Category Archives: Astronomy

OR: DARC Observatory, 4/20/2012

If you know what 4/20 refers to, you know we must have had a good time! A few of us, including Mark Johnston, Rogelio Bernal Andreo, Jeff Weiss, Al Howard, Al Smith and I, met up at a private property located in the Little Panoche Valley, roughly 15 miles south of the San Luis reservoir. The temperatures remained in the 60s, which is good for observers, but not so much for imagers who have to worry about cooling their camera sensor… The seeing was good (4/5), not quite excellent though. The air was fairly dry. I estimate the NELM was around 6.7 (same as last week.) I re-observed a lot of Herschel 400 objects that I had marked as favorites, and observed a few Herschel II objects that were new to me. Among the highlights were observing Leo I for the first time, an incredible (and I do mean *incredible*) high power image of the Ghost of Jupiter (see description below), countless galaxies showing spiral structure, Mars and Saturn with nice crisp details. Below is my log for the night (mostly Herschel II objects.)

Log format: [designation(s)] [type] [constellation] [RA] [Dec]
[magnitude] [date and local time (PDT)]

Location: D.A.R.C. Observatory [Elevation 1400ft]
Telescope: 16″ F/4 homemade dobsonian with Paracorr
Eyepieces used:
– Televue Panoptic 27mm (69x – 1° TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 16mm type 5 (117x – 42′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 9mm type 6 (208x – 24′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 7mm type 6 (267x – 18′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 5mm type 6 (374x – 13′ TFOV)
(All times are PDT)

NGC 2784 GX Hya 09 12 53 -24 13 45 11.2 2012-04-20 09:10pm
At first glance, all you see is a moderately bright core roughly 1’x45″ E-W, gradually brighter towards the center. Upon closer examination, a very faint halo starts to appear around the core. I estimated it was 3’x1′ E-W.

NGC 2986 GX Hya 09 44 51 -21 20 26 11.7 2012-04-20 09:15pm
Round core, roughly 45″ in diameter, moderately faint on the outside, moderately bright in the center, stellar nucleus. A very faint halo seems to extend as far as 1.2′. MCG-3-25-18 (mag 14.5) was easily spotted 2′ WSW. A moderately faint (mag 16.3) star is 45″ SW, another (mag 16.9) 50″ NW and 2 stars (mag 15.7) 1′ ESE.

NGC 3078 GX Hya 09 58 59 -26 59 27 12.1 2012-04-20 09:30pm
40″x30″ NNE-SSW, moderately faint in the center, faint in the outer region, smooth gradient. Moderately faint (mag 15.6) star 45″ W.

NGC 3242 (Ghost of Jupiter) PN Hya 10 25 23 -18 42 36 8.6 2012-04-20 09:45pm
The central star was spotted easily, along with a slight darkening around it, inside the “eye”. Also, the rim of the outer shell seemed very well defined. Finally, a very faint halo, visible using averted vision, was seen around the outer shell, especially immediately to the E. Beautiful sight!

MCG 2-26-27 (Leo I) GX Leo 10 09 09 +12 14 35 11.2 2012-04-20 09:50pm
Seen with difficulty and confirmed by Mark Johnston as a very pale glow, maybe 3’x1′ E-W. Better keep Regulus out of the FOV!

NGC 4880 GX Vir 13 00 49 +12 24 52 13.1 2012-04-21 12:10am
Faint, relatively uniform glow 1’x45″ NNW-SSE.

NGC 4647 GX Vir 12 44 11 +11 30 44 12.1 2012-04-21 12:20am
Located just 2′ NW of M60. Round, diffuse, about 1.2′ in diameter, fairly uniform, moderately faint, slightly and gradually brighter towards the center.

NGC 4639 GX Vir 12 43 31 +13 11 11 12.2 2012-04-21 12:25am
Moderately faint halo, 1.2’x50″ N-S. Moderately bright, small, almost stellar core. Moderately bright (mag 15.2) star 45″ SE.

NGC 4608 GX Vir 12 41 52 +10 05 07 12.1 2012-04-21 12:30am
1’x40″ faint “halo” (this is actually the bar of this barred spiral galaxy…) elongated NE-SW. Round, 20″ in diameter, moderately bright core. Located right near Rho Vir (mag 4.9!)

NGC 4612 GX Vir 12 42 12 +07 14 40 12.1 2012-04-21 12:35am
Moderately faint to moderately bright in its center, round, 45″ in diameter. Uninteresting, except for the fact that it is located at the SE end of a chain of 6 fairly bright stars spanning 9′.

NGC 4571 GX Com 12 37 35 +14 08 49 11.9 2012-04-21 12:40am
Round, about 2′ in diameter, very faint and uniform. Small, round, only slightly brighter core. Located 2′ SSW of a bright (mag 8.9) star (SAO 100177). Moderately faint (mag 15.1) superimposed star at the western end.

NGC 5020 GX Vir 13 13 18 +12 31 54 13.0 2012-04-21 12:55am
Moderately bright round core 15″ in diameter surrounded by a halo 1.5’x1.2′ elongated N-S showing signs of spiral arms. In particular, the northern tip of the halo bends to the W while the southern tip bends to the E. A moderately faint (mag 14.0) star can be seen 2′ NW.

NGC 5129 GX Vir 13 24 48 +13 54 35 13.0 2012-04-21 01:00am
Located right next to 2 bright field stars (mag 9.7 and 10.3). Roundish, about 30″ in diameter, slightly elongated N-S, moderately faint and uniform.

NGC 5806 GX Vir 15 00 40 +01 50 25 12.4 2012-04-21 01:20am
Fairly faint halo 1.5’x1′ NNW-SSE. Moderately bright, small (10″ in diameter?) core.

NGC 5813 GX Vir 15 01 50 +01 39 03 11.5 2012-04-21 01:35am
Round, about 1′ in diameter, moderately faint on the outside, moderately bright in the center, smooth gradient. Located right near NGC 5814 and NGC 5811.

OR: DARC Observatory, 4/14/2012

Last night, Richard Navarette, Mark Johnston, Jeff Weiss, Al Howard, Rogelio Bernal Andreo and I met at the DARC observatory, a private property located in the Diablo Range, roughly 15 miles south of the San Luis reservoir. As I was driving down I-5 on my way there, the sky was completely overcast! However, it cleared up nicely by the end of astronomical twilight (9:09pm) and the sky remained clear all night. There was quite a bit of humidity in the air, and the work tables/paper charts got a bit wet. However, nobody had any issues with dew as far as I know. The temperatures dipped as low as 38F. The wind was pretty much non existent. Although I did not do any formal measurements, I estimate by experience that the NELM was around 6.7. There must have been some fog in the central valley because the light dome from Fresno was almost invisible, and this must have helped a bit with the darkness. The seeing was just about average. Among the highlights, M101 was showing a lot of structure, which is usually a sign of good conditions. NGC 2903 and NGC 4725 (which Al was imaging) also were showing a lot of structure. We observed comet Garradd, which is still going strong. Finally, Mars looked pretty good with numerous surface features easily visible whenever the seeing settled. Besides the obligatory eye candy, I mostly observed galaxies from the Herschel II list with my 16″ F/4 homemade dobsonian telescope. Below is my log for the night. Cheers!

Log format: [designation(s)] [type] [constellation] [RA] [Dec]
[magnitude] [date and local time (PDT)]

Location: D.A.R.C. Observatory [Elevation 1400ft]
Telescope: 16? F/4 homemade dobsonian with Paracorr
Eyepieces used:
– Televue Panoptic 27mm (69x – 1° TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 16mm type 5 (117x – 42′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 9mm type 6 (208x – 24′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 7mm type 6 (267x – 18′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 5mm type 6 (374x – 13′ TFOV)
(All times are PDT)

NGC 3652 GX UMa 11 23 21 +37 41 45 12.2 2012-04-14 09:00pm
Fairly uniform faint core measuring 1’x45″ elongated NNW-SSE surrounded by a very faint halo that was suspected to stretch as much as 2.5’x1′. Upon close examination, the halo seemed “assymetrical” in brightness, which may be caused by two far flung spiral arms. While observing, I sketched what I think I saw and later verified that the spiral arms matched exactly my sketch.

NGC 4062 GX UMa 12 04 43 +31 49 29 11.9 2012-04-14 09:15pm
Fairly uniform faint halo 3.5’x1′ E-W. Slightly brighter core 1’x30″. Moderately faint (mag 17.1) superimposed star roughly 1.2′ W of the core. Very faint (mag 17.7) superimposed star just east of the eastern tip of the halo.

NGC 4244 (Silver Needle) GX CVn 12 18 08 +37 44 12 10.4 2012-04-14 09:30pm
Fairly bright halo 10’x1′ NE-SW, slightly and gradually brighter towards the center. A tight pair of mag 15.3 stars are located just outside the halo 2’NNE of the core. A fairly bright (mag 13) star is located just north of the NE tip. Best seen at low magnification (Nagler 16mm)

NGC 4369 GX CVn 12 25 14 +39 18 47 12.4 2012-04-14 09:40pm
Very bright round core roughly 15″ in diameter. Moderately bright round halo measuring 45″, surrounded by a very faint and thus ill-defined halo which seems to extend as much as 1.5′.

NGC 4395 GX CVn 12 26 27 +33 28 36 10.8 2012-04-14 09:45pm
At low magnification (Nagler 16mm), this galaxy appears as a very pale oval measuring 6’x4′ elongated in the NW-SE direction. It is very uniform, but close examination shows some subtle mottling. At higher magnification (Nagler 9mm), I can spot 2 knots near the center on a NW-SE line. The halo also shows a hint of spiral structure with the NW tip bending towards towards the N and the SE tip bending towards the S.

NGC 3642 GX UMa 11 23 02 +59 00 24 11.7 2012-04-14 10:00pm
Fairly bright round core roughly 20″ in diameter surrounded by a faint halo which seems to be round and extend as much as 1′. At high magnification (Nagler 5mm), the halo gives an impression of mottling. A faint superimposed star (mag 15.0) shows up 15″ W of the core.

NGC 3669 GX UMa 11 26 10 +57 39 15 12.6 2012-04-14 10:15pm
Moderately faint and uniform halo 2’x30″ NNW-SSE. No sign of central condensation…

NGC 3683 GX UMa 11 28 15 +56 48 34 12.9 2012-04-14 10:30pm
Moderately faint, fairly uniform, 1.5’x20″ NW-SE, slightly brighter in the center, hints of a stellar nucleus.

NGC 3756 GX UMa 11 37 31 +54 13 30 12.0 2012-04-14 10:35pm
Moderately faint, 3’x1′ NS, very uniform, barely brighter in the center region. Fairly bright (mag 10.6) field star 4′ NNW.

NGC 4271 GX UMa 12 20 11 +56 40 03 13.6 2012-04-14 11:00pm
Fairly bright, tiny (but non stellar) core surrounded by a fairly faint halo roughly 30″ in diameter. Moderately faint (mag 15.5) star 30″ NNE. Moderately faint (mag 15.5) star 1′ W.

NGC 4290 GX UMa 12 21 25 +58 01 24 12.7 2012-04-14 11:10pm
Faint smudge roughly 1′ in diameter, slightly elongated E-W, fairly uniform. Interesting FOV in Nagler 7mm with 2 field stars forming an equilateral triangle and NGC 4284 just 5′ east.

NGC 5204 GX UMa 13 30 06 +58 21 18 11.7 2012-04-14 11:30pm
Moderately faint and uniform halo measuring 1.5’x1′ NNW-SSE. Note: this is actually the core that we saw. The halo extends further out…

NGC 5308 GX UMa 13 47 27 +60 54 36 12.2 2012-04-14 11:45pm
Nice edge on showing its bulb. 2’x20″ NE-SW. Bright round core roughly 20″ in diameter. Moderately bright halo, slightly brighter in the SW half.

NGC 5430 GX UMa 14 01 12 +59 16 02 12.6 2012-04-14 11:55pm
Faint halo 1’x30″ NW-SE. Moderately faint round core 15″ in diameter. Faint (mag 16.6) superimposed star 20″ SE of core.

NGC 5443 GX UMa 14 02 39 +55 45 12 13.3 2012-04-15 12:05am
Faint halo 1.5’x30″ NNE-SSW. Tiny non stellar moderately bright core. Moderately faint (mag 14.8) superimposed star at the SSW tip.

NGC 5485 GX UMa 14 07 39 +54 56 28 12.4 2012-04-15 12:15am
Roundish, slightly elongated NW-SE, moderately bright, fairly uniform, roughly 1′ in diameter. A faint (mag 16.4) is 1.2′ NNE. A brighter (mag 13.9) star is 2′ ESE. Forms a nice trio with NGC 5484 and NGC 5486, both much dimmer.

NGC 5585 GX UMa 14 20 13 +56 40 13 11.4 2012-04-15 12:30am
Moderately faint round core, rouhgly 1.5′ in diameter, gradually fading to an ill defined halo maybe 3′ in diameter showing hints of mottling… A moderately faint (mag 15.8) star is 2′ E. Another one (mag 14.8) is 2′ S.

NGC 4047 GX UMa 12 03 30 +48 33 59 12.8 2012-04-15 01:05am
Moderately faint, fairly uniform, 1’x45″ E-W, gradually brighter towards the center. Moderately bright (mag 11.9) star 3.5′ WSW.

NGC 4100 GX UMa 12 06 48 +49 30 45 11.7 2012-04-15 01:10am
Moderately faint, very uniform halo, 3.5’x1′ NNW-SSE. Small (almost stellar) slightly brighter core. Halo shows hints of mottling pretty easily. A bright (mag 8.9) star is 8′ NW. A moderately bright (mag 12.5) star is 4′ S.

NGC 4096 GX UMa 12 06 40 +47 24 28 11.1 2012-04-15 01:20am
Moderately faint, fairly uniform halo 5’x1′ NNE-SSW. Moderately bright core 45″x30″.

NGC 4144 GX UMa 12 10 38 +46 23 14 12.0 2012-04-15 01:25am
Moderately faint halo (very faint at the tips) measuring 5’x1′ WNW-ESE, gradually brighter to a 2’x45″ moderately bright core. A moderately faint (mag 15.0) star is located at the eastern tip of the halo.

NGC 5383 GX CVn 13 57 37 +41 47 01 12.2 2012-04-15 01:35am
Very faint halo 2’x1′ N-S. Much brighter core 45″x30″ E-W. Hints of spiral structure.

From Dream To Reality (follow up)

About a year ago, I announced on this blog that I had started designing and building an Albert Highe inspired 16″ F/4 dobsonian telescope. This project has now come to its conclusion as you can see in the photos below. I am very excited about the final result, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the journey and would recommend anyone with a strong interest in amateur astronomy to consider building their own telescope.

OR: Dinosaur Point, 11/2/2010

Were present: George Feliz, Rogelio Bernal Andreo, Paul Duncan, Peter Natscher, Jim Molinari, Jeff Weiss and myself. The conditions were extremely pleasant: warm (temps in the 50s), dry, no wind. The transparency was good (NELM 6.2 in UMi) and the seeing was good to excellent (4/5). We followed a GRS transit on Jupiter, which was showing a lot of details. The Gegenshein was seen fairly easily by several people after I pointed it out, just south of the body of Aries. I saw quite a few shooting stars throughout the evening, some of them were slow movers and pretty bright. I used my laptop and SkyTools 3 on the field for the first time fairly successfully, but noticed a few kinks I am going to have to work out. Below is my log for the night.

Log format: [designation(s)] [type] [constellation] [RA] [Dec]
[magnitude] [date and local time (PDT)]

Location: Dinosaur Point [Elevation 648 ft]
Telescope: Meade Lightbridge 12″ F/5
Eyepieces used:
– Televue Panoptic 27mm (56x – 1.2° TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 16mm type 5 (95x – 52′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 9mm type 6 (169x – 29′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 7mm type 6 (217x – 22′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 5mm type 6 (305x – 16′ TFOV)
(All times are PDT)

NGC 7419 OC Cep 22 54 48 +60 52 46 13.0 2010-11-02 07:50pm
Appears as a barely resolved smudge at low power (95x). At 305x, a dozen faint stars over a hazy background that seems to be composed of many more very faint stars can be spotted within 3′. A moderately bright (mag. 10.5) star lays just outside, 2′ NW. A fairly bright (mag. 8.6) star is 5′ NW.

NGC 7762 OC Cep 23 50 36 +68 06 17 2010-11-02 08:05pm
About 20’x10′ NW-SE. Composed of roughly 30 fairly faint stars over a hazy background, with many more faint stars popping in and out of view. A very bright (mag. 5.0) star is located just 20′ SW.

NGC 6997 OC Cyg 20 56 53 +44 41 53 2010-11-02 08:20pm
Roughly 30 moderately bright stars scattered within an area 8′ in diameter. Looks best at low power (Pan 27 – 1.2 degree TFOV) where the cluster appears located inside a triangle of very bright stars, surrounded by large dark areas devoid of stars contrasting with ambient nebulosity from the North America nebula (NGC 7000).

NGC 55 GX Scl 00 15 43 -39 09 33 8.5 2010-11-02 09:30pm
Observed just above the hills surrounding the Dinosaur Point parking lot, this galaxy suffers greatly from atmospheric extinction at our latitudes. About 20’x5′ WNW-ESE. The bright core measures 8’x5′ and is offset towards the W. The eastern half of the halo is much dimmer. Some mottling seen pretty easily, especially inside and around the core.

NGC 147 GX Cas 00 33 50 +48 34 25 10.6 2010-11-02 10:10pm
Diffuse moderately faint round glow, slightly brighter toward the center, about 4′ in diameter, very slightly elongated E-W (strange! the real PA is NNW-SSE!) This dwarf spheroidal galaxy is a member of the Local Group and a satellite of the Andromeda galaxy.

NGC 410 GX Psc 01 11 37 +33 12 48 12.5 2010-11-02 10:35pm
Round diffuse faint halo, about 50″ in diameter, with a moderately bright almost stellar core. In the center of a triangle formed by 3 galaxies belonging to the same group/cluster, all seen at 217x.

NGC 499 GX Psc 01 23 50 +33 31 15 13.3 2010-11-02 10:55pm
Very faint halo 40″x30″ E-W, small (~ 10″) moderately faint round core. Located in an area very rich in galaxies.

NGC 513 GX And 01 25 06 +33 51 36 13.2 2010-11-02 11:05pm
Moderately faint diffuse glow, about 30″x20″ E-W, slightly and gradually brighter toward the center.

NGC 821 GX Ari 02 08 58 +11 03 04 11.7 2010-11-02 11:50pm
Diffuse round glow (size not noted?), moderately faint, slightly and gradually brighter toward the center, moderately bright stellar nucleus. A fairly bright (mag. 9.2) is 1′ NNW. A moderately bright (mag. 12.9) star is 2′ S.

NGC 1012 GX Ari 02 39 56 +30 12 04 13.1 2010-11-02 12:00am
Faint halo 1.5’x30″ NNE-SSW. Moderately faint core 30″x10″. A superimposed star is located 15″ SE of the core.

OR: CalStar 2010

Attendance at this year’s CalStar was surprisingly low compared to last year. I setup in the “dark enforced area”, right next to Mark Johnston whom I must thank for helping me get out of a bad battery situation…

The skies were roughly similar on Friday and Saturday night. I estimated the NELM was around 6.5 while seeing was average to slightly better than average after midnight. Friday night was very dewy, and Saturday night was a little breezy at times. Temps were in the mid 80s during the day and dropped to the low 40s by the time I went to bed (~2am)

Comet Hartley 2 was a real treat on Friday night through Mark Johnston’s William Optics 110mm triplet refractor. Outfitted with a Televue Nagler 26mm eyepiece, the comet was visible along with the double cluster in the same field of view! On Saturday night, Hartley 2 had moved and was located right near a rather bright (~ mag 6) orange star. Jupiter also put on a good show, with an Io shadow transit on Friday and a GRS transit on Saturday.

My observing list consisted of a mixed bag of rather difficult objects for a 12″ scope: a few Palomar globular clusters, a tiny proto-planetary nebula, a few local group members, and some Herschel II objects. I also spent some time observing several galaxy groups, using Alvin’s guide “Selected small galaxy groups”.

Log format: [designation(s)] [type] [constellation] [RA] [Dec] [magnitude] [date and local time (PDT)]

Location: Lake San Antonio [Elevation 1082 ft]
Telescope: Meade Lightbridge 12″ F/5
Eyepieces used:
– Televue Panoptic 27mm (56x – 1.2° TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 16mm type 5 (95x – 52′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 9mm type 6 (169x – 29′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 7mm type 6 (217x – 22′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 5mm type 6 (305x – 16′ TFOV)
(All times are PDT)

Galaxy groups observed on Saturday night

  • NGC 6211 group: saw all 4 members, forming a chain. N6211 was seen easily, N6213 was a little harder, while M+10-24-32 and M+10-24-34 were very hard but positively detected multiple times.
  • NGC 6962 group: N6962, N6964 and N6967 were seen easily, and N6961, although fainter, was fairly easily detected.
  • NGC 7184 group: N7184, N7180, N7185 and N7188 seen easily within one field of view of 7mm eyepiece (217x, 22′)
  • NGC 7103 group: N7103 and N7104 were detected fairly easily, IC 1393 a little harder, while IC 5124 and IC 5122 were very hard but positively detected multiple times.
  • NGC 7385 group: N7385 and N7386 were easily seen. N7387, N7389, N7390 and N7383 were detected fairly easily. N7384 was barely detected.

Friday, October 8, 2010

PK 080-6.1 (Cygnus Egg) PN Cyg 21 02 45 +36 44 29 13.5 2010-10-08 08:20pm
Appears as a slightly fuzzy tight double star. The components, aligned N-S, actually are the lobes of this proto-planetary nebula. The lobe to the N appears brighter.

NGC 7354 PN Cep 22 40 46 +61 20 51 12.9 2010-10-08 08:45pm
Easily spotted in 9mm eyepiece (169x, 29′) as a small and moderately faint uniform round disc roughly 30″ in diameter. Better seen in 7mm eyepiece (217x, 22′). OIII filter works well but does not bring out any additional details. Traces of annularity glimpsed. Two moderately faint (mag. 14.8) stars are located right outside the nebula to the W and SW. A faint star (mag. 15.9) is visible to the NW.

Palomar 12 GC Cap 21 47 17 -21 11 59 11.7 2010-10-08 09:20pm
Very pale round glow, roughly 1.5′ in diameter, barely detected with 16mm eyepiece (95x, 52′), better seen with 7mm eyepiece (217x, 22′). Located 2′ NW of a small rectangle triangle of moderately bright stars. Note: I sketched the field and verified later on that the position was correct.

NGC 7507 GX Scl 23 12 44 -28 28 45 11.4 2010-10-08 10:35pm
Small (~ 10″) bright round core, moderately faint halo 1.5′ in diameter. Located 20′ from dimmer NGC 7513.

NGC 7562 GX Psc 23 16 32 +06 45 02 12.6 2010-10-08 10:55pm
Small (< 10") moderately bright core, faint halo roughly 1' in diameter, both very slightly elongated E-W. Located 2' W of a moderately faint (mag. 14.3) star. Faint (mag. 15.8) star 1.5 NW. Did not see NGC 7562A and 7557 (a DSS sheet of the region would have helped in locating those) NGC 7541 GX Psc 23 15 18 +04 35 48 12.5 2010-10-08 11:05pm
3’x1′ E-W, moderately faint, fairly uniform. Located 3′ W of a moderatelt bright (mag. 13.0) star and 4′ ENE of smaller and dimmer NGC 7537. Traces of mottling detected?

IC 10 GX Cas 00 21 01 +59 21 24 11.8 2010-10-08 11:40pm
Extremely faint glow, about 2’x1′ E-W. 2 moderately faint stars are superimposed, the brighter one to the W. A few more faint superimposed stars pop in and out of view. Knowing where to look and what to look for helps tremendously here, and I had just looked at this object in Mark Johnston’s 18″ scope prior to looking for it in my 12″ scope. Otherwise, I probably would have missed it…

MCG-3-1-15 (WLM Dwarf) GX Cet 00 02 33 -15 23 53 11.0 2010-10-09 12:00am
Extremely pale glow, 15’x5′ N-S. Moving the scope back and forth over the field helps to distinguish the object’s glow from the background sky.

NGC 24 GX Scl 00 10 31 -24 54 00 12.1 2010-10-09 12:30am
4’x1′ NE-SW. Fairly faint, uniform halo, only slightly brighter toward the center. Some mottling was suspected. A fairly bright star lays at the ENE end.

NGC 171 GX Cet 00 37 56 -19 52 20 13.0 2010-10-09 12:40am
Fairly faint, round, 1′ in diameter. Slightly brighter round core, 20″ in diameter. Forms an isoceles triangle with 2 nearby field stars of similar brightness (mag. 10.8 and 11.5) Note: NGC 171 = NGC 175 (see NGCBUGS for story)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

NGC 7785 GX Psc 23 55 54 +05 58 48 12.6 2010-10-09 10:45pm
Almost stellar bright core, faint halo 1’x45″ NW-SE. Moderately faint (mag. 14.7) star just outside the halo to the N. A few fairly bright stars visible in the same field of view of the 7mm eyepiece (217x, 22′)

NGC 125 GX Psc 00 29 25 +02 54 09 13.3 2010-10-09 11:05pm
Moderately faint, round, about 30″ in diameter, gradually brighter toward the center. 2 moderately faint (mag. 10.8 and 13.1) stars located just S. Forms a nice group with NGC 126, 127 (seen with great difficulty), 128 and 130, all seen in the same field of view of the 7mm eyepiece (217x, 22′)

NGC 7832 GX Psc 00 07 03 -03 39 09 14.3 2010-10-09 11:15pm
Fairly faint, 45″x30″ NE-SW, weak small core.

NGC 7635 (Bubble Nebula) BN Cas 23 21 14 +61 16 22 11.0 2010-10-09 11:25pm
Faint nebulosity around SAO 20575 (mag. 8.7), about 1’x45″ E-W. With careful examination, using a 9mm eyepiece (169x, 29′) outfitted with an OIII filter, and knowing in advance what to look for, I was able to detect a faint extension to the E, arcing toward the SE. Another fairly bright star (SAO 20562, mag. 6.9), 5′ WSW, also appears fuzzy (probably just scattering)

NGC 198 GX Psc 00 39 58 +02 51 40 13.1 2010-10-10 12:00am
Round uniform glow, about 1′ in diameter. Visible in the same field of view of the 7mm eyepiece (217x, 22′) as NGC 200, both galaxies being at the end of a nice galaxy chain.

IC 1613 GX Cet 01 05 29 +02 11 41 10.1 2010-10-10 12:15am
Extremely pale glow, 10’x5′ WNW-ESE, barely distinguishable from the background sky. Using a low power eyepiece (16mm, 95x, 52′) and moving back and forth over the expected position helps in convincing yourself that you’re actually seeing the darn thing!

NGC 315 GX Psc 00 58 26 +30 24 51 12.2 2010-10-10 12:30am
Fairly bright small core (~ 20″), fairly faint round halo measuring roughly 1′ in diameter. Faint star just 40″ E. Another faint star 45″ NNW. Visible in the same field of view of 7mm eyepiece (217x, 22′) as NGC 311.

NGC 514 GX Psc 01 24 40 +12 58 38 12.3 2010-10-10 01:00am
Very faint uniform oval glow, 2’x1.5′ E-W. Caught a glimpse of an almost stellar core (?) Located 2′ W of a fairly bright star (HIP 6558)

NGC 660 GX Psc 01 43 38 +13 42 05 11.9 2010-10-10 01:05am
Moderately faint halo 2’x1′ NNE-SSW, brighter core 30″x15″.

NGC 665 GX Psc 01 45 32 +10 28 50 13.2 2010-10-10 01:10am
Faint halo 45″x30″ NW-SE, small (~ 15″) moderately bright round core.

NGC 718 GX Psc 01 53 49 +04 15 09 12.6 2010-10-10 01:15am
Small (~ 10″) bright round core. Moderately faint round halo 1′ in diameter showing hints of mottling.

NGC 706 GX Psc 01 52 26 +06 21 13 13.2 2010-10-10 01:20am
Very faint uniform round glow, 45″ in diameter. Located 45″ SSW of a moderately faint (mag. 16.1!) field star.

NGC 741 GX Psc 01 56 57 +05 41 06 12.3 2010-10-10 01:25am
Round, fairly faint, 30″ in diameter. Forms a very tight couple with smaller and dimmer NGC 742, just to the E, sharing a common halo with NGC 741. Galaxy IC 1751 was barely detected in the same field of view of the 7mm eyepiece (217x, 22′)

OR: DARC Observatory, 8/14/2010: Prison escapees enjoy dark and steady skies

When I showed up at the entrance of the Hollister BLM access road, off of Little Panoche Rd, around 7pm, I saw Dr. Lee Hoglan, Craig Scull, Peter Nastcher, Tony Hurtado and Mark Johnston fiddling with the gate. Apparently, a land owner had added their own combo lock in addition to the existing lock, and nobody knew the combination code! As I was privately entertaining the idea of setting up my equipment on the gravel area in front of the gate, Lee decided to cut off the chain with a hack saw blade. At first, I didn’t think that it was going to work, but apparently, Lee had learned quite a few tricks while at Folsom, and managed to cut off one of the links in about 10 minutes (thank God for soft steel chains!). Using a pair of pliers, I then twisted the link and managed to open the gate. Victory!

We proceeded to setup on the large flat area in front of the observatory. It was a bit breezy early on, but the wind died down after sunset as it is often the case in that area. It was quite warm all night, and I was observing in nothing more than a pair of shorts and a thin long sleeve shirt.

After collimating, we looked at Venus, Saturn and the Moon, which were all pretty low over the western horizon, and noticed that the seeing was quite good! Antares’ companion was readily visible in my 12″ scope. Always a good sign!

In the middle of the night, Peter noticed that his scope was out of collimation. We later found out that it was due to the support of his secondary mirror getting loose. This incident prompted me to check my own collimation since I, too, was starting to see more coma than I am used to. Indeed, my collimation was a little off, and after adjusting the mirrors, everything became crisper. I don’t know what caused that shift on my scope, but I decided not to worry about it for now.

After midnight, the seeing went from good to spectacular. Peter was showing off Jupiter through his 24″ StarMaster telescope armed with a binoviewer and a neutral density filter. This was the best view of Jupiter I have ever had. A lot of very fine details could be seen within the bands. The satellites were seen as tiny little discs of varying diameters and colors, making it easy to identify them. The GRS was crossing Jupiter’s meridian, followed by a long thin dark band (maybe signaling the reapparition of the SEB?)

Lyra’s double-double was showing a very clean split, and Peter suggested to try 72 Peg, which members are separated by only 0.5″. Sure enough, using my 12″ scope, two tiny Airy discs touching each other were intermittently visible.

The transparency was good but not great. Jupiter was showing a tiny halo, and my NELM estimate was around 6.6, which is slightly below what the site is capable of. Nevertheless, M33 was fairly easily visible using averted vision, which I consider a good test for darkness and transparency.

As far as my observing log, this was not a night for the record books. I only logged the following 5 (new to me) objects:

M1-92 (Minkowski’s Footprint) PN Cyg 19 36 46 +29 34 28 11.0 2010-08-14 09:35pm
Appears as a fairly bright fuzzy star at 305x, confirmed at 610x. It seemed extremely slightly elongated WNW-ESE with tiny faint extensions in the same direction (?) Forms a small triangle with two field stars of relatively comparable brightness. I did not try using a narrow band filter since I knew in advance that it would not help.

HP 1 (Haute-Provence 1) GC Oph 17 31 47 -29 59 26 12.5 2010-08-14 10:15pm
Very pale round glow 45″ in diameter. Confirmed the location with Mark Johnston’s 18″ StarMaster telescope. In that scope, a tiny (10″) core, only very slightly brighter than the surrounding glow, was suspected (?)

Djorgovski 2 GC Sgr 18 02 31 -27 49 34 9.9 2010-08-14 11:00pm
Faint round glow 1.5′ in diameter located 20′ W of the famous ink spot (B86) and its neighboring open cluster NGC 6520. Positioned in the center of a keystone shaped asterism formed by 4 fairly bright stars. Another small (unnamed?) dark nebula is located 5′ WNW. A very faint superimposed star was detected at the northern end of the cluster, and another one was also seen intermittently at the western end. Not sure whether these belong to the cluster or are simply field stars.

NGC 6412 (Arp 38) GX Dra 17 29 16 +75 42 06 12.4 2010-08-14 11:15pm
Bright stellar nucleus surrounded by a diffuse featureless halo measuring 1.5′ in diameter. A faint smudge was spotted 10′ NW (?)

NGC 6621 (Arp 81) GX Dra 18 12 54 +68 22 15 13.3 2010-08-15 12:05am
Faint diffuse glow 1.5’x30″ elongated NW-SE containing two small condensations. The slightly larger and brighter one to the NW is the core of galaxy NGC 6621, while the other one is the core of its companion galaxy NGC 6622. A faint (mag. 15.3) star is located just 30″ E of the core of NGC 6622.

I also tried to look at a number of tough objects, including Djorgovski 1 and the Aquarius Dwarf, but was not able to see them.

I finished the night with a quick look at a couple of galaxy groups in Pegasus using one of Alvin’s observing guides. I also looked at some of my favorites, including Stephan’s quintet, the Deer Lick group and M33.

OR: GSSP 2010

GSSP 2010 turned out to be a terrific star party, and I would like to start this report by personally thanking our hosts, the Albaugh family, as well as all the volunteers who made this event such a great success!

The conditions were good all 4 nights. The NELM hovered in the 6.8/7.0 range. Given the amount of haze that was clearly visible during the day, and especially shortly after sunset, I feel that the site used for GSSP could easily yield mag. 7.2 or better skies when the air is drier. The seeing was average most of the time, although a bit off on the first and the last night.

I had prepared a list of 58 objects drawn mostly from the Herschel II, DeepMap 600 and Tac Eye Candy lists. I also added a few Palomar globular clusters and obscure summer time planetaries, just for the heck of it. I ended up logging 48 new objects. Below is my log for all 4 nights. See you at GSSP 2011!

Location: Adin, CA [Elevation 4200 ft]
Telescope: Meade Lightbridge 12″ F/5
Eyepieces used:
– Televue Panoptic 27mm (56x – 1.2° TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 16mm type 5 (95x – 52′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 9mm type 6 (169x – 29′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 7mm type 6 (217x – 22′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 5mm type 6 (305x – 16′ TFOV)

Log format: [designation(s)] [type] [constellation] [RA] [Dec] [magnitude] [date and local time (PDT)]

NGC 6070 GX Ser 16 10 33 +00 40 55 12.4 2010-07-10 10:40pm
Fairly faint, relatively uniform, diffuse halo about 3’x1.5′ ENE-WSW. Faint stellar nucleus glimpsed using averted vision. Located 8′ SSE of a bright (mag. 6.7) yellow star. Two moderately faint stars were seen just outside the eastern end of the halo. PGC 57350 was detected as a small and very faint smudge 5′ ENE.

NGC 6106 GX Her 16 19 20 +07 23 10 12.8 2010-07-10 10:55pm
1’x45″ NNW-SSE, fairly faint, relatively uniform, very slightly brighter core, faint stellar nucleus or superimposed star glimpsed using averted vision. Extremely faint star (mag. 14.4!) at the northern end, just outside the halo. Slightly brighter star (mag. 14.6!) located 1′ S. The difference in the appreciation of their brightness is probably due to the fact that the first one is actually superimposed over the halo. Two fairly bright field stars are 10′ SSW and SW.

NGC 6181 GX Her 16 32 50 +19 48 22 12.2 2010-07-10 11:05pm
1.5’x1′ NNE-SSW. Fairly bright small core or stellar nucleus. Moderately faint diffuse halo which appears uneven. Traces of a spiral arm extending NNE, and possibly a smaller and dimmer symmetrical one. Extremely faint superimposed star at the northern end (about 45′ N of nucleus)

B 92 (Black Hole) DN Sgr 18 16 09 -18 10 45 O6 2010-07-11 12:10am
Superimposed over the Small Sagitarius Star Cloud (M24) and visible in the same field of view of the Televue Panoptic 27mm with B93 and NGC 6603, this dark nebula measures 15’x8′, is oriented roughly N-S, and features a single fairly bright superimposed star located just E of the center.

Palomar 8 GC Sgr 18 42 10 -19 48 56 10.9 2010-07-11 12:20am
Round, about 1.5′ in diameter, moderately faint, uniform and unresolved smudge. Moderately faint star just south (?). 3 or 4 stars, either superimposed field stars or physically belonging to the cluster, were detected.

IC 1295 PN Sct 18 55 14 -08 48 46 12.7 2010-07-11 12:45am
Visible at 95x without filter and with globular cluster NGC 6712 in the same field of view. At 217x + OIII filter, I see a faint roundish disk about 2′ in diameter, relatively uniform with traces of annularity.

NGC 6717 (Palomar 9) GC Sgr 18 55 46 -22 41 13 8.4 2010-07-11 01:00am
About 45″x30″ E-W, moderately faint. Half a dozen stars are resolved. Located 2′ S of a bright yellow/orange star.

NGC 6814 GX Aql 19 43 17 -10 17 48 12.1 2010-07-11 01:35am
Moderately bright almost stellar core. Faint, round, diffuse halo, about 2′ in diameter, showing hints of mottling. Faint superimposed star 30″ W.

Palomar 11 GC Aql 19 45 50 -07 58 45 9.8 2010-07-11 01:45am
Very faint round haze with a dozen superimposed field stars extending over an area roughly 5′ in diameter. Located just 6′ SSE of a fairly bright (mag. 8.6) field star.

NGC 6907 GX Cap 20 25 46 -24 46 17 11.9 2010-07-11 01:50am
Moderately faint core, about 30″ in diameter. Faint halo, about 2’x1.2′ extending E-W. A small and faint detached knot is visible just NE of the core. Using averted vision, it’s pretty clear that it’s a spiral arm.

NGC 6991 OC Cyg 20 55 17 +47 27 25 2010-07-11 02:15am
Roughly 60 fairly bright stars of similar brightness within an area 30′ in diameter. A couple of chains, each made up of 5 or 6 stars, are visible in the western half. A bright, slightly yellow star is located at the eastern end of the cluster.

M 2-9 (Minkowski’s Butterfly) PN Oph 17 06 15 -10 09 26 13.2 2010-07-11 10:40pm
Extremely faint nebulosity, extending approximately 30″x10″ N-S. The central star is moderately faint. For some reason, the use of an O-III filter did not seem to help much.

NGC 6309 (Box Nebula) PN Oph 17 14 42 -12 55 22 11.6 2010-07-11 10:50pm
Appears as an out of focus star at 95x. Blinks well using an O-III filter. Best seen at 305x. Measures roughly 20″x12″ extending NNW-SSE. Fairly uniform. The northern half seems a bit brighter. A moderately faint (mag. 11.5) star is located 15″ NNW. A very faint (mag. 15.0) star is 45″ E. Finally, an extremely faint star is located just 5″ W (?)

NGC 6340 GX Dra 17 10 17 +72 17 38 12.0 2010-07-11 11:05pm
Moderately bright stellar nucleus. Gradually fainter round diffuse halo about 1.5′ in diameter. Faint galaxy (IC 1251) about 7′ NNW seen easily. Another one (IC 1254), just barely seen, is located 10′ NE.

NGC 6507 OC Sgr 18 00 29 -17 27 01 9.6 2010-07-11 11:30pm
Sparse group of two dozen moderately bright to fairly faint stars in an area measuring roughly 10′ in diameter.

IC 1276 (Palomar 7) GC Ser 18 11 21 -07 12 37 10.3 2010-07-11 11:35pm
Extremely faint round smudge, about 2′ in diameter, seen using averted vision only, and surrounding two fairly faint stars separated by about 45″ on an E-W line. An extremely faint star is located 1.2′ E. Two moderately bright stars are roughly 3.5′ N and NNE respectively.

NGC 6596 OC Sgr 18 18 12 -16 38 43 2010-07-11 11:45pm
Two dozen fairly bright to moderately faint stars within an area 10′ in diameter. Not very well detached from that part of the Milky Way. A dozen stars are arranged in a “C” shape.

NGC 6604 OC Ser 18 18 40 -12 14 12 7.5 2010-07-12 12:00am
5 fairly bright stars arranged in a trapezoidal shape roughly 2’x1′ E-W, the brightest member being slightly yellow. A few slightly dimmer stars are spread out within a few arc minutes.

NGC 6631 OC Sct 18 27 48 -12 01 21 11.7 2010-07-12 12:05am
About 20 fairly faint stars within 5′. Another small group is located about 10′ SE. Is it part of the same cluster?

NGC 6819 OC Cyg 19 41 42 +40 12 45 9.5 2010-07-12 01:10am
About 25 moderately faint stars over a milky background within an area 4′ in diameter. A round dark region about 2′ in diameter is very obvious in the northern half of the cluster. A bright (mag. 6.2) yellow star is located 10′ ENE while a bright (mag. 6.9) white star is only 14′ SSE.

NGC 6857 PN Cyg 20 02 16 +33 34 13 11.4 2010-07-12 01:20am
Faint round nebulosity about 30″ in diameter, relatively uniform, very slightly brighter in its center. Without an O-III filter, the nebula is not very obvious, but a fairly faint superimposed star, slightly offset to the north, is visible. Is this the central star? Two moderately faint stars are located on either sides of the nebula on a NE-SW line. At 217x with an O-III filter, the nebula gives the impression of having an odd triangular shape, the northern side being flat…

NGC 6894 PN Cyg 20 16 51 +30 35 54 14.4 2010-07-12 01:35am
Round, about 45″ in diameter, fairly faint. Shows traces of ring structure, the central region, about 10″ in diameter, being slightly darker. A knot is visible on the ring in the NNE direction. Since it almost completely disappears when using an O-III filter, it most likely is a superimposed star.

Abell 70 PN Aql 20 32 09 -07 03 01 14.3 2010-07-12 01:45am
Ghostly smudge, barely visible using averted vision and an O-III filter. Seems round and uniform. It is also visible without a filter once you know exactly where to look. A moderately bright (mag. 11.1) star is located 3.5′ E.

NGC 7129 OC Cep 21 43 16 +66 09 38 11.5 2010-07-12 02:35am
5 moderately bright stars and 2 faint stars within an area measuring 5′. Some nebulosity can be seen around the brightest stars. Since that nebulosity seems to disappear entirely when using an O-III or UHC filter, it probably is a reflection nebula associated with this young cluster.

NGC 7139 PN Cep 21 46 28 +63 50 21 13.5 2010-07-12 02:45am
Faint, round and uniform nebulosity about 1′ in diameter. A moderately faint (mag.. 14.4) lies just outside the nebula in the SSE direction.

NGC 6530 OC Sgr 18 05 12 -24 21 27 5.1 2010-07-12 11:00pm
Roughly 40 stars, most of which are fairly bright, within an area 10′ in diameter. This cluster is embedded inside M8, the famous Lagoon Nebula, and is likely physically related. There is a tight double on the eastern side.

NGC 6546 OC Sgr 18 08 03 -23 17 42 8.2 2010-07-12 11:10pm
Seen as a faint smudge in 9×50 finder scope. Fairly inconspicuous, round, measuring about 15′ in diameter, this cluster contains two dozen moderately bright stars and at least as many faint stars over a milky background. There is a tight double at the western end.

IC 4634 PN Oph 17 02 13 -21 50 30 12.0 2010-07-12 11:40pm
Appears as an out of focus star, even at 305x. Blinks well using an O-III filter. Roundish, about 10″ in diameter, extremely slightly elongated N-S, fairly bright and uniform. Possible sighting of an extremely faint envelope extending 25″ in diameter (although this may just be scattering).

NGC 6548 GX Her 18 06 29 +18 35 23 12.7 2010-07-12 11:40pm
Very faint round diffuse halo, about 1.5′ in diameter. Moderately bright core 30″x20″ elongated NNW-SSE – this galaxy appears to be a face on barred spiral. An extremely faint superimposed star is located 1′ ESE, and another one is 1.2′ ENE. Very faint NGC 6549 is visible in the same field of view.

NGC 6058 PN Her 16 04 50 +40 39 21 13.0 2010-07-13 12:10am
Moderately bright, uniform, very slightly elongated N-S, about 25″ in diameter. Fairly bright central star. Located inside an equilateral triangle formed by 3 fairly bright stars.

NGC 6155 GX Her 16 26 28 +48 20 46 13.2 2010-07-13 12:25am
1.2’x50″ elongated NW-SE. Fairly faint and uniform, only slightly and gradually brighter towards the center.

Palomar 6 GC Oph 17 44 24 -26 13 42 11.6 2010-07-13 12:30am
Not seen with 12″ scope. Using Mark Johnston’s 18″ F/3.7 StarMaster telescope at 216x, this globular cluster shows as an extremely pale glow.

NGC 6804 PN Aql 19 32 07 +09 14 58 12.4 2010-07-13 12:50am
Faint round glow about 1′ in diameter. 3 superimposed stars are visible on an E-W line. I suspect the one in the center to be the central star that gave birth to this planetary nebula. Using an O-III filter, traces of annularity seem to be visible, especially in the northern region (?)

NGC 6793 OC Vul 19 23 43 +22 09 49 2010-07-13 01:00am
I counted 35 stars within an area 8′ in diameter, 20 of which are fairly bright. Slightly elongated NNE-SSW.

NGC 6800 OC Vul 19 27 35 +25 09 46 2010-07-13 01:05am
30 fairly bright stars and at least as many faint stars located within 14′. Pretty sparse with large areas free of stars. This cluster is also named the “Sea Turtle” cluster.

NGC 6824 GX Cyg 19 43 57 +56 08 07 13.0 2010-07-13 01:35am
Fairly bright core measuring about 30″x20″ elongated NE-SW. Faint halo extending 1’x40″ in the same direction. Very faint superimposed star at the SW end of the halo. Moderately faint field star 30″ N.

NGC 7026 (Cheeseburger Nebula) PN Cyg 21 06 42 +47 53 38 12.0 2010-07-13 02:05am
Best seen at 610x (Nagler 5mm + Barlow 2x). Located 30″ WSW of a moderately bright (mag. 9.6) star, this nebula is composed of 2 moderately bright lobes oriented NE-SW separated by a dark lane, hence the name of “Cheeseburger Nebula”…

NGC 7031 OC Cyg 21 07 35 +50 55 03 11.0 2010-07-13 02:30am
About 20 moderately bright stars within 5′. A nice red star is easily noticeable at the northern end of this cluster.

NGC 7048 PN Cyg 21 14 40 +46 19 55 11.0 2010-07-13 02:40am
Faint uniform disk 1′ in diameter. Faint superimposed star or knot at the NNW boundary. Located just north of a moderately bright (mag. 10.2) star.

NGC 6166 GX Her 16 29 02 +39 31 49 12.9 2010-07-13 10:40pm
Moderately faint, measuring about 45″, very slightly elongated NE-SW, gradually brighter towards its center. This elliptical galaxy is the brightest member of the cluster of galaxies Abell 2199. Many members of that cluster are visible in the same field of view.

NGC 6239 GX Her 16 50 27 +42 43 25 12.9 2010-07-13 10:50pm
1’x30″ E-W, moderately faint, gradually brighter towards its center. Using Tom Osypowski’s 30″ F/3.3 telescope, this galaxy appears much bigger and brighter but fails to show additional details.

IC 4756 OC Ser 18 39 33 +05 27 39 5.4 2010-07-13 11:45pm
Seen naked eye as a faint smudge! Using a Panoptic 27mm (65x, 1.2 deg TFOV), this cluster shows about 40 fairly bright stars in an area measuring roughly 30′ in diameter. A group of stars near the center delimit an oval region measuring 8’x4′ NE-SW that is almost devoid of stars. Half a dozen stars form a chain to the ENE. Finally, there is a small group of 6/7 stars to the WNW that seems to be a region of higher density in this cluster.

NGC 6760 GC Aql 19 11 46 +01 03 02 9.0 2010-07-14 12:00am
This globular cluster measures about 3′ in diameter. The core region is moderately bright and measures about 1′. A few individual stars located in the outer region pop in and out of view.

NGC 6772 PN Aql 19 15 11 -02 41 13 14.0 2010-07-14 12:10am
Best seen using an O-III filter. Very dim, round, about 1′ in diameter, fairly uniform with maybe traces of annularity (?)

NGC 6778 PN Aql 19 19 00 -01 34 32 13.3 2010-07-14 12:20am
Fairly bright, 20″x15″ E-W, uniform. Appears slightly rectangular, with the central section being a little narrower.

NGC 6765 PN Lyr 19 11 33 +30 33 51 12.9 2010-07-14 12:55am
Appears as a fairly bright bar measuring 30″x15″ NE-SW embedded inside a very faint round glow about 35″ in diameter.

B 142 DN Aql 19 40 14 +10 32 33 O5 2010-07-14 01:15am
Best seen using a Panoptic 27mm (65x, 1.2 deg TFOV). Large dark nebula, about 40’x10′ WNW-ESE, located in a moderately dense region of the Milky Way. The eastern half is wider and less dense as a larger number of stars shine through. In particular, two fairly bright stars shine through, one to the NE and one to the SE.

NGC 6811 OC Cyg 19 37 38 +46 24 48 9.0 2010-07-14 01:30am
Detected in 9×50 finder scope. Contains about 50 moderately bright stars within an area 12′ in diameter. Several dark areas/lanes can be seen throughout. Appears fairly conspicuous due to its much higher density than the surrounding area.

OR: D.A.R.C. Observatory, 6/12/2010

A few of us went to the D.A.R.C. observatory last night, including Robert Jardine (aka “Joe Bob”), Al Smith and his wife Annie, Al Howard, Eric Zbinden, Daniel Stefanescu, and of course Dr Lee Hoglan and Dr Bob Caton.

Before it turned dark, Bob Caton organized a short lecture on Kuiper belt objects, some of which he had imaged from his home in Modesto. He also shared a few recent photographs of M101 he had taken from his private observatory, and talked about future plans for the D.A.R.C. observatory, including the installation of a 50″ dobsonian telescope.

Observing conditions were pretty good. There was no wind, except maybe for the occasional light “refreshing” breeze. The seeing was rather mediocre. The dry air, coming from the north, allowed for good transparency (NELM: 6.6). In addition, it was warm enough that it felt comfortable to wear nothing more than a pair of shorts and a light long sleeve shirt.

I spent a couple of hours observing a dozen or so Herschel II objects in Libra and Bootes. Then, I moved on to some eye candy in the Summer milky way, using my newly acquired Lumicon O-III filter. Finally, I got to play with the JMI 16″ binocular telescope. Pretty cool! By the way, I took a quick look at M13 and finally saw the propeller! (thank you, Richard Ozer, for pointing it out to me on a photograph last month!)

Joe Bob and I looked for comet McNaught using our binoculars around 2:30am, but we could not spot it (it was supposed to be right near M34, which was very easily visible in our binoculars in spite of its low elevation)

Location: D.A.R.C. Observatory [Elevation 1400ft]
Telescope: Meade Lightbridge 12″ F/5
Eyepieces used:
– Televue Panoptic 27mm (56x – 1.2° TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 16mm type 5 (95x – 52′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 9mm type 6 (169x – 29′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 7mm type 6 (217x – 22′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 5mm type 6 (305x – 16′ TFOV)

Log format: [designation(s)] [type] [constellation] [RA] [Dec] [magnitude] [date and local time of observation (Pacific time zone)]

NGC 5595 GX Lib 14 24 49 -16 46 24 12.6 2010-06-12 10:15pm
Dim halo 2’x1′ NE-SW, slightly brighter core about 30″ in diameter. Forms a nice pair with NGC 5597 located 4′ SE.

NGC 5597 GX Lib 14 25 04 -16 48 47 12.6 2010-06-12 10:20pm
Very dim uniform round halo about 1′ in diameter. Faint stellar nucleus. Forms a nice pair with NGC 5595 located 4′ NW.

NGC 5605 GX Lib 14 25 43 -13 12 46 13.1 2010-06-12 10:30pm
Dim, round, about 45″ in diameter. Very slightly and gradually brighter toward the center.

NGC 5728 GX Lib 14 43 01 -17 18 02 12.3 2010-06-12 10:35pm
Very dim halo, 3’x1′ NE-SW. Round, fairly bright core about 30″ in diameter. Two fairly faint superimposed stars can be seen, one 20″ NE and the other 1′ SW of the core.

NGC 5791 GX Lib 14 59 23 -19 18 42 12.7 2010-06-12 10:50pm
Moderately bright round core, about 30″ in diameter. Gradually fainter diffuse halo 1’x45″ N-S. Faint IC 1081 was detected about 2′ ENE.

NGC 5812 GX Lib 15 01 31 -07 30 02 12.2 2010-06-12 11:00pm
Moderately bright round core, about 30″ in diameter, gradually brighter to a possible stellar nucleus (?) Very faint round halo detected, measuring up to 1′ in diameter. Faint IC 1084 was detected about 4′ E.

NGC 5861 GX Lib 15 09 52 -11 21 48 12.3 2010-06-12 11:10pm
Moderately faint, uniform halo, 2.5’x1′ NNW-SSE. Appears slightly rectangular in shape (?) Forms a pair with NGC 5858 located 9′ NW. Much dimmer IC 1091 can also be seen a little further to the WNW.

NGC 5878 GX Lib 15 14 22 -14 18 36 12.3 2010-06-12 11:20pm
Faint halo, 2’x45″ N-S. Fairly bright, almost stellar core. Faint superimposed star 45″ SSW. Located about 10′ WSW of a bright yellow/orange star.

NGC 5687 GX Boo 14 35 14 +54 25 54 12.6 2010-06-13 12:30am
Moderately bright core, 30″x15″ E-W. Faint halo, 1.5’x45″ E-W, which detection is complicated by the presence of several moderately faint superimposed stars. In particular, the core is framed by two superimposed stars located 30″ E and 30″ W respectively.

NGC 5481 GX Boo 14 07 06 +50 40 31 13.2 2010-06-13 12:45am
Faint halo, very slightly elongated WNW-ESE, about 1′ in diameter, gradually brighter to a moderately bright stellar nucleus. Forms a pair with NGC 5480 located 3′ W.

NGC 5520 GX Boo 14 12 47 +50 18 02 13.1 2010-06-13 12:55am
Fairly faint halo, 1’x30″ WSW-ENE. Moderately bright core, about 20″ in diameter. Two fairly bright field stars just 3′ E.

NGC 5602 GX Boo 14 22 43 +50 27 17 13.2 2010-06-13 01:00am
Very faint halo, 1’x30″ N-S. Moderately bright stellar nucleus.

OR: Lake San Antonio, 5/11/2010, and Herschel 400

I went to Lake San Antonio on Tuesday, May 11, in order to wrap up the Herschel 400 list, which I have been working on for almost a year and a half. I was missing 15 targets, all of them in Virgo. To make the night worth the trip, I added a few interesting targets from the TAC Eye Candy list, which I had installed in SkyTools.

The conditions were actually pretty decent. The sky was perfectly clear and the transparency was good. It was a little windy early on, but it turned calm by 10pm. The seeing was average or slightly below average. The temperature dropped to 38F by 2am. There was very little humidity, and my paper charts and log paper remained pretty dry all night. I was the only person in the overflow parking lot, and I have to admit that it felt a little spooky at times…

After observing all the targets I had planned (around 1am), I decided to celebrate the completion of the Herschel 400 project by observing a few very bright targets (mostly Messier objects), and stared at the rising Summer Milky Way, trying to convince myself that warmer nights are in our near future…

Below is my log for the night. The entire Herschel 400 log can be found at:

Location: Lake San Antonio [Elevation 1082 ft]
Telescope: Meade Lightbridge 12″ F/5
Eyepieces used:
– Televue Panoptic 27mm (56x – 1.2° TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 16mm type 5 (95x – 52′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 9mm type 6 (169x – 29′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 7mm type 6 (217x – 22′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 5mm type 6 (305x – 16′ TFOV)
(All times are PDT)

NGC 4605 GX UMa 12 40 29 +61 33 11 10.8 09:30pm
3’x1′ elongated WNW-ESE. Fairly bright, relatively uniform with some subtle mottling throughout. Moderately faint (mag 15.0) star 1.5′ S.

NGC 4157 GX UMa 12 11 38 +50 25 42 12.1 09:40pm
Fairly faint halo, about 4’x40″ elongated WSW-ENE. Moderately bright elongated core, 1’x30″ (same orientation). A few fairly bright stars are visible in the same field of view.

NGC 4220 GX CVn 12 16 44 +47 49 34 12.2 09:55pm
Faint halo, 2’x45″ elongated NW-SE. Moderately bright core, about 30″ in diameter, very slightly elongated. Moderately faint (mag 14.8) star 1′ WSW. Faint (mag 15.7) star 1.5′ NE.

NGC 4450 GX Com 12 29 02 +17 01 33 10.8 10:05pm
Moderately faint halo, roughly 3’x1.5′ elongated NNE-SSW, with a small bright core. The halo gives extremely subtle hints of mottling. Located just 4′ ENE of a bright (mag 9.2) star.

NGC 4442 GX Vir 12 28 37 +09 44 38 11.4 10:20pm
Faint halo, 3’x45″ E-W. Bright core, 45″x30″ E-W. Moderately bright (mag 14.9) superimposed star at the eastern tip of the halo. Moderately bright star about 45″ SW of the core.

NGC 4526 GX Vir 12 34 36 +07 38 22 10.6 10:30pm
Located between two very bright (mag. 6.8 and 7.0) field stars separated by about 15′. Faint halo estimated to be 4’x1′ NW-SE using averted vision (photographs show that it extends even further). Bright core, about 1′ in diameter, slightly elongated NW-SE. Moderately bright (mag. 13.2) about 1′ SSW of the core.

NGC 4535 (Lost Galaxy) GX Vir 12 34 53 +08 08 17 10.5 10:40pm
Dim oval glow, roughly 5’x3′ NNE-SSW. Appears relatively uniform at low power. A few superimposed stars give the galaxy a “powdery” appearance. A small (< 1' diameter) core is barely visible, with a stellar nucleus. At higher magnification, dark patches in the halo are visible, but with great difficulty. NGC 4783 GX Crv 12 55 11 -12 37 05 12.8 10:55pm
Moderately bright round core, about 30″ in diameter. Forms a very tight couple with NGC 4782, located less than 1′ SSW (both galaxies actually share the same halo). A moderately faint superimposed star is visible 30″ WSW.

NGC 4624 GX Vir 12 45 39 +02 59 46 11.5 11:10pm
Also known as NGC 4665. Moderately bright round core, 30″ in diameter. Faint halo 1.5’x45″ N-S. Moderately faint (mag. 15.2) star at the northern tip. Photographs show that what I refer to as the halo is actually a bar, and that this galaxy is a face on spiral.

NGC 4567 (member of the pair known as the “Siamese Twins”) GX Vir 12 37 06 +11 11 55 12.1 11:20pm
Moderately faint, fairly uniform, 2’x1′ E-W, faint stellar nucleus. Forms a very tight pair with NGC 4568 named the “Siamese Twins”. NGC 4564 is visible in the same field of view, just 10′ N.

NGC 4568 (member of the pair known as the “Siamese Twins”) GX Vir 12 37 07 +11 10 45 11.7 11:20pm
Moderately faint, fairly uniform, 3’x45″ NE-SW, small faint core. Forms a very tight pair with NGC 4567 named the “Siamese Twins”. NGC 4564 is visible in the same field of view, just 10′ N.

NGC 4698 GX Vir 12 48 56 +08 25 42 11.6 11:30pm
Faint halo, 2.5’x1′ N-S, gradually brighter to a small and fairly bright round core and a stellar nucleus. Shares the field of view with several fairly bright field stars.

NGC 4754 GX Vir 12 52 50 +11 15 19 11.5 11:40pm
Fairly bright, round, 1′ diameter, stellar nucleus. This is just the core. The halo, visible on photographs, was not detected. NGC 4762 is located just 10′ ESE.

NGC 4762 GX Vir 12 53 29 +11 10 19 11.1 11:45pm
Beautiful edge-on galaxy, moderately bright, 5’x30″ NE-SW, with a small bright core. A dust lane is visible on the SE side (Steve Gottlieb notes that the dust lane is along the W side?) This dust lane does not show on photographs I’ve seen of this object, most of which show the core overexposed. NGC 4754 is located just 10′ WNW.

NGC 4866 GX Vir 12 59 59 +14 06 45 12.0 11:50pm
Faint halo, 3’x45″ E-W. Fairly bright round core, 30″ diameter. Bright stellar nucleus. Moderately bright superimposed star about 1′ WNW of the nucleus.

NGC 5363 GX Vir 13 56 40 +05 12 05 11.1 12:10am
Faint diffuse halo surrounding a bright small core with a stellar nucleus or superimposed star that appears slightly offset to the WSW. Located 4′ WSW of a bright field star (HD 121605)

NGC 5364 GX Vir 13 56 45 +04 57 42 11.1 12:20am
Faint diffuse glow, about 4’x3′ NE-SW. Small (< 1' diameter) round faint core seen at high magnification (217x). Two moderately faint stars delimit the halo's NW boundary. NGC 5360, located 10' WSW, is barely visible in the same field of view. NGC 5566 GX Vir 14 20 53 +03 53 01 11.4 12:30am
Small (30″ diameter) round bright core, surrounded by a faint diffuse halo. Located between a moderately bright (mag. 12.0) and a moderately faint (mag. 14.3) field star. Forms a nice trio with NGC 5560 and very faint NGC 5569.

NGC 5576 GX Vir 14 21 37 +03 13 15 11.8 12:40am
Fairly bright core, 45″x30″ E-W. Faint diffuse halo, maybe 1.5’x1′ E-W. Located just 1′ SE of a moderately faint (mag. 13.4) field star. Forms a nice pair with NGC 5574, located just 3′ SW. NGC 5577 can also be seen further north in the same field of view.

NGC 5746 GX Vir 14 45 29 +01 54 30 11.4 12:50am
Beautiful edge-on galaxy, 6’x30″ NNW-SSE, with a clearly visible central bulge about 1′ diameter. A dust lane is visible along the E edge. A faint (mag. 14.7) superimposed star is visible about 3′ SSE of the core.

NGC 5846 GX Vir 15 07 03 +01 33 47 11.1 01:00am
Faint round halo, maybe 1.5′ in diameter, gradually brighter to a fairly bright round core, 45″ in diameter. Faint superimposed star 45″ N. NGC 5846A is visible just 45″ S, superimposed over the halo of NGC 5846. NGC 5850 is visible just 10′ ESE.

OR: April 6 and 8, 2010: Dinosaur Point and Lake San Antonio

On Tuesday, April 6, I joined Marko, Rogelio, Hans Schulze and Paul Duncan at Dinosaur Point for a night of observing. Conditions were decent with fairly calm winds, average transparency and seeing, temps in the mid to low 40s and low humidity. Dew was not a problem at all, and my paper charts remained mostly dry. We got to observe Mercury shortly after sunset, but it didn’t show any detail due to the strong atmospheric refraction and horrible seeing at such low altitude. After that, I observed Herschel II objects in Leo and a few Herschel 400 objects in Virgo. Marko, who was busy imaging (traitor! :-), let me use his StarMaster 18″ dobsonian. This thing is … sweet! It moves like butter, stays still while focusing, and I was amazed by how much brighter objects looked compared to when observed through my 12″. I can’t wait to resume work on my own 16″ scope. Thanks again Marko!

Two days later, on Thursday, April 8, Rogelio and I met at Lake San Antonio. I passed him on Highway 101 shortly after leaving Salinas, and we followed each other from that point on. Conditions were pretty good, with an estimated NELM around 6.7 and average seeing. Humidity was rather high, and my paper charts and log paper were pretty soaked (although interestingly enough, it seemed to come in waves…). Rogelio was imaging and taking naps during exposures while I was busy observing Herschel II objects in UMa and Herschel 400 objects in Virgo. Among other things, I observed 3C 273, a quasar located in the constellation Virgo (the first quasar ever to be identified, it’s located about 2.5 billion light years away from us!). It was pretty cold (not sure how cold it got, but when I woke up in the morning, my car was clocking at 38F) and I had to bail out around 1:30am. I slept like a baby until about 7:30am. On my way out of the Lake San Antonio campgrounds, I was careful not to hit any bunnies or deers when I saw a herd of wild boars. Cool! I was back at work at 11am, with a big smile on my face. Now that’s some serious addiction to dark skies ;-)

Telescope: Meade Lightbridge 12″ F/5
Eyepieces used:
– Televue Panoptic 27mm (56x – 1.2° TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 16mm type 5 (95x – 52′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 9mm type 6 (169x – 29′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 7mm type 6 (217x – 22′ TFOV)
– Televue Nagler 5mm type 6 (305x – 16′ TFOV)

The format is object, type, constellation, RA, Dec, magnitude and time of observation (PDT)

Tuesday, April 6, 2009

Location: Dinosaur Point [Elevation 648 ft]

NGC 2655 GX Cam 08 57 03 +78 11 15 11.0 09:00pm
Fairly bright, about 1′ in diameter, very slightly elongated E-W, moderately bright almost stellar nucleus.

NGC 2781 GX Hya 09 11 58 -14 51 47 12.5 09:10pm
Faint, about 45″x30″ elongated E-W, slightly brighter non stellar core.

NGC 2855 GX Hya 09 21 58 -11 57 30 12.6 09:15pm
Faint, round, about 1.5′ in diameter, moderately faint almost stellar core. Located 4′ S of a bright (mag. 9.0) star.

NGC 2889 GX Hya 09 27 44 -11 41 35 12.5 09:20pm
Faint halo, roughly 1.5’x1′ elongated N-S, very slightly brighter stellar nucleus. Located arc minutes away from a few moderately bright field stars.

NGC 3145 GX Hya 10 10 41 -12 29 19 12.4 09:30pm
Faint halo, 2’x1′ elongated NNE-SSW, slightly brighter stellar nucleus. Located 10′ WSW of lambda Hya.

NGC 3162 GX Leo 10 14 07 +22 41 05 12.3 09:55pm
Faint round halo, about 1′ in diameter, slightly brighter stellar nucleus. Moderately faint (mag 14.4) star 1′ SE. Faint superimposed star 40″ E (?)

NGC 3177 GX Leo 10 17 10 +21 04 10 13.0 10:05pm
Round, moderately bright core, 20″ in diameter, surrounded by a very faint diffuse halo roughly 40″ in diameter.

NGC 3254 GX LMi 10 29 56 +29 26 17 12.3 10:15pm
Faint halo, 3’x45″ elongated NE-SW, surrounding a moderately faint core roughly 30″x15″ with the same orientation as the halo. Very faint star 45″ E (?) Very faint star 1′ N (?)

NGC 3274 GX Leo 10 32 53 +27 36 50 13.2 10:20pm
Fairly faint and relatively uniform halo about 45″x30″ elongated E-W.

NGC 3301 GX Leo 10 37 31 +21 49 36 12.3 10:25pm
Moderately faint, about 1’x30″ elongated ENE-WSW. Fairly bright stellar nucleus. The halo, which was not seen here, extends 2.5’x45″.

NGC 3507 GX Leo 11 04 00 +18 04 38 12.0 10:35pm
Small moderately faint core, located just 20″ from a fairly bright (mag 10.8) field star. A very faint halo is visible surrounding the core, but neither its size nor its orientation were noted.

NGC 3599 GX Leo 11 16 01 +18 03 05 12.9 11:00pm
Very faint round halo, about 45″ in diameter, surrounding a moderately faint stellar core.

NGC 3605 GX Leo 11 17 21 +17 57 30 13.2 11:05pm
Moderately faint halo, 45″x30″ elongated NNE-SSW, surrounding a moderately bright almost stellar core. In the same field of view as larger and brighter NGC 3607 and NGC 3608.

NGC 3338 GX Leo 10 42 42 +13 41 25 11.4 11:25pm
Moderately faint halo, 3’x1′ elongated E-W, surrounding a slightly brighter round core, about 1′ in diameter, with a faint almost stellar nucleus.

NGC 3524 GX Leo 11 07 06 +11 19 36 13.1 11:35pm
Moderately faint, about 30″x15″ elongated NNE-SSW, stellar nucleus. Located near two fairly bright field stars.

NGC 3547 GX Leo 11 10 30 +10 39 39 13.2 11:45pm
Faint, about 1’x30″ elongated N-S, fairly uniform.

NGC 3596 GX Leo 11 15 40 +14 43 41 11.8 11:50pm
Faint halo roughly 2’x1.5′ elongated N-S, surrounding a small slightly brighter core that seems elongated E-W (a DSS photograph shows tightly wound spiral arms are the most likely culprit to give the core that elongated appearance)

NGC 4636 GX Vir 12 43 23 +02 37 40 10.4 12:25am
Fairly bright round core 45″ in diameter, surrounded by a faint diffuse halo slightly elongated N-S extending to about 2′.

NGC 4643 GX Vir 12 43 54 +01 55 02 11.6 12:30am
Moderately faint halo 1.5’x45″ elongated NW-SE with a prominent fairly bright round core 30″ in diameter.

NGC 4845 GX Vir 12 58 34 +01 30 59 12.1 12:40am
Moderately faint, 4’x1′ elongated ENE-WSW, slightly brighter core 45″x15″ with the same orientation. Faint superimposed star 30″ E of the core.

NGC 4900 GX Vir 13 01 12 +02 26 29 11.9 12:50am
Moderately faint, round, 1.5′ in diameter, very slightly brighter stellar core. Bright superimposed star at the SE edge.

Thursday, April 8, 2009

Location: Lake San Antonio [Elevation 1082 ft]

NGC 2500 GX Lyn 08 02 40 +50 42 39 12.2 09:05pm
Faint, round, 2′ in diameter, fairly uniform, very slightly brighter core. A few moderately bright field stars appear in the same field of view.

NGC 2541 GX Lyn 08 15 26 +49 01 55 12.2 09:15pm
Extremely faint glow of uniform brightness, about 2’x1.5′ elongated N-S, very slightly brighter core.

NGC 2639 GX UMa 08 44 24 +50 10 11 12.6 09:25pm
Fairly bright, 50″x30″ elongated NW-SE, faint brighter stellar nucleus visible at times.

NGC 2756 GX UMa 09 09 47 +53 48 33 12.9 09:40pm
Faint, 1’x45″ elongated N-S, faint stellar nucleus seen intermittently.

NGC 2880 GX UMa 09 30 25 +62 26 51 12.5 09:50pm
Moderately bright core, 45″ in diameter, with a fairly bright almost stellar nucleus. Extremely faint diffuse halo, maybe elongated NW-SE (?)

NGC 3073 GX UMa 10 01 36 +55 34 13 14.1 10:00pm
Very faint, round, 30″ in diameter, with a faint stellar nucleus. Appears in the same field of view as NGC 3079, MCG 9-17-9 (barely seen, mag 15.4) and a few moderately bright field stars.

NGC 3225 GX UMa 10 25 53 +58 05 54 13.5 10:05pm
Very faint, fairly uniform, 1’x30″ elongated NNW-SSE. Located about 1′ SW of a moderately faint (mag 14.5) field star.

NGC 3583 GX UMa 11 14 48 +48 15 41 12.1 10:55pm
Fairly bright core, 1.5’x1′ elongated E-W, faint almost stellar nucleus. Very faint diffuse halo elongated NW-SE. Moderately faint (mag 14.9) field star 2′ SSE. Interestingly enough, I did not notice other (brighter) nearby field stars (?)

NGC 4013 GX UMa 11 59 05 +43 53 16 12.3 11:05pm
Fairly faint, 4’x1′ elongated ENE-WSW. The core region is slightly brighter and measures about 1′. It contains a moderately bright stellar nucleus or superimposed star (?)

NGC 4179 GX Vir 12 13 25 +01 14 19 11.8 11:30pm
Moderately bright, 2’x45″ elongated NW-SE. Fairly bright round core 30″ in diameter. Fairly faint superimposed star 45″ NW.

NGC 4281 (M 61) GX Vir 12 22 28 +04 24 50 10.2 11:40pm
Fairly bright round halo, 3′ in diameter. Bright stellar nucleus. Fairly faint superimposed star 1.5′ W of the nucleus. Attentive examination shows that the halo is of uneven brightness. A bar elongated NNE-SSW crosses the halo. The areas on either side of that bar are slightly darker. A spiral arm delimits the eastern edge of the halo, while another spiral arm starts at the southern tip of the bar and extends west toward the aforementioned superimposed star. A small knot is visible at the northern end of the bar as well. NGC 4303A and NGC 4392 appear in the same field of view.

NGC 4273 GX Vir 12 20 29 +05 17 00 12.3 11:55pm
Moderately bright, 1.5’x1′ elongated N-S, fairly uniform. Faint stellar nucleus. Forms a tight couple with NGC 4277. Part of an interesting group of 6 galaxies visible in the same field of view at medium magnification.

NGC 4281 GX Vir 12 20 55 +05 19 33 12.3 12:00am
Fairly bright, 1’x30″ elongated E-W, bright prominent core about 30″ in diameter, bright stellar nucleus. Part of an interesting group of 6 galaxies visible in the same field of view at medium magnification.

NGC 4527 GX Vir 12 34 42 +02 35 31 11.5 12:05am
Moderately faint halo, 4’x1′ elongated ENE-WSW. Fairly bright core 45″x30″ with the same orientation.

NGC 4536 GX Vir 12 35 00 +02 07 43 11.1 12:15am
Fairly faint halow, 2’x1′ elongated WNW-ESE. Moderately faint almost stellar nucleus. Two far flung spiral arms are barely visible using averted vision.

NGC 4570 GX Vir 12 37 27 +07 11 09 11.7 12:30am
Moderately bright, 3’x1′ elongated NNW-SSE. Fairly bright core 45″ in diameter, fairly bright stellar nucleus.

NGC 4596 GX Vir 12 40 29 +10 06 56 11.4 12:35am
Fairly bright, 2’x1′ elongated E-W. The core measures 30″. A few field stars are visible in the same field of view.

NGC 4654 GX Vir 12 44 29 +13 03 59 11.5 12:45am
Fairly faint halo of uniform brightness, 4’x1.5′ elongated WNW-ESE. Very slight broad concentration if the center.

NGC 4660 GX Vir 12 45 05 +11 07 50 12.1 12:50am
Bright, compact, 1’x45″ elongated E-W. Very bright small core.