Observing, 21st April 2011

‘Hunting for galaxies among the dogs’

Now the Moon’s on the wane, it’s time to observe again. We’ve had some glorious weather just recently, with temperatures of 26C/78F, totally unlike April, but this has come at a price with high pressure haze (and smog in the cities). We’re not in a city here, of course, but high pressure haze has been noticeable recently, with blue-white skies during the day and noticeable sky glow above the horizon at night (murk never helps the moonlight situation either, scattering it around).
However, I decided to give it a go anyway, as even hazy skies are better than nothing.

Conditions: No clouds but hazy, some dew, cool (10C/50F). Moon not risen (rises at 0048)
Transparency: III-IV
NELM: 6.0
Equipment: 12″ f/5 dob, 22mm Televue Panoptic (69x), 15mm Televue Plossl (101x), 11mm Televue Plossl (137x), 8mm Televue Radian (190x)

Canes Venatici. Chart generated with MegaStar5

NGC 4258 = M106, galaxy in Canes Venatici – A nice lollipop, just to get the eye in! Large and bright with a very bright mottled core. Oval, oriented north-south. 69x, 101x

NGC 4248, galaxy in Canes Venatici – Small, faint elongated east-west. 69x, 137x

NGC 4490 = Arp 269 (with NGC 4485), galaxy in Canes Venatici – Bright, irregular galaxy. Broader on southern end than on the northern and has a mottled core. On the northern end, it is much narrower and has a ‘tail’ which bends towards its companion NGC 4485. Flattened on the east side. 69x, 137x, 190x

NGC 4485, galaxy in Canes Venatici – Seen easily at 69x, this is smaller and fainter than NGC 4490. Irregular with no condensation. Together NGCs 4485 and 4490 make a nice pair. 69x, 137x, 190x.

NGC 4618, galaxy in Canes Venatici – Easily located and seen at 69x. An almost round glow, brighter in centre with a stellar nucleus. 69x, 190x.

NGC 5005, galaxy in Canes Venatici – Bright. Oriented WSW-ENE. Halo surrounding a bright core. 69x, 190x.

NGC 5033, galaxy in Canes Venatici – In the same 69x field of view as NGC 5005. 5033 is slightly brighter than 5005 and oriented SSW-NNE. A faint halo surrounds a bright elongated core with a stellar nucleus. 69x, 190x.

NGC 4914, galaxy in Canes Venatici – Located adjacent to a 9th mag star. Faint halo around an elongated core. 69x, 190x.

NGC 4244, galaxy in Canes Venatici – This one is a real beaut. It’s a huge, edge-on thin galaxy which cuts SSW-NNE across the field of view. In the 22mm Panoptic, it covers around a third of the diameter of the field of view, and stretches right across the field of view of the 15mm Plossl. It has no nuclear bulge in the middle but brightens slightly towards the core. The galaxy, expecially around the centre, looks mottled. Very nice indeed. It is one of the galaxies I observed at last year’s Texas Star Party for Larry Mitchell’s ‘Super-thin Galaxies’ Advanced Observing Pin. 69x, 101x

As I had to be up for work in the morning and the waning gibbous Moon would soon be rising, I packed up not long after midnight.