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Finding Hickson 50 as a challenge object

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#1 mclewis1

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 09:39 AM

Hickson 50 has been used as a challenge target for quite a while for a wide variety of equipment.

It's very high altitude means it's usually well positioned for viewing ... or will be without waiting too long.

Given that the various galaxies in the group range from mag 18-20 it is a very challenging object visually. With imaging equipment it's somewhat less so but still a challenging object, especially the fainter members or if on nights with less than perfect transparency. Remember that photographic film and CCD/CMOS sensors have different sensitivities in different spectral regions than our eyes and that many the published magnitude approximations have been made from those photographic plates/digital images.

I find wide field images of the Owl nebula (M97) are usually the best place to start. The galaxy M108 is approximately (very roughly) a degree away from M97. The Hickson 50 group is about half a degree from M97 in the opposite direction from M108 and offset a little. There is a group of 5 stars in between the group and M97 that can be used to help find the group. Then there's a pair of fainter stars on the other side that will indicate whether or not you have gone too far past the group.

There are a number of good images floating around that can be very helpful at this point.

This image can help you identify the 5 stars and the position of the group.
Posted Image

This image can then help you identify the various members of the group ... just turn it about 90 degrees to the right to orient it the same way as the wider shot above.
Posted Image

#2 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 09:45 AM

Excellent. Thank you very much for that. I will give it a go. Do you know what scope and camera were used for the top picture?

#3 mclewis1

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 12:27 PM

Here's the image info ...

http://www.astrobin.com/4464/

#4 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 02:28 PM

Here's the image info ...

http://www.astrobin.com/4464/


Nice that scope happens to be the same specs as mine. I will try this one out on Thursday.

#5 mclewis1

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 06:18 PM

Try for them on multiple nights. Initially you probably want to practice recognizing the correct field and then on those really clear transparent nights go for the group and see how many you can identify. Sky conditions have a really big effect on this object.






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