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Bear Paw Galaxy

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#1 Keith Rivich

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 04:34 PM

I went out to our dark site (~100 miles west of Houston) last night for a short night of observing. To much going on this weekend to spend the night. Larry Mitchell had his 20" f/5 out so I light-leeched off his scope for a few hours. Another observe had his 16" out so I took a quick peek through his scope.

 

The night started out weird as we had a "jet freeway" off to our west. As the jets passed their contrails would spread out and drift east. About 5 minutes apart. It was annoying. I looked at one of the planes through the 20"...saw four engines and it was flying upside down. Must have been Allan heading back to Sydney. Thanks mate for the clouds smile.gif

 

As Larry was getting his stuff together I decided to have a try at Uranus. Simple you think? Nope...we were still in bright twilight. Looking at Sky Safari Uranus was about 2/3's the way between Venus and Aldebaran, which I could just see. I pointed the scope where I thought it would be, fished around a bit, and bingo...found it! We left it on as the sky darkened and were rewarded with fairly easily seeing the four bright moons. 

 

We looked at quite a few DSO's..from Trumpler 9 to IC418. I will highlight two DSO's that stood out.

 

Bear Paw Galaxy

NGC 2537   Arp 6     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGC_2537

This compact dwarf galaxy was quite easy to see in the 20" looking more like an evolved planetary nebula then it does a galaxy. Shaped like a chevron. The galaxy really comes to life when upon closer inspection. Pictures show an amazing spiral ring of HII and star forming regions filling the interior of the galaxy. Using high power and averted vision the structure seen in the pics become visible. Some sections of the ring appear stellar whiles others have a definite size to them. Similar to a small faint version of the Antennae Galaxy. With a little patience I could see the "entire picture" at times and make out the bear paw shape. 

 

Hickson 44  Arp 316

This is one of my favorite galaxy groups. Two spirals (an edge on and a face on), a barred spiral and an elliptical make up this grouping. NGC 3190 is the most impressive. A nice edge on spiral with a prominent dark lane. Looks like a small version of the Sombrero. The most beautiful in pics, but the most difficult to see, is NGC 3187. A magnificent barred spiral that shows up visually as an elongated smudge. NGC's 3185 and 3193 round out the group. 

 

It was a tough call to leave but I had to...long drive home. And of course as I was putting my stuff away the skies were improving from decent to great. Sigh...at least I got a little bit of observing in.

 


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#2 Love Cowboy

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 06:40 PM

I was the other observer with the 16" that Keith referred to... and yeah... the skies did improve after you left.  I didn't get a look at Hickson 44 that night but I've observed it before; it is indeed a great group of galaxies.  I'll have to get a look at 2537 sometime; I haven't observed that one as far as my logs indicate.  

 

one thing I saw that night I enjoyed was the NGC 2207/IC 2163 pair.  Quite a lovely interacting pair I hadn't seen before.  They were quite similar in brightness so I'm imagining the only reason one didn't make it into the NGC is that they were originally thought to be a single object; though that still seems odd as to me as I've seen other pairs with separate NGC numbers that seemed more merged than these two.  I only saw the core of 2207, not the arms, but I thought I could see the long bright trailing arm of the IC galaxy.  Very nice.


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#3 Astro-Master

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 10:13 PM

Another object of interest near NGC 2537 the Bear Paw Galaxy is the Superthin Flat Galaxy IC 2233 with a magnitude of 12.6 and a size of 4.5'x 0.5'

 

Its a ghostly looking faint thin ray of light that is pined on its north end by a 12.7 mag. star.  It can be found 15' SSE of NGC 2537, but is harder to see than the listed magnitude, and is a good object to test the transparency of the night.


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#4 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 11:08 PM

Hickson 44 is one of my favorite Hickson groups.

 

https://observing.sk...mar/HCG_44.html

 

https://www.universe...ies-hickson-44/

http://www.kopernik....hive/hick44.htm

https://apod.nasa.go...d/ap110829.html

 

https://www.spacetel...luis_romero_01/


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#5 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 11:22 PM

I've observed some super-thin galaxies but I'm not sure whether IC 2333 was one of them.

 

It certain lives up to its common name.

 

https://www.spacetel...ages/potw1251a/

 

http://www.deepeye.h...ngs/ic2233.html

 

Both galaxies can be seen in the image at https://www.astrobin...7966/0/?nc=user


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#6 Redbetter

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Posted 27 February 2020 - 10:54 AM

I took a look at the Bear Paw last night with the 20".  We had some thin smoke from an early grass fire in the foothills (no precip to speak of since Dec...so fire season is starting early this year.)  The Bear Paw indeed looks like some sort of animal paw print.  The 15+ mag star at the north end serves as a reference point for the high surface brightness pads and bright knots/stellar points within.  

 

The companion galaxy to the east, NGC 2537A, was somewhat challenging as it is dim with low surface brightness.  It forms an equilateral triangle with ~14 and 15 mag stars following the Bear Paw.  Two other MCG's follow that one at increasing distances.

 

IC 2233 didn't look that needle-like to me.  I was surprised that it was relatively thick and even through much of the length at 278x.  I saw it as a ratio of length to width of 6 to 8 as the ends kind of fade out.    



#7 Asbytec

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Posted 29 February 2020 - 09:39 PM

The Bear Paw indeed looks like some sort of animal paw print.  The 15+ mag star at the north end serves as a reference point for the high surface brightness pads and bright knots/stellar points within.  

 

...

 

IC 2233 didn't look that needle-like to me.  I was surprised that it was relatively thick and even through much of the length at 278x.  I saw it as a ratio of length to width of 6 to 8 as the ends kind of fade out.    

NGC 2537.png

 

I found IC 2233 to be very difficult, but needle-like. I hardly saw it most of the time, just a few rare glimpses. (I realize the extended ends miss the field star embedded in the galaxy, but I barely caught many good views of the galaxy beyond the dim core).

 

 IC 2233.png


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#8 Redbetter

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Posted 29 February 2020 - 10:16 PM

When I hear "needle" I expect pointy ends.  This galaxy has blunt ends, rendering it more reminiscent of an unsharpened Crayola crayon.  Looking at your sketch the difference I notice is that I was able to see the thickness better, while you primarily saw the central brightening.  The 13 mag star to the north is actually interposed on the galaxy.   That is why I estimated it as somewhere between 6:1 and 8:1 in aspect ratio.   

 

The difference in extent observed perhaps has more to do with the aperture.  


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#9 Asbytec

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Posted 29 February 2020 - 11:01 PM

When I hear "needle" I expect pointy ends.  This galaxy has blunt ends, rendering it more reminiscent of an unsharpened Crayola crayon.  Looking at your sketch the difference I notice is that I was able to see the thickness better, while you primarily saw the central brightening.  The 13 mag star to the north is actually interposed on the galaxy.   That is why I estimated it as somewhere between 6:1 and 8:1 in aspect ratio.   

 

The difference in extent observed perhaps has more to do with the aperture.  

Yes, that makes perfect sense. I often have to remind myself, especially when sketching, that I am very often not seeing the full expanse of the object with a smaller aperture and not quite pristine dark skies. Sometimes it leads to confusion about what detail was detected.

 

A perfect example is NGC 1365 (no intention to stray from topic). I simply could not make out the spiral arms other than a very faint, indistinct, and rarely seen extended glow. However, I did see some of the bar and a faint glow around it. On either side of the bar were some undefined but persistent dark features. At first I thought they were the darker interspace in the very faint regions beyond the core and bar and defining the core and bar. Turns out, though, I actually think they were indications of the more prominent dust lanes pinching inward toward the core. It almost had to be because those dust features are higher contrast against the brighter nebula background at sufficient magnification to see them. I thought seeing those two pinching dust features was just too much to ask, so I wrote them off. But, I cannot escape the fact I was simply was not seeing the very dim fuller extent of the area outside the core, and certainly not enough to detect the very low contrast dark interspace within the much fainter outer glow. Maybe, though, just not totally sure. 


Edited by Asbytec, 29 February 2020 - 11:03 PM.



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