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A variety of galaxies in the Leo/Coma/CVn environs

Martin Meredith

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Here are a few captures from a badly-collimated session last night. (Lodestar X2 mono, Quattro 8" f4, alt-az, StarlightLive, no filters; seeing around 3.3", moonless, slight wind, village lights).

1. Leo I dwarf. = UGC 5470. This is a right tough one due to its low surface brightness (24.0) and proximity to Regulus (the last few sessions I've finished my 2-star alignment on Regulus and it hadn't occurred to me until last night to take a look). Stacking doesn't help much as the Regulus glow remains. The dwarf is towards the top-centre of the image in case it isn't obvious...



2. Hickson compact group 68 in Canes Venatici. = NGCs 5350, 5354, 5353, 5355, 5358. This group of 5 spirals in various orientations is somewhat overshadowed by the mag 6.5 star in their midst (I sense a theme emerging here).



3. NGC 5371. Less than a degree from Hickson 68 is this interesting spiral with some detail appearing in its arms as the exposure builds up. The faint starlike object at 4.30 is a mag 18.5, z=1.6 quasar. The stars on the right are displaying pretty bad coma by this point (the close pair looks like the prototypical double star atlas representation!).



4. Hickson 61 in Coma = The Box = NGCs 4173, 4169, 4174, 4175. One of the most perfect galaxy groupings in my opinion. I've observed it before but never for long enough to notice the thin tail extending from the faintest (long thin) NGC 4173. I let this one stack for a while to get a better look at the tail. While it looks to be interacting with the other similarly-oriented edge-on (NGC 4175), the distances are wrong: NGC 4173 is listed at 62 million LYs, and the other three at around 197 million, so the perfect configuration is just a happy accident.



5. NGC 4274. Also in Coma, a few degrees from The Box. This is classified as a SB-spiral with an inner ring and an outer pseudo-ring, if I've interpreted the classification correctly. This was the find of the night for me, based on a random excursion between planned hops. I was so keen to observe the various ring structures that I left the stack running for quite a while as you can see. The bright inner ring is obvious on a single 30s sub, with a mere ghost of the outer material. With time this reveals itself first as a faint outer disk (around 4x30s),which then resolves into a ring with clear dark gaps at the north and south by 8x30s. Subsequent exposure leads to the emergence of detail in the central bright bulge, which appears to contain yet a third ring, but which I believe is actually a bar. This galaxy is quite close, at 52 million LYs, and just a few tenths of a magnitude fainter than the 6 Messier galaxies in Coma.

The fuzzy ball at the top-left is IC 779. 


The beauty of EAA is that it brings into reach any number of fascinatingly different galaxy types.

Thanks for looking




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Lovely selection of objects, you are picking up some fine detail despite the coma. Those dwarf galaxies are rarely captured and fascinating objects, tricky blighters by the look of it, that one particularly so. NGC4274 looks interesting, very uniform with a hint if some spiral structure around the central bulge?

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