 15.4 central star.

KTS 66 = NGC 7173/7174/7176
22 02 06  -31 59 06
Size: 1.5';  Mag: V = 12.0/13.3/11.4

This bright, compact triplet is part of the HCG 90 quartet, along with NGC 7172.  At 375x, NGC 7173 = KTS 66A = HCG 90C appeared bright, moderately large, round, 45" diameter.  Contains a relatively large, very bright core that gradually increases to the center.  NGC 7174/7176  (contact pair) is less than 1.5' southeast.  NGC 7174 = KTS 66B = HCG 90D is elongated perhaps 3:1 E-W, 0.9'x0.3'.  The surface brightness is irregular with no core region. The galaxy appears to taper and brighten at the west end with a bend or short kink angling northwest.  The east end merges into the halo of NGC 7176 on the its southwest end.  NGC 7176 = KTS 66C = HCG 90B appeared very bright, moderately large, round, 1.0' diameter, intense core that increases to the center, which contains a bright, stellar nucleus. NGC 7172, just 7' NNW, completes the HCG 90 quartet.  This galaxy was logged as moderately bright, fairly large, elongated 5:2 WNW-ESE, ~1.5'x0.6', increases in size with averted.  Contains a brighter, elongated core that bulges slightly and the halo has a sharper edge along with south edge.

NGC 7284/7285 = VV 74 = Arp 93
22 28 37  -24 50 33
Size: 2.1'x1.5' and 2.3'x1.4';  Mag: V = 12.1/11.9

NGC 7284 is the western component of this double system.  At 375x, it appeared bright, small, round, high surface brightness,  ~0.4' diameter.  The core of NGC 7285 is cleanly resolved [33" between center], though very close northeast.  The twin nuclei are encased in a very low surface brightness halo.  NGC 7285 is fairly bright, small, elongated 3:2 E-W, 30"x20", high surface brightness.

NGC 7592
23 18 22  -04 24 58
Size:  1.3'x1.1';  Mag: V ≈ 13.5-14.0

Using 375x, this interacting pair appeared fairly faint, fairly small, irregular.  With careful viewing, the highest surface brightness component is the core of the eastern galaxy (identified as NGC 7592B = Mrk 928 in NED), with most of the glow extending southwest, creating an asymmetric appearance.  The nucleus of the western galaxy (identified as NGC 7592A in NED) appeared faint and extremely small, perhaps 5" diameter.  The arm or wing to its north was not seen. The two nuclei are separated by only 13" as measured on ALADIN.

R Aquarii Nebula = Cederblad 211
23 43 49  -15 17 04
Size: 2'x1';  V = 6.0-11.5 (central star)

At 375x, two thin "wings" or thin extensions were clearly visible extending WSW and ENE from R Aquarii.  The ENE spike was seen first, so was very likely brighter and the WNW extension was not as sharply defined.  At 200x, the star had a definite pale orange color, though the color was washed out at higher power.  I didn't compare views with a filter, but some reports indicate a mild improvement.

Observing Reports / OR 7/22 through 7/25: Lassen National Park (part 4)
« on: August 30, 2014, 09:55:47 AM »
For a full report with pictures from Lassen and labeled images of all objects described below, go to

 Adventures in Deep Space

Steve Gottlieb

Friday night (July 25th), was the last of four consecutive clear nights at Lassen. And as a nice conclusion, we had our best conditions on this observing adventure. There was no wind or dew at the Bumpass Hell lot and transparency and seeing were both very good to excellent. Here's the set-up on Bumpass with Mark Wagner and another with the view towards the south. Interacting galaxies and compact galaxy groups were mostly the targets for the night, along with the unusual globular cluster Arp GC2, which may have been captured by the Milky Way from the Sagittarius Dwarf Spheroidal galaxy.

VV 158 = Rose 16
13 56 30 +28 31 24
Size: 5.5'

VV 158 is chain of 4 CGCG galaxies with a total length of 5.5', and oriented WNW to ESE. Using 375x, CGCG 162-031, the westernmost galaxy, appeared fairly faint, fairly small, round, 20" diameter, contains a very small bright nucleus. A mag 14 star is 1.5' NW and a mag 15 star is 1.4' NE. CGCG 162-032, situated 1.5' ESE, appeared very faint to faint, round, 10" diameter. This is the faintest member in the chain and just south of the midpoint between CGCG 162-031 1.5' WNW and CGCG 162-033 1.5' E. CGCG 162-033, the third brightest in the chain, appeared faint, small, round, 15" diameter. CGCG 162-034, another 2.5' SW, appeared fairly faint, fairly small, elongated 2:1 NW-SE, 20"x10", small bright nucleus.

VV 59 = Rose 25 (interacting pair)
15 08 04.9 +34 23 14
Size: 0.7'x0.3'; Mag: V = 15.5, B = 16.3

VV 59 was picked up fairly easily at 260x as an faint elongated glow, but best view at 375x. The brighter component (VV 59a) is at the northeast end and appeared faint, small, irregularly round, 15" diameter. It appeared to taper at the northeast tip and brighten (triangular shape on the DSS).

An extremely faint glow extended 15" southwest, increasing the overall length to roughly 25". With careful viewing, a slightly brighter 6"-8" knot (core of VV 59b) would sometimes "pop" within this glow. The two interacting components of VV 59 were connected and not detached.

UGC 9760
15 12 02.4 +01 41 55
Size: 2.6'x0.2'; Mag: B = 15.2

At 260x, this superthin galaxy appeared extremely faint, fairly small, edge-on 6:1 SW-NE, 0.6'x0.1', very low even surface brightness. A mag 14.5 star is at the northeast end. Although images show the galaxy extends northeast of the star, it appeared as a ghostly splinter extending southwest of the star. Located 2.3' SE of a mag 10/12.5 pair at 25". Member of the NGC 5846 Group.

UZC-CG 254 (Galaxy Trio)
17 14 25 +23 04 18
Size: 2.3'; Mag: V = 14.6/15.3/15.3, B = 15.4/16.3/16.4

This small physical triplet contains two CGCG galaxies and a MAC. At 375x CGCG 140-003 appeared faint to fairly faint, small, round, 18" diameter, very small bright core. CGCG 140-002, 2.4' WNW, appeared very faint, very elongated 3:1 NW-SE, ~27"x9", very low surface brightness. PGC 1681151, 0.8' NE was very faint, very small, round, 9" diameter.

HCG 86
19 51 59.0 -30 48 57
Size: 4' diameter; V = 13.1/13.6/14.8/15.0, B = 14.3/14.8/15.7/15.7

At 375x, all four members of HCG 86 were easily visible (direct vision), with HCG 86A the brightest and largest. It appeared fairly faint to moderately bright, elongated 3:2 SW-NE, roughly 27"x18" with a very small bright core. A mag 15.2 star is off the southwest end, 0.5' from center. HCG 82B lies 1.1' WNW, and appeared fairly faint, round, 20" diameter, very weak concentration. A mag 14.8 star is off the west side, 0.4' from center. HCG 86D, just 1.6' WNW, was faint (though easily visible), small, elongated 2:1 NNW-SSE, ~15"x8". Finally HCG 86C was easily seen as a faint, small, irregularly round glow, ~18x15".

NGC 6907/6908 (Barred Spiral with companion superimposed!)
20 25 06.6 -24 48 33
Size: 3.3'x2.7'; Mag: V = 11.2, B = 11.9

Striking example of a barred spiral with a prominent 1.5'x0.5' central bar oriented directly east-west. The bar contains a bright 30" core, which increases to a quasi-stellar nucleus. A bright arm is attached at the east end of the bar and extends due north for 0.7', at a right angle to the bar. A bright, elongated N-S "knot" is embedded in the middle (superimposed companion NGC 6908). At the north end, the arm curls west a short distance while dimming out. A difficult, ill-defined arm is attached at the west end of the bar. It vaguely curves south and west, but quickly disappears into very low surface brightness haze.

HCG 87
20 48 14.9 -19 50 53
Size: 1.5' total for group; Mag: B = 15.3/15.4/16.1/17.6

Using 260x and 375x, HCG 87A appeared faint to very faint, elongated nearly 3:1 SW-NE, 45"x15", fairly low even surface brightness. A mag 14/14.5 pair at 13" lies 0.7' NW and a mag 12 star is 2.5' NE, collinear with the major axis. HCG 87B is just 1' SW and HCG 87C is 1.3' NW. The former galaxy is faint, round, ~18" diameter, compact with a high surface brightness, while HCG 87C is very faint, elongated 3:2 E-W, 15"x10". Low even surface brightness with no core. HCG 87D is a toughie (mag 17.6B) and I only managed a marginal sighting at 375x with one good "pop" in the correct location. ESO 597-034 lies 7' southwest of the quartet and appeared faint, small, round, 20-25" diameter. .

WBL 673 (Galaxy Group in Pegasus)
21 53 12.0 +15 33 10
Size: 7.8'

Using 375x, CGCG 427-034 appeared fairly faint, round, 0.8' diameter, fairly low surface brightness. Contains a slightly brighter 15" core. First and largest of four with CGCG 427-035 6' NE and CGCG 427-036 6.6' ESE. CGCG 427-035 is very faint, small, elongated 5:2 SW-NE, 20"x8", low surface brightness. Located close NE of a group of 5 stars. CGCG 427-036 is fairly faint, fairly small, round, 20", small brighter core. Slightly fainter than CGCG 427-037 1.7' SE, which appeared fairly faint, fairly small, round, 20" diameter, small bright core.

NGC 5921
15 21 56.5 +05 04 14
Size: 4.9'x4.0'; Mag: V = 10.8, B = 11.5

At 260x, this multi-armed barred spiral appeared bright, fairly large, elongated 3:2 ~N-S, sharply concentrated with a striking, very bright core. Extending SSW to NNE is a slightly brighter bar (fairly low contrast). The very begnning of a spiral arm is evident as an elongated glow at the north end of the bar, extending a very short distance to the northwest. The view was improved at 385x with a strong hint of a second spiral arm beginning at the south end of the bar and starting to bend east. Contains a bright, sharp stellar nucleus. A mag 10 star is 3' SE and a mag 12 star is at the southwest edge.

Arp GC 2
19 28 44.1 -30 21 14
Size: 2.5' diameter; Mag: V = 12.3

Very faint, moderately large, low surface brightness glow, roughly 2' diameter. Contains a small, slightly brighter core or knot near the center. Slightly grainy or mottled appearance, but no clear resolution except around the edges (possibly field stars). Located 5' SW of a distinctive asterism consisting of a 1.5' east-west chain of four stars, with a fifth star 0.4' south of the center of the chain. Located 2.5 degrees WNW of M55.

In 1965 (Galactic Structure, University of Chicago Press, page 401), Arp noted a new "...sparse globular cluster a plate of which was formed in Baade's file..." and reported it as Anonymous. Arp GC 2, along with Terzan 7, Terzan 8 and others lie very close to the Sagittarius Dwarf Spheroidal galaxy (discovered in 1994) and appear to be former members of that galaxy.

Observing Reports / OR 7/22 through 7/25: Lassen National Park (part 3)
« on: August 29, 2014, 05:22:07 PM »
For a full report with pictures from Lassen and labeled images of all described below see

 Adventures in Deep Space

Steve Gottlieb

During the late morning Mark Wagner and I spotted a very thin crescent moon (just over a day old) as well as Venus naked-eye to the west of the Sun. In the clear mountain air at high elevation, neither was difficult. Afterwards, we took an exhilirating hike to one of the nearby lakes. Once we climbed out of the Summit Lake basin, there was hardly anyone on the trail and it felt like we had the park practically to ourselves. Here's the view looking back at Mt Lassen as well as the spot we stopped along the lake. In the early evening Mark and I were invited over again to the Lowrey's camping site for dinner and shared good food and wine.

In the evening, we set up once again at the Bumpass Hell lot. The wind was less of a factor, so I was able to push the magnification up as high as 1000x on high surface brightness objects. Mostly I stuck with interesting galaxy pairs and groups, but also looked at a few planetaries, globulars and and a young star, still involved with gas and dust.

Saturn Nebula = NGC 7009
21 04 10.7 -11 21 49
Size: 30"x26"; Mag: 7.8

The Saturn Nebula was viewed at 1000x in good seeing. The intense, inner annulus is 30"x18" with a bright, moderately thick green rim and darker center. The central star was nearly visible steadily within the darker center. The oval annulus was slightly irregular in surface brightness. It was surrounded by a rounder, fainter envelope, which varied slightly in brightness, particularly on the north side which contained a noticeable knot. The fairly narrow ansae were readily visible, though brighter on the west side. The western ansae contained an obvious knot at the end, which was slightly elongated. The eastern ansae only had a weak brightening at the tip.

Palomar 14
16 10 59 +14 57 42
Size: 2.1'; Mag: 14.7V

Discovered by Sidney van den Bergh in 1958 by inspection of the POSS and confirmed as a globular by Halton Arp using the Palomar 200". The discovery announcement "A New Faint Globular Cluster" is at The brightest confirmed individual stars are mag 17.6.

In my 24" it appeared as a very faint glow, fairly small, roughly 1.5' diameter, very low surface brightness with an ill-defined halo. The cluster is roughly centered 1' south of a mag 12.4 star, and a mag 14 star is very close to the center. The halo appears to reach the mag 12.5 star.

NGC 6074
16 11 17.2 +14 15 32
Size: 0.2'x0.2'; Mag: 15.3B

The NGC 6074 contact pair was nearly tangent at 260x and barely resolved at 375x. The brighter component, MCG +02-41-016, is on the north end and appeared faint, very small, round, 12" diameter. The fainter component, MCG +02-41-016, is attached at the south-southwest end (just 15" between centers!) and was very faint, round, 9" diameter. Located 1.0' ENE of a mag 11.9 star. NGC 6078, another close double system, lies 12' ESE. In addition, 2MFGC 13014, located 3.7' NE (outside the field of the image), appeared extremely faint, small, elongated 2:1 N-S, 15"x8". At B = 17.3, it required averted vision to glimpse.

NGC 6078
16 12 05.4 +14 12 32
Size: 0.9'x0.9'; Mag: 14.4B

The main component of the NGC 6078 contact pair appeared moderately bright, fairly small, round, 30" diameter, increases to a very small bright core and down to a stellar nucleus. MCG +02-41-018 is attached to the south-southeast side, just 25" between centers! The companion appeared faint, very small, round, 12" diameter, occasional stellar nucleus. The pair was just resolved at 260x.

Shakhbazian 16 = Arp 330
16 49 11.5 +53 25 11
Size: 3.5' (entire chain); Mag: 14.6V (brightest member Shkh 16-1)

I've viewed this chain a number of times since 1999, but it's always a treat with 5 galaxies neatly arranged in a 3.5' chain oriented north-south. In addition, a 6th galaxy in 3' further north. A 9th magnitude star is very close to the east and somewhat of a distraction, so high magnification helps. The members vary in brightness from 15.6B at the bright end (Shkh 16-1) to 17.3B (Shkh 16-5) at the faint end. The chain is located in Draco and not very easy to find (the nearest mag 6 star is 2.5 degrees away). Except for Shkh 16-1, which I logged as faint or fairly faint, the other members are all very faint, very small round glows, not much more than 12" in diameter.

IC 4630
16 55 09.6 +26 39 46
Size: 0.8'x0.5'; Mag: 14.0V

At 375x, this post-merger system appeared fairly faint, fairly small, slightly elongated N-S, 0.4'x0.3'. Strongly concentrated with a very small bright core containing very bright, sharp stellar nucleus. With careful viewing, there was a very strong impression of an extension (tidal plume) extending south. The narrow tidal tail extending northeast on the SDSS image above was not seen. Pretty cool looking galaxy, huh?

VV 711
18 16 02.2 +28 42 23
Size: 0.5'x0.35'; Mag: 15.2pg

Vorontsov-Velyaminov called this system a "pair of coalescent" galaxies. At 260x, the interacting pair appeared faint, small, elongated 2:1 N-S, 0.4'x0.2'. Increasing the magnification to 375x and 500x, two connected galaxies were visible. The northern member (VV 711 NED1) is larger and elongated 3:2 N-S, ~12"x8". The southern component (VV 711 NED2) is very faint, round, 8" diameter. There was no clear gap between the two objects and the tail to the north was not seen.

UGC 12110 triplet
22 36 55.1 +14 24 44
Size: 1.0'x0.2'; Mag: 14.3V

Using 375x, UGC 12110 appeared faint to fairly faint, fairly small, elongated 5:2 NW-SE, 0.5'x0.2', very weak concentration. A mag 14.5 star is off the northwest end. Brightest in a trio with MCG +02-57-006 1.8' ESE ("extremely faint and small, round, 10" diameter") and CGCG 429-012 2.0' SSW (faint, small, round, 0.3' diameter). This CGCG galaxy may be in the foreground as the catalogued redshift is 1/2 that of the other two galaxies.

Parsamyan 21
19 29 00.8 +09 38 45
Size: 30"x10"

This cometary reflection nebula was picked up at 260x unfiltered, but a better view was using 375x. The "head" of this cometary nebula is the mag 13 star HBC 687 (FU Ori type). It was clearly non-stellar, though only 3"-5" in diameter. The low surface brightness "tail" extends about 30"x10" to the north-northwest and fans very little. HBC 687 is a young pre-main sequence star with a collimated fan (single) and can be found 45' northwest of the planetary nebula NGC 6804.

NGC 7253 = Arp 278
22 19 27.1 +29 23 48
Size: 1.7'x0.8'; Mag: 13.2V

This disrupted, interacting double system was observed at 260x. NGC 7253A, the northwest component, appeared fairly faint, moderately large, elongated 5:2 WNW-ESE, ~50"x20". A mag 12.5 star is 1.3' WNW, collinear with the major axis. A 7" pair of mag 15 stars is barely off the ESE end. NGC 7253B is attached at the ESE end of NGC 7253A, very close to the faint double, and appears very faint, fairly small, elongated 2:1 SW-NE, 30"x15". A mag 13.3 star is 0.7' E. Situated in a rich star field.

CGCG 225-097
17 17 44.1 +40 41 52
Size: 0.8'x0.3'; Mag: 14.7V

This is a kinematically confirmed (in 2012) polar-ring galaxy -- similar to the better known NGC 2685. Using 375x, it was fairly faint, fairly small, elongated 2:1 NW-SE, containing a bright bulging core and much fainter extensions. A mag 15.5 star is less than 30" E and a mag 13.2 star lies 0.8' SE.

Observing Reports / OR 7/22 through 7/25: Lassen National Park (part 2)
« on: August 28, 2014, 11:03:12 PM »
For a full report with pictures from Lassen and labeled images of the objects described below go to

 Adventures in Deep Space

Steve Gottlieb

As it wasn't windy during the daytime we looked forward to calm conditions at the Bumpass Hell parking lot during the night. But the winds started up again in the evening and we had a fairly constant light to moderate breeze. Although it didn't directly affect the observations, the wind seemed to pick up some intensity later in the night and started to sap our energy and enthusiam. So, we cut the observing short before 2:00 AM, as we still had to pack up our scopes and drive the 20-25 minutes back to Summit Lake.

I focused on some interesting galaxies this evening. A couple of these (VV 274/275 and VV 560) are from Vorontsov-Velyaminov's "Atlas of Interacting Galaxies". This Russian astronomer is known for a classification scheme he developed in the 1930s for planetary nebulae and for "Morphological Catalogue of Galaxies" (MCG), the most comprehensive galaxy catalogue to be based on the POSS1. But he very interested in galaxies which were apparently interacting, and published an Atlas (in two volumes) covering hundreds of examples discovered on the POSS1. More on V-V and his interacting galaxies can be found in my article in the September issue of Sky and Telescope, "Seeking Interacting Galaxies." Here are several of the highlights from the evening of July 23rd ---

VV 275 and VV 274
14 55 30 +32 50

VV 275a, the western component of this double system, appeared extremely to very faint (V = 15.9), round, 0.2' diameter. VV 275b is just 25" WSW and extremely faint and small, required averted to glimpse (V = 16.1). Looking at images afterwards, only the core was seen. VV 274, less than 1' northwest, was also extremely faint (B = 16.5), round, 0.2' diameter, quasi-stellar nucleus. The observing challenge is compounded by mag 7.2 HD 131893, which is situated just 2.4' WSW and severely hampers viewing! The best view was at 450x, with the bright star carefully placed just outside the field of view.

AWM 4 (from the 1977 Astrophysical Journal paper by Albert, White and Morgan "cD Galaxies in Poor Clusters. II")
16 04 57 +23 55 12
Size: 4.7'

This very compact cluster consists of the relatively bright cD galaxy NGC 6051 (V = 13.1), with a swarm of very faint companions huddled nearby. The entire group fits within a 5' circle! Five of these faint neighbors were picked up from B = 16.2 to B = 17.3, with the two faintest ones PGC 57010 at V = 15.9 (B = 16.9) and PGC 140564 at V = 16.3 (B = 17.3). NGC 6051 was discovered in 1881 by Edouard Stephan using the 31" silvered-glass reflector at the Marseille Observatory, though he didn't note any of the dim companions. It appeared fairly faint or moderately bright, elongated 4:3 N-S, 0.6'x0.45', weak concentration. A mag 11.2 star is 0.7' SSE of center and a mag 16.7 star is 0.7' W of center. Interestingly, a 1978 paper title "Redshifts for galaxies in the poor cluster AWM-4" proposes that this is actually two superimposed clusters as a couple of the galaxies have significantly higher redshifts.

UGC 10227
16 08 58 +36 36 39
Size: 2.0'x0.2'; Mag: 14.5V

This superthin galaxy is easy to locate -- just 7.5' due north of mag 4.7 Tau Corona Borealis. At 260x and 375x appeared very faint, extremely thin edge-on 11:1 NNW-SSE, ~1.1'x0.1', very low nearly even surface brightness with a very slightly brighter central region. A mag 15 star is 40" WNW of center.

VV 560
16 28 41 +12 45 57
Size: 1.3'x0.7'; Mag: 15.2B

Using 375x and 500x, this unusual "sickle-shaped" interacting system appeared faint, small, elongated 3:2 SW-NE, ~18"x12". An extremely faint glow was noted 27" east of center, but the SDSS reveals this is a very close pair of extremely faint stars (see image). Jimi Lowrey felt he detected the tail to the north, but I was unable to confirm.

NGC 6951
20 37 14.2 +66 06 20
Size: 3.9'x3.2'; Mag: 10.7V

For a change of pace, we took a break to look at some brighter eye-candy. NGC 6951 in Cepheus was bright, fairly large, slightly elongated, ~2' diameter. Sharply concentrated with a small, very bright core. A fairly broad "bar" extends east-west through the central region. Weak spiral structure is definite with careful viewing. An eastern arm appears as a subtle arc curving counterclockwise and passing west and then south of a mag 12.7 star 1.4' east of center. I expected the western arm to be more obvious, but it was quite subtle, appearing as a slightly brighter curving "edge" of the outer halo from west to north.

NGC 6052 = VV 86 = Arp 209
16 05 13.2 +20 32 33
Size: 0.9'x0.7'; Mag: 13.0V

At 375x, moderately bright, fairly small, elongated 3:2 N-S, ~25"x18". Contains an extremely small nucleus that appears offset to the north side. The eastern component is merged, except for a small, thin extension that juts out to the south on the southeastern side. A mag 15 star lies 0.8' W.

For comparison, here's how this merged pair appeared in Jimi Lowrey's 48-inch last year: At 488x, the disrupted system NGC 6052 = Arp 209 had a very strange appearance. Attached on the SE side is a faint, elongated glow, ~22"x6", extending out from the main portion of the system and giving the strong impression that an edge-on galaxy was involved in this merger. Also on the NE side, a fainter and broader extension or plume was visible oriented N-S. Although these two features seemed detached, they may be part of the same partially merged edge-on. To the west of these extended features is the most prominent region or core of the galaxy, which appeared bright, irregular round and mottled. The halo was very irregular in shape and brightness, particularly on the west side which had a mottled, tattered appearance.

Observing Reports / OR 7/22 through 7/25: Lassen National Park (part 1)
« on: August 27, 2014, 03:33:37 PM »
For a full report with pictures from Lassen and labeled images of the objects described below go to

Adventures in Deep Space

Steve Gottlieb

Last month I met Mark Wagner, Marko Johnston, Carter Scholz, Peter Natscher, David Cooper, and Jimi and Connie Lowrey for 4 nights of camping and observing at Lassen National Park, one of the premier observing sites in northern California. I've been observing off and on here for 15 years and its always a treat to observe in such a beautiful location. A month in advance we reserved 4 campsites at Summit Lake South and planned to observe at Bumpass Hell lot. on July 22 through the 25th (4 nights). Unfortunately, a weather system passed through just before we arrived and Tuesday night was expected to be cloudy, at least early on.

After driving up to Bumpass Hell lot before sunset, we found some clouds still passing through but obviously clearing. More of a problem, though, was a very strong wind that was blowing in the from the west. So, we decided at the last minute to take a chance a drive over to the Devastated Lot in hope of calmer conditions. It turned out we had windy conditions there also (though probably less), but the transparency was very good, and despite the wind the seeing was good. Here are highlights from the first night, before we finally gave in to the wind.

NGC 6137 quartet
16 23 03.2 +37 55 19
Size: 1.9'x1.2'; Mag 12.4V

At 375x, NGC 6137 appeared fairly bright, moderately large, elongated 5:3 N-S, 0.8'x0.5', broad concentration with a brighter core. Increases in size with averted vision. A mag 14.3 star is 1' E and a mag 14.8 star is 1' NW. Three galaxies are aligned in a string to the NNW. NGC 6137B = CGCG 196-052, 1.7' NNW, appears fairly faint (B = 15.8), small, round, 18" diameter. PGC 214491, 3.9' NNW, appears faint (B = 16.3), very small, round, 12"-15" diameter. PGC 3498453, 7.3' NNW appears faint, small, slightly elongated E-W, 18"x15".

NGC 6240
16 52 58.9 +02 24 04
Size: 2.1'x1.1'; Mag: 12.9V

The "Rumpled Starfish" or "Lobster" galaxy appeared fairly faint to moderately bright, irregular but roughly elongated 3:2 SSW-NNE, ~60"x40", though increases in size with averted vision. The surface brightness is irregular, with a mottled texture. The brightest portion has an offset nucleus or knot on the east side. On the northeast side, a faint narrow wing extends to the north. A very short extension was also glimpsed on the southeast side. A mag 13.5 star is 0.6' NE and a mag 15.7 star is 50" SSE of center.

NGC 6240 has dual supermassive black holes and is the closest such galaxy, both in terms of distance from one another and distance from the sun.

VV 289
16 55 00.5 +43 03 30
Size: 2.1'x1.8'; Mag: ~15

Using 375x, the brighter component VV 289a appeared fairly faint, fairly small, oval 2:1 E-W, 24"x12", slightly brighter core, irregular surface brightness. A mag 16.5+ star is at the east edge. Forms a very close, interacting pair with VV 289b = MCG +07-35-005 [0.7' between centers], which appeared very faint to faint, small, elongated 3:2 E-W, 18"x12", brighter nucleus, just detached from brighter VV 289a. PGC 2212393 = MAC 1655+4304 lies 1.6' NE and is faint, very small, round, 12" diameter. Contains a relatively bright quasi-stellar nucleus.

VV 101 = Arp 310 = IC 1259 and Arp 311
17 27 25.8 +58 31 00

At 375x, the merged contact pair IC 1259 (15" between centers) was a striking sight. VV 101a, the larger and brighter eastern component, appeared fairly faint, small, round, 18" diameter. A mag 15 star is at the southeast edge, just 10" from center. VV 101b, the western component, appeared very faint, extremely small, 8" x 5" SW-NE. In addtion, a mag 12 star lies 0.8' NE. Quite a collection of objects in a small region!

IC 1258, just 2.2' SW, is another fascinating object because of several nearby stars. It appeared faint or fairly faint, elongated 4:3 WSW-ENE, ~0.4'x0.3'. A mag 15.3 star is off the north side [27" from center] and another mag 15 star is off the southwest side [44" from center]. At 500x, a mag 15.5+ star is at the east edge [10" from center!]. Alvin identifies this object as a close companion galaxy in his Arp observing guide, but it appears completely stellar on the SDSS. Does anyone have additional information on whether IC 1258 is a double galaxy? IC 1260 is 2.5' SSE of IC 1259 and also appeared faint to fairly faint, round, 12" diameter. Megastar misidentifies this galaxy as KAZ 140 (see NED for the correct identification). FInally, PGC 2579433 = MAC 17275829 at 2.5' ESE of IC 1259 is the toughest of the group and logged as extremely faint, roundish, 8" diameter, required averted vision.

I Zw 199
17 50 05.1 +56 40 27
Size: 0.9'x0.5'; Mag: 14.5V

At 375x, this interacting pair was cleanly resolved, although essentially tangent [20" between centers]. Appears "peanut-shaped", oriented NE-SW, with the brighter NE galaxy (MCG +09-29-040 at V = 14.7) at 0.3' diameter. The fainter SW galaxy (MCG +09-29-039 at V = 15.8) was 0.2' or slightly smaller in size. MCG +09-29-037 lies 3.0' SW and appeared extremely to very faint, only 9"x6" (core of galaxy). A mag 14.6 star is just off the NE end, 0.4' from center.

Djorgovski 2
18 01 49 -27 49 36
Size: 3.5'

Excellent view of this globular cluster (discovered in 1987). At 375x, a few obvious stars are resolved around the edges and superimposed on the 2' mottled glow. With careful viewing the cluster was sparkling with a number of very faint stars, mag 15.5 and fainter, popping in and out of view. Roughly 20 stars were resolved, although it was difficult to individually count. Of course, the main attraction is the location -- 20' west of Barnard 86, the "Inkspot" Dark Nebula and the rich cluster NGC 6520!

Serpens Red Reflection Nebula
18 29 56 +01 14 48
1' diameter

This unusual Red Reflection Nebula was seen at 175x, knowing the exact position. It appeared extremely faint, small, round, ~15"-20" diameter. Using averted vision the glow popped ~20% of time, and was only seen for brief glimpses, though confirmed with certainty. The Serpens Nebula is located 7' WNW of mag 9.8 HD 170634, the illuminating star of reflection nebula vdB 123, and just west of the line connecting the double star STF 2321 = 8.5/9.6 at 6" and a mag 10.5 star 9' to its NNE.

The "Serpens Nebula" is a very red (continuum) reflection nebula illuminated by the pre-main sequence star [SVS76] Ser 2 = HBC 672. It is located within the core of the Serpens Dark Cloud, a dusty star-forming region associated with Sh 2-68, and includes several HH objects -- HH 458/459/478. It was included in the TSP 2014 "Seeing Red" advanced observer's list.

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