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Cosmic Challenge: Abell Galaxy Cluster (AGC) 1656

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#1 PhilH

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Posted 01 May 2023 - 05:21 AM

The Coma Galaxy Cluster, Abell Galaxy Cluster (AGC) 1656, contains more than 800 galaxies brighter than photographic magnitude 16.5. It’s a real galactic forest that will take great patience to make your way through. There is no rushing this one. Unless you have enough time to devote to the task, best to push on to another target and come back here when you do. In fact, you will never get through this huge collection of galaxies in one sitting. Or even two, three, or four sessions, for that matter. AGC 1656 could well take years before every galaxy in view is recorded and identified.

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#2 Jacq

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Posted 01 May 2023 - 06:41 AM

Came to about 500 galaxies and my plan is to analyze which one is most far, just to know.



#3 lwbehney

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Posted 01 May 2023 - 03:29 PM

Hi Phil, thanks for this article. I only have a 210 mm aperture reflector, but I will challenge myself on some of your brighter galaxies in AGC 1656.

Incidentally, do you think it would be possible for my telescope to allow me to visualize IC 1101 in Abell 2029? If so, what source would you recommend to help me recognize it among the faint stars in its vicinity? I have been able to see Triton with averted vision in my telescope.



#4 Alex Swartzinski

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Posted 01 May 2023 - 08:00 PM

Hi Phil, thanks for this article. I only have a 210 mm aperture reflector, but I will challenge myself on some of your brighter galaxies in AGC 1656.

Incidentally, do you think it would be possible for my telescope to allow me to visualize IC 1101 in Abell 2029? If so, what source would you recommend to help me recognize it among the faint stars in its vicinity? I have been able to see Triton with averted vision in my telescope.

I think your 210mm scope can capture IC 1101 without too much difficulty from a dark site. It's quite diffuse, so I preferred medium powers over higher ones when I observed it in March. CNer Scott Harrington has even managed this object with a 6" scope! 

 

Feel free to checkout this thread for these two observations:  https://www.cloudyni...serving-report/

 

Thanks for the posts, Phil! I think one of my May dark site nights will be partially dedicated to this list! I'm sure I will only scratch the surface of the 800+, but I need to start this project somewhere! 


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#5 Sky King

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Posted 05 May 2023 - 02:00 PM

I took a wide field stack last night with a C8 and HyperStar for a couple hours for an overview of the "galactic forest." 

 

 

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#6 Sky King

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Posted 11 May 2023 - 02:39 PM

This is such an interesting collection! I can't keep away in spite of not having the aperture to do it justice. Last night I got a another view with the 8 EdgeHD, .7 reducer and focal length around 1475. Here it is on astrometry.net. The LS-DR9 tab is amazing (the photometry of the DR9 release of the Legacy Imaging Surveys). I wouldn't be surprised if some astronomer somewhere devotes his/her whole career to studying this area.


Edited by Sky King, 11 May 2023 - 04:00 PM.


#7 kt4hx

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Posted 11 May 2023 - 03:32 PM

Thank you for the challenge Phil.  Back on April 16, 2020 at our dark site house in the western part of the state, I focused on this cluster and observed 88 members one evening as I followed it across the sky.  The scope used was a 17.5 f/4.5 dob.



#8 StanH

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Posted 31 May 2023 - 05:33 PM

Last year when I was off due to back surgery, I went through my observations and was shocked I had not viewed Abell 1656 since 1994 with an 8-inch and my last was briefly with an 11-inch before weather ended the observations.  I made up a new list and charts as my goal was by this spring and summer to be back to be able to do long observing sessions plus I had an invitation to view through a telescope that was much larger than my 17.5-inch.  Alas, that has not worked out as I have to really limit what I do.

 

With the 8-inch SCT on May 4, 1994, I had two very unusual observations which I have never had before or since.  One of them was when viewing this galaxy cluster.  At 169x with a 14' field, while viewing the core area, everything suddenly got much brighter.  For that instant, it seemed that every galaxy was visible that surrounded the two main galaxies.  I was overwhelmed by the number of galaxies.

 

The other was viewing the galaxy NGC 5263 in Canes Venatici.  There was a stellar object at the southern tip.  While using averted vision to make sure this was real, the galaxy and the stars for an instant got extremely bright.  The star on the southern end was easily visible.  I suspected a supernova so I sent in a report (This was snail mail as I did not yet have the Internet), but never got a confirmation.  I was unable to get back to the galaxy for about a month.  Furthermore, there was a diagonal dark lane running through NGC 5263 which reminded me of M82.  I have viewed this galaxy many times with the 17.5-inch and never have seen a stellar object at the southern end nor have I seen the dark lane.  It was not until taking an image with Global Rent-a-Scope (now iTelescope.net) in 2008 that confirmed the dark lane.

 

Back on topic, my current list has 355 galaxies.  There are also a handful other objects which I came across that are interesting, at least to me.  These are:  1.  The horizontal branch star US 26 at magnitude 13.5, position 12h56m23.7s +27d 28m39s, Type A0 IV.  The hot subdwarf Ton 140 at magnitude 15.9, position 12h56m27.4s +27d42m32s, Type sdB; it is  extremely blue on SDSS color image. 3.  The star NGC 4824 at magnitude 15.0, position 12h56m36.4s +27d25m58s; this is the correct object for NGC 4824 per Corwin.  4.  The hot subdwarf HZ 38 at magnitude 14.6, position 12h59m21.3s +27d34m06s, type Sd0A; it is extremely blue on SDSS color image.  5.  The planetary nebula H 4-1 at magnitude 15.5, position 12h59m27.8s +27d38m11s, size  0.15x0.15 arc-minutes.  6.  The white dwarf EGGR 94 at magnitude 15.4, position  12h59m46.7s +27d34m04s, Type DAZ5.9


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