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NGC 253 in Sculptor

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#1 wky46

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 11:55 PM

I remember posts a few years back that were wondering how Messier had missed this wonderful elongated galaxy inside Sculptor. And though it starts entering the bright, scattered light from a nearby town here when approaching the meridian, it's still high enough for me (I'm @ 37 degrees) to get a good view of it. Though the seeing was turbulant tonight it was good enough to see two stellar points on each side away from its center. The transparency was better however, which really allowed me to appreciate its length. Spanning over half the fov through my 32mm Plossl it nearly reminds me of M31. Its only the second or third time I've viewed the galaxy and I would like try for Sculptor Dwarf but I'm afraid that one may be a little too south to view from my elevation. I'd love to see 253 under darker conditions but at least I'm fortunate at my latitude to still get a good view of it. I have to rank this galaxy up there as a possible top 5 contender on my favorite DSO list. *kinda meant to post this in the Deep Sky forum but I guess heres as good place as any :D!*

#2 CosmoSat

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 12:38 AM

If he missed out on the double cluster in perseus..one shouldnt be surprised.. (or maybe he didnt detect any nebulosity in the clusters)

Clear Skies!

#3 Dennis_S253

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 12:39 AM

This is one of my favorite view's. I was going to check it out tonight but got busy on some other projects. Trying to learn the new CG-4 mount and all. It's getting a little low now. The nice thing is, tonight is another night. Accually I think it's better than M31.

#4 nytecam

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 03:58 AM

I remember posts a few years back that were wondering how Messier had missed this wonderful elongated galaxy inside Sculptor. ..... it's still high enough for me (I'm @ 37 degrees) to get a good view of it.

Messier observed mostly from Paris [France] some 21 deg further north than you :o For me in London @ 51N, N253 just peeps through tiny gaps on my southern horizon and its rarely clear at these low altitudes. The world is round :p

#5 ausastronomer

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 05:54 AM

Hi,

I am at 34.6 deg S and get NGC 253 passing right overhead at this time of year. I also have the luxury of high quality skies (Bortle 1). I have observed it in scopes up to 30" in aperture but have spent a lot of time on it in my 18" Obsession. It is an outstanding target. IMO one of the very best in the sky and one of my favourite galaxies along with M31, M33, M51 and M83. The LMC and SMC are of course in a league of their own.

Cheers,

#6 Tony Flanders

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 06:48 AM

Messier observed mostly from Paris [France] some 21 deg further north than you.


True. On the other hand, NGC 253 was discovered by Caroline Herschel in Bath, even farther north than Paris. And there are plenty of Messier objects south of NGC 253.

No, this one Messier simply didn't stumble on -- there are many such. An equally prominent galaxy much better placed in the sky is NGC 2903 in Leo.

The Double Cluster, by contrast, he surely knew about and intentionally omitted. It was, after all, cataloged by the ancient Greeks.

#7 wky46

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 08:21 AM

Hi,

I am at 34.6 deg S and get NGC 253 passing right overhead at this time of year. I also have the luxury of high quality skies (Bortle 1). I have observed it in scopes up to 30" in aperture but have spent a lot of time on it in my 18" Obsession. It is an outstanding target. IMO one of the very best in the sky and one of my favourite galaxies along with M31, M33, M51 and M83. The LMC and SMC are of course in a league of their own.

Cheers,

Wow, I'm envious of you John! :)

#8 bumm

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 08:52 AM

I'm at 41.9 degrees North... On a good, TRANSPARENT, night, NGC 253 can be spectacular, but like most all galaxies, it suffers badly from less than ideal conditions. Anyone having trouble with it will be well rewarded when that good night comes along.
Marty

#9 Dennis_S253

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 09:06 AM

That is so true Marty. It eluded me last night as trans and seeing were just average. I kept getting low wispy clouds rolling through also.

#10 wky46

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:02 PM

[/quote] Messier observed mostly from Paris [France] some 21 deg further north than you :o For me in London @ 51N, N253 just peeps through tiny gaps on my southern horizon and its rarely clear at these low altitudes. The world is round :p [/quote]My apologies to Mr. Messier (and forgetting the world is round :shocked:)

#11 dennyhenke

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 02:33 PM

Just observed this for the first time last week and completely agree! Beautiful and one that I'll be revisiting often.

#12 nytecam

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 02:38 PM

[quote name="wky46"] [/quote] Messier observed mostly from Paris [France] some 21 deg further north than you :o For me in London @ 51N, N253 just peeps through tiny gaps on my southern horizon and its rarely clear at these low altitudes. The world is round :p [/quote]My apologies to Mr. Messier (and forgetting the world is round :shocked:) [/quote]Sorry Phil - the world's not as round as I suggested - Mr Messier was 11 degs of lat north of you but N253 still a lowly object :shocked:

#13 wky46

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:08 PM

Just want to amend my first post in that NGC253 looks to extend beyond the 1/2 degree FOV through my 32mm (<100mag.). That's impressive! :)

#14 David Knisely

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 01:32 AM

Just want to amend my first post in that NGC253 looks to extend beyond the 1/2 degree FOV through my 32mm (<100mag.). That's impressive! :)


It is, but NGC 253's long axis is only about 28' arc in length (0.47 degrees). Your field of view may not be quite half a degree although again, the view of the object at a power large enough to have that fill the field may be pretty darn impressive. I had it at around 135x in my 14 inch Newtonian last week (0.74 degree true field) was simply wonderful. I even spent some time examining it at 238x (20.8' arc true field of view) and it was littered with fine patchy detail that I could have studied for hours. Clear skies to you.

#15 wky46

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 08:42 AM

Thanks David. Should have great skies again tonight so maybe I'll be able to be a little more objective the more I observe it. As I say, it just starts to enter some of the scattered LP from a town south when it's placed high enough to get a good view so obviously I could be seeing the effect from that. When I first center it, it looks like it may take up maybe a little more than half the FOV, but as I stay with it I can see it's much more than that.

#16 Starman1

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 02:23 PM

NGC253 is only one of a handful of galaxies in the sky where backyard telescopes can see a substantial size, and under good conditions, details.
When you're in the area, if you want a challenge, try for NGC247 just a little north of NGC253. 247 is like a very pale, faint, version of 253, and almost as large.
Or go south of 253 to NGC288, a globular cluster right near the South Galactic Pole in the sky, and still visible from 40 degrees north when the southern horizon is clear.
NGC253 is at -25 degrees.
I looked at NGC1365, the great barred spiral in Fornax, at -36 degrees a couple nights ago, and that was at 34 degrees north, making the highest point of that galaxy 20 degrees above the horizon. No question the atmosphere can be soupy down there.
The best time right now to view NGC 253 is around 9-10pm standard time.

#17 ChipAtNight

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 08:22 PM

Was on the Blue Ridge Parkway Saturday night, I had just sat down to enjoy NGC253,when the park ranger drove into the area we where in. It stood out in the scope and I will return for a longer view and clearer view. The sky was great but smoke from the fire on Pilot Mt, NC 50 miles away didn't help viewing at about 25 Alt.

#18 wky46

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 09:34 PM

Don, I looked for NGC247 a couple nights ago and never could spot it.....or so I thought! I was seeing something nebulous and big in that area but just didn't put it all together. Well that makes it intriguing. I'm gonna try to start concentrating on that whole area south of Cetus more now but the LP thats predominate in that area and the whole notion of looking that far south has always been a bit intimidating. But as you've pointed out, there's just so much to see there, just gotta get the kids to bed first :)! Hey Chip, the Blue Ridge is my favorite place anywhere and always have wanted to take a scope there, maybe next time I'm out that way I'll bring my 10".

#19 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:38 AM

Don, I looked for NGC247 a couple nights ago and never could spot it.....or so I thought! I was seeing something nebulous and big in that area but just didn't put it all together



NGC247 has a feather shape, quite large but uniformly faint and seems to emanate from a star. It does take darker skies than NGC253...

Jon

#20 StarStuff1

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 02:28 PM

It has been a long time since I have observed NGC 253. This thread has gotten me a little excited about viewing it agan. We finally have clear skies, the Moon sets at 8:12 tonight and the galaxy culminates a little over an hour later. With my new (to me) 8-in f/4 newt it should prove an interesting object to view and study again.

#21 Wcclower

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 03:36 PM

After reading this thread yesterday I viewed NGC 253 last night. It was early in the evening and 253 was still low in the sky, and yet I was amazed at how large and bright it was. Definately will be on my "visit regularly" list!

#22 Starman1

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 04:13 PM

There are a lot of these huge, bright, southern galaxies we in the north seldom view, yet are all visible at mid-northern latitudes:
NGC253 may be an exception, but how about:
NGC55
NGC300
NGC1300
NGC1316
NGC1365
NGC1532
NGC3109
NGC3621
NGC5078
NGC5084
NGC5128
M83
My notes all have asterisks, exclamation marks, words like "Wow!" and "Huge"! and "Better than M82" and "revisit when skies clearer"
The above list isn't inclusive of all great southern galaxies. but all on the list belong to the list of objects that include M81/82, M65/66/N3628, N4565, N4631,N2903,and a lot of other bright spectacular galaxies. NGC253, though, is really special, and larger than all except M31 and M33 for norther observers.
Down south, well, those guys are spoiled--all the best globulars, galaxies, star clusters, nebulae. They have a hard time with M81/82, M57, M13.

#23 Wcclower

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 09:04 AM

Thanks Mr Starman Don! Will be chasing all of these tonight!
Craig

#24 wky46

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 09:36 AM

What a list Don! Looks like it'll be some time before I observe again and just when the moon is new and skies are great! Heater strip quit working (sent it back)and using a dew shield but that's only good for just a little while (and so clunky). I hate using a blow dryer. Such a hassle and I would rather be proactive when it comes to frost on the lens. Anyway, I was able to bag a couple galaxies (not sure which I was looking at) that are clustered a little W and N of Baton Kaitos in Cetus (584?) before being shutdown a couple nights ago. Thanks again :).... Phil

#25 Tony Flanders

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 10:07 AM

There are a lot of these huge, bright, southern galaxies we in the north seldom view, yet are all visible at mid-northern latitudes., nebulae. They have a hard time with M81/82, M57, M13.



Ummm ... they're visible from Southern California, but mid-northern latitudes presumably includes the populated region of Canada. And as I use the term, it also includes Europe south of Scandinavia, up to about 55 north.

Even a good chunk of Africa is north of Los Angeles.

From Massachusetts NGC 55 is visible but utterly unimpressive, and it would require extraordinary conditions to see NGC 5128 at all.






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