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Observing Report 20/1/13 Galaxies and Quasars

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#1 HellsKitchen



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Posted 21 January 2013 - 10:48 AM

Had a nice clear night on the weekend of 20-21 January. Seeing was poor as has been the case pretty much every time I've been out over the last few months. The transparency after moon set was pretty good though, the murky light pollution across the NW and W sky was less obvious than normal, a good sign. The night was cold, felt like July infact and there was even some dew aswell. The Telescope's onboard thermometer was reading 9C at about 3.30am, well short of the average Jan overnight low of 15C at my location.

This was my second major session with my 12" SDM dob, which has a Zambuto primary and an Antares 1/30 wave secondary.

Scope: 12" F/4.4 truss dob
Time: 12.30am-5am
Seeing: 4/10
transparency: 4/5
Dew: light

Started off with a few galaxies....

NGC 2207 / IC 2163
NGC2207: GX, RA 6 16 22, Dec -21 22 24, Size= 4.3x2.8' , Mag V= 11.0

IC 2163: GX, RA 6 16 28, Dec -21 22 33, Size= 3.4x1.0' , Mag B= 12.5

This is a fairly bright interacting pair in Canis Major. At 166x, NGC 2207 appeared brighter and larger than its neighbour with two stellarings in the centre of the diffuse elongated core region. The two stellarings are aligned east-west with the eastern somewhat more diffuse, which suggests that this is the nucleus. The UCAC3 catalog I use with CDC shows the western stellaring as a mag 14.7 star, although Steve Gottlieb's notes on NGC IC project suggest that it is a "double nucleus". The core of NGC2207 forms an equilateral triangle with a mag 12.3 and 13.8 star 1' NW and SW.

IC 2163 was seen as a faint diffuse extension of 2207 stretching out to the east and its core is not as condensed as that of its brighter sibling.

NGC 2936 / 2937
NGC 2936: GX, Hydra, RA 9 37 44, Dec +2 45 40, Size= 1.3x1.1' , Mag V= 12.9 , SB= 12.5

NGC 2937: GX, Hydra, RA 9 37 45, Dec +2 44 51, Size= 2.1x0.7' , Mag V= 13.6 , SB= 12.9

This is an interacting pair of galaxies 321 million light years away. The system appeared faint at 266x. NGC 2936 was more diffuse and visually fainter than NGC 2937, despite its brighter magnitude and surface brightness. DSS images show a strange object with a "L" shape, with the brightest regions making up the foot of the "L" with a stream of material bending 90 degrees seemingly cradling NGC 2937. At the eyepiece though only a faint diffuse non-descript smudge was seen.

NGC 2937 appeared brighter, with a condensed core and slight elongation in a NE/SW direction. A pair of mag 13.8 and 15.3 stars lie 1' NNW and a 14th mag pair 1'40" to the N.

NGC 2881
GX, Hydra, RA 9 25 55, Dec -11 59 47, Size= 1.1x0.9' , Mag V= 13.1 , SB= 13.3

This is actually a double system approx 231 million light years distant. Just appeared as a very faint diffuse smudge at 266x. A mag 14.6 star lies 1' SE and another mag 14.4 star sits 44" NE.

NGC 3280B (IC 617)
GX, Hydra, RA 10 32 45, Dec -12 38 14, Size= 0.7x0.5 , Mag V= 14.1 , SB= 13.6

This is a triple system some 397 million light years distant. At the eyepiece at 266x, only an extremely faint non-descript smudge was seen.

NGC 3296
GX, Hydra, RA 10 32 45, Dec -12 43 02, Size= 0.7x0.7' , Mag V= 13.9 , SB 13.2

Small, round and brightens toward core at 266x. Located 5' S of the NGC 3280 trio. A mag 14.6 star is located 1' north.

NGC 3901
GX, Hydra, RA 10 00 14, Dec -19 38 11, Size= 3.0x1.9' , Mag V= 11.3 , SB= 13.1

NGC 3096
GX, Hydra, RA 10 00 33, Dec -19 39 44, Size= 1.0x0.8' , Mag V= 13.4 , SB= 12.9

GX, Hydra, RA 10 00 10, Dec -19 37 19, Size= 0.9x0.8' , Mag B= 14.2

NGC 3091 is by far the largest and brightest member of this group. Appeared bright with a tight, condensed core at 266x and elongated 2:1 SE-NW. A faint "star" 1'15" NW of 3091 is actually the tiny galaxy MCG-03-26-006, which was almost starlike at 266x and indeed could be mistaken for a star, but it is slightly more "fuzzy" than an actual stellar object.

NGC 3096 sits about 4'45" ESE of NFC 3091 and was small, faint but brightens slightly toward the core at 266x. A magnification of 379x revealed slight elongation in an E-W direction.


Now for something I haven't attempted before.... Quasars! I hand picked a few QSO's from the Millennium Star Atlas and printed off finder charts. To my surprise, I bagged 3 of these objects during the night.

HE 1115-1735
QSO, Crater, RA 11 18 11, Dec -17 51 59, Mag B= 16.1

Very faint, but picked up without too much difficulty at 379x. NED gives a redshift value of 0.216486, which translates to 2.98 Billion light years! The host galaxy according to the PGC 2009 catalog is PGC 3768789. Forms a triangle with a mag 15.3 star and a mag 13.8 star 1.5' to the NW and W respectively.

HE 1106-2321
QSO, Crater, RA 11 08 53, Dec -23 38 11, Mag V= 14.8

Most sources seem to place 3C 273 as the nearest quasar at approx 2.2 billion light years, but this object, according to NED is a QSO and is given a redshift of 0.081893, translating to roughly 1.2 billion light years. This object was picked up easily at 266x, and is easy to find located roughly halfway between a pair of mag 10.5 and 11.7 stars located NE and SW of the of object. The host galaxy as listed in the PGC catalog is PGC 3766594.

HE 1015-1618
QSO, Hydra, RA 10 18 16, Dec -16 33 07, Mag V= 15.7

Extremely faint, intermittently flickering in and out of view at 379x with the seeing. Spent about 15-20 minutes at the eyepiece with this one confirming the sighting. NED gives a redshift of 0.247, which is a staggering 3.4 billion light years!

I have made field sketches of these QSOs, which I will post tomorrow.

Clear skies!
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#2 MikeBOKC


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Posted 21 January 2013 - 11:41 AM

Just an excellent and intriguing report!

#3 HellsKitchen



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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:04 PM

^ thanks!

Here's a field sketch I did at the eyepiece of these QSOs.

Posted Image

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