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NGC 2403 in Cam, with a 4 inch refractor.

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#1 rodelaet



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Posted 05 May 2009 - 02:55 PM

NGC 2403 in Camelopardalis is one of Messier’s missed objects. It may sound strange at first, but this galaxy is a member of the M81 Group of galaxies. Its distance to the M81/M82 duo is about 3 million l-y, comparable with the distance between our galaxy and M31. Its distance to our galaxy is about 10 million l-y. With a mag of 8.5, NGC 2403 is almost as bright as M82. But NGC 2403 appears much larger and has a lower surface brightness (14,6 compared to 12.8 for M82).
NGC 2403 can be found from different starting points. Here follows my approach for low power instruments: draw an imaginary line from Capella to Polaris. Both stars are roughly 45° apart. Then find the midpoint of that line. From that point, draw a line (the bisector) perpendicular to the first line, for about 15° in the direction of the Bear’s nose (Omicron Ursae Majoris) until you run into NGC 2403.
The low power view (at x17) reminds me of the glow of a partially resolved open cluster. Two 10th mag foreground stars lie embedded in the halo of the galaxy, one on each side of the diffuse core. The stars only show up with averted vision. At x62, the galaxy appears elongated in a SSW to ENE direction. Another 11th mag foreground star appears just a few minutes away from the core of the galaxy. The three embedded stars, albeit not particular bright, interfere with the subtle glow of the distant galaxy, as if the galaxy tries to hide its appearance behind the foreground stars.

Site : Bekkevoort, Belgium ( 51° N )
Date : April 19, 2009
Time : around 21.00 UT
Scope : Skywatcher 102/500mm achromatic refractor
Eyepiece : Baader Hyperion Zoom at 8mm
Magnification : 63x
FOV: 65’
Filter : none
Seeing : 3/5
Transp. : 4/5
Sky brightness : 19.70 magnitudes per square arc second near zenith (SQM reading).
Nelm: 5.4
Sketch Orientation: N up, W right.
Digital sketch made with Corel Paint Shop Pro X2, based on a raw pencil sketch.

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#2 kraterkid


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Posted 05 May 2009 - 05:59 PM


Absolutely gorgeous my friend! :waytogo: NGC 2403 appears so distant compared to the sparse foreground stars of the Milky Way. Wonderful detail, remarkable view and all this with such a modest aperature! You are the definition of an observer and an artist.

#3 cildarith



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Posted 05 May 2009 - 06:29 PM

Excellent rendition, Rony! :bow:

#4 rolandlinda3



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Posted 05 May 2009 - 08:17 PM

Delightful sketch, Rony. Roland

#5 frank5817



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Posted 05 May 2009 - 11:18 PM


This is a beautiful sketch of a wonderful galaxy. :bow: :cool: :rainbow: :bow: I have trouble with this one because of the Chicago light glow.

Frank :)

#6 yann pothier

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 01:54 AM

very nice sketch Rony, as usual !

#7 Achernar



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Posted 06 May 2009 - 02:51 PM

Nice drawing of this under-rated galaxy. NGC-2403 is every bit as bright as many of the Messier galaxies, and yet it's not as well known as it should be. This is how it looks through my 6-inch on typical nights in my area. Well done!


#8 CarlosEH



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Posted 06 May 2009 - 06:49 PM


An excellent observation and report of this interesting edge-on galaxy in Camelopardalis. You have captured it very nicely. Thank you for sharing it with us all.



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