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Galaxies in The Beehive Cluster M44

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#1 iainp

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 08:44 AM

The Beehive Cluster has at least 9 galaxies in it (Ok, beyond it...) which can be spotted in large scopes!

 

 Cosmic Challenge number 157 in Philip Harrington's book is to bag as many as you can with scopes of at least 14 inches.     I tried for 5 and managed 3 of them last night with the 16 inch, in skies of around 5 NELM.

 

It was my toughest observation yet. The galaxies were all but invisible at 130X but popped in and out of view at 260X with the LP filter.  Over time, the view became more 'stable' and I was able to sketch the position of these 3 with confidence. 

 

NGC 2624: 14.6 magnitude

NGC 2625: 14.5  magnitude

NGC 2647   15.1 magnitude

 

These are the faintest DSOs I've ever spotted, and certainly I wouldn't have seen them without putting into place the observing skills I've picked up here on the forum over the last couple of months.   The sky was very obviously light polluted and I've certainly had darker skies than this before, so there's much more to go back for on a better night. 

 

The other two I tried for were NGC 2643 and CGCG 89-56,  which are magnitude 15.6 and 15.2 respectively.  I really worked at it, but there was not even a glimmer of either of these, so that nicely pins down my limiting observing magnitude for small objects like this at a little over 15 magnitude, even when conditions are less than perfect. Very encouraging! 

 

The main sketch is a composite of around 6 overlapping FOVs at 130X, and the insets are sketches made at 260X.  Some of the stars shown here were right on the edge of visibility too,only showing with effort and averted vision. North is down, and West to the left. 

m44.jpg

 


Edited by iainp, 18 December 2015 - 08:56 AM.

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#2 PeterDob

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 09:06 AM

Iain... Hats off to you! Really, if you didn't exist someone would have to invent you. :applause:  The day my new Dob arrives, I'll have to give them a try as well. My sincere compliments!!! :bow: :bow: :bow:

 

Cheers!

 

Peter



#3 iainp

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 09:29 AM

Hi Peter, thank you again!  :)

 

Is that the 18" Dob I see mentioned in your signature entry?  That will be fantastic.   :waytogo: 

 

Let me know if you (or anyone)  like a finder chart for these galaxies. 

 

best wishes, Iain 


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#4 azure1961p

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 10:21 AM

Nice work Iain.  Never would've thought  to look for C galaxies there, and now seeing their mags I may never! I do enjoy your work.

 

Pete



#5 Sheliak_sp

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 01:50 PM

Great observation Iain, and I'm sure We are connected, as I did the same yesterday night!!! I only had the opportunity of seeing NGC 2624 and 2625 because the clouds came into, but maybe today I will try for the rest under good skies... It's a great book! Keep going with the others, it's very interesting to find this type of objects in star clusters.

 

Migue



#6 iainp

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 02:02 PM

Thank you Pete.  Migue, that really is a bizarre coincidence.  :shocked:  Yes, a great book. To quote from it:

 

"Until 1987 most of us knew nothing of these distant galaxies hidden amongst the stars in M44. That was the year when the Uranometria 2000.0 star atlas was published [which] shed light on thousands of objects that no amateurs, except possibly for a few extreme deep-sky hunters, even knew existed." 

 

One correction. This is a challenge for 'monster scopes' defined as 15"+ not 14".  



#7 niteskystargazer

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 03:12 PM

Iain,

 

Nice capture of the Galaxies in The Beehive Cluster M44 :) .

 

CS,KLU,

 

:thanx: ,

 

Tom



#8 Randolph Jay

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 05:23 PM

I love what you've written as well as your sketches. You ( and so many others here) are really true observers. You might just be the first to spot a supernova before the satellites or observatories...
Regards,
Randolph

#9 mike73

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 05:41 PM

Well I never even knew there were hidden (observable) galaxies inside the Beehive so thanks for posting this up Iain.

 

So where are you getting these clear skies from?? Constant cloud cover in Cornwall for weeks but to be honest I've been putting in stupid hours in at work and wouldn't of been able to get out anyway!

 

My ever expanding observing list has grown so much its completely unrealistic thanks to some great threads on this forum. I have four weeks off work, lets hope for some proper clear skies eh? :)


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#10 Asbytec

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 09:03 PM

Iain is finding galaxies everywhere. Anywhere! There is no where to hide (except behind the clouds) :lol:

 

Gosh, such observations relegate me to the cheap seats cheering on the home team. Might have to sit this one out. 

 

I never knew they existed either. Oh, and when I mentioned whipping your aperture into shape for everything she can give you, I meant with a 6" aperture mask. (haha!) Gaaa! 

 

Well done, Iain. Look back and wave form time to time. I'll be over here kicking the brighter ones around for a while.  :p


Edited by Asbytec, 18 December 2015 - 09:04 PM.


#11 frank5817

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 01:27 AM

iain,

 

Very impressive deep sky captures.

These are out of reach from my usual

observing site.

very nice work on these faint ones.

 

Frank :)



#12 iainp

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 05:04 PM

Thanks all! Norme, I decided to head into the realm of the obscure and the faint to avoid all the competition  :) It looks like it's working a treat!  Mike, my secret is not to go to work... My PhD involves me sitting at home and 'thinking' a lot, so as long as I discharge my domestic responsibilities (yes, my wife gives me lists: heavy, medium and light duties) I'm basically a free man and can grab the skies whenever there's a break.  Skies are clear now actually, but of course the Moon's high in the sky  :mad:  I could get up at 4.00am when the moon's set, but it's predicted to cloud by then... :confused:



#13 Asbytec

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 07:18 PM

Less foot traffic up there.  :)

 

Same here, though, in retirement. I can step out and stay out quite often. On a whim...



#14 clay1022

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Posted 20 December 2015 - 03:52 AM

most intriguing Iain, i will have to give it a go, sounds like fun, talk about going deep...good job, and thanks for posting.

Clay



#15 iainp

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Posted 20 December 2015 - 06:41 AM

Thanks Clay, Look forward to seeing what you can pull out of these very faint galaxies, or similar ones.  As I say, it seems on a normal night, 15 mag seems to be my absolute limit for galaxies,   so it will be an interesting comparison to see how deep you can go! 


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#16 Uwe Pilz

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 01:09 AM

I tried exactly this for around 10 years ago. But I did not see such faint galaxies like you. As memory serves, I came down to around 14m3 with 12 inch.



#17 iainp

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Posted 23 December 2015 - 04:16 PM

That's interesting Uwe. If my maths is right, a 16" gathers around twice the light of a 12" = 1 magnitude, so my 15+ observation fits well with your 14+



#18 dragonstar4565

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Posted 25 December 2015 - 01:47 AM

That is a very good sketch of these faint objects, in the Beehive. The sketch is very realistic, and gives one an idea of what to expect, however at the eyepiece they would be much fainter, but I like your sketch. I will have to try these one day, when I can get to some decent dark skies, but it's hopeless from the city.

 

I remember years ago reading an article in Astronomy magazine, about these galaxies, that are hidden among the bright stars of M44, and that got me intrigued to try for them, but back then I did not have a large scope, like I do now, and to this day I still haven't tried for them, because of all the light, and air pollution, I have to contest with.

 

As for telescopes, a 16" scope gathers around 77% more light then a 12", or .56 magnitudes and a pretty sizable 30% more then a 14", or .32 magnitudes and you will need all the light gathering power you can get too see objects as faint as these galaxies in the beautiful, and lustrous Beehive open cluster.

 

I would think if very dark, and transparent skies can be found, and a good finder chart was at hand an experienced observer, with a 10" or 12" scope might be able to get a glimpse of these galaxies, although they would have to use high power, and know exactly where to look.

 

A real challenge, for a large telescope observer under pitch black skies, with the use of high magnification, and equipped with a good finder chart, is to go after the extremely faint fuzzies in a galaxy cluster like the infamous Abell 2065, in Corona Borealis which has members no brighter then 16v magnitude, and fainter.

 

I have read that Abell 2065 is not very impressive in even a 36" scope, which makes me believe that you will need very dark, steady skies, and at least a 16", but preferably a 20" or bigger scope used at high power to go after these objects, but even then the brightest members of this cluster will be the tiniest, and faintest fuzzies imaginable, right at the very edge of detection, just like the one's in the Beehive only much fainter...Merry Christmas... :)


Edited by dragonstar4565, 25 December 2015 - 02:28 AM.


#19 iainp

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Posted 26 December 2015 - 03:41 AM

Thanks for your comment Dragonstar, and for the very interesting information.  If Iever get a good clear night I'll give Abell 2065 a try, as well as trying to fill in the missing galaxies from M44 of course.  I see 2065 has over 400 members! 




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