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Cosmic Challenge: NGC 147 and NGC 185

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#1 PhilH

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 08:51 AM

M32 and M110 are nice challenges for handheld binoculars. Most amateurs are familiar with them, since they lie in the same field of view of the parent Andromeda Galaxy. But two others, designated as NGC 147 and NGC 185, are not as nearly well known. Both are several degrees to M31's north, across the border in Cassiopeia and feature smaller, fainter disks that are much more challenging to see.

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#2 Astrojensen

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 10:42 AM

These are interesting and woefully underobserved. 

 

NGC 185 isn't that much of a challenge, though, being only slightly fainter than NGC 205/M110 and fairly easily seen with averted vision in my 50/540mm Zeiss achromat at 39x from dark-ish skies (Bortle 3/4, NELM ~6). It is smaller and a little denser than M110.

 

NGC 147, on the other hand... Is MUCH fainter and a hyperfaint, ghostly glow in the 50/540 Zeiss at 39x, requiring excellent conditions to be seen with this aperture reliably. 

 

Both naturally strongly benefit from somewhat more aperture, but they ARE visible in even a 2" glass, if your skies are good enough. NGC 147 is highly sensitive to light pollution, so it may not take much to render it invisible in even a fairly large telescope. Your fine sketch in the article shows the difference between them nicely. 

 

There's a nice little bonus galaxy nearby, on the other side of Omicron Cassiopeiae, NGC 278. It's not a member of the Local Group, but a more distant, highly active, star-forming spiral galaxy. It has very high surface brightness and though much smaller than either NGC 185 or NGC 147 is as easy to see as NGC 185, if not easier. It'll need some more magnification to make it clearly nonstellar, though. 50x or so should do nicely. On photographs the arms are extremely bright, but I've not seen them in even my 12". 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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#3 Sasa

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 03:39 PM

Yep, NGC185 is not that difficult. On good nights, I can see it quite regularly from our light polluted backyard in 63mm Telementor. NGC147 is something else. I was trying to spot it several times from the backyard in the same telescope without luck. I succeeded only with 250mm reflector, or when I took the 63mm refractor under dark skies. In 63mm, this was definitely a challenge, at least for me. It was just very faint ghost glow appearing only for short moments. I started to believe that I really saw the galaxy only when I compared that the observed position angle with the atlas.

 

As for nearby NGC278, it was kind of challenge in 63mm as well. It was invisible up to powers of 84x. Until I plugged in 8mm eyepiece (105x). Then suddenly as a miracle, the galaxy was plainly there. It was surprisingly bright with averted vision, considered the fact that I missed it at smaller magnifications.

 

BTW, there is another nearby satellite of M31, galaxy IC10. This one was quite challenge in 250mm from our backyard, or in 150mm under darker sky.

 

There is another interesting less known object in the area. One night, when searching for NGC147 and NGC185 in Telementor, I run on star group near star omicron Cas (just outside the map in the article). It looked to me like a open cluster,however there was nothing plotted in this position in all my atlases, including Uranometria 2000.0. I was really excited, I was hoping that actually discovered something. After couple of days I identified it with the help of Simbad as open cluster Alessi 1 / Le Drew 1.


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#4 John O'Hara

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Posted 07 November 2018 - 07:01 PM

As I read through the article and post, I'm reminded that Phil makes most of these observations from Long Island, NY, and mag. 5 suburban skies on good nights.  So if I'm thinking that I'm doing reasonably well from my astronomy club's Bortle 3-4 skies using my 100 SW ED, I have to keep my pats on the back in check when I remember from where Phil does much of his work.


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#5 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 07:21 AM

There is another interesting less known object in the area. One night, when searching for NGC147 and NGC185 in Telementor, I run on star group near star omicron Cas (just outside the map in the article). It looked to me like a open cluster,however there was nothing plotted in this position in all my atlases, including Uranometria 2000.0. I was really excited, I was hoping that actually discovered something. After couple of days I identified it with the help of Simbad as open cluster Alessi 1 / Le Drew 1.

 

Excellent. I have seen that cluster but wasn't able to Identity it.

 

I regularly observe these two galaxies in large scopes on my way to some much fainter galaxies in the region. I'll have to try them in my 15x70s on a parallelogram mount but I'm skeptical I will see them, I am coming to realise cataract surgery is likely on my near future.

 

Jon


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