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Observation Report From Backyard 4/18 4/19/01

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Posted by Bob Sal on June 8, 2001 17:31:37 UTC

Hi All;
Just found this sight today. I post my reports on several Astronomy sights and get many responses from people looking for new and beautiful Deep Sky items. The sky has been awful here in N.J. the last few weeks. This is the last report I wrote from an observing session in mid April. I got out once or twice since then but the sky was just completely uncooperative. My main Telescope is a Mead 12" LX200. I have 4 main Eyepieces, Maede 40MM Super Wide 68 degree, Pan-Optic 22MM 67 degree, Meade 14MM Ultra Wide 84 degree, and a Teleview 8MM radient 60 degree. I have the Orion Ultra Block Filter. Anyway, here's some of what I saw that weekend.

I took off Thrs. and Fri and lucked out with OK weather. Fri. and Sat nights were bad. I was joined by friends Roley & Phil Wed. night and just Roley Thrs. night. The sky was clear but still kind of bright. The entire first night and a good part of the second we spent looking at some of our favorite items. We got to some new stuff the second night. Some of this will be an expanded review of stuff I've spoken about recently but these items are well worth visiting often. The 9.6 Magnitude Galaxy in Virgo NGC 4526 was probably the item of the night for both nights. It's a very bright galaxy sitting half way between 2 bright stars. It looks kind of curved like a bannana. Very bright center with lots of haze. The haze is brighter on the convex portion. I must see a picture of this thing. I'm sure something is darkening one side a bit.Maybe a dust lane or something. The next item got lots of our attention We dubbed it the "Needle". It's in Virgo, mag. 10.2, dia 8.7. Very sharp item. Thin, thin needle like extentions from a thin bright nucleus. It stands up to higher magnification. With the 22MM at 138x it's stunning! The thin extentions reach almost to the top and bottom of the field using averted vision. There is a second galaxy in the field NGC 4754 mag 10.6. dia 4.7. This is smaller and rounder. Together they make quite a sight. We went back to this many times both nights. Can't get enough of it. At 218x it started to dull a little. The 22mm at 138x was best. Two more edge-ons we looked at several times were NGC4565 at mag 9.6 and NGC4631 at mag. 9.3. 4565 is the brighter of the two. Looks kind of like M82, same size and shape but not as bright. It slashes through the field much sharper on one side. Very easy to see. 4631 on the other hand, is not so easy to see. Keep looking, you'll get it! It's huge! Called "The Whale Galaxy" it brightens up a fairly large area. Also brighter on one side. It's just amazing how big this is. Spectacular item. WE also just can't get enough NGC6543 The Cats Eye Planetary Nebula in Draco. One of the bluest items I've seen. Even with the 8MM at 381X it looks quit bright and has shape. The best view might be with the 14MM at 218X with the Ultra Block Filter. You start to see small points on the sides. I believe I've seen sort of a halo around the whole thing, like the Eskimo nebula only very dim. Again, I need to see a picture. Two double stars stand out as favorites for these observing sessions, 2 CV mag 5.8/8.1 sep 11.4". This is a beautiful orange star and pale blue star. Very easy split, everyone should try to find this. It rivals Alberio for color but not as bright. Also Gamma Leo (or Algeiba). This is a very impressive star and very easy to locate. The components are about the same magnitude and color, both are gold stars. Very striking! Good seperation. Everyone should have no trouble finding and enjoying this beautiful double star. There was lot lots more, those were the items we enjoyed the most. Here are some highlights from the new stuff:
Here's a wonderful picture. In Virgo between M86 and M84 just a little lower in the SFOV (Same Field Of View) is a small yet very visible galaxy NGC4387 mag. 12.0, dia 1.9". It's round and bright in the center. Under that also in the SFOV is NGC4388 mag. 11.1, dia 5.9. This is a small edge-on, quit apparent, going side to side. All 4 are visible with the 40MM at 76X. We call this the "Face". M84 & 86 are the eyes, 4387 the nose and of course the edge-on 4388 is the mouth. Check it out, you can't miss it. It looks like a face on the charts!

We found 3 Galaxy pairs that all looked pretty much alike. They were all just 2 dots, one above the other kind of like a colin: (yeah that one)

NGC4438/4435 mag. 10.1/10.9, dia. 9.3/3.0

NGC4458/4461 mag. 12.1/11.2, dia. 1.9/3.9

NGC4473/4477 mag. 10.2/10.4, dia. 2.5/4.0

This next one NGC4450 mag. 10.1, dia 4.8, is much bigger than the size of 4.8 would leade you to believe. Very big item with a big bright center. It looked very cool sitting in a bright triangle of stars.

NGC4419 mag. 11.1 dia 3.4, I loved this item. It was small but very bright. At 138x it just comes to life. It a sliver of a edge-on but thicker in the center. It looks just like the backgound galaxies you see in deep field type pictures taken with huge telescopes. Outstanding item.

Well there were lots more new stuff. Most were the usual fuzzy spots and dim bloches, a haze patch here and there. Those were the highlights of the 2 sessions. The company was great, the sky was OK (bright but OK) and the coffee was hot. Had a great time. Clear Skies.

That's it;
BOB SAL


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