M106 5/26/2009 0:00UT; Pickering 6, NELM 5.5, SQM 20.4
Extremely bright, non-stellar elongated core surrounded by a large elongated disk of asymmetrical brightness. NE arm considerably brighter, but fairly evenly shaded while dimmer, narrower SW arm shows some mottling.
Outer extent of disk not visible. Companion (NGC4248) keeps making me think my eyepiece is dirty.
I was mostly just here to sketch the next one, but I'll include an observation from last year:
M51 Whirlpool 4/30/2008 0:30UT; Pickering 8, NELM 6, SQM 20.9
Absolutely stupendous at 155x: strong E-W flaring apparent in core, with two complete revolutions of the arms, including readily apparent HII regions to the SW in the bridge arm and to the ENE and NE in the other arm. Main flare (to N) in companion direct vision, with secondary (W) and tertiary flares (NW) visible in averted. Tertiary flare quite large but very difficult (perhaps 20% in averted).
Stellar core to both members, but companion's actually appears somewhat brighter. Bottom and top of bridge direct vision; center still averted and somewhat difficult. Beautifully framed at 100x in 39T5 with ink-black background.
Editor's note: the observation was taken under far better conditions than the sketch, so the sketch fails to record the complete set of details from the observation.
I think I might have been able to eek a few more galaxies out of the Coma Cluster, but the dang sun was starting to brighten the horizon by 1:40 (2:40 local time).
Abell1656 Coma Galaxy Cluster 5/26/2009 1:05UT; Pickering 6, NELM 5.5, SQM 20.4
Not the best of conditions for this, but it still reveals a packed field. NGC4889 most obvious, followed by 4898 and 4865, all of which show semi-stellar condensations. NGC4911 was more difficult, with poor condensation, as were 4865, 4908 and IC4051, all showing very poor condensation.
NGC4906 and 4864 showed good condensation, but were difficult to differentiate from stars. GSC1995-01897 was misidentified as a galaxy, while NGC4882, NGC4869, IC3960, NGC4860 and NGC4907 were all misidentified as stars. Total count: 10 sketched, 14 recorded.
I'd love to have this one under darker skies, but it comes around at a bad time of year for 54Â°N.