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Bright Galaxy M 64 (NGC 4826)

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#1 frank5817

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 09:45 PM

Under the sky glow of a major urban center (Bortle class 8- white zone), where there is no possibility of seeing even the brightest parts of the Milky Way, it is always surprising to me that any galaxies can be seen. The night of this observation and sketch was a night of better than average transparency. The faintest stars visible near the zenith were about 4th magnitude. The brighter spring galaxies are indeed detectable and somewhat visible, but can be challenging to locate by star hopping in the gray background at lower magnifications. At higher magnifications the contrast does improve and one can see some detail in the cores of galaxies if you stay with them for extended periods of time. At visual magnitude 8.5 Sab spiral galaxy M-64 shows its core and dark dusty star forming region (black eye) pretty well. Astronomers tell us it is likely the dark star forming region formed some one billion years ago as the spiral galaxy collided with a small companion. This is at least one hypothesis proposed in the 1990’s. It is also worth noting that the inner and outer parts of this galaxy are rotating in opposite directions contributing to the increased rate of star formation along the black eye. M-64 is between 17 and 19 million l.y. from us and measures 51,000 l.y. across. The galaxy may be a member of the M-94 group of galaxies also called the Canes Venatici I (Schmidt and Boller) cloud and is located in the constellation of Coma Berenices not far from 35 Comae Berenices.

K.H. Schmidt and T. Boller, 1992. Nearby Galaxies. I. The catalogue. Astronomische Nachrichten, Vol. 313, No. 4.

Sketching:

Date and Time: 6-4-2010, 4:00-4:40 UT
Scope: 18” f/5 Dobsonian. 21mm eyepiece (108x) and 9mm eyepiece (254x)
8”x12” white sketching paper, 4B and HB graphite pencils,
blending stumps, gum eraser, scanned and inverted
Seeing: Pickering 7/10
Transparency: Average to above average 3/5-4/5
Low humidity, temperature 15°C (60°F)

Frank McCabe :)

Attached Files



#2 mathteacher

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 01:49 AM

Frank, great catch! I can find M64 in my urban skies, but I sure don't see the black eye. Then again I'm only using a 100mm scope. I guess that's what 14 more inches of aperture gets you!

#3 rerun

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 07:10 AM

Hallo Frank,

this is a wonderful sketch of M64 with the black eye.You have a very good teleskop.I don't see the black eye.Like mathteacher I use a 100mm telskop that's to small for this.
Thank you for showing us this great sketch of M64 :bow: :bow: :bow:

CS

Markus

#4 CarlosEH

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 07:20 AM

Frank,

An outstanding observation and report of the Black Eye Galaxy (M64)in Canes Venatici. You have captured the "Black Eye" (Core) very nicely. I will have to revisit this interesting galaxy soon. Thank you for sharing it with us all.

Carlos

#5 frank5817

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 10:10 AM

Ging-Li, Markus, Carlos.

It took about 15 minutes of looking to see the black eye directly. By averted vision it is clearly seen in my poor sky at high enough magnification. It almost doesn't count as seeing M64 compared to the dark sky view.
I had just pointed my scope at NGC4485-4490 when my observing and sketching ended due to clouds closing off the view.
Thank you. :thanx:

Frank :)

#6 JayinUT

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 12:09 PM

Frank,

Great capture. Love the Black-Eye that you got with good detail. Got to love those clouds . . . so tired of clouds. Forecast for new moon weekend next week here, clouds and rain. I fear I may miss this one this year (and a lot of other objects as well).

#7 Jef De Wit

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 12:20 PM

Frank, thanks for the nice sketch and information. A big scope is surely a good idea in (sub)urban skies.

#8 frank5817

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 06:00 PM

Jay and Jef,

Thanks, :thanx:
Very stormy weather here. We have had several rain storms each day for the past week.
The 18" scope works well on the moon and planets but it really needs dark sky for the faint fuzzies.

Good luck with your observing.

Frank :)

#9 Tommy5

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 06:16 PM

great sketch of this galaxy in heavy lp skies, thanks for posting.

#10 frank5817

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 01:18 AM

T5,

Thank you. :thanx:

Frank :)

#11 ladip63

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 03:45 PM

Looks like another photo Frank ;) LOL
Great sketch Great job :D I love seeing your sketches. :D
I wish these clouds would part and I could go sketch. I'm having with drawls *shivers*
:goodjob: :bow:

#12 frank5817

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 06:08 PM

Lynn,

Thank you. I'm not much of a deep sky sketcher. Most of these galaxy targets are just slightly brighter the background grey and I tend to make my targets look a bit too bright, but I played with the brightness and contrast on this one when I scanned it to make it look like the eyepiece view.
I'm glad you liked it.
Clear skies to you.

Frank :)

#13 Special Ed

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 07:33 AM

Frank,

Fine work and a good lesson in locating and observing faint targets for those who must deal with urban skyglow.

#14 frank5817

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 10:06 AM

Michael,

Thank you. :thanx:
Once in a while on nights of low water vapor in the atmosphere, the sky can be transparent with reduced light scatter. Those are the nights you can hunt galaxies from urban areas.

Frank :)

#15 niteskystargazer

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 10:37 AM

Frank,

Nice sketch of M-64 :),

:thanx:,

Tom

#16 JakeSaloranta

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 12:54 PM

Under the sky glow of a major urban center (Bortle class 8- white zone), where there is no possibility of seeing even the brightest parts of the Milky Way, it is always surprising to me that any galaxies can be seen.


Might have something to do with the 18" telescope :lol:

#17 frank5817

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 12:18 AM

Tom,

Thanks :thanx:

___

Jake- You are right but light pollution quickly trumps aperture. A 6" inch scope would give a more pleasing view from a good sky.

Frank :)

#18 Michael & Louise

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Posted 12 June 2010 - 11:25 PM

Frank, thanks for sharing this sketch. :bow:

I've had difficulty seeing this one at my last few attempts from light polluted skies even though we have quite a bit of very low humidity skies here in Calgary but on the best of nights it is deffinitely there. With my 6" there's no "black eye" to be seen though I found one of the edges to be much more sharply defined than the others and I'm assuming this is due to the dust lane.

Michael

#19 frank5817

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Posted 12 June 2010 - 11:43 PM

Michael,

Thanks for your comments.
From a dark site in northern Wisconsin with a 6" scope I got a good view of the black eye.
You will just need to get out beyond the lights of Calgary, it will be worth the effort.

Frank :)






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