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Double Kick Drum

2nd February 2013 - Two Nights In A Row And More Galaxies

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Caught by surprise again, I managed a second consecutive (and unplanned) night under the stars but this time for substantially longer than yesterday. The air was noticably drier, something confirmed by the fact that after two and a half hours, it was I who succumbed to the cold night's air and not the Bresser.

I started with a cursory glance at NGC 2903 in Leo and large soft oval of a galaxy not yet at its best but a nice little taster on the months to come.

I then continued with the hunt for new galaxies in and around Ursa Major. First up was the relatively easy star hop from Upsilon Ursae Majoris to NGC 2950. The galaxy is quite condensed and was an easy object using averted vision. Slightly further away and to the South of Upsilon Ursae Majoris was NGC 3079, which appeared as a very subtle and highly elongated radiance.

More difficult again was the star hop from Chi Ursae Majoris to NGC 3949 resulted in finding a very inconsequential smudge, just detectable using every trick in the book.

Buoyed by this successful start, I tried my hand at finding NGC 3245 in Leo Minor. Its stats of being magnitude 10.8 and having a surface brightness of 12.6 indicated that if I could locate its whereabouts, seeing it shouldn't be a problem. It is roughly equidistant between 46 Ursae Majoris and Zeta Leonis but there is a lot of sky between the two stars and it took me a good half hour to find. The mid-sized oval haze was reasonably easy to pick up by not looking directly at it.

Sadly NGC 2655 in Camelopardalis was a bridge too far. It is another reasonably bright galaxy but an absolute pig to find, a problem exacerbated by the limited movement of an equatorial mount at that declination.

I then swung my scope round to a gap between houses to search for NGC 1535 (Cleopatra's Eye) but found I had left myself too little time to find it before it set below next door's roof.

I finished up with a return to M81, M82 and NGC 3077. Anyone who has located the first two of these should try also finding NGC 3077 and NGC 2976 which are both very close by and both within the grasp of smaller apertures in a half decent sky.

____________________________________________________________

Observing Session: Friday, 2nd February 2013, 19:10 hrs to 21:35 hrs GMT

VLM at Zenith: 5.2

New - Revisited - Failed

Edited by Double Kick Drum
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Thanks for another envy-inducing report :D

You must've been like a kid in a sweetshop when you saw it was clear again :p

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Thanks for another envy-inducing report :D

You must've been like a kid in a sweetshop when you saw it was clear again :p

Yes, it would have been nice to stay out. I was a bit unprepared in both planning and winter clothing and by half nine I was so cold, I must have looked like Jack Nicholson at the end of the film "The Shining". :grin:

Edited by Double Kick Drum

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My best buy of the winter was some padded over-trousers. £30 from GoOutdoors (other retailers are available ;)), no more cold legs observing. Brilliant :D

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Agree about the two smaller NGC galaxies near M81/82...the are a great transition from they more obvious Messier targets and the mass of faint NGCs.

Sent from my Xoom using Tapatalk 2

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Very nice report, and some nice galaxies bagged. NGC 3077 was the first one I got near M81/M82, and I think my first non-Messier galaxy. NGC 2976 followed soon. That was some 33 years ago with a home-made 6" F/8 Newtonian. You do not need a massive instrument to get these smaller NGCs. Just some patience at the eyepiece (and clear skies, which are in short supply here).

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Very nice report, and some nice galaxies bagged. NGC 3077 was the first one I got near M81/M82, and I think my first non-Messier galaxy. NGC 2976 followed soon. That was some 33 years ago with a home-made 6" F/8 Newtonian. You do not need a massive instrument to get these smaller NGCs. Just some patience at the eyepiece (and clear skies, which are in short supply here).

Yes NGC 3077 was one of the first non-Messier objects I ever spotted and made me appreciate taking time at the eyepiece to pick up ever feinter smudges. I can't pretend that it is a great object on its own, because it appears as nothing more than a smudge but what it does do (amongst others) is make you appreciate that there are many groups of galaxies bunched together (some by chance, some being other local groups or clusters).

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nice report martin. thanks for the tip regarding those extra nearby ngc's. i cant wait to get a look at m81/82. not seen em with the dob .

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Thanks for the report, and you must have been thrilled to get two nights in a row. I just barely get NGC3077 in the back yard with the 5"inch newt. I'm sure I would get more at a better location.

Yes NGC 3077 was one of the first non-Messier objects I ever spotted and made me appreciate taking time at the eyepiece to pick up ever feinter smudges. I can't pretend that it is a great object on its own, because it appears as nothing more than a smudge but what it does do (amongst others) is make you appreciate that there are many groups of galaxies bunched together (some by chance, some being other local groups or clusters).

Just knowing these are gravitationally linked makes it much more exciting for me! I went after M65 M66 and NGC3628 but a faint layer of dreaded cloud prevented me from getting a bead on them. I'm eager to get a view of NGC2903. What's the best time of year for the Leo galaxies?

Clear Skies

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Thanks for the report, and you must have been thrilled to get two nights in a row. I just barely get NGC3077 in the back yard with the 5"inch newt. I'm sure I would get more at a better location.

Just knowing these are gravitationally linked makes it much more exciting for me! I went after M65 M66 and NGC3628 but a faint layer of dreaded cloud prevented me from getting a bead on them. I'm eager to get a view of NGC2903. What's the best time of year for the Leo galaxies?

Clear Skies

From now up until April is best for Leo galaxies. NGC 2903 is the first to rise and is reasonably elevated by 8 or 9pm. By 12pm, Leo is at its zenith and all galaxies are at their best (give or take).

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