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What DSO did you just observe for the first time? Rate it 1 to 5.

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#376 theApex

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 05:25 AM

Tonight was a beautiful night, the first clear night in weeks. I noticed the big dipper is a little higher in the sky now, and ended up deciding to make another attempt at M51. After getting everything setup I decided to try for M81 and M82 first, and was able to locate them again (only the second time). After getting my eyes "calibrated" I started trying to get dialed in on M51.
[...]

That's a great report - thankfully in the same league as so many others this thread has managed to pull so far. Thank you!

Though I think it'd have been even nicer to know what Bortle number your sky/region of the sky is.

BTW, I know many of us may have mentioned it (the Bortle scale) before in previous posts but IMO, and I think others will agree, something nice about this thread is that it is, unlike most, timely seasonal, i.e, we're usually talking about the same stretch of right ascention in the, to use an old fashioned word, firmament we happen to be looking at at not-so-ungodly hours (i.e, 8pm-ish to 12am-ish) during any specific time of the year. Nothing against the more tropical/polar regions of the sky - or alternative hours, but the predominance of objects in the Canis Major, Orion and Monoceros region lately, for instance, reminds us how we all even share the same equatorial region of the sky, regardless of where we are in this ever-globalized (for better and, as it is the case now thanks to the latest health-related developments, for worse) world of ours.

So, it is always nice to check out how, with what and from where other fellow astronomers are looking at the same objects we have been observing or planning to observe lately.

So, far from wanting to assume a mod's role - which I'm obviously not - I propose, rather, suggest we keep in mind to include said scale (or NELM) everytime we're reporting a new night's catch, so as to speak - just like we do with scope and personal ratings in every report. If anything, it would add up even more to the enjoyment factor of reading such reports.

What do you guys and gals think?

Sent from my SM-T700 using Tapatalk

Edited by theApex, 25 March 2020 - 05:48 AM.


#377 Asbytec

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 06:55 AM

 

On another note, twice this evening I saw a white dot moving rapidly through my FoV. It was way too small to be an airplane, and it was definitely not a meteor. I was able to track it fairly well, but it was moving quite quickly. My best guess is that it was some sort of satellite, but I have never seen anything like it before.

 

 

Very likely a satellite. I once caught a rotating geostationary satellite not long after sunset in Orion. Kind of startled me being the first time, a very bright flash followed by two dimmer ones. It slowly drifted past the Horsehead nebula. At one point, I caught one glance of it naked eye. That was quite something to see in the eyepiece. 


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#378 Inkswitch

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 06:56 AM

I was somewhat surprised by how bright NGC 5195 was. It really looked like two smudges with bright cores in the EP. With averted vision I could barely make out some of the spiral structure, but I am not 100% certain whether or not I was actually seeing the details themselves or seeing what I know to be there. I like to think I was actually seeing the spirals, as I have not been able to make out such details on any of the other galaxies I have observed up to this point.

 

 

I have found, and others have reported here, that you may not be able to "hold" the details but they show in moments when the seeing is good and those momentary glimpses build up an image in your mind.  Also, that light that traveled through your FOV was a satellite.  It is a rare session that I don't see one.


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#379 Mr. E. Figure

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 10:40 PM

That's a great report - thankfully in the same league as so many others this thread has managed to pull so far. Thank you!

Though I think it'd have been even nicer to know what Bortle number your sky/region of the sky is.

BTW, I know many of us may have mentioned it (the Bortle scale) before in previous posts but IMO, and I think others will agree, something nice about this thread is that it is, unlike most, timely seasonal, i.e, we're usually talking about the same stretch of right ascention in the, to use an old fashioned word, firmament we happen to be looking at at not-so-ungodly hours (i.e, 8pm-ish to 12am-ish) during any specific time of the year. Nothing against the more tropical/polar regions of the sky - or alternative hours, but the predominance of objects in the Canis Major, Orion and Monoceros region lately, for instance, reminds us how we all even share the same equatorial region of the sky, regardless of where we are in this ever-globalized (for better and, as it is the case now thanks to the latest health-related developments, for worse) world of ours.

So, it is always nice to check out how, with what and from where other fellow astronomers are looking at the same objects we have been observing or planning to observe lately.

So, far from wanting to assume a mod's role - which I'm obviously not - I propose, rather, suggest we keep in mind to include said scale (or NELM) everytime we're reporting a new night's catch, so as to speak - just like we do with scope and personal ratings in every report. If anything, it would add up even more to the enjoyment factor of reading such reports.

What do you guys and gals think?

Sent from my SM-T700 using Tapatalk

 

I have actually avoided listing my Bortle classification because I have had a very difficult time figuring out what it is. The reason for that being that it seems to vary quite a bit. I started a more detailed description of my difficulties in making that determination, but in an effort to avoid derailing this thread I created a new one: https://www.cloudyni...classification/. Maybe the folks here can help me figure it out.


Edited by Mr. E. Figure, 25 March 2020 - 11:15 PM.


#380 Inkswitch

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 08:49 AM

I had a session last night that was memorable, quite a few new objects to report once I have my notes in order.  While observing last night I saw a double satellite pass.  It was one bright dot followed, two or three seconds later, by another on the same path.  This was a first for me, and presumably was part of the Starlink constellation.  At another point I saw a rare tumbler.  A satellite (likely junk) passed through my field that flashed on and off, this wasn't a first.

 

I was considering the Bortle issue while at the eyepiece last night.  I do believe there is value in it because I might say NGC XXXX is phenomenal and a city dweller might add that to their list and be unable to see it due to light pollution.  I'll spend some time trying to figure out my Bortle number, I have never considered it before.  M31, M13, and M44 are all obvious naked eye objects from my yard, I haven't really looked for others.  I am right on a transition line between green and purple on lightpollutionmap.info.


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#381 Lukes1040

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 07:21 PM

I too had a memorable night on the 25th. First clear night here in Ohio in a long time. I bagged a whole bunch of new galaxies, but the one that stood out to me was the Siamese twins (Butterfly galaxies) NGC 4568. What a magnificent pair of interacting galaxies. Definitely a 5/5. 


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#382 MikeTahtib

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 08:30 AM

I too had a memorable night on the 25th. First clear night here in Ohio in a long time. I bagged a whole bunch of new galaxies, but the one that stood out to me was the Siamese twins (Butterfly galaxies) NGC 4568. What a magnificent pair of interacting galaxies. Definitely a 5/5. 

Cool!  I love interacting galaxies, and would like to see this.  What were your conditions, and what equipment wee you using?  How much could you actually see?



#383 havasman

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 09:05 AM

I had a session last night that was memorable, quite a few new objects to report once I have my notes in order.  While observing last night I saw a double satellite pass.  It was one bright dot followed, two or three seconds later, by another on the same path.  This was a first for me, and presumably was part of the Starlink constellation. 

Certainly it could have been some of Evil Musk's growing galaxy of eyesores but there is an older explanation too. US, China and Russia have hunter-killer satellites and sometimes they track and close on other satellites. I saw a group of 4 evenly spaced satellites cross a field @ 5 years ago one right after the other, directly in line, and I followed it with the XT10i. This was not long after reading the 1st article I'd seen about the hunter-killer phenomenon. Someone, I think it was the Chinese, took out one of their own in a proof of concept exercise. That became a major source of uncontrolled space junk. Taking out another country's satellites would likely escalate immediately as the stricken country would fear being blinded and becoming defenseless.


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#384 Lukes1040

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 09:20 AM

Cool! I love interacting galaxies, and would like to see this. What were your conditions, and what equipment wee you using? How much could you actually see?


I viewed it from a bortle 5/6 zone. Transparency was good. Seeing was below average. I used my 12” f4.9 dob with Micro nvd afocally connected to a 56mm plossl. No filter

The two galaxies were very easy to see. Nice butterfly shape was unmistakable. I feel like I was even seeing some of the structure of the spiral arms. There is a nice dark dust lane right at the edge where the two meet.
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#385 MikeTahtib

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 12:05 PM

I viewed it from a bortle 5/6 zone. Transparency was good. Seeing was below average. I used my 12” f4.9 dob with Micro nvd afocally connected to a 56mm plossl. No filter

The two galaxies were very easy to see. Nice butterfly shape was unmistakable. I feel like I was even seeing some of the structure of the spiral arms. There is a nice dark dust lane right at the edge where the two meet.

Thanks for the info.  Do you think much would be visible without the NVD?



#386 Lukes1040

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 12:24 PM

Thanks for the info. Do you think much would be visible without the NVD?


From my fairly light polluted back yard, I don’t think I would see a whole lot but maybe small gray smudges. At best. At a dark site they should be great without nv.
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#387 Inkswitch

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 01:50 PM

Everything I can find suggests I am at a bortle 4 location.  I think it's better than that but I do not have an SQM to put numbers to it.

 

Instrument - 300mm f/5 reflector.  Seeing 3/5, Transparency 3/5.  Bortle 4 location.  Interstellarum Field Edition atlas.

 

Abell 12 PN in Orion.  I failed to see this one.  I used OIII at 47X and 94X.  I went filterless at 214X and 375X.  375X was soft and wouldn't focus stars to points.  At 274 and 375X I saw an object that I thought was in the correct position.  I described the star pattern into my voice recorder for later research.  After looking at photos, the object I saw was a star and I had the position wrong, the nebula's position angle is approx 45deg to the west of this star and just slightly closer to the bright star that mostly hides the PN from view.  I found this one difficult but it may turn out that in better seeing/transparency it will be easy.

 

NGC 2141 OC in Orion.  I failed to see this one convincingly.  For reasons that still elude me I had great difficulty matching star patterns in this area.  There were three patches in the field that looked like not well detached clusters each with a handful of stars and a grainy nebulous appearance.  Gottlieb's NGC notes suggest that this is a real cluster.

 

Abell 14 PN in Orion.  Failed at various magnifications with and without OIII.  On the way I split the wide double stars Sigma 840 and 853.

 

NGC 2194 OC in Orion.  First real success of the evening.  214X.  Well detached, moderately rich, 20-30 stars visible, grainy, 2 lines of stars run nw/se.  4/5

 

In the same field as and following 2194 is Sk 4 OC in Orion.  Presumably this is an open cluster from the Stock catalog.  214X.  Semi-detached, sparse, 10 stars, grainy, following Sk4 is another group that bears a striking resemblance to the brightest stars of Sk4.  Would be 3/5 but gets 4/5 because it is like a cluster followed by an asterism of the cluster.

 

NGC 2341 & 2342 GXs in Gemini.  214X.  It took some time to see them as unique units.  These galaxies have nearly the same individual orientation and are close to superimposed.  I found 2342 easier to see but amorphous, it could be held in DV greater than 75% of the time but showed more extent in AV.  2341 appears to have two stars superimposed or a star and a core.  Once I had 2341 nailed down as it's own object it's orientation could be seen, 2342 never gave up it's orientation.  2341 is preceded by a 12th or 13th magnitude star.  3/5

 

NGC2718 & UGC4703.  I was going after 2718 with perhaps a hope of seeing the tiny UGC.  214X.  2718 is readily visible but amorphous, pronounced brightening toward center, no core evident.  There is an object preceding 2718 that is in the correct position to be UGC4703.  My right eye (primary deep sky eye) says it is the galaxy, my left eye (primary double star eye) says it is a star.  Researching images of 2718 today convince me that I saw UGC4703.  3/5

 

NGC2916 GX in Leo.  Easily visible at 94X.  At 214X it's orientation could be confirmed, brightens toward center, no core.  3/5

 

Some eye candy to finish the night.

 

NGC2903 GX in Leo.  Bright and obvious at 47X.  At 214X the core was easy, dark lanes, the lanes hinted at arm structure.  One of the best galaxies I have seen.  5/5


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#388 Eliserpens

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 05:33 PM

Still very much finding my way around and solving finder issues.  Orion is very favorably positioned from my scope at the moment so I easily gravitate back there.  Last night I took a look at Sigma Orionis.  Its quite magical how it goes from being a single spot with the binoculars, to two spots at ~30X and then right up to 4 stars (one is still not resolvable to the fifth) at the highest mags - seen with my 11 mm but very clear with the 2X Barlow.

 

Quality, 4; thrill 5*.

 

*but it seems that everything trills me at 5 at the moment!

ee

 

PS drawing is essentially what I saw but I used on-line images to make it post-viewing.  I hope that's OK... 

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#389 Mr. E. Figure

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 01:24 PM

I am going to apologize in advance for the length of this update (I will probably break it into two posts). I would put my Bortle class at somewhere between three and six, but what is probably more helpful is that the NELM tonight was right at five (which is not very good for this location).

 

I have been wanting to spend some time in Leo, particularly looking for M65 and M66, as well as M95, M96, and M105. Lukes1040's report got me looking into (reading up on) Virgo, and M104 seemed particularly interesting.

 

It rained off and on today, but weather reports earlier in the week indicated the clouds would be clearing beginning around 8:00 PM. The weather had begun letting up earlier in the evening, so I thought the sky might clear up. I went outside to see what I could see around 8:45 and could tell the seeing was not great, but that I could probably manage to see something..

 

As I spent some time outside I decided to take a run at M104. My main motivation was that there is a 90% chance of rain Monday and with the moon waxing I may not get another opportunity to look for DSOs for a couple weeks.

 

I figured my primary would need to cool down a bit, but I setup the telescope and pointed it at Venus. I was able to get a view of the planet, but it was boiling quite badly. I went inside for about an hour. Aside from letting the primary cool, time was on my side, as the longer I waited the higher in the sky Leo and Virgo would be.

 

When I came back out I spent some time looking at charts three, four, and five of NightWatch, comparing them to the sky to orient myself. I lined the scope up on Arcturus for a moment (very yellow, twinkled dramatically when low on the horizon), then Spica. Looking at the charts I estimated M104 to be at the corner of a right angle formed with Spica and Porrima. I lined up on what I thought was Porrima, and very fortuitously it happens to be a double star. At ~41x it did not look like a double. Zooming into 125x it looked like a very close double, and a recheck of the chart indicated a separation of only 0.5". This confirmed to me that I was looking at the correct star (and gave me a bit of confidence in navigating a new-to-me area of the sky).

 

I pointed the scope at the spot I figured I should be looking in and started looking around through the finder. I cannot recall if I was able to see M104 in the finder before I found it in the EP (the reason why will soon be made apparent).

 

I was able to make out the brighter core, and could just barely make out what I thought was a thin dark band just below the bright core (I do not have a diagonal so the image was inverted). I was actually not that impressed, however, I could tell that my view was not that good. Stepping away from the EP for a moment I realized it was still somewhat low, and conditions were definitely not as good as the night of the 24th.

 

In tonight's conditions I would rate it a 2/5, but I definitely want to revist this object under better conditions (where I suspect it would warrant a higher rating).


Edited by Mr. E. Figure, 29 March 2020 - 04:06 PM.

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#390 Mr. E. Figure

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 01:32 PM

Given the somewhat less than desired results with M104 I decided to take a look at the area between Leo and Virgo. Research indicated this area is rather densely populated with galaxies, including M84, M86, and M87. Chart five of NightWatch does not even plot the individual galaxies, just indicates the area as the central region of the Virgo supercluster.

 

I pointed my 'scope about midway between Denebola and Vindemiatrix, and rather lazily just started scanning the area (in the EP, at ~41x). It was not long before I found a faint smudge, then another, and another. As I continued to scan around, I found more and more. For the first time ever, I decided to get a pen and paper (actually a piece of a 24 pack of soda box). I went back and forth between my sketches and the EP for probably close to an hour.

 

I was having some issues with variable visibility. At first I thought I might be getting dewed out (it was still quite humid), but given the temperature I should not have been out long enough for that, and typically the primary is the last thing to go. When I was putting things away I noticed some very thin high clouds, and I believe they were the culprit.

 

Despite the less than perfect conditions, I plotted 13 galaxies, and I strongly suspect I could have plotted more had I continued searching. I guess now I know why they call it a supercluster!

 

After putting everything away I wanted to try to identify everything I had seen. Looking at the third picture on https://www.messier-...com/messier-84/ I was easily able to identify M84, M86, and NGC4388 as my starting point. I was very pleased to see that I had correctly recorded the orientation of NGC4388. From the same image I was also able to identify NGC4435 and NGC4438, which I had unknowingly started referring to as "the eyes" (apparently this pair is actually referred to by this name).

 

From there I opened Stellarium, and based on my sketches and notes identified the following1:

  • M84 - Slightly brighter than M86. More compact than M86.
  • M86
  • NGC4388 - Barely visible in direct vision
  • NGC4387 - Not consistently visible, very diffuse. Barely visible if at edge, but somewhat confident it's there.
  • NGC4435 - Quite faint, visible in direct vision, brighter center discernable
  • NGC4438 - Same as NGC4435
  • NGC4461 - Very faint
  • NGC4473 - Visible in direct vision, but very faint
  • NGC4477 - Same as NGC 4473. Very nebulous, but core barely visible.
  • NGC4459
  • NGC4474 - Barely visible, mostly when moving. Almost averted vision only, but visible in direct vision.
  • M87 - Brightest or second brightest. Very similar to M86.
  • NGC4478 - Much smaller than M87. Much fainter than M87, but visible in direct vision.

As indicated in my notes, some of those were very faint. In fact, several of the objects I only added to my sketch after jumping back and forth several times and being able to get a good glimpse, and then (given the issues with visibility) only by providence. I suspect that under better conditions many of the objects would be much easier to discern.

 

Most of my viewing was done at 125x, though I did jump out to 41x a few times to see what I could see and to try to get a better idea of the relative positioning of the different objects (particularly M87 in relation to the M84-M86-NGC4388 triangle).

 

There were several (very faint) suspected objects that I did not note, because at the time I thought to myself that there could not be that many that close together and that I must be imagining it. Having now spent some time exploring the area in Stellarium, it has become aparent that I barely scratched the surface of what is there.

 

By and large the individual objects were fairly unimpressive. I would generally rate them a 1/5 with the exceptions of M84, M86, and M87 which I would give a 1.5/5. Being able to see M81 and M82 at the same time was neat, but the M84-M86-NGC4388 triangle puts four objects in the EP at the same time! I would still say M81 / M82 are more impressive though, so I would give the triangle a 2/5.

 

The experience of being able to chart 13 objects in one evening, even in sub-optimal conditions is a solid 4/52. Being able to point the telescope at a general area of the sky and jump from object to object without having to invest any effort in locating things, 5/5.

 

I will definitely be revisiting this area when the opportunity arises, hopefully under better conditions.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

1 In my notes I simply numbered them. Here I replaced my numbers with the more broadly used designations.

 

2 This has already proven to be a valuable experience:

  • This is probably the first time I have used the data in the charts to help confirm that I was looking at the correct navigational references (so to speak), which was confidence booster. This definitely helped me locate M104 on my first attempt, in no small part because I knew I was looking in the correct location.
  • Being able to look at such a wide array of objects and compare them to eachother has helped me to better understand what I can expect when looking for other similar objects. This also positively demonstrates that my understanding of what I am looking for and my ability to recognize faint objects has dramatically improved over when I first started.
  • Being able to note object positions and orientations accurately, including two objects right at magnitude 12 (even under less than optimal conditions), is a huge confidence boost for being able to locate fainter fuzzies and being able to trust in what I am seeing at the EP.

Edited by Mr. E. Figure, 29 March 2020 - 01:50 PM.

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#391 Eliserpens

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 03:24 PM

Mr. E - thanks for the very detailed account - most illuminating :)



#392 jkw119

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Posted Yesterday, 09:53 AM

M11 The Wild Duck Cluster, considering that this is usually marked as an easy Messier object to find, I found it tricky.  Looked for it numerous times with my 18mm X-Cel eyepiece which is about 36x with my refractor.  Used auto find and always came up as a dark spot.  This morning I was using my Zoom set at 8mm 82x and finally noticed it.  It's definitely a cool collection of stars.  I wish when people did Messier list and rated them there was a list of what magnification was required.  For instance M76 and M78 are extremely painful for me at the moment.

 

I give M11 a 5. 

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#393 theApex

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Posted Yesterday, 03:48 PM

HE 1029-1401 quasar last night. I was attempting to break the one-quasar barrier previously imposed by both my C8 and the Bortle 5-to-6 sky (i.e, 3C 273 only) from my backyard with my 12" dob, so it was the first object sought in the night. Given its ~14 magnitude, I was happy with the relatively short time it took me to find it, armed with Skysafari pro on my phone.

I started from third mag Nu Hydrae and proceeded 4°NW to reddish U Hydrae, a carbon star I'd first added to my tally for those interesting objects last year. Being one of the brightest carbon stars in the sky doesn't do its redness much favor, since the closer to their maximum they are, the oranger they look - but I digress, so I headed 1.5°SW through the usual triangles, keystones, diamonds et al mentally formed with the field stars towards a triangle formed by distinctively orange 8th, 9th and 10th magnitude stars (the brightest being HD 91319). I also took a mental note that the latter 10th mag star had a 13.2mag "companion" so whenever I lost track, it was this "4 point" triangle I'd go back to.

Then I crossed a diamond made up of 13th mag objects towards the NW till 6 to 7 arcminutes on the right there appeared an E-W line made by a 11th mag star from the Tycho catalog and a 12th mag one from the Gaia survey. The quasar showed up in all its modest 13.9 magnitude roughly in the middle of this pair from the mind-blowing distance of 1.1 billion light years - first with averted then direct vision. Total time spent: 10 minutes - not bad for a quasar, IMHO.

I was then left bemusing that by the time that light reaching my retina left it, our much humbler blue marble of a planet was going through its Proterozoic era and multicelular beings were but springing to life! For me context beats eye candy anytime!

Sent from my SM-T700 using Tapatalk

Edited by theApex, Yesterday, 03:56 PM.

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#394 Lukes1040

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Posted Yesterday, 09:00 PM

I was able to go through the May issue of Sky and Telescopes “May’s Galaxy Cascade” last night in between the clouds. A few of them stood out to me. The first was the needle galaxy. NGC 4244. This one is definitely some eye candy. I don’t know what it is, but edge on galaxies intrigue me. 4/5.

The next one was NGC 4088. This galaxy has such a strange shape and structure, it’s worth some time viewing. 4/5.

Last was one that was very difficult for me to find. It’s labeled as mag 9.7, but it is a monster. I had to check very closely the surrounding stars to make sure I had it in the FOV before it finally popped into my vision. NGC 4236. This one is worth seeing just because of the size of it. 4/5

Edited by Lukes1040, Yesterday, 09:04 PM.

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