4 Observations and Sketches April 8, 2010

So, have you ever done something that is just plain dumb when it comes to observing? I have to admit that yesterday I packed up to go to a dark site and after loading up, the sink was backed up in the kitchen. So I fixed that and then got in the car and took off. About one-third of the way there I realized that I had left my eyepiece case at home! By the time I turned around and got home it was 10:00a.m. and I had a very important meeting today with my 16 year old son so I didn't get out last night! Next weekend is looking promising right now, we'll see how the week goes.

On Thursday, April 8th, 2010 (my son's birthday) I was able to get out and get four objects in before the clouds came rolling in and I needed to get in and get to bed for work. Yes, it was my son's birthday but we don't celebrate birthdays if they fall on a weekday until the next Saturday. He did get his presents (all but one) so I was there for that. To make it clear, my kids and wife are my priority though I am fortunate that my wife loves that I have a hobby and my son often views with me so if I want to go out, its not a problem. All images from DSS are from their site and all credit is given to them.

On April 8th, conditions were good, but nothing like on April 7th, 2010. Tonight there was some scintillation on the stars resulting in a seeing of II on the Antoniadi Scale. The conditions were clear and mild (in the low to mid forties).

1. NGC 4102 Mixed Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major
RA 12h 06m 4s
Dec: +52 43m
Mag: 11.2
Size 2.9' x 1.8'
Seeing Antoniadi Scale: II
XT10, 13mm Stratus, 2x barlow

O'Meara's directions are spot on in his guide yet I used the Sky Atlas 2000, either will serve you. The galaxy has a bright inner core that is stellar like with averted vision. The core is surrounded by a soft halo that is diffused. There is an eleventh magnitude star involved in the galaxy. O'Meara suggests it could be thought to be a supernova but it is not.

2. NGC 3982 Mixed Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major
RA 11h 56m 5s
Dec: +55 08m
05:12 UT
Seeing Antoniadi Scale: II
Mag: 11.0
Size: 2.2' x 2.0'
XT10, 13mm Stratus, 2x barlow

This is a very, very, VERY faint galaxy to view from my home. Very faint halo/glow in a ball shape, and it is very diffused. No core is visible, just the shape of the galaxy. No other details. If your not in a yellow sky this will be a hard object to track down. Then again, pushing conditions, limits and seeing is very enjoyable.

3. NGC 3998 Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major
RA 11h 57m 9s
Dec: +55 27m
05:31 UT
Seeing Antoniadi Scale: II
Conditions: Clear, Mild, Few Clouds to the north.
Mag: 10.7
Size: 3.0' x 2.6'
XT10, 13mm Stratus, 2x barlow

This galaxy has a very bright inner core, and is easy to find/spot. The core is stellar with direct vision and doesn't change if you use averted vision. The shape of the halo is round, and the halo is visible with direct vision, while averted vision brings more of the shape out, making it larger in size. By doing this the galaxy is seen much larger than if you rush through it. Give this some time to get the detail out. A fun, small galaxy to visit.

4. NGC 3898 Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major
RA 11h 49m 2s
Dec +56 05m
05:51 UT
Seeing Antoniadi Scale: II
Conditions: Mild, clear , clouds are starting to roll in, high cirrus clouds also starting to roll in.
Mag. 10.7
Size: 3.3' x 1.9'
XT10, 13mm Stratus, 2x barlow

Easy to find using an atlas or O'Meara's directions. This galaxy has a very bright core that is surrounded by a fainter halo that is just off from being curricular. Halo is diffused on the edge and no other detail is viewable.

I could have stayed out with having some patience as the clouds came in and then broke away, and then came back etc. I was out the night before and had planned to be out on Saturday (which didn't happen) so I decided to bag it up and bring it in. Overall it was a good night. Clear Skies.