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April 1, 2013: Panstarrs and monster galaxy haul; crossed the 300 galaxies mark


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With the skies being very clear I set up the scope early, and went inside to go through the Shapley-Ames Catalogue of Bright Galaxies and the Sky Atlas 2000.0 to select targets. At 9:15 I went outside with the 15x70 bins, to have a quick look at Panstarrs. To the north and above delta And it showed up nicely, though not as bright as a week ago. I then took out the battery pack, attached it to the mount, and started a proper galaxy hunt.

I first faffed around near Polaris, but somehow lost my bearings a bit, so decided to go for something easier to navigate. In Leo, M65 and M66 shone out brightly (no sign of SN2013am in my 8" scope), and NGC 3628 was visible in averted vision. A beautiful triplet indeed. I then went for NGC 3593 (galaxy #286), which I somehow missed before, just to the west of the famous triplet. It is quite easy, and fairly extended. I moved over to M105 and NGC 3384, which form a lovely pair, very bright, and with NGC 3389, much fainter, made up the "other Leo Triplet." M96 was very clear below them and M95 was somewhat more diffuse, but still a nice galaxy. I had a go at nearby NGC 3433, but despite some hints of a circular glow I found it hard to call it a sighting, so left it to hunt elsewhere. I had a brief look around NGC 3686, but found nothing. I have spotted it before, but there was some LP in that direction, so I decided to give Leo a rest for now.

Swinging up to UMa, I had a brief look at NGC 3184, which is a quite large and diffuse glow, but distinctly visible. Nearby NGC 3319 was a failure, despite tantalizing hints. So far the session had yielded quite a few old friends, just a single new object, and a couple of failures. I was tempted to stop, but decided to soldier on. This turned out to be a good decision. I swung to chi UMa, and was instantly rewarded by the sight of NGC 3877 (galaxy #287), a lovely side-on galaxy, quite easy just below chi UMa. This had escaped me previously, but this time conditions were better, and the glare of chi UMa posed no problems. A quick star-hop eastwards bagged me NGC 4096 (galaxy #288), quite easy and elongated. NGC 4100 (galaxy #289, easy in averted vision) was found just to the north, quickly followed by NGC 4144 (galaxy #290, a bit harder) to the south and east of NGC 4096.

Further east lay majestic M106 (which showed up in the 16x70 finder scope) and its entourage of smaller galaxies, including NGC 4346 to the east and NGC 4217 (galaxy #291) westwards. This is a small elongated glow to the west of M106, more difficult than its magnitude would suggest, as it is very close to a mag 7 star. I tried NGC 4248, but nothing definite could be made out. I did note some brightening to the north of M106, but that might be a knot in a spiral arm.

Moving a lot further north, I star-hopped from Megrez, and quickly found NGC 4605 (galaxy #292). An easy smudge, and quite compact. NGC 4125 (galaxy #293) was another target gleaned from the Shapley-Ames Catalogue, and again it showed up the moment I put my eye to the EP. The big finder was really performing well. For a whole list of objects I star-hopped to a position for which I thought "it should be just about here" and instantly needed to correct myself "no, it is precisely here." Great fun after the shaky start of the session. Of course, the next target, NGC 4256 promptly decided to play coy, so I moved on.

Virgo was by now ideally positioned, so I moved over to M98. Quite a ghostly, elongated smudge, I find. The finder was back on form, and to the south of M98, NGC 4212 (galaxy #294) showed up as a compact smudge of fairly good surface brightness. NGC 4216 was below it: a lovely elongated object (side-on) of very good surface brightness. Easier than M98 I find. NGC 4206 (galaxy #295) was a bit to the west and below, much much harder, averted vision only, a quite elongated smudge, shorter and fainter than NGC 4216, and at a slight angle. Nearby, NGC 4267 (galaxy #296) was much easier, quite compact.

I then moved uwards to M99, a large round ball of fuzz, much easier than M98. Nearby (eastwards) NGC 4298 (galaxy #297 round, small) and NGC 4302 (galaxy #298 elongated, larger) were a fairly difficult pair, only visible in averted vision. I would love to study these from a dark site. Further east still lay NGC 4459 (galaxy #299) also known as III Zw 65. This was an easy fuzzy blob, but nearby III Zw 66 proved elusive. Nearby M88 was an impressive, slighty elongated blob, and M91 was more rounded, smaller and a bit fainter. Nearby was NGC 4571 (galaxy #300 :headbang: ), a little fuzzy oval, quite hard, in part due to a mag 8.5 star just to the north. Back westwards and to the south of M98 lay NGC 4178 (galaxy #301). This was very hard, an elongated smudge only seen in averted vision.

Moving a bit north and eastwards again, NGC 4294 (galaxy #302) and NGC 4299 (galaxy #303) formed another difficult pair, the former smaller than the latter. Averted vision only, and another pair to check out from a darker location. Eastwards again lay NGC 4371 (galaxy #304), which jumped out at me. Very compact, and surprisingly easy. NGC 4313 (galaxy #305) lay due west of this. About the same size, but more difficult, averted vision only. The final new one was NGC 4452 (galaxy #306), a tiny bit of fuzz just next to a mag 10 star. Clearly resolved with the 17mm Nagler at 119x.

As I was just below the core region of the cluster, I just had to move up to M86 and M84, and their attendant galaxies NGC 4387, NGC 4388 (lovely elongated object), and the "Eyes" NGC 4435 and NGC 4438. I tried to see if NGC 4413 could be spotted, but it was beyond me at this point.

By that time it was late, and having seen a total of 42 galaxies, 21 of which were new, I decided to call it a night. I packed up the gear, and updated my log whilst treating myself to a tot of single malt whisky.

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Wow. That's a lot of yellow and orange. Very satisfying after relative slim pickings in terms of clear nights.

At the same time you were breaking through the 300 barrier, I was breaking my own 150 galaxy barrier and will post the details later.

Happy hunting!

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Wow. That's a lot of yellow and orange. Very satisfying after relative slim pickings in terms of clear nights.

At the same time you were breaking through the 300 barrier, I was breaking my own 150 galaxy barrier and will post the details later.

Happy hunting!

Cheers, Looking forward to your report!

That's a hell of a tour Michael. Seek and find at it's best :icon_salut: .

I like the celebratory touch too :grin: .

Ron.

Thanks.

I thought: If you cannot celebrate 300 galaxies, what can you celebrate (either that or: where's that whisky to warm me up :D)

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Thanks for the info and well done on 300. I am hoping to get to double figures and my first comet tonight. Is Panstarrs still just to the right of Andromeda?

- Sharpe

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Well done, a great tally.

It puts my excitement last night at adding the Leo trio into the shade a bit.

(my galaxy total is now 6)

Thanks Keith.

Don't worry about the numbers, I started observing decades ago, so I have had a serious head start. I still get excited about the Leo Triplet.

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That's some serious work Michael, well done! I didn't deserve the tot of whiskey as much as you did but I had one all the same after my session....purely medicinal, of course!

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"having seen a total of 42 galaxies, 21 of which were new, I decided to call it a night"

That's spectacularly inspiring stuff Michael, thanks for posting. It really encourages me to see how much you're still getting out of it after well over a decade at it!

Well done, a well earned wee nip if ever there was :D

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"having seen a total of 42 galaxies, 21 of which were new, I decided to call it a night"

That's spectacularly inspiring stuff Michael, thanks for posting. It really encourages me to see how much you're still getting out of it after well over a decade at it!

Well done, a well earned wee nip if ever there was :D

Thanks, Kev. I must say for a long time I focused on planets and the usual DSO suspects. Only since I joined SGL did I start logging finds again. Since getting the big finder scope the number of DSOs found has simply skyrocketed. Logging stuff is a very good way of keeping your interest going, because you do not just go through the same old list of objects again.

That's some serious work Michael, well done! I didn't deserve the tot of whiskey as much as you did but I had one all the same after my session....purely medicinal, of course!

I think finding just a single DSO is reason enough to celebrate with a tot. And of course, if you don't find anything, you are due some consolation. A tot of whisky is very good in that case :D

Cheers.

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