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In Search of Spiral Arms in the Brightest Galaxies, 2nd pass completed... (Night Vision)


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Equipment Used:

Scope: 20” f3.6 Lukehurst Dob with Paracorr (fl = 2089mm & f4.1).

Night Vision: PVS-14 with Photonis 4g INTENS.

Eyepiece: Plossl 55mm (f2 x38).

 

Background.

In spring 2019 I created a Sky Safari observing list of 214 highest brightness galaxies in the night sky above.

I have observed 134 of the 214 (the others have not been well placed over my garden when I have been outside).

In my first pass through these 134 galaxies, they were graded 0-3 (where 3 means "clear spiral arms" and 0 means "nothing to see here!")

I have now completed a second pass through the grade 2 and grade 3 galaxies. This has resulted in some movement between bands based on my now greater experience and having a better idea of what I expect to see.

My latest graded lists contain 38 grade 3 galaxies and 30 grade 2 galaxies (when combined this gives a list of the best galaxies to view when using military night vision technology combined with a low power eyepiece (using the TeleVue PVS-14 adapter).

[Note that lower power eyepieces give the best spiral arm results as they “increase the effective focal ratio” of the telescope/night vision system which really helps increase the detail seen at the eyepiece.]

As we are still in galaxy season 2020, now seemed a good time to re-publish my findings so others have the opportunity to observe some of these fantastic galaxies before they become “unavailable” for another 10 months…

 

Grade 3 galaxies (the best of the best).

  1. M51
  2. M61
  3. M64
  4. M65
  5. M66
  6. M81
  7. M90
  8. M91
  9. M94
  10. M95
  11. M96
  12. M99
  13. M100
  14. M101
  15. M106
  16. M109
  17. NGC891
  18. NGC2403
  19. NGC2903
  20. NGC3184
  21. NGC3628
  22. NGC3631
  23. NGC3726
  24. NGC3893
  25. NGC3953
  26. NGC4051
  27. NGC4216
  28. NGC4274
  29. NGC4449
  30. NGC4559
  31. NGC4565
  32. NGC4618
  33. NGC4725
  34. NGC5248
  35. NGC5371
  36. NGC5746
  37. NGC5907
  38. NGC6946

 

Grade 2 galaxies (good but the arms are not quite there…)

  1. M82
  2. M88
  3. M98
  4. M104
  5. NGC2537
  6. NGC2768
  7. NGC3294
  8. NGC3344
  9. NGC3373
  10. NGC3596
  11. NGC3646
  12. NGC3675
  13. NGC3718
  14. NGC3729
  15. NGC3813
  16. NGC3938
  17. NGC4013
  18. NGC4214
  19. NGC4293
  20. NGC4389
  21. NGC4490
  22. NGC4517
  23. NGC4535
  24. NGC4625
  25. NGC4762
  26. NGC5005
  27. NGC5364
  28. NGC5383
  29. NGC5775
  30. NGC6015

Hopefully someone will find this useful information, next time they plan a galaxy observing session...

Note that my dobsonian uses an Astrodevices Nexus unit which I control using Sky Safari. Here are my exported observing lists (which you can import into your Sky Safari app should you wish to do so?)

Grade 3 Galaxies.skylist

Grade 2 Galaxies.skylist

1. email them to your phone/ipad,

2. read the email on your mobile device and after clicking on the attachment, you should be offered the chance to “send to Sky Safari” by your email app…

3.Sky Safari will open and give a message “Observing List Created”.

 

Clear Skies,

Alan

 

Edited by alanjgreen
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    • By alanjgreen
      Date: Friday 17th April 2020. 2320-0410hrs
      Scope: 20” f3.6 Lukehurst Dob with Paracorr (fl = 2089mm & f4.1).
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      Eyepieces: Plossl 55mm (f2 x38), Panoptic 35mm (f3 x60), Panoptic 27mm (f4 x77), DeLite 18.2mm (f5.8 x115).
       
      Introduction.
      The last three sessions outside have been focused on Supernovae, tonight I wanted to focus on the grade 3 (rated by me “the best of the best” galaxies to view based on my experience with Night Vision on >150 galaxies).
      I did not get through the whole list as the sky just keeps on turning and some targets were deserving of long lingering looks!😀
      After connecting Sky Safari to my Nexus wifi unit, I completed 2-star alignment and loaded the 55mm Plossl (for fastest possible “effective” focal ratio of my system), selected my Grade 3 observing list (using Sky Safari) and headed to the nearest target…
       
      Observing Report.
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    • By alanjgreen
      Date: Wednesday 15th April 2020. 2300-0400hrs
      Scope: 20” f3.6 Lukehurst Dob with Paracorr (fl = 2089mm & f4.1).
      Night Vision: PVS-14 with Photonis 4g INTENS.
      Eyepieces: Plossl 55mm (f2 x38), Panoptic 35mm (f3 x60), Panoptic 27mm (f4 x77), DeLite 18.2mm (f5.8 x115).
       
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      Observing notes.
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      Epilogue.
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    • By alanjgreen
      Date: Friday 20th March 2020. 2300-0305hrs.
      Scope: 20” f3.6 Lukehurst Dob with Paracorr (fl = 2089mm & f4.1).
      Night Vision: PVS-14 with Photonis 4g INTENS.
      Eyepieces: Panoptic 27mm (f4 x77), DeLite 18.2mm (f5.8 x115).
       
      Introduction.
      Unbelievably, I just completed my third straight night outside observing Hickson Galaxy Groups and Supernovae. After months of thin gruel, I am beside myself although a little tired it must be said!
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      Hicksons (3 new to me).
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      https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.deepsky-visuell.de/Projekte/HCG34_66.htm&prev=search
      This information is really useful and I thank the author for publishing this data for me to find!😀
       
      Supernovae (6 from 7 attempted).
      Okay, onto the main diet for the evening…
      IC738/SN2020vg - SUCCESS. Repeating my observation from the previous night, the galaxy was once again tough to find. Once you have it then the elongated core can be seen within with the 18.2mm eyepiece. Images don't show a split so I am marking this one as a success.  PGC 041887/SN2020cdm – SUCCESS. I located the galaxy successfully in the 35mm, 27mm and 18.2mm eyepieces. It is located to the right of a small, mid-brightness “Xmas tree” star formation. A small patch is easily seen. Then it’s a case of letting the patch drift across the fov many times and watch for activity within using averted vision. With the 18.2mm eyepiece I was able to get 3 of 4 glimpses of a dot within the galaxy patch. NGC5371/SN2020bio – FAIL. I spent a long time on this large side-on galaxy but there was no sign of the Supernova in any eyepiece. I even tried an Ethos 10mm (conventional eyeball viewing) for greater magnification but the SN was not seen. I now doubt my observation from 18 March too. UGC9945/SN2019zhs – SUCCESS. With the 27mm eyepiece I quickly found the galaxy and could see the core within. Using the 18.2mm eyepiece I got occasional glimpses of two dots within the galaxy disk. PGC056547/SN2020dxa – SUCCESS. This is an easy target and it was nice after the work I had to put in on some of the previous ones! With the 18.2mm two dots within a dust patch are easily seen. UGC10661/SN2020awa – SUCCESS. The galaxy sits within a small triangle of stars (one corner of the triangle has 2 stars). With the 18.2mm eyepiece I could make out a dot within. PGC062161/SN2020duu – SUCCESS. This is another fairly easy one. It took a bit of time to find the edge-on galaxy. But once you have it there is a clear dot on the leading edge as it drifts across the fov.  
      Conclusions.
      After having two nights of not much sleep, I needed to pace myself last night. I delayed going out until 2300hrs so as to be able to stay out later without getting tired too soon. I am pleased to say that it was also warmer last night than the previous two nights (when I had to wipe of ice from the scope before packing away for the night).
      Perseverance is key with supernovae, you need to try them a few times to get the “lay of the land”. It’s amazing how you become familiar with the star patterns in the fov of the supernova’s parent galaxy. It’s like visiting an old friend by the third night. But it takes patience and concentration to get the faintest targets to pop into view and I was pretty tired by the time I packed up just after 3am.
       
      Clear Skies,
      Alan
       
      How to edit a Sky Safari observing list using Ipad & PC.
      Search for “Hickson” in Sky Safari Scroll to bottom of list and choose “create observing list” Use search to open the new observing list and scroll down to the bottom and choose “email observing list” On your PC, save the email attachment to desktop and add “.txt” to the end of the filename Edit the file with Notepad. Remove unwanted objects and save the file Remove “.txt” from the filename and email the file back to your Ipad On the Ipad, choose the email attachment and then choose “Sky Safari” when it asks what app you want to open the attachment with...
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