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Change of horse midstream


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I started out this evening with a 100mm refractor intending to try and split Sirius, observe some other binary stars and to have another look at the nova in Cassiopeia.

After getting engrossed in an old film with my other half after supper, I found that Sirius had got rather low to be worth observing so I had a quick look at Zeta Cancri (Tegmine) and then Nova v1405 Cas (which seems slightly dimmer but still around magnitude 8 ) and then had a look at the galaxies Messier 81 and 82. These seemed quite bright and well defined so I decided to put the 12 inch dob out, have a cuppa, and then to switch my interest to Leo / Virgo galaxy hunting with the bigger aperture, with the moon not due above the horizon until the early hours. So that's what I've been enjoying for the past 90 minutes or so. I hope the refractor is not too offended !

Some thin cloud has drifted across half the sky just now, which I hope will clear away soon. So far I've spotted 20 galaxies within Leo:

Messiers: 95, 96, 105, 65 and 66

NGC's 3193, 3190, 3226, 3227, 3384, 3412, 3377, 3367, 3489, 3596, 3628, 3626, 3608, 3607 and 3605.

The last 4 form a sub-group of the Leo II galaxy group with NGC 3607 and 3608 forming a striking pair in the eyepiece at 75x and the application of more magnification bringing out the fainter NGC 3605 close to 3607. NGC 3626 is a little outside the field but still part of the same subgroup which lies at around 70 million light years from us.

Looks like the cloud has shifted so I'm off out again :smiley:

 

Edited by John
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Sounds good. I was intending to look for galaxies around Coma Berenices, tonight. I had the dob out cooling, but by the time came round, I was starting to feel a bit rubbish. I had my first Covid jab today and thought I had escaped a reaction. Unfortunately, it looks like I haven't!

Enjoy your clear skies, everyone. I'm staying in bed!

 

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Part 2 of this session was under more transparent skies and was (mostly) in Virgo / Coma Berenices.

I got a bit lost as I usually do in this region - there are so many galaxies to see !

The Markarian's Chain ones are easy to ID so I know that I got Messier 84 and 86 plus NGC's 4388, 4387, 4438, 4435, 4461, 4473, 4477 and 4459.

I spotted at least another dozen besides that in the "bowl" of Virgo and another handful in Coma B itself.

I ended up pointing the scope more or less straight up and had a look at Messier 51 and NGC 5194 in Canes Venatici and Messier 101.

Got a bit cold so packed away with the sky still dark and glistening with stars and deep sky treasures.

Must have seen around 50 galaxies in total tonight, all just using the 21mm eyepiece apart from one short foray with the 8mm to pick out a fainter one when back in Leo earlier.

Very enjoyable indeed :icon_biggrin:

 

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Wow! What a successful night you had! Galaxy season is indeed upon us... Thank you for sharing this amazing report with us!

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Great 2-part report!

Have my car packed to venture out to a dark spot for a wander along Makarians Chain and Coma B/Virgo/Leo.  Haven't been out for months due to lockdown restrictions ;)

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5 minutes ago, niallk said:

Great 2-part report!

Have my car packed to venture out to a dark spot for a wander along Makarians Chain and Coma B/Virgo/Leo.  Haven't been out for months due to lockdown restrictions ;)

Hope you get a good session :thumbright:

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More time in Leo tonight with the 12 inch dob. I'm using a little more magnification and teasing out slightly fainter galaxies. I got 3 of the "Leo Quartet" in the Lions neck area including NGC 3185 but the 4th eluded me - I think it's surface brightness is close to mag 14 so too faint for the conditions this evening. Also picked out NGC's 3221 and 3222 which I didn't spot last night.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Another few hours in Leo with my 12 inch dob tonight. Better transparency so I could get around 1 magnitude fainter on galaxies. Quite a few of the ones already mentioned in this thread re-visited for better views this evening. New faces were:

NGC's: 3162, 3187, 3222, 3177, 3221, 3547, 3507, 3389, 3412, 3655, 3691, 3681, 3684 and 3686.

The last 3 listed form a line about 1 degree in length in the Lions rump with 3691 off to one side. Another Leo galactic quartet:

eat drink astronomy –

3rd night of Leo galaxy hunting and yet there are many more in and around that constellation still to find :icon_biggrin:

 

Edited by John
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Awesome few nights John. Kind of following on from my report and getting yourself organised, do you put a list together and print off a couple of maps? Intrigued to know how you put all of these targets together. 

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, Stardaze said:

Awesome few nights John. Kind of following on from my report and getting yourself organised, do you put a list together and print off a couple of maps? Intrigued to know how you put all of these targets together. 

Last night I had a few goals in mind in Leo. Having had a few sessions in that part of the sky recently I know where the main hunting grounds are so I don't need charts for those. The rest I sort of decide as I go along. I'm not really into major planning for sessions but like to have a couple of ideas and then "hang" the session around those.

For the new finds I use a combination of Stellarium running on a laptop and the Sky & Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas. Last night a number of targets were a bit beyond what the Pocket Sky Atlas covers so I found Stellarium very useful, particularly the ability to flip the view and zoom in to simulate the eyepiece view.

I'm lucky that my observing "pad" is just a couple of paces from the dining room where the laptop is and my eyepieces and a warm drink. I don't need to keep a load of stuff out with the scope. I can isolate the dining room from the rest of the house so keep that as a dark room.

 

 

Edited by John
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21 minutes ago, John said:

Last night I had a few goals in mind in Leo. Having had a few sessions in that part of the sky recently I know where the main hunting grounds are so I don't need charts for those. The rest I sort of decide as I go along. I'm not really into major planning for sessions but like to have a couple of ideas and then "hang" the session around those.

For the new finds I use a combination of Stellarium running on a laptop and the Sky & Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas. Last night a number of targets were a bit beyond what the Pocket Sky Atlas covers so I found Stellarium very useful, particularly the ability to flip the view and zoom in to simulate the eyepiece view.

I'm lucky that my observing "pad" is just a couple of paces from the dining room where the laptop is and my eyepieces and a warm drink. I don't need to keep a load of stuff out with the scope. I can isolate the dining room from the rest of the house so keep that as a dark room.

 

 

I remember you hunting around Leo last year so knew you must be very familiar with her jewels. I had a look on Stellarium earlier and some of those are very faint, 13 mag and below. Tonight looks to be excellent too at the moment and so I think I'll be inspired and set mine out to concentrate on Leo. The beauty of Leo is that they mostly seem concentrated in certain spots and it's easier to be on the area and at least spend time trying to get your eye in without that nagging feeling of being uncertain of the exact spot. I found Virgo's galaxies difficult because of the lack of features around them. Thanks for the info John. 

Edited by Stardaze
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