This is a faint galaxy and another time when one wonders how they will see anything at all. Yet, over an hour with this bad boy at 150x, I managed quite a bit as the thin crescent moon was setting under ~ 20 magnitude/arc second^2 skies. The surface brightness for NGC 1300 is listed at 23.3 MPSAS at the 25 MSPAS isotope. http://leda.univ-lyo....cgi?o=ngc 1300
Gosh, what a galaxy and a real challenge to see anything of something we can barely see and often not see at all. Over an hour, you do the math, how many passes is that in a 58 degree AFOV? A lot. Most of the time, each pass, I didn't see much if anything. But, occasionally I would catch a glimpse of it's features. It seemed rather large and faint. There was an indication of a faintly brighter circular core. The elongation was apparent quite often. You could tell it was slightly tilted toward the lead star in the north west (left). It seemed these observations came in flurries, maybe as I settled in and the skies really opened up clearly.
Some interesting aspects of this galaxy was a slightly brighter knot on the western arm. It turns out, this is where one spiral arm begins to turn north. Now, I did not see the spiral arms as resolved features, so I could not really make out the orientation of it's spiral structure. Not visually. It was just too faint. However, I did manage on a few occasions to glimpse some dark areas just above and below the core. These darker areas define the inner arms. The outer arms just faded into obscurity as a fain, unresolved glow. So, I could tell the arms were there, just not which way they were spiraling outward form the core. At times I got blasted with some images of some pretty heavy stellaring (or speckling), whatever you want to call it. I am not sure what caused it or what it means, I mention it only in passing.
Now, some very interesting things happened more than a few times, especially when I was in the zone and fully dark adapted. Earlier in the observation, I began to see a faint star near where the core should be. It was hard to tell exactly, because I did not see both of them at the same time. But, later in the observation, I did see both the stellar nucleus and the faint core and could tell it was associated with the faint core. Not only that, but I caught one intriguing and convincing glimpse of two tiny spots near the core (barely detectable in the sketch 1 pixel apart). I can find no reason for that in any images I've researched, but I am leaving it as is for another day. Calling it as seen and figure out why another time.
I thought about backing down to 100x with my 12mm HD Ortho, but I was concerned over the brighter sky background and losing some dark adaption. Besides, 150x (1.3mm exit pupil) was pretty productive. So, I stayed at 150x the whole time.
I also managed two very dim points near the core, one just below (northerly) and one to the left (westerly.) I left them faintly etched in the sketch to show how dim they were and what they looked like. Turns out, there are stars (and more) in those two locations. And other faint stars I missed, as well. According to wikisky, which I really don't trust (yet) for visual magnitude estimates, but at least those stars are supposed to be magnitude 15.4. It must be brighter than that. I believe my limiting magnitude was a little better than magnitude 14.
So, after an our of observation, this is what NGC 1300 looked like. Thanks! I had a blast with it.
Edit: corrected aperture in the sketch from 6" to 8" f/6.
Edited by Asbytec, 11 January 2019 - 10:35 AM.