Galaxy Category

NGC 147

Sketch of NGC 147Click image for larger version. Observation Notes: NGC 147 fits tightly with NGC 185 in the same field with my 32 mm Plossl. At 120X through the Pentax XW10, it appeared as a large and very soft brightening of the sky background with a star superimposed over...

NGC 185

Sketch of NGC 185Click image for larger version. Observation Notes: NGC 185 was one of two fairly subtle galaxies I observed on this evening. Both NGC 185 and NGC 147 fit into the same low power 88 arc minute true field of view. Unfortunately, the fit was too tight to...

Mottled Galaxies

I enjoyed some wonderful galaxy observing in my front yard Tuesday night. It only amounted to 3 galaxies: M49, M61 and M99. But what a sight they were. I've learned that despite being inside the East-Flagstaff Industrial Light Circus, once objects have cleared about 45 degrees elevation, I've got the...
Subject:Messier 51 (NGC 5194/5195) Issue:April 2009 Astronomy Now Basic Media:Graphite on white paper Featured Technique:Use of blending stump and kneaded eraser (putty rubber) to build progressively fainter details in a sketch. Suggested Materials: Strathmore 80# drawing paper 2H and HB drafting pencils Blending stump White plastic eraser Kneaded eraser...
Sketch of Stephan's Quintet (HGC 92 / ARP 319) Move mouse over sketch above to view labelsClick image for larger version. Observation Notes This is a tough observation from home. The soft patches flickering in the vicinity of the cluster were frequent, but difficult to pin down. NGC 7318...

Identifying Members of Hickson 70

If you are a galaxy cluster chaser, you've probably been rummaging through the Hickson clusters on a regular basis. I am not a seasoned Hickson observer--not even close. The only one I've tracked down is Hickson 92: Stephan's Quintet...and even then, I wasn't able to see all 5 members. An...
Click image for larger version. Sketch Refinement - August 1, 2006 I've been wanting to redo the sketch on this observation for some time now. In the original sketch, I plotted a couple key stars near the second dust band too far away from their neighbors. Since I was using...
Observation Notes: This circular galaxy lies about a half degree south of the core of M31. Its luminous profile has a stellar core to it. In the 10 mm eyepiece, the south edge of the galaxy seems to be sharper than the north edge. Factoids: M32 is a bright,...
Observation Notes: Tonight, I thought I would try resolving M33 a bit more. After a brief look in the 32 mm eyepiece, where I noted mottling, I switched to the 10 mm EP. At first, I felt lost. But as I panned around, gradually the core became obvious, and...

Messier 49 (NGC 4472)

Sketch of Messier 49 (NGC 4472)Click image to view larger version. Observation Notes: M49 was elongated at a PA of about 170 degrees and steadily condensed toward the center. The core appeared stellar and made a notable pair with a star 1 arc minute to the east. The galaxy appeared...
Click image to view larger version. Observation Notes: This amazing galaxy pair deserves much more attention than I gave it nearly 4 years ago. This time, I had the benefit of my 8" Dob and Pentax 10XW to help improve the view from the dark sky at Sunset Crater National...
Observation Notes: Such a beautiful galaxy; such a painful observation. M51's large, circular extent reached almost to smaller NGC 5195. The were both arranged in a north-south direction. Both had bright, distinct cores. NGC 5195 looked to be about one-quarter the diameter of M51. My initial impression of M51...
After catching glimpses of Supernova 2005cs in M51 last week. I thought I'd have a try at photographing it. It's been 10 months since I last hooked the camera into the eyepiece and messed with imaging something. (Piggyback wide-field shots are so much easier =) Anyway, I learned a few...

Messier 58

Observation Notes: M58 was my final Virgo Cluster galaxy observation on the evening of July 25. The core was faintly stellar and had a soft plateau of brightness that then dropped off gradually at the edges. It was mildly elliptical at a PA of about 70 degrees. The NGCIC...

Messier 59

Observation Notes: After a satisfying look at M60 and NGC 4647, I moved on to M59. This elliptical galaxy was elongated slightly at a PA of about 160 degrees (ngcic.org lists the PA as 165 degrees). It had a smoothly fading luminosity profile with a pronounced stellar core. Object...

M60 and NGC 4647 - (Arp 116)

Observation Notes: Through my 8" Dobsonian at 120X, M60 was located in the center of an equilateral triangle of stars. It had a stellar core with a smoothly fading luminosity profile. To the northwest at a PA of about 300 degrees, lay a subtle companion galaxy. OK, it was...

Messier 61 (NGC 4303)

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Sketch of Messier 61 (NGC 4303)Click image to view larger version. Observation Notes: I wasn't sure the Swelling Spiral would cooperate, but it gained enough altitude and structure started to materialize. It appeared circular with a suddenly stellar core at first glance. Next to appear was a north-south patch across...

Messier 63 - The Sunflower Galaxy

Observation Notes: This evening, we were visiting friends and the kids were playing inside. I set up the scope in their back yard and gave a brief tour of some prominent DSOs to them before moving on to an official observation. The galaxy, M63, was bright and large, although...

Messier 64

Click image for larger version. Observation Notes: Home is not the best place to soak in galactic light, but I've got to take what I can get! After scooping up a variety of galaxies with my 15 x 70 binoculars, I decided to take a closer look at M64 with...

Messier 65 and Messier 66

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Observation Notes: This is my first go at the galaxy clusters in Leo and Virgo. M65 and M66 were pretty easy to find in the rear leg of Leo. Both fit easily within the 1.3° FOV of the 32 mm eyepiece. M65 was the dimmer of the two. Its...

Messier 74

Observation Notes: This was the 2nd of 2 galaxies I observed the night of an observing trip out to Wupatki National Monument, north of Flagstaff. It was a large diffuse galaxy. The core was on the verge of being stellar, but I don't think I had enough aperture to...

Messier 77

Observation Notes: This was one of 2 galaxies I observed the night of an observing trip out to Wupatki National Monument, north of Flagstaff. The main halo of the galaxy appeared circular, but the core seemed to elongate SW to NE. The center of the core is a thick...
Observation Notes: These 2 galaxies are impressive. They were an amazing treat that fit into the same view together--big and bright. M81 was the larger, brighter, and wider of the two galaxies, elongated north to south. It had a strongly condensed nucleus. It seemed to have a sharper edge...
Binocular Observation: February 22, 2007 Move mouse over sketch to see labels. Click image for larger version. The broad stretches of the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies are a real treat telescopically, but what does it look like through binoculars? And not just any old astronomy-grade binoculars, but really crummy ones?...

Messier 85 (NGC 4382) and NGC 4394

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Sketch of Messier 85 (NGC 4382) and NGC 4394Click image to view larger version. Observation Notes: This was a great pair to observe. M85 had a stellar core and was mildly elongated at a PA of about 25 degrees and appeared to be about 4 x 3 arc minutes in...
Sketch of Messier 87 (NGC 4486), NGC 4478, NGC 4476Click image to view larger version. Observation Notes: Large, bright elliptical galaxy M87 appeared to be aligned at a PA of 100 degrees. It's core appeared stellar, and it shared the field with 2 other galaxies. The next brightest, NGC 4478...

Messier 88 (NGC 4501)

Sketch of Messier 88 (NGC 4501)Click image to view larger version. Observation Notes: During the first few minutes of my observation, M88 appeared to be simply an elongated galaxy with a strongly condensed core aligned at about 135 degrees. After much time glued to the eyepiece, the northwest and southern...

Messier 89 (NGC 4552)

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Sketch of Messier 89 (NGC 4552)Click image to view larger version. Observation Notes: Elliptical galaxy, Messier 89 was a simple visual object: small, circular, about 2 arc minutes in diameter with a stellar appearing core. A double star punctuated the view about 8 arc minutes to the northeast. Sketch/DSS Photo...

Messier 91 (NGC 4548)

Sketch of Messier 91 (NGC 4548)Click image to view larger version. Observation Notes: M91 appeared circular with a strongly condensed core. A prominent bar crossed the disc at a PA of about 80 degrees. The western half of this bar appeared to be a bit brighter. I couldn't detect any...

Messier 95

Observation Notes: This galaxy appears to be mostly circular, with a gradually increasing brightness toward center, with a stellar core. If anything, it may be slightly elongated east to west. Its width was about the same as the distance between two close stars to the west. Factoids: M95 is...

Messier 96, Messier 105 and NGC 3384

Observation Notes: These three galaxies were kind enough to fit in the field of view together. The two galaxies on the north side, M105 and NGC 3384 appeared about 10' apart, nucleus to nucleus. Their nucleii were softly stellar in appearance. M105 appeared basically circular and the brighter of...

Messier 98 (NGC 4192)

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Sketch of Messier 98 (NGC 4192)Click image to view larger version. Observation Notes: M98 had a distinct core, although it didn't appear stellar. It was aligned at a PA of about 160 degrees. The southwest edge was sharpest and it was brightest along the southeast spine. I couldn't detect any...

Messier 99 (NGC 4254)

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Sketch of Messier 99 (NGC 4254)Click image to view larger version. Observation Notes: M99 was difficult to examine, but definitely rewarding. It appeared circular and moderately condensed at first glance. I switched from 120X to 240X and back to try to pick out structure. A star on the edge of...

Messier 100 and SN 2006X

Move mouse over image for labels. Observation Notes: My search for Supernova 2006X, was a good opportunity to observe M100 as well. The galaxy was circular with a bold, condensed core. There was a hint of mottling in its outer stretches. The brightest portion appeared to extend northwest to...
Sketch of Messier 101 (NGC 5457) Move mouse over image to view labels. Observation Notes: Nearly a year ago, I collaborated with Eric Graff to observe as deep into Messier 101 as we could. I didn't end up completing the observation. Nine months later, I finally got around to...

Messier 104

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Click images for larger versions. Observation Notes: It's about time I sketched this beautiful, bright galaxy. Once again, I observed from home, which is not the best place to see structure in galaxies--but the Sombrero was very cooperative. It was conveniently aligned at a PA of 90 degrees. The...

Messier 108

Observation Notes: My first low power view of M108 was a pleasant surprise as it shared the neighborhood with the round planetary nebula, M97. M108 is a strongly elongated galaxy, pointing east to west. The core region displayed a sturdy, rectangular bar that dropped off in brightness rather quickly,...

Messier 109

Observation Notes: I didn't pick up a lot of detail in this galaxy. It displayed an elliptical shape with a strongly condensed core that almost looked double in nature, due to an overlapping foreground star. The galaxy was elongated west-southwest to east-northeast, with a core that seemed to push...
Observation Notes: M110 appears very dim and diffuse. It is larger than M32, but much harder to see. It is elongated NW to SE and sort of points to M32. It is about 3/4 of a degree from the core of M31 to the west. It has a soft,...

Markarian's Chain and Surroundings

Inverted, Positive Sketch of Markarian's Chain Move mouse over image to view labelsClick for larger version. Original Negative Pencil Sketch Observation Notes Markarian's Chain is a wonder to behold. Island universe after island universe trail one another through a slice of sky little more than 2 degrees across. In...

Markarian's Chain

Sketch of Markarian's Chain in the Virgo Cluster Move mouse over image to view labels (magnitudes listed in parentheses)Click for larger version. Observation Notes: The heart of the Virgo Cluster is a wonderful place to visit from a dark site. Every nudge of the telescope brings another galaxy...or three...

NGC 404 - The Ghost of Mirach

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Observation Notes: What a beautiful sight! The soft, round galaxy shared the view with the brilliant, citrusy orange Mirach. The galaxy itself had a gradual condensation toward the center. Seeing was too soft to see whether the core was stellar though. It appeared to be about 1.5 - 2...

NGC 891

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Sketch of NGC 891 Observation Notes: This large, edge-on galaxy is no friend of man-made light sources. It was not difficult to find, but was still rather subtle from my back yard. It appeared as a slender, soft brightening of the sky and shared space with one rather distracting...

NGC 1023

Observation Notes: While browsing my star atlas for likely targets in the cloud free northern stretches of the sky, I ran across a reference to NGC 1023. Even at low power, while centering the view, the galaxy displayed an elongated profile. The 120X view was the best magnification, and...

NGC 3090

Observation Notes: After hunting for a variety of challenging objects in the constellation Sextans and coming up empty-handed on several counts, I finally settled upon this diminutive puff. NGC 3090 showed up about 30 arcseconds from a prominent star. This galaxy resides in the midst of a cluster of...

NGC 3166 and 3169

NGC 3166 lies to the west and NGC 3169 to the east.Click above image for larger version. Observation Notes: After tracking down NGC 3090, I headed for this beautiful pair. Under less than ideal conditions, general elongation and structure were difficult to discern. The view was still stunning as the...

NGC 5128 (Centaurus A)

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Observation Notes: This was probably the fourth time I've made a telescopic observation of Centaurus A, but I finally got down to business and made a sketch this time. I was observing at Cinder Hills Overlook with Eric Graff, his family, David Sanders, and Scott & Dena Garfinkel. Everybody...

NGC 5419

Observation Notes: This little elliptical galaxy had a strongly condensed core, and appeared to be elongated at a PA of about 120° and a diameter of about 2 arcminutes. According to the DSS image, its outer halo looks more like a PA of 80°. Object Information NGC 5419 was...

NGC 5866 (Messier 102)

Observation Notes: NGC 5866 appeared small, bright and strongly elongated. I estimated its length at about three arc minutes with a width less than one arc minute. My observation and sketch estimate a PA of 118 degrees. NGCIC.org lists 128 degrees. Although the galaxy possesses a thin dust lane,...

NGC 6207

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Observation Notes: I had never taken the time to look for this galaxy next to M13, but it was visible without much effort through the 8-inch Dob. It shared the view with it's huge globular cluster neighbor at low power. The 120X view offered the best view, showing the...

NGC 7331

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Sketch of NGC 7331 Observation Notes: I have glanced at and passed over this galaxy a number of times on my way to other nearby sights, such as Stephan's Quintet. On this evening, I finally settled down for a nice, long look at it. Although I would have loved to...
Sketch of the Winter Milky Way (Auriga to Canis Major) Move mouse over image to view labelsClick for larger version. Observation Notes: From a true, dark sky, nothing can compare to a naked eye view of the Milky Way. During the winter months in the Northern Hemisphere, we face...

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