Location: Anza desert site, Bortle
Equipment: Celestron 9.25” Edge HD SCT
SkyTee 2 manual AltAz mount.
Pentax XW 10mm, 70 deg (235x, 1.0mm exit pupil, 0.30 deg TFV)
Pentax XW 14mm, 70 deg (168x, 1.4mm exit pupil, 0.42 deg TFV)
Pentax XW 20mm, 70 deg (118x, 2.0 mm exit pupil, 0.6 deg TFV)
At our home location we had cloudy weekend with some rain. Fortunately, forecast for Anza was clear and, as often the case, Friday evening found me on the road to the desert.
This year the sky quality has been subpair so far, but on this trip I was to a nice surprise. All that clouds along the coast have blocked the light pollution from the costal cities and the sky was back to the old good quality. The effect at the EP
was quite obvious, with less fails and more details resolved in the faint galaxies I am hunting nowadays.
20:00. AQUILA GALAXIES
When thinking about Aquila constellation, summer Milky Way, open clusters and planetary nebulae come to mind. Yet, it contains a quite few galaxies observable with amateur scopes, although most of them small and faint.
1317 (mag 13.8, size 42" x 36", SB 12.6) – small fuzzy spot with stellar core (168x).
6821 (mag 13.1, size 1.3' x 1.1', SB 13.2) – faint round spot (118x, 168x).
6900 (mag 13.5, size 1' x 48", SB 13.0) – very faint round disk, detected with AV by moving EP
I was a bit behind logging my recent sessions and only today realized that NGC
6900 was my 3000th visually observed DSO
since I have started tracking my progress in 2015. Most of them (over 2000) are not surprisingly galaxies. I remember vividly the time when I was trying really hard (and failing) to see one galaxy, any galaxy other than Andromeda.
It took me a few sessions to finally observe one in October 2015. It was NGC
1023 galaxy in Perseus. I know because at that time I have started keeping the records. If someone told me then that I will be on my 3000th DSO
one day I would not believe it.
Anyway, back to the observing.
6906 (mag 12.3, size 1.6' x 48", SB 12.3) – faint narrow lens with round core (118x, 168x).
6915 (mag 12.2, size 1.5' x 54", SB 12.3) – faint oval disk with round core (118x).
6922 (mag 13.5, size 1.3' x 1', SB 13.5) – that was a neat galaxy. Faint wide glow of the galaxy disk was too diffused to define the shape, but in the middle of this AV glow was a brighter narrow diamond shape. At the EP
I thought it was the core and bar. But looking at the references and photo on-line, this galaxy is classified as Sc and does not have a bar. The diamond shape I saw was formed by the core and H II regions at the base of two spiral arms protruding from the core. Thus, NGC
6922 is one of the few galaxies where I was able to visually detect traces of the spiral arms.
6929 (mag 13.4, size 48" x 42", SB 12.5) – small, faint, narrow oval with AV (235x).
6941 (mag 12.8, size 2' x 1.4', SB 13.7) – faint oval (118x).
That concluded my list of galaxies in Aquila. I have switched to Pegasus where I have enough to last for many sessions.
7315 (mag 12.5, size 1.6' x 1.6', SB 13.3) – faint oval with brighter central area (118x, 168x).
With my next target I have unknowingly stumbled upon a neat group of galaxies known as
I am surprised that the Telescopius website I use to generate observing lists did not annotate the group. I guess it is trickier to do for a group than for an individual DSO
When I navigated to the field, I saw a faint glowing patch. Staying on it, elongated oval of NGC
7320 (mag 12.6, size 2.3' x 1.4', SB 13.6) – largest and brightest of the group has appeared.
Then, smaller and dimmer NGC
7317 (mag 13.6, size 42" x 36", SB 12.4) and NGC
7319 (mag 13.1, size 1.4' x 1.1', SB 13.3) have emerged, flanking NGC
Finally, on top of NGC
7320, in between NGC
7317 and NGC
7319 I have managed to resolve two small cores of NGC
7318A (mag 13.4, size 1.2' x 1', SB 13.3) and NGC
7318B (mag 13.1, size 1.6' x 1.1', SB 13.5). The two cores were in close proximity to each other, sharing the same very faint envelope, and positioned diagonally in respect to NGC
What a fun group! I have stayed on it for a bit longer and then moved to the next target.
7343 (mag 13.5, size 1' x 48", SB 13.0) – very faint AV spot (168x).
7347 (mag 13.7, size 1.5' x 18", SB 12.6) – very faint narrow lens with AV (118x).
7360 (mag 13.7, size 42" x 24", SB 12.1) – small, faint, elongated oval (118x, 168x).
7362 (mag 12.6, size 1.1' x 48", SB 12.2) – small, faint, narrow oval (118x).
7372 (mag 13.5, size 1' x 54", SB 13.1) – FAIL.
7373 (mag 13.6, size 1.3' x 30", SB 12.9) - small, faint, narrow oval with AV (118x).
23:00. ANDROMEDA GALAXIES
This summer I wanted to spend some time in Andromeda. However, this constellation was rising in the Riverside light dome, making it poor choice for hunting faint galaxies. This evening however the sky looked considerably better, and I finally managed to log a few there.
5 (mag 13.3, size 1.2' x 42", SB 12.9) – faint, small AV oval (118x, 168x).
6 (aka NGC
20: mag 13.1, size 1.7' x 1.6', SB 13.9) – faint AV glow touching star (168x).
11 (mag 13.7, size 1.5' x 18", SB 12.6) – faint small rod with AV (168x).
19 (mag 13.3, size 1.1' x 36", SB 12.6) – FAIL.
27 (mag 13.5, size 1.2' x 30", SB 12.7) – small, faint AV lens near star (168x).
43 (mag 12.6, size 1.6' x 1.5', SB 13.3) – faint round disk with brighter central area (118x).
48 (mag 13.6, size1.6' x 1', SB 13.8) – tried unsuccessfully last year. This time with better sky managed to resolve very faint, small, narrow oval with AV (168x).
Happily exhausted, finished up around midnight.
While driving back in the morning I had a chance to say thanks to the low clouds which blocked the light pollution from the west and helped to make this session such a memorable experience.