Heading out the first night the prediction for transparency was below average, but with average seeing. While that is not really overly conducive for galaxy hunting, that is what I do for the most part so I would see how it went. The results from two nights before were not too spectacular, though new galaxies were observed. So I figured it was worth a shot to see what my searching would turn up.
Setting up the gear about 2130 hours, I knew that dewing would most likely be significant given the forecast, so I attached dew strips to both my optical and unity finders. I aligned those and adjusted collimation on the big
Ethos 21mm (94x, 1.1° TFOV, 4.7mm exit pupil)
Ethos 13mm (152x, 0.7° TFOV, 2.9mm exit pupil)
XW 10mm (199x, 0.4° TFOV, 2.2mm exit pupil)
XW 7mm (283x, 0.2° TFOV, 1.6mm exit pupil)
I turned to chart 43-left of the IDSA and noticed that this galaxy was already checked off, but that a couple nearby were not. This would be me starting point for this evening to see what I could pull from my sub-par sky. Hopping north from Alpha Ophiuchi (Rasalhague) for over 3.5° to a bright crooked “L” shaped
Now it was time to ferret out the nearby galaxies I missed three years ago with the 10 inch under a 71% illuminated moon. Just over half an arc minute WSW of the previous object I picked up a mag 9.3 field star, but it was the small round piece of galactic fuzz just to its east that caught my attention. At 94x it was not strongly present in the field but not difficult either. With 152x it was much more obvious and remained homogeneous, with the view remaining pretty much the same at 199x. (New)
UGC 10873 (Hercules, spiral galaxy, mag=14.3, size=1.5’x0.2’, SBr=12.9):
Then just over 18’ farther WSW of
I immediately went to 273x and sure enough, there was my other galaxy, cleanly split (though quite tight) and positioned between the primary galaxy and the field star. UGC 10873 was very weak and thin, but this homogeneous sliver of light was indeed there. As an aside, Uranometria mistakenly labels this galaxy as UGC 10872. (New-2)
I now moved north from thprevious field for about 2.5° to a bright clump of stars containing the variable HD 159332 at its center. Just ESE of this grouping I found this barred spiral. At 94x I was easily seen but slightlyl dim. Small and oval, it was evenly illuminated across its envelope. Viewing with 152x it was obvious within the field of view. Subtly bright to the eye, it remained smooth and even. (New)
Over on chart 42-right in the IDSA, I noticed that this galaxy was not marked as having been observed, so off I went. Locating a “V” shaped
Almost 3° SSE of the previous object near the border with Ophiuchus, I swept up this slightly bright little rounded glow at 94x. It was evenly illuminated across its disk and remained so at 152x. (New)
Not quite 1° south of the last field, and just inside the celestial serpent bearer, I pinned down this small and dim diffuse oval using 94x. It remained homogeneous at 152x, and while more obvious to the eye, it remained dim overall. (New)
Nudging to the ESE, I picked up a very wide (48’) north-south pair of 6th magnitude stars (mag 6.3 HD 168199 and mag 6.8 HD 168271). This galaxy was picked up about 2/3 of the way from the former to the latter. Arriving at the field using 94x, the barred lenticular was just discerned as a tiny oval just east of an 11th magnitude field star. As I studied a bit more at this magnification, I got the sense that I was seeing at least one imposed star involved in the galactic disk. Also observing it with 152x and 199x, it was more easily discerned, but still weak. Again, there seemed to be an intermittent flicker of at least one foreground star offset from the center of its disk. (New)
Moving back into Hercules, I swept over 2.5° NNE to a north-south pair of 8th magnitude field stars. Studying the field just SSW of this pair with 94x I could not discern the galaxy. Going up to 152x I had a suspicion of a small and very dim rounded dust mote. Going ahead to 199x I confirmed the galaxy’s presence in the field as a small and dim homogenous round glow. (New)
I noticed fog starting to rise across the valley, which was confirmed when a car passed from the south illuminating the ghostly apparition along the road. I wasn’t sure how much time I had before it became elevated enough to further compromise or obliterate the sky. So I trudged onward wary that it may end at any time.
Less than 1° southeast of the previous galaxy, I picked up an upside-down rhombus of four stars (6th and 7th mag). Almost half a degree east of this figure I just discerned it as a small and dim round mote near a field star at 94x. Also viewed at 152x and 199x, while it was easier at each step, it still remained small, weak and homogenous. (New)
UGC 11294 (Hercules, elliptical galaxy, mag=12.8, size=1.3’x0.9’, SBr=13.0):
Sweeping northeast about 8° in the direction of 110 Herculis (mag 4.2), I studied the field southeast of a rhombus of 7th to 9th magnitude field stars using 94x but could not find this elliptical. I had a suspicion my sky was starting to lose its battle with the rising fog. But I went on up to 152x, where I caught a suspicion of a very dim and small oval glow. Moving to 199x my impression was a little stronger that the galaxy was there, but it was not held steadily. I went ahead up to 273x and finally got my confirmation of its presence in the view. Still quite weak, it was a small ghostly oval glow, and much more difficult than I had expected. (New)
Trying to get a little higher up in the sky I moved to chart 19-left in the IDSA. Aiming the scope at Tau Herculis (mag 3.8) and then swept northeast about 7.5° to a triangular pattern of four stars of 6th and 7th magnitude at the border with Draco. Studying the field in the southwestern portion of this grouping, I was able to pick up this spiral as a very small and dim round glow. Though still weak at 152x it was not difficult at all. It remained a homogenous smooth disk. (New)
It was approaching 0130 hours and the fog was quickly filling the surrounding terrain and conditions were on the downturn from their already weak levels. We have a security light behind the house and I could see the glowing swirl of fog over the top of the house. Aquila was well placed so I turned to chart 42 in the IDSA and settled on an open cluster to wrap up my session before I lost the sky for good.
This cluster was discovered in 1829 by John Herschel, who described it as "A pretty rich oblong cl(uster); 10' l(ong), 5' br(oad); stars equal and of 13th mag.” However, it was described as "not a cluster" by Jack Sulentic in the RNGC (Sulentic & Tifft, 1973) based on his visual inspection of photographic plates. That all being said, how things look on plates and through the eyepiece can be quite different, and that was the case here – in my view.
Easily locating the field nearly 4° northeast of Altair, its eastern edge was marked by the unrelated magnitude 9.4 star HD 356626. Immediately west of this star I could easily discern the elongated grouping of stars described by John Herschel. While not extremely rich, it was still somewhat detached from the surrounding star field and in my view represented a visual clustering of stars. An elongated grouping of around 30 stars in the 11th to 13th magnitude range, there were additional dimmer stars involved as well. Loosely scattered in a north-south broad flow across the roughly 10’ field. I observed it with both 94x and 152x and found it rather attractive, with a vague number “8” appearance. Whether it is a true cluster or simply an
The last object was a nice ending to a tough evening of galaxy hunting. Dew was very heavy on my surroundings (even my hair was damp - what is left of it that is), but my finders remained clear and dew free thanks to the dew heaters. With the fog filling the air around me I hastily moved my gear back into the garage to let it all dry out overnight while I got some much needed sleep. Thanks again for coming along with me, and I hope to catch you all back out there again sometime soon.