What promised to be a week of mostly clear skies quickly deteriorated as the days drew closer. I wasn't going to go Sunday night as the moon would only me just under an hour from astronomical dark to moonrise. But something about beggars comes to mind, so when things went south I figured take what I can get and prioritized two targets. Conditions turned out better than expected. Transparency is listed as 3/5, but that may be too conservative. Both targets were seen, and delivered on the promise of being nice ones to observe.
NGC 7332/7339 – pair of edge-on galaxies in Pegasus:
These two galaxies are roughly 67 million ly distant and likely orbiting one another. 7332 is listed as a peculiar lenticular and 7339 as an intermediate spiral.
Observing: With its bright core, 7332 is the easiest to spot of this pair and lies to the west of its companion (below in this view). The core is slightly elongated on the long axis and extends the entire short axis, giving it almost a box-like appearance. The halo is very clear and ends in well tapered tips at both ends. 7332 is easily held in direct vision.
7339 was not immediately apparent being much dimmer with a more elongated core that’s not much brighter than the surrounding halo. The tips of this galaxy are not as well-defined as those of its companion and end more bluntly as well. The extent and core of this galaxy are best discerned in AV.
The brighter stars to the south mark these two galaxies, with the southernmost star marking the gap between them. A fainter star is actually in that gap.
Sketching: white pastel pencils and white pastel powder on Canson 92 lb. black multimedia paper. The 12/0 mini angular brush was all that was needed for these two galaxies.
NGC 6946 – face on spiral galaxy in Cepheus:
I’ve not spent much time in Cepheus, but leafing through the NSOG, this intermediate spiral caught my attention as it promised a great view for larger telescopes. It didn’t disappoint. It’s considered a star burst galaxy due its prodigious rate of star formation, and is sometimes known as the fireworks galaxy. It’s sits just over 25 million ly from us, similar to M 101. In fact, both M 101 and NGC 6946 where once considered part of the Local Group, but are now placed outside, but nonetheless among the brighter galaxies closer to us in the Virgo Supercluster.
Observing: I have to say this one was a bit of a tease, however. At first I saw nothing, though the star field looked right. After a bit of time looking and moving the tube a soft oblate glow began to show right in the middle of the field of view. Switching to the 13mm the glow became better defined and the clearly brighter core revealed itself as a small round glow. A triangle of bright stars overlaps the halo somewhat toward the south, and the northern angle of the triangle points roughly to the core. Bright but soft is how I described the core in the notes and could easily be reacquired. The halo is elongated slightly east of a north to south axis. Four arms could be discerned, subtle but definitely there as areas not quite as dark as the rest of the halo. The whole galaxy took on the look of a slightly flattened pinwheel. The origin of the arms at the core was difficult to make out, but the arms to the west and east seemed to begin there, while the northern and southern arms began from slightly outside the core. The ends were fairly clear with the exception of the western arm which was broader and dimmer than its three companions. The easternmost arm points toward a bright red star near the edge of the FOV. The northernmost arm barely skirts a faint triangle of stars in that direction. The arm to the southeast points toward the middle of the bright triangle of stars that points to the core. All the arms except perhaps the western one showed subtle knotting over time which further helped with seeing and defining them.
Sketching: white pastel pencils and white pastel powder on Canson 92 lb. black multimedia paper. After placing stars, the #12 mop brush laid down the faint halo glow. A #2 Filbert brush established the arms and core, with the latter enhanced with my smallest round brush dabbed around for the soft look. The 12/0 mini angular brush placed the knots.
Thanks as always for looking!
Edited by bphaneuf, 05 September 2023 - 06:25 PM.