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Distant Galaxies and Clusters

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#51 SNH

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 01:32 PM

Neat that this post got started just as I was getting ready to hunt down some “deep” galaxies I learned about last year in a post by Timo Karhula titled “1.55 billion light-years distant galaxy with 12-inch”. In that post Timo told about his observation of the 1.55 Gyr galaxy PGC 46931 and Quazy4quasars mentioned that he might be able to see PGC 37477 at 1.8 Gyr. Plus, Astro-Master mentioned IC 1101 as the brightest galaxy to see 1.1 Gyr away.
Using my 10” SCT, I got out and found IC 1101 bright enough to be visible at even 91x. I would have to say that it’s so bright that it would be a great challenge for the owner of a 6”-7” telescope. I found PGC 46931 to be harder, but with only 153x I could hold it with averted vision. I think the right owner of an 8” telescope should just find it visible (catch my drift Luca Brasi or Pcbessa?). PGC 37477 proved to be the hardest and at first I was using 322x and could only barely glimpse it. After backing down to 153x I saw it a little easier. I’ve been using high power so much on things I forgot that a more moderate magnification works best these kinds of galaxies.
If you thought any of that was impressive, this will truly blow your mind. Last year I first learned of a lensed quasar known as APM 08279+5255 from seeing it listed on Larry Mitchell’s 2001 Advanced Observing list for T.S.P. that year. It was listed as magnitude “15.” with an impressive redshift of z=3.91. That turned me on and I found that it did indeed look possibly bright enough for me on DSS images. So I tried for it once back in early January and felt that I was very close to seeing it. I tried for it again under even better conditions a week ago and came away with a sighting of it at 322x. Which to those in the know means I got enough bright “pops” that I was seeing it – aided somewhat because I knew almost right where to look. Want to know more about APM 08279+5255? Just look for Steve Gottlieb’s article in the May issue of S&T!
So my old distance record was 12.0 Gyr (z=3.91) and my new one is 12.1 Gyr (z=3.62). That’s not much of a change, is it? Well, that’s only because last spring I saw the quasar B1422+231 in Boötes. Before that is was Andromeda’s Parachute (cute name) at 11.05 Gyr (z=2.37). Pretty darn cool.

 

Great thread everybody!

Scott


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#52 quazy4quasars

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 03:30 PM

   Counting "pops" is OK for an extremely marginal sighting; I prefer at least a steady Crackle. When it gets to the point where I see a lot whole lot more "not there" than "there", well... Yeah, it's time for that bigger scope!  

 

   APM 08279 is shining example of how published magnitudes can misrepresent what we can see. Visual obervations yield V ~ 16 or a bit fainter.  If you look at its spectra, you can see that broad heap of red light up beyond 6000 angstroms -but our night-time scotopic visual response peaks around 5100 (blue-green). Such a pity!  (B1422+231 appears almost twice as bright, to me.  it peaks "bigly" at 5600-5700 angstroms in the Green-Yellow part of the spectrum)

 

  A good one for you to compare it to will be QSO B1425+606 (z~3.16) which has a strong peak (they call it the "big blue bump" -actually it is really a far-UV bump) at an optimally red-shifted 5100 angstroms.  I think you may be pleasantly surprised, Scott; Great work, buddy!   


Edited by quazy4quasars, 12 March 2019 - 04:47 PM.


#53 Starman1

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 04:03 PM

I'm really glad to know that I'm not the only one to track down objects at the limit of my eye and scope.

I guess I just see SO many posts about people with 16" barely seeing this or that Messier object.

This is a GREAT thread.


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#54 Araguaia

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 05:14 PM

And those of us who can't track down objects at the limits of our eyes and scopes, because we don't have enough experience yet to reach those limits, learn how the next level of observing works here.

 

   Counting "pops" is OK for an extremely marginal sighting; I prefer at least a steady Crackle. 

 

This encapsulates where I am stuck at this point; I need to learn to increase my "pop" rate.  And I think I will incorporate "crackle" into my observing vocabulary, if you don't mind... like in "the sky was so dark you could see the Horsehead crackling...grin.gif


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#55 quazy4quasars

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 06:12 PM

  The horsehead?  that's a deep silence, surrounded by a very quiet dull roar. Now, HII regions in M51, at 360x, from an ecellent site, at the zenith:  THAT's crackling!


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#56 Astro-Master

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 12:08 AM

The last 4 or 5 years I've been tracking down flat galaxies at the limit of my eyes and scope.  They are much harder to see then the magnitude would suggest.  Most have no central bulge, and are only a thin ray of light.

I use an 18" Obsession Classic F 4.5 from a dark desert site SQM 21.35 to 21.65 to aid in my search.  They are a good test for determining the transparency on any given night.

 

The Astronomical League has a list of over 200 Flat Galaxies sorted by Constellations and brightness.  Alvin Huey's booklet Observing Flat Galaxies is another great source check it out at FaintFuzzies.com.

 

I'm throwing out the challenge to observers who like to observe at the very limit of eyes and scopes.

 

Who has seen NGC 3245A in Leo Minor Mag.14.3   SB 14.1  Size  4.2' x 0.4'

How about UGC 12281 in Pegasus  Mag 14.6  SB  14.2  Size 3.4' x 0.2'

Or UGC 3326 in Cam. Mag 14.9  SB 14.4  Size 3.5' x 0.3'

Or UGC 5341 in Leo  Mag 15                      Size 3.1' x 0.2'

 

Let us know what was the smallest size scope you saw each object, and the sky conditions, and power.


Edited by Astro-Master, 13 March 2019 - 12:10 AM.

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#57 Starman1

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 12:25 AM

N3245A, yes, in my 12.5", about 228x and a typical night of about m.21.4mpsas.

The others aren't in my log, but they will be.


Edited by Starman1, 13 March 2019 - 12:26 AM.

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#58 Redbetter

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 12:57 AM

LEDA has an internal number for all objects, even when they haven't assigned an "official" LEDA designation.  The internal number can't be searched in professional online catalogues such as NED and SIMBAD or even LEDA, so they're pretty useless, but for some reason SkySafari has adopted them.

 

For example, in the case of PGC 5064477, you can't search for it under that name, but if you look up SDSS 100226.24+143618.2 (same object), you can find the internal number PGC 5064477 listed on the right side of the top line next to the ALADIN image.  In any case, as Redbetter mentioned, the SDSS magnitudes are totally bogus probably due to the nearby bright star that floods the field.

Ahah!  Now that is handy to know.  I didn't realize LEDA had internal numbers that were not necessarily reported or the same.

 

From Hyperleda help on the topic:

All the objects in the database, galaxies, stars, clusters, ..., are indexed with their pgc number. Historically, the pgc numbering was created to unify the names of the galaxies when the database project started in 1983. The first effort was to cross-identify the early catalogues of galaxies, like the MCG, UGC ..., and it resulted in the publication of the Principal Catalogue of Galaxies (Paturel et al. 1989). This catalogue counted 73097 entries corresponding to what was believed to be galaxies. The project continued, new objects were identified and previous errors corrected. The main line of improvement was the precision of the astrometry, which evolved from about 1 arcmin in 1990 to about 1 arcsec now. With the publication of high quality catalogues, the necessity of maintening PGC names vanished in the 2000s, and we stopped to systematically publish PGC names. The database contains at present 1.7 million PGC names. Still, all the objects in the database (about 5 millions) have a pgc number which is used as a unique identification across the different tables. This number should not be used to build a name, since it would not be recognized by any database, including HyperLeda. To identify objects in publications, it is recommended to use (i) a name and (ii) a position. Hyperleda provides objname, which is the best suited name amongst all designations available for an object because it is the most likely to be widely recognized.


#59 Redbetter

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 02:18 AM

In addition to the time I spent on IC 1101 and its AGC mates last night, I started with CGCG 122-67 and some of the surrounding area.  I passed over it once or twice at 156x before I recognized it. 

 

From CGCG 122-67 I swept forward roughly 1/2 degree to search for a cluster of galaxies I had noticed in Wikisky, but that are not plotted in Uranometria.  I had only penciled in a few of the brighter galaxies, which proved to be a mistake.  There are three more prominent members in the group (CGCG 122-60/62/64 and another that was more difficult to detect at 278x, PGC 1675233.  I may also have seen a close companion to CGCG 122-64, PGC 1675993, but I was flustered about orientation of group members because I had not marked this one and another that I suspected to the north.  The one to the north was fuzziness around/beside a tight pair of 15/16 mag stars.  I couldn't decide if it was real or product of poor seeing (278x was pushing the seeing pretty hard.)  Turns out this one was real:  PGC 1677309 just following the pair which was making the pair look fuzzier than the seeing alone.  This latter galaxy is listed as 17.48 B mag (probably about 16.9 V.)  Anyway, these all appear to be members of a physical group with radial velocities in the 20 to 21,000+ km/s range vs. ~26,600 for CGCG 122-67.


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#60 quazy4quasars

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 04:59 PM

  In the category of Billion ly supergiant ellipticals for big scopes, another one worth trying is at the core of Abell 655:  

PGC 23645 has a very bright extended core that might show in 10-12" under excellent conditions, and a z of .129.  Apparent V similar to Abell 1738, though about 300 million ly further out.  It's at Right ascension: 08h25m29.00s  Declination: +47°08'00.0".   


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#61 Starman1

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 06:17 PM

A note from Steve gives me something to do:

 

12” is about the minimum for Abell 2065, PGC 54876 is probably the easiest in the central region, with a V magnitude of ~15.4.  Very close, though, is PGC 54883 (15 22 29.2 +27 42 27) at V = ~15.5.  It forms a close double with PGC 54888 (V ~15.7) at only 18” separation and the combined glow may be brighter than 54876.  If you have another look at the cluster in July or August give PGC 54846 a shot.  It’s not in the central group and lies less than 2’ NE of a fairly bright mag 9.5 star, but I found it slightly easier than the others (V ~15.1)

Timo Karhula mentioned on CloudyNights observing MCG +10-19-68 (= PGC 46931), the brightest member of Abell 1738, also using a 12”.  The cluster has a redshift z = .115 (SDSS) --> light-travel time = 1.5 billion years.  That’s 50% more distant than the Corona Borealis cluster and at V ~14.6 this galaxy must have gobbled up a bunch of neighbors!  I observed it in May through Jimi Lowrey’s 48-inch during the Texas Star Party, but if you have a chance next year to track it down in your 12.5" let me know.

Even more distant is MCG +04-28-097, the cD galaxy in Abell 1413 at 11 55 18.0 +23 24 18.  At z = .143 the light travel time is 1.82 billion years, but at V ~15.2, it might also be detectable in a 12” — and would be hard to beat in terms of distance!   The galaxy is exceptionally elongated for a giant elliptical.

 

So that's:

PGC 54876 (seen in the 12.5")

PGC 54883

PGC 54888

PGC 54846

PGC 46931

MCG +04-28-097

Now I need to search!


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#62 quazy4quasars

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 10:36 PM

 Starman1,  that cD in Abell 1413 is also known as -PGC 37477.  It is my most distant non QSO Galaxy (I still can't say I definitely saw Abell 1689) and it was pretty(seriously) dim in 25", at 360x in good seeing. The core was just visible as non-stellar and elongated. It was clearly larger with averted vision.  I'd consider it to be a real challenge in anything under 16".  I encourage you to try PGC 23645 too, (see above) as it has a more intense core region that should be more forgiving in 12.5". It really depends on how dark your skies are -and good seeing too, to help distinguish the core from nearby faint stars. These are tough targets! 


Edited by quazy4quasars, 21 March 2019 - 11:23 PM.

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#63 tchandler

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Posted 23 March 2019 - 07:45 AM

The most distant objects I've glimpsed in my 11" DOB were the brightest members of the Comae super cluster. At only 300 MLY, they're barely 3% of the distance to the limit of the observable universe.

 

They're so far away, I thought (and they are), but upon reflection cannot escape the feeling that I'm like Tolkein's Master Samwise, when he realizes for the first time that he's never before been farther from home. And that there is so much farther to go.


Edited by tchandler, 23 March 2019 - 07:47 AM.

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#64 Luca Brasi

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Posted 23 March 2019 - 04:41 PM

So many objects on the forum, thank you for all the tips!

I'm traveling to Monument Valley in Utah next month for the Bortle 1 skies. Should be the perfect opportunity to go through this list of objects...

You should have seen the look on my wife's face when I told her I was bringing the 14". "Isn't the 8" your travel scope?", she asked,"Where are we going to sit?"

Now I just need to prioritize which targets to see, since I only have three nights to hit them all. I'm looking forward to the HUNT!

Edited by Luca Brasi, 23 March 2019 - 05:06 PM.

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#65 quazy4quasars

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Posted 25 March 2019 - 02:08 PM

  I emailed Patrick M. Ogle, who compiled the OGC and the "Super Spirals" paper.  He has submitted his Ogle Galaxy Catalog to the Astrophysical Journal and has offered to send me a copy when it's  accepted- "any day now".  These are a compilation of 1,616 of the most luminous galaxies from the vast NED archive, out to z~.3, based on SDSS, WISE, and UKIRT photometry, and with their distances confirmed by spectra or byother indicators.   Many are known but perhaps there will be some pleasant surprises too.  Thanks, Patrick!  

 

Stay tuned...


Edited by quazy4quasars, 26 March 2019 - 01:01 AM.

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#66 J Lowrey

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Posted 25 March 2019 - 10:24 PM

I observed From the super spiral paper #22 AKA OGC 789 last night my notes say #22  Z= .15679 light travel time 1.977 GYR “Small round fairly faint could hold with direct vision @613X could not see the two nuclei had a mottled look”

 

I would really like to know when the OGC catalog is out.  I guess it will be on astro ph?  I bet some cool galaxies will be on the list.


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#67 quazy4quasars

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Posted 26 March 2019 - 03:46 PM

  The coolest thing is that those galaxies have already been recorded by multiple missions: (Galex, SDSS, WISE, FIRST) and they are all already in the NED database; a tiny part of a vastly larger collection:  their colors, their apparent size, their flux intensity were just more clumps of data from multiple sensors-  Most have never actually been "resolved"!  i.e. their true size, their distance, their structure have not been clearly determined.  That is done by processing data from multiple missions and then taking a look (mainly, spectra) of all the sources that met your search criteria.  It seems easy until you realize how much extra "garbage" data you then have to ignore, but you still have to analyze it all to determine what is garbage and what is not...

 

  What the study did was to determine NED database sample completeness out to z~.3 which it did for galaxies over 8 L* (Eight times the luminosity of the Milky way).  There were over 800,000 "galaxies"  (i.e. sources that looked like galaxies- not stars or QSOs)  that met their multi-parameter search criteria. The VAST majority (500:1)  proved to be much closer or smaller or both- than the ones that ended up in the OGC.  It was through the analysis of all that data that they determined which sources merited inclusion in the OGC as the most luminous Galaxies known out to z~.3,  within the SDSS footprint.  The Super Spirals are a small subset of those.  Some surprises await us big-scope fuzzy-junkies.  Brought to you by the new paradigm of big data mining.

 

  What would I like to see?  More Giants like IC1101, a litttle further out.  Perhaps a really good LENSED spiral galaxy or two:  A few VERY dense elliptical cores out past z~.2,  an elliptical lensed by a QSO(galaxy) or by another elliptical...


Edited by quazy4quasars, 26 March 2019 - 03:58 PM.


#68 timokarhula

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 04:08 AM

Thanks for the comments, Quazy.  We mentioned CGCG 122-067 to Howard Banich, who was just taking off to observe in the Oregon coastal mountains.  He tracked it down in his 28-inch f/4 and also saw the nearby dim star and a single nucleus.  But he mentioned that, although faint, CGCG 122-067 was visible without much difficulty in a friend's 16-inch at 187x.   This was in 21.5 SQM skies and good seeing.  So, it seems very likely to be visible in a 14-inch in similar conditions.

 

I had some very good conditions last night to observe in.  I measured the sky darkness as SQM-L 21.4 in my backyard.  I tried on CGCG 122-67 with my 12-inch Dob and 214x magnification.  I found the galaxy as very faint, pretty small and diffuse.  I also saw the nearby CGCG 122-62 and CGCG 122-60.  CGCG 122-67 is thus my most distant spiral galaxy, distance about 1.3 billion light years.

 

I also hunted down IC 1101, the "largest galaxy in the Universe".  With my 12-inch, it was pretty faint, considerably small and elongated NE-SW.  There were some faint stars involved.  IC 1101 seems to be the easiest galaxy if you want to break the 1 billion light years barrier.

 

If I had only known about MCG +04-28-097, the cD galaxy in Abell 1413, which Starman1 mentions in post #61, I would have tried that 1.82 billion light years distant galaxy as well.  Next time...

 

The other night I visited a forest fire area about 8 kms away from my home.  There was a major forest fire back in 2014 and our whole village had to be evacuated.  None of the houses were damaged, luckily.  The sky darkness was there SQM-L 21.75 which is the darkest sky I have yet measured here in Sweden.  It begins to rival my observing sites in Western Australia.  smile.gif

 

/Timo Karhula


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#69 Pcbessa

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Posted 31 March 2019 - 03:13 AM

Yesterday I drove an hour to Bortle 2 but sadly could not see any very distant galaxy due to bad planning. I must plan better next time.

 

It was aamazing dark sky. I spent hours seeing nebulae and many objects from Cassiopaea to Orion and then many Virgo galaxies but when I decided to go hunting distant galaxies, starting with IC1101, I was already shivering with cold and importantly the secondary was fogged. It was 5 hours into the session and it was -3C. The outside if the Dob was already frozen by then! Clouds were also arriving... Next time I do them first!


Edited by Pcbessa, 31 March 2019 - 03:15 AM.

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#70 timokarhula

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 06:24 AM

Last night, I had again a very dark, transparent sky as seen from my back-yard.  For the first time I got a reading darker than SQM-L 21.50 from home.  Some 200 meters south of my back-yard the sky was SQM-L 21.7.  With my 12-inch, I tried for the 1.8 billion light-years distant galaxy MCG +4-28-97 in Abell 1413 (Leo).  I was not able to detect it even when I could glimpse stars of V~16.6 (based on Gaia's G- and R-magnitudes).  Today, I came to realize that MegaStar plots MCG+4-28-97 erroneously 8.5 arc-minutes too much east!  The galaxy is plotted as a 13.8 mag 'non-star' in MegaStar.  Based on the image on the Digitized Sky Survey, I would certainly have caught MCG +4-28-97 if I had looked at the correct place.

 

However, after I had found the Herschel-2500 object NGC2619 in Cancer, I noticed the galaxy cluster Abell 690 on the same MegaStar chart.  There was only one galaxy plotted inside the cluster symbol, PGC 24340.  I saw it as faint (V=14.9) and almost stellar with 214x magnification.  Today, I notice that it is also a galaxy beyond 1 billion light-years (1150 Mly and 1087 million years light travel-time).  That means that I have observed at least 9 galaxies further out than 1 billion light-years (RV > +20,000 km/s) with my 12-inch scope!

 

/Timo Karhula


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#71 Pcbessa

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 08:09 AM

Yesterday I hunted IC1101. I definitely saw something in there with averted vision. First it looked like a faint M14 star, later it seem a small fuzzy thing. At 120x.

But I can't say I saw it 100℅ sure as in the chart there is another faint star just next to the galaxy. I might have seen both.

I also saw Markarian 205 and 421, seemingly relatively easy targets in my 10" but starlike.

Then this one is a mystery: the quasar HD 0624+6907 is listed on Sky Safari as magnitude 14, in Camelopardalis. I saw a starlike object in that position around that magnitude, but I couldn't find any other information in the internet.

#72 quazy4quasars

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 10:04 AM

    HS 0624+6907  has redshift   z~0.37,  about 4 Billion ly.   V~14.2.    It was picked up by the Hamburg QSO Survey.   It come right up on CDS portal for me.  I don't think there was a discovery paper for that one.

 

   http://cdsportal.u-strasbg.fr/



#73 quazy4quasars

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 10:17 AM

  Timo, you DID know about MCG +4-28-97.  You and I discussed it last year on CN, I think it was in the Billion Light Year Club thread. It's better known as PGC 37477.   Let me know when you bag that sucker!   PGC 23645 in Abell 665 is another easier one at z~.129 if you are interested.



#74 Pcbessa

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 01:26 PM

I am posting a link to that galaxy. I am considering it also with my 10" when I drive to a Bortle 2 location. It should be a challenging one at mag14, but IC1101 is similar magnitude.

Timo, like you, I face the end of observations in late April, due to being also at 60N.

Https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/615870-155-billion-light-years-distant-galaxy-with-12-inch/

#75 Pcbessa

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 01:29 PM

Could one of you post a star chart for those two galaxies?
PGC 37477 And PGC 23645

Both are very well located currently, very high on the sky for me.


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