Friday, May 31, 2013

June 2013 Galaxy Log will be released this weekend, and with some interesting galaxies, including a good challenge for some of the owners of larger scopes.

A constellation that one of our galaxies is in Bootes, has lots of interesting galaxies, though many may require mid-size and larger telescopes to be seen well. Nevertheless it's a terrific area of the sky that is chock full of galaxies.

One of them is a nice edge-on galaxy Ngc 5529, which we'll discuss in detail on a future Galaxy Log video. This is a favorite in my 22" dob, and have viewed it in the past with a 6" refractor.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Terrific night of observing from one of our dark sites called Ds-2.

Had my 12.5" f/4.8 dob for this night, and did some galaxy logging and more.
This nice size dob or what I call the "baby of the big dobs", is an easy set-up and most times only needs a tweak to get collimated.

After set-up, I just put in a 20mm wide-field eyepiece (76x), and got a terrific view of the Leo Trio.

From there as the center of the Virgo cluster was just pass meridian, I switched out eyepieces to a 12mm wide-field (127x), which still has wide enough FOV, but at the same time makes it far easier to see the smaller galaxy members, and the larger members much more impressive.

Heading to eastern Virgo and the spiral Ngc 5174. With a 10mm UWA eyepiece the galaxy showed a bright core region in an oval low surface brightness disc, though some mottling was seen. 

I headed north and a trio of 8th magnitude stars with a group of galaxies. Ngc 5171 is the brightest, and a small round galaxy in the 10mm, so I inserted a 5.5mm UWA eyepiece (277x). At this power Ngc 5171 showed a bright small core, and just NE was a faint slightly oval glow which is Ngc 5179. North of this pair was a faint small fuzzy spot which looked like an out of focused star, which is Ngc 5176. Also a tiny elogated galaxy Ngc 5177 was seen right next to Ngc 5176, and was a bit tougher to see. South of these four galaxies is Ngc 5178, which was just a faint small ovalish disc, with just a slight brightening near center.

Next was a pair of trio's of galaxies. 

Ngc 5576 with a 7mm ultra wide-field showed a fairly bright oval disc with a bright stellar nucleus. Ngc 5574 just southwest was a elongated small disc, and the most interesting galaxy just north of Ngc 5576 is an almost edge-on galaxy Ngc 5577, which showed as a faint streak, brighter in the core area.

I also observed to the northwest of this trio, another trio led by Ngc 5566, but I will discuss this trio in an upcoming or future Galaxy Log video.

Now something a bit larger and brighter is the great edge-on Ngc 5746.

Best view here was with a 10mm ultra wide-field (152x) and a 7mm ultra wide-field (218x) eyepieces. The galaxy is large, pointing north to south with a large central bulge and a visible thin dark lane that was more evident with the 7mm. A WOW view!!!

Also just southwest of this great galaxy is Ngc 5740 which showed as an oval disc with a bright core. Kind of reminded me of a fainter version of the nice galaxy Ngc 5248 in Bootes.

Swung the 12.5" dob north to grab some quick views of some favorites with a 12mm wide-field eyepiece in the focuser like Ngc 4485/4490, Ngc 4460, Ngc 4449.

Took a bit of a coffee break and then on non-stop for the rest of the night.

Hit some galaxies in Hercules including a pair for the June 2013 Galaxy Log video, and another in Lyra for an upcoming video.

Over to Draco and a favorite interacting pair Ngc 6621/6622 which looked very good with the 7mm ultra wide-field eyepiece.

First locating this pair with a 20mm wide-field eyepiece it looked at first glance like a edge-on galaxy with two separate cores. With the 7mm eyepiece the larger side is Ngc 6621 which has larger faint envelope surrounding a bright core, and with a slight separation Ngc 6622 which is on the southeast edge of Ngc 6621. Ngc 6622 is a bit fainter and small.

I finished the night with some more close to home objects like M-4, M-8, M-13, M-20, M-27, and M-57, though as usual I close the night with a galaxy, so Ngc 5907 in Draco with the 12mm eyepiece was a good choice with it's razor thin shape and small or near stellar nucleus.        

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

This past Saturday night was an exceptional one for some spring galaxy observing. My daughter Jillian and a fellow CAS member (Dan) were bringing in the photons.

Jill had her ES 5" f/6.5 refractor, Dan had a 4.7" f/8.3 refractor, and I had my ES 6" f/6.5 refractor and 12.5" f/4.8 dob.

Some of the first views in Leo with Jill's 5" and my 12.5" were Ngc 2903.

Her best view came with a 8mm Ethos (a great match for this scope), which showed the galaxy's bright core and mottled oval disc. In my 12.5" the galaxy showed some nice structure.

Dan I believe around that time was looking at M-106, which looks great with most telescopes in dark skies. His view was quite good.

Some of the other highlights in Jill's 5" refractor was a wonderful view of M-81 and M-82. With M-82 in the 8mm eyepiece showed lots of mottling and that dark lane cutting through the minor axis of the galaxy.

She also observed some galaxies for upcoming episodes of the Galaxy Log video series, which she's excited about.

My 12.5" provided some terrific detailed views of M-51, Ngc 4565, Ngc 5248, M-82 with a 5.5mm UWA was photo-like.

Dan showed me in the 4.7" a real nice view of M-64, plus M-104 with both showing there famous dark areas or lanes.

The 6" refractor was not forgotten, and gave us some terrific views which included the duo of Ngc 4485 and Ngc 4490,

Many other galaxies of the night were bagged, as well as some nice star clusters and nebula of all types.

Truly a fun night with my daughter and long time friend Dan.

Can't wait for the next clear moonless night.