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Double Kick Drum

30th April 2013 - Galaxy Hopping Up To Mankarian's Chain

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Having missed out on a couple of clear nights with other commitments this month, I was glad to get out last night for only the second time this April. At 10:20pm, it still wasn't quite astronomically dark but the sky was already looking very clear.

I had planned to skip across Mankarian's chain and search for NGC 4216, NGC 4365, NGC 4486, NGC 4261, NGC 4568, NGC 4654, NGC 4371 in Virgo and NGC 4725 in Coma Berenices but never got that far for getting side tracked with five new galaxies to me on the galaxy hopping route.

I started (as I usually do) from Epsilon Virginis toward HD112278 and then moved on to NGC 4754 and NGC 4762, which both showed up quite readily in the 8mm X-Cel eyepiece. I then headed West by Northwest through the bright trio of M60, M59 and M58 before dropping South to see NGC 4564 and the Siamese Twins. I cannot be certain I saw both but NGC 4568 was just about possible. I was unclear how close the core of the slightly feinter NGC 4567 was to the other galaxy and was also repeatedly throw by two nearby stars of magnitudes 11.3 and 12.3.

A quick naked eye check on the sky identified a number of stars in Melotte 111.

I popped the 15mm eyepiece back in to navigate up to M87 (perhaps the brightest of the night). I switched back to the 8mm once found for a closer look and noticed a feinter galaxy NGC 4478 to the West. At magnitude 11.4, it is close to my limit but after five or ten minutes of viewing, I was seeing it like a football (to coin a cricketing phrase). NGC 4476 was sadly beyond me.

Westward again took me to NGC 4440, a much harder target but still just about visible using all the tricks at my disposal. At magnitude 11.7, it is the feintest fuzzy I have seen to date. The two feinter companions NGC 4431 and NGC 4436 were not possible to view.

From there, I headed North toward Mankarian's chain. First up were the Eyes (NGC 4435 and NGC 4438) which were instantly detectable. M86 and M84 were bright but I spent some time trying to tease out some of the feinter companions. NGC 4388 made an equiliateral triangle with the two Messiers but NGC 4387 and NGC 4402 were not possible.

I then moved back up the chain towards Coma Berenices and managed to find NGC 4461 just before the border and finished with spotting NGC 4473 and NGC 4477: my only Coma galaxies of the night.

18 galaxies in an hour and a half and five new ones included in that made a great return to the night sky.

____________________________________________________________

Observing Session: Monday 30th April 2013, 22:20 hrs to 23:50 hrs BST

VLM at Zenith: 5.3 - 5.4

New - Revisited - Failed

Edited by Double Kick Drum
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Good haul there, just love "The Eyes" staring out. Had a quick dip into the Virgo bowl and up to Coma Bernices. It was lovely to see the Melotte and corner stars by eye. The short nights are the very devil and I hate setting up so late, but there's plenty to see in

clear skies,

Nick.

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Well done DKD and great report! I've fallen out of the loop a little bit and have missed some clear nights too, so good to see folks getting in there. Hope you make it to the Chain next time! Clear skies,

Kevin

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yep, well done dkd, very impressed. cant say ive done any proper observing this year at all, no luck with time and weather ( sigh) but reading that report makes me wanna get out there.

keep em coming martin.

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Good going DKD, sounds like a well spent 90 minutes :)

I had a hit of Leo galaxies which failed to impress from my back garden, but was blown away by my first really good Saturn in this scope, so not too bad.

I technically found some DKDs along the way, but it feels wrong to count them without having had a good look so will leave it - I'm trying to get the most out of your list and I want to appreciate them properly.

Am taking notes from these posts for when I find a darker site locally :)

Cheers Martin.

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Feeling inspired from this report I decided it was time to have a try. It was a struggle unfortunately, as I don't know the region, and once I homed in I couldn't make out the Chain. I might have picked up some dew and the moon was rising which wouldn't help. Try as I might I couldn't see those Eyes. I managed to detect M87, so have got at least one for my collection, hurrah!

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I assume you have to contend with a bit more light pollution than me.

Congrats on M87!

I would say that M60, M84 and M86 should also show up. They are all very similar to M87 in brightness. The Eyes (NGC 4435 and NGC 4438) are a bit feinter and have a slightly lower surface brightness and so are a little harder to pick out.

Happy hunting!

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I assume you have to contend with a bit more light pollution than me.

Congrats on M87!

I would say that M60, M84 and M86 should also show up. They are all very similar to M87 in brightness. The Eyes (NGC 4435 and NGC 4438) are a bit feinter and have a slightly lower surface brightness and so are a little harder to pick out.

Happy hunting!

Thanks Martin! I think my VLM at Zenith is somewhere around 4.5 (I can just make out the seven stars of Ursa Minor) so I'm worse off with the LP. Chances are there was some dew also getting in my way so hopefully next visit will yield more results. Practice makes perfect!

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That's a great report of an excellent part of the sky for galaxy hunting. :)

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