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April 15 to 19, 2012 at Ft. Davis

NELM 7.0 to 7.8 variable as sky glow due to higher than normal solar activity

Seeing 3/5 to 4/5

Transparency 4/5


Telescope: 48” f/4.0 reflector and 36” f/5 Obssession (Larry Mitchell’s Telescope located at Texas Star Party upper field)

Eyepieces:  10 and 6mm ZAO-II, 10mm Delos, 8mm TMB Supermonocentric and 8mm prototype Delos brought by Al Nagler

Images are from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (color) or the Digital Sky Survey (black and white)


Follows are some selected assorted interesting to very interesting objects.  Enjoy!

MCG+7-20-52 (was mistaken for NGC 3002 by the MCG catalog) in Ursa Major


RA: 09 49 07.1   Dec: +44 02 52  Size: 1.1x0.5’  Mag: 17.0

48” at 488x – The western lode was immediately picked up as a faint 2:1 elongated even surface brightness soft glow with diffuse edges.  No central brightness. PA = 120 degrees and 0.3’ long.  The western lobe is slightly brighter than other part.

The eastern component is a very faint 3:1 elongated even surface brightness glow with diffuse edges ad no central brightening.   PA = 135 and 0.4’ long.  An isosceles triangle of 16th mag stars, which includes NGC 3002, lies 1.5’ NW.  NGC 3002 is actually a single star.

"Diamond Gem" PGC 886902 in Hydra

RA: 10 47 55    Dec: -17 12 55

Been introduced to this object by Jimi as the Diamond Gem as it appears as a ring galaxy with a bright knot on the edge.   I’ve researched this object through NED and Simbad databases and found that this is unlisted.  It appeared fairly obvious on the DSS image, so I’m a bit surprised that it was missed. 

48” at 488 and 610x - Appears a soft glow with a bright knot off to the SE edge.  About 0.3’ across.  A mag 15 star lies 0.2’ NNE.

Edit:  Thanks to "IVM" from Cloudy Nights for providing the catalog designation for this object.


“Lowrey’s L” in Camelopardalis

RA: 13 31 04.5   Dec: +77 46 03

Like the Diamond Gem, this object is also unlisted in both professional databases.  Photographically, it appears as two faint nearly edge on galaxies arranged perpendicularly and intersecting at the SE corner.

48” at 488 and 610xLowrey’s L - Very faint unresolved soft glow.  0.3’ across.

VII Zw 519 – Considerably bright, round glow with a much brighter center with defined edges. 0.3’ across.

LEDA 2774873 – Considerably faint, slightly elongated even surface brightness glow.  PA = 135 and 0.2’ long.

CGCG 268-26 in Ursa Major

RA: 11 22 32.2   Dec: +51 31 59  Size: 0.7x0.6’  Mag: 15.4

48” at 488x - Very diffuse halo with a stellar core.  0.3’ across.  A pair of 10th magnitude stars lies a little over 2’ west.

Anon 1116+51, PGC 34658, Arp’s Galaxy in Ursa Major


RA: 11 19 34.4   Dec: +51 30 13  Size: 0.2x0.1’   Mag(NED): 16.9g

This object was written by Dr. Halton Arp in the Astrophysical Journal in 1965, Volume 142, page 402, titled “A Very Small, Condensed Galaxy”.  To summarize, Dr Arp, noticed that this object appears as a double star on plates imaged with the 200” Hale Telescope at Mt. Palomar…upon closer look he found that the edges were a bit fuzzy.  Then he took a spectrum of it and determined that the recessional velocity is 1326 +/- 15 km/sec, which is consistent to an extragalactic object…hence this object is labeled as Arp’s Galaxy.  The original paper can be found here.

48” at 488 and 610x – This object was picked up as a faint very small round glow with defined edges. 0.1’ across.  I didn’t see any elongation.

UGC 6309 in Ursa Major

RA: 11 17 46.7  Dec: +51 28 33  Size: 1.3x 0.9’   Mag: 13.7p

48” at 488x – Nice barred spiral.  The western arm makes a complete loop back to the other end of the bar.  The other arm wraps around half way to the other end.  Stellar core in the middle of the bar.  Very diffuse halo around the entire galaxy, extending a little past the SE end of the bar.  Bar is 0.6’ long and PA = 135.  Halo is 1.1’ long and 0.8’ wide.

8 Zw 182 compact galaxy group in Virgo

RA: 12 21 04.7   Dec: +11 37 53   Size: 32”   SDSS mag: 16.48g – 17.38g

48” at 488 and 610x – 8 Zw 182 - Four faint glows that are nearly equally equal in brightness.  Three equally spaced galaxies in a line running NNE to SSW at a length of 25”   The fourth one is at a right angle just off the southern most galaxy at about 10” away.

SDSS J122104.79+113655.1 – Very faint very small round glow.  It was listed as mag 18.9g in NED.

VCC 453 – fairly bright 3:1 elongated even surface brightness glow.

8 Zw 414 in Virgo


RA: 14 24 59.2  Dec: -03 04 02  Size: 0.9x0.2’   Mag: 15.4

48” at 488 and 610x – Two galaxies grace the field, one a flat galaxy with a bright nearly stellar core and the other is a high surface brightness compact small elliptical galaxy.

Using averted vision, the edge on starts to grow to about 1.0’ long.  PA = 45 and 1.0’ long.  The elliptical lies only 12” due west from the center of the flat.

Hanny’s Voorwerp near IC 2497 in Leo Minor


RA: 09 41 03.7   Dec: +34 43 41  SDSS mag: 18.39g  NED mag: 18.8g

This object was discovered by a Dutch school teacher named Hanny Van Arkel, very nice lady.  She is one of the key contributors of the amateur galaxy identification site called the Galaxy Zoo.  When she was looking at the IC 2497 region, she noticed this blue object below it… Read the rest of the story on her website linked under her name. 


Professional astronomers led by Dr. William Keel from University of Alabama has determined that this object lies over 600 million light years away.   It is a very large gaseous mass that was ejected by IC 2497 or a torn up dwarf galaxy orbiting IC 2497, then it was lit up by a quasar in the core of the galaxy, thus ionizing the cloud….then the quasar dimmed.  This process ionized the gaseous mass, this giving out a lot of O-III lines, very much like an emission nebula.  Here is a synopsis of his work on the University of Alabama website.

Since the primary visual wavelength are Oxygen-III lines…but it is red shifted about 25 or so nanometers to about 523 or so nm…which explains why Jimi, Dragan and I have found that the O-III, Ultrablock, Omega NPB, etc did NOT work on this object.  The Astronomik CLS filter helped a little bit.  Then Dr. Keel suggested to Jimi, to give the Sloan G filter a shot.  Jimi found that the Sloan G significantly helped with this object.  The bandpass of the Sloan G (401 to 550nm) covers the O-III lines from Hanny’s Voorwerp.  The CLS also passes a majority of the light as 540 is right at the right edge of the passband pass. Anyhow, here is my observation with two telescopes (different dates)

48” at 488 and 610x- Extremely faint glow that popped in and out 50% of the time.  Used the Sloan G filter.  It seemed tougher as we battled air glow due to significantly higher than normal solar activity.  Note: It was far easier when I observed it last year with the 48” scope.  The 2MASX galaxy is considerably faint, round even surface brightness glow.

36” at 457 and 571x – Extremely faint glow that popped in and out using the 10mm Delos and 8mm prototype Delos that Al Nagler brought.

Gravitational Arc in AGC 2152 near MCG +3-41-95 in Hercules


RA: 16 05 29.5   Dec: +16 26 34  SDSS mag: 20.60g  NED mag: 18.55

Larry Mitchell brought this arc to our attention in the 2012 TSP Advanced Observing List titled “Anything Abell”.  This is apparently the brightest gravitational arc and probably the only one reachable in a 30” class telescope. 

A gravitation arc is basically a galaxy or another object much further behind a massive galaxy, which bends the light of the background galaxy forming Einstein’s Rings.   Here is a short piece on Wiki.

The key is the mag 16.4 star that lies 30” ENE from the core of the MCG.  When the star steadies up, the arc pops in.

48” at 488 and 610x – popped in and out 4 times.  Very faint nearly stellar object. 

36” f/5 Obsession at 457 and 571x – popped in and out 3 times, very faint.  Used the prototype 8mm Delos and 10mm production Delos.

MCG+8-23-39 and UGC 7593 train wreck in Canes Venatici


RA: 12 28 14.1   Dec: +44 27 12 

48” at 488 and 813x - Two bright galaxies with stellar cores with a thin faint curved wisp starting on the west side and turning northwards.  The wisp has a much brighter knot at the south tip.

Mitchell’s Object (MAC 1217+4634/+4635) in Canes Venatici


RA: 12 17 48.1   Dec: +46 34 56  Mags: 15.5 and 16.0

This object was named after a very good observer from Houston Texas named Larry Mitchell.  Larry’s accomplishments over his astronomy career includes creating the MAC (Mitchell Anonymous Catalog) for Megastar, starting the TSP Advanced Observing List and has written several articles regarding observing and sketching planetary nebula.  He is one of the four original owners of the 36” Obsessions.

48” at 488x – Only one side was seen as a very faint thin glow. And about 0.4’ long

MAC cluster near NGC 4565 in Coma Berenices


Centered around RA 12 36 50.1  Dec: +25 50 57

48” at 488 and 610x - Many members seen.  I didn’t count them as there were 6 other observers with us,including Larry Mitchell, Bill Christianson, Jim Chandler, Jimi Lowrey and several others, that I can't recall. 

Minkowski 2-9 planetary nebula (Minkowski’ Butterfly) in Ophiuchus


RA: 17 05 37.9   Dec: -10 08 32  Size: 50x20”  Mag: 13.2

Bi-polar planetary nebula takes on a very different shape than your typical planetary nebula.  Several professional astronomers have determined that the primary cause of bi-polar planetary nebulae is formed by a binary central star.  For one of the articles, see abstract or full paper here.

48” (488x with NPB filter) – This one pretty cool planetary, te north side has some stellar knots.  The central star was easily seen in the center.  PA = 0 degrees and 0.6' long.

Abell 34 and two galaxies, one is uncharted in Hydra


Uncharted RA: 09 45 27.3  Dec: -13 12 01

48” at 488 and 610x – Focused on the two galaxies.  The MAC is considerably bright 2:1 elongated glow with defined edges and a brighter center.  PA = 0 and 0.3’ long.

The uncharted is very faint very small round glow.  0.1’ across.

Koposov 2 globular cluster in Gemini

RA: 07 58 17.0   Dec:+26 15 18

S. Koposov discovered two extremely low luminosity globular clusters in the Milky Way halo.  It was detected in the SDSS DR5 and confirmed with deeper imaging at the Calar Alto Observatory.  It was determined that this along with Palomar 1, AM 4 and Whiting 1 are the lowest luminosity globular clusters orbiting the Milky Way.  The article is found here.


48” at 488x - Very faint small round even surface brightness glow.  Popped in and out, 75% of the time. About 0.3’ across.

Koposov 1 globular cluster in Virgo

RA: 11 59 18.4  Dec: +12 15 36 

48” at 488x - Some speckling was detected around a considerably bright very small fuzzy star in the center.

II Hz 4 (PGC 25211, CGCG 180-23) ring galaxy in Lynx

RA: 08 58 33.6  Dec: 37 05 10  Size: 0.6x0.5’  Mag: 15.7

48” at 488 and 610x – Considerably bright fuzzy off centered core (towards to WNW edge).  The ring is a considerably faint glow with somewhat diffuse edges.  The ring is 0.5’ across.

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