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Observing Omega Centauri And Centaurus A From Hawaii; Death Valley; North Carolina and West Virginia

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#1 Carolina Observer

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Posted 16 April 2024 - 08:59 AM

Many amateurs have always wondered if it’s possible to observe both Omega Centauri and galaxy Centaurus A from their location. 

 

I've included the calculation and if its possible from your site:  Also see my sketches and notes of both from NC and reports by other observers from:  Hawaii, Death Valley, and West Virginia. 

 

 

https://rogerivester...north-latitude/


Edited by Carolina Observer, 17 April 2024 - 06:14 AM.

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#2 deSitter

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Posted 16 April 2024 - 10:14 AM

I can see it from the latitude of Atlanta (33.8 degrees) at a dark sky site east of the city by 90 miles. It gets up around 8 degrees. Plenty high to be extremely spectacular in a 10" f/4.5. The main difficulties are 1) great transparency needed at that altitude and 2) short window when it is visible due south. Bonus, right above it is the famous galaxy NGC 5128 - Centaurus A.

 

-drl


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#3 lwbehney

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Posted 16 April 2024 - 10:48 AM

I saw it clearly and easily from atop a tall hill at the Rainwater observatory in Mississippi during their DSSG event with my 8.25” reflector. I also viewed it through some nearby excellent large Dobsonian reflectors. The views in the two instruments were very close, because the surface brightness of this object is very high. 

I was struck by features in Omega Centauri, which I have never seen in other globular star clusters. Omega Centauri had multiple filaments of light crossing the surface of the core and periphery. The best way to describe it:   a pile of haphazardly strewn needles of light stabbing through it. Books I have read suggest Omega Centauri is actually the core of a galaxy and perhaps this explains its odd appearance.


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#4 34degN

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Posted 17 April 2024 - 01:01 AM

I can see it right at where I live, I observe right from home. Omega is 8 degrees altitude here that the highest it will get. I see it every night here right now at midnight. It just I don't see the glory of it, I only see it as a Big Grey Glow.! No stars inside Omega, let alone resolve any stars, just a big grey glow. 

 

I'm at 34 degrees latitude N, Omega is 8 degrees altitude here. So it quite low, I'm looking through alot of atmosphere. 


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#5 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 17 April 2024 - 04:39 AM

I can see it right at where I live, I observe right from home. Omega is 8 degrees altitude here that the highest it will get. I see it every night here right now at midnight. It just I don't see the glory of it, I only see it as a Big Grey Glow.! No stars inside Omega, let alone resolve any stars, just a big grey glow. 

 

I'm at 34 degrees latitude N, Omega is 8 degrees altitude here. So it quite low, I'm looking through alot of atmosphere. 

 

Omega Centauri is a globular cluster. Globulars benefit from dark skies and large apertures.  I've seen OC many nights from dark skies with all types of instruments. It's quite spectacular in my 12.5 inch Dob, more so in the 16 inch and 22 inch.

 

With a small scope, dark skies are your best best... 

 

Jon


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#6 Feidb

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Posted 17 April 2024 - 08:22 AM

Surprising to me is that the first time I saw it was at Cathedral Gorge in east-central Nevada. It was just over the bed of a pickup truck next to the starfield. We used to be able to go to the airfield at Furnace Creek in Death Valley which has a great southern horizon. However, due to timing, I only saw it the second time once. It was a bit higher in the sky.


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#7 rjacks

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Posted 17 April 2024 - 08:31 AM

Well, don't ever go to the southern hemisphere and look at Omega Cen, because it will take years before the view at 8 degrees above the horizon doesn't seem pitiful. 

 

From the southern hemisphere, Omega Cen and 47 Tuc are so bright, crowded, and enormous that they seem like something beyond globular clusters. They are obvious direct vision naked eye objects.

 

Nevertheless, it is fun to try to catch these objects (Omega Cen and Cen A) in their short window (not 47 Tuc, no window) above the southern horizon. I looked at Omega Cen at 8 degrees last week. It was in the soup, and I actually liked the view better in my binoculars. May your horizon transparency and seeing be exceptionally good!


Edited by rjacks, 17 April 2024 - 03:16 PM.

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#8 Nankins

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Posted 18 April 2024 - 09:44 PM

Theoretically I could view them both at 40 degrees North in Indiana, as my south horizon is low enough despite some trees.  And I have a place where I can see right to the horizon in all directions. I tried looking one time but due to some excess LP in the south totally missed Omega Centauri and Centaurus A is likely too faint to be seen at all in it.  But I did nail Iota's Ghost, the little elongated galaxy near Iota Centauri.  That was cool. 

I led an observing session for a group of kids back on April 5th out at the other place.  We went through the constellations, and I made sure to debunk the idea that southern constellations below the latitude on which Canis Major lies aren't visible from here.  In fact, I noticed nearly half of Vela sitting right on the horizon and pointed it out! Alpha Velorum was visible... Not kidding.  I'll take my scope to that place to nab Omega Centauri!  I could've pushed it to the limits and hit some stars in Vela if I had wanted to.  Also the Sculptor Galaxy in the fall sometimes looks good from home.  



#9 deSitter

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Posted 19 April 2024 - 04:51 AM

Theoretically I could view them both at 40 degrees North in Indiana, as my south horizon is low enough despite some trees.  And I have a place where I can see right to the horizon in all directions. I tried looking one time but due to some excess LP in the south totally missed Omega Centauri and Centaurus A is likely too faint to be seen at all in it.  But I did nail Iota's Ghost, the little elongated galaxy near Iota Centauri.  That was cool. 

I led an observing session for a group of kids back on April 5th out at the other place.  We went through the constellations, and I made sure to debunk the idea that southern constellations below the latitude on which Canis Major lies aren't visible from here.  In fact, I noticed nearly half of Vela sitting right on the horizon and pointed it out! Alpha Velorum was visible... Not kidding.  I'll take my scope to that place to nab Omega Centauri!  I could've pushed it to the limits and hit some stars in Vela if I had wanted to.  Also the Sculptor Galaxy in the fall sometimes looks good from home.  

From my childhood house in suburban Atlanta I could watch the planes about 3 miles distant on their final approach to the airport. They would hug the southern horizon. One night I saw an airplane there that wasn't moving :) It was Canopus! It was as clear as day and comparable to Sirius quite far above it. Totally unexpected.

 

-drl


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#10 Epick Crom

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Posted 19 April 2024 - 05:23 AM

Theoretically I could view them both at 40 degrees North in Indiana, as my south horizon is low enough despite some trees.  And I have a place where I can see right to the horizon in all directions. I tried looking one time but due to some excess LP in the south totally missed Omega Centauri and Centaurus A is likely too faint to be seen at all in it.  But I did nail Iota's Ghost, the little elongated galaxy near Iota Centauri.  That was cool. 

I led an observing session for a group of kids back on April 5th out at the other place.  We went through the constellations, and I made sure to debunk the idea that southern constellations below the latitude on which Canis Major lies aren't visible from here.  In fact, I noticed nearly half of Vela sitting right on the horizon and pointed it out! Alpha Velorum was visible... Not kidding.  I'll take my scope to that place to nab Omega Centauri!  I could've pushed it to the limits and hit some stars in Vela if I had wanted to.  Also the Sculptor Galaxy in the fall sometimes looks good from home.  

G'day Nankins! There is no star designated as alpha in Vela. I believe the star you saw was Gamma Velorum, the brightest star of Vela. 

 

It is a beautiful sight in the eyepiece, being a wolf rayet multiple star. Congratulations on catching it from your northern latitude!


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#11 dexx

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Posted 04 May 2024 - 03:52 AM

From the southern hemisphere, Omega Cen and 47 Tuc are so bright

47 Tuc is my favorite DSO.  From a Bortle 4 site, i see so many stars in both Omega Cen and 47 Tuc. Its like they become 3D objects with real depth.

The Centaurus A galaxy i've seen only once. A grey fuzzy with a noticeable dark band across it. I'll need a darker sky to see it better.

This is with a 12" F5 Dob. 


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#12 oldphotonm

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Posted 04 May 2024 - 01:06 PM

Seen them both many times from our club observatory in NM at about 35 N lat. Omega swims in the muck at about 7 degrees above the horizon at culmination. On those rare nights where the muck is not so mucky, Omega is splendid with Cent A just a skosh to the north.

 

But I must admit to a bias...

 

Having attended OzSky near Coonabarabran a couple of times, there is no substitute for seeing Omega and Cent A near zenith in the 25" SDM scope there. Words fail me...

 

And as dexx points out, there's the added bonus of 47 Tuc and those magnificent Magellanic Clouds! 


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#13 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 05 May 2024 - 08:50 PM

I've seen NGC 5139 from northern North Carolina at 36 degrees north, as well as from the Prude Ranch in Texas and the Winter Star Party in the Florida Keys.  Most recently, I observed it during the Texas Star Party's TSP 2024 Total Solar Eclipse and Star Party at just under 32 degrees north.

My best views, however, were from the shores of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia.  A friend of mine observed NGC 5139 and NGC 104 (47 Tucanae) at over 500x through a 22" Starmaster Dob from that location.


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#14 bphaneuf

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Posted 05 May 2024 - 08:59 PM

The club's observatory is at 34N, and the south wall of the 24" observatory was kept low specifically for 5139.  I've seen it from there, just above the trees, but the better view is with the monster binoculars we have in the same building - essentially a pair of 5" refractors.  So, yes, it's visible but it's down in the mud.  The dark spot in the core can be made out with the binoculars.

-b


Edited by bphaneuf, 06 May 2024 - 07:06 PM.

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