April 18th to 19th, 2010 Herschel Galaxies in Leo and Leo Minor

Well, I went out and got a whole bunch done last night. Wasn't the best of conditions to start off with, but that improved. It's goes back to my motto right now, observe when you can and as often as the sky allows. Last night was the last time I felt I could go after the galaxies I need without 1. Setting up like at 1:00a.m. (may do that) for a few days or the moon just washes out the Herschel Galaxies I need. I'm gong to leave the DSS images off. I would welcome input if others find including them useful?

I started off the evening collimating and then taking a look at Saturn. Saturn at 57x, 92x, 133x and 240x looked really stellar and even at 240x held the image about 70% of the time and more as I sketched this planet for the first time (sorry not in this lot, this is for Herschel items, right?). After Saturn I noticed seeing still wasn't that good so I headed up to Leo and looked at M65 and 66. Nice and wonderful looking as always. The triplet wasn't evident at this time because of the moon wash from the waxing crescent moon I suppose.

I finally got going around 10:30p.m. MDS or 05:30 UT. Here are the observations and sketches.

Object: NGC 3379 Elliptical Galaxy in Leo (also known as Messier 105 or M105).
Time: 10:22 MDT or 05:22 UT
Seeing: III Antoniadi, Clear, mild.
RA 10h 47m 8s
Dec. +12 25m
Mag. 9.3
Size 3.9' x 3.9
13mm Stratus @ 92x; 9mm Expanse @ 133x

Thought I'd try that old Expanse and she is still working really well for me. Key is knowing where to place one's eye but no kidney beaning or dark outs. 92x shows a stellar core that is small and bright. The outer halo is dimmer, ellipical in shape with the SE and NW portions brighter, SE is much brighter overall though. 133x shows a much brighter core, and increases its size. Averted vision is needed to see the full extent of the outer halo, which diffuses out on the edge.

The sketch is below the next observation since they shared the same FOV.

Object: NGC 3384 Barred Spiral Galaxy in Leo
Date: 4/18/2010
Time: 10:34p.m. MDT, 05:34 UT (spent over 40 minutes here but same FOV).
Seeing: Antoniadi III, clear and mild, slight breeze.
RA 10h 48m 3s
Dec +12 38m
Mag 9.9
Size: 5.5' x 2.9'
13mm Stratus @ 92x; 9mm Expanse @ 133x

At 92x tonight the core is very stellar with a little hint of a halo around it. At 133x the core is slightly larger, very stellar now, yet still somewhat dim. Using the breathing technique (hyperventilating for several breaths) combined with averted vision brought out the full extent of the halo around the core. There is a 12 mag (?) star just to the east of M105 that comes out also with the averted vision and breathing technique. Halo seems to comes to a point on each end.

Object: NGC 3377 Elliptical Galaxy in Leo
Date: 4/18/2010
Time: 11:24pm MDT or 06:24 UT
Seeing II on Antoniadi Scale, Clear, mild, breeze of around 5mph gusting to 10mph
RA: 10h 47m 7s
Dec: +13 59m
Mag: 10.9
Size: 4.1' x 2.6'
13mm Stratus @ 92x; 5mm Hyperion @ 240x

Telrad to 52 Leonis and then go right in the EP and there it is. Easy to spot. At 92x the core is mildly bright, not intense or brilliant. The halo surrounding the core is a dark shade of gray. The galaxy is oriented NE to SW and averted vision extends the galaxy to a spindle shape. Best to view this galaxy without 53 Leonis' light in the FOV.

240x brings out a much larger core, but diminishes the halo, something I don't see to often with a galaxy but I have had it happen. With patience though, at 240x and working averted vision with direct vision, you can really show off the galaxy's length with periods of good seeing.

NGC 3412 Barred Spiral Galaxy in Leo
Date: 4/19/2010
Time: 12:09am MDT or 07:09 UT
Seeing II to I, slight breeze, 5mph <, Clear and Mild RA: 0h 50m 9s Dec. +13 25m Mag. 10.5 Size: 3.3' x 2.0' XT10 13mm Stratus @ 92x Start back at 52 Leonis and go two stars (HIP53097 and HIP 53075 I believe) that are close together, and SW from those two stars is the BSG. The core is stellar, very bright surrrounded by a moderately bright halo. The galaxy forms a right triangle with the two stars. Averted vision brings out an irregular shape to the galaxy somewhat. The galaxy seems spread out from the NW to the SE, then at times I want to say I am seeing a more rounded/irregular shape. 240x brings out a strong and bright core, and more rounded shape with an irregular halo.

Object: NGC 3489 Mixed Spiral Galaxy in Leo
Date: 4/19/2010
Time: 12:45a.m. MDT, 07:45 UT
Seeing: II Antoniadi Scale, clear, cool, no wind or breeze
RA 11h 00m 3s
Dec: +13 54m
Mag. 10.3
Size: 3.2' x 2.0'
13mm Stratus @ 92x
5mm Hyperion @ 240x

92x shows a moderate size, round bright core in the midst of a fading halo that is much dimmer than the core. 240x really improves the view of the entire galaxy. The core is now stellar and surrounded by an inner halo of white brightness. An outer halo is evident that seems to extend west, south-west, to east, north-east. It is fairly evident. I sketched this galaxy at both 92x and 240x but only the 92x is shown. The galaxy also sits in the middle of an equilateral triangle. Nice galaxy to get detail out of.

Object: NGC 3245 Spiral Galaxy in Leo Minor
Date: 4/19/2010
Time: 02:00am MDT or 09:00 UT
Seeing: II Antoniadi Scale, Clear, Calm, Cool
RA 10h 27m 3s
Dec: +28 30m
Mag: 10.8
Size: 2.9' x 2.0'
13mm Stratus @ 92x

Face on spiral galaxy sitting north to south. At 92x with averted vision it shows the core better than with direct vision. Core is stellar, bright, and the halo surrounding it is diffused, gray and very faint. Averted vision shows more of the size of the halo and its shape which appears roundish. Lays in an interesting position, forming the top of a triangle with two stars as the base corners. Not much detail, basically you detect this one and see it, but I like the field of view. My sketch has this too bright for direct vision.

Object: NGC 3277 Spiral Galaxy in Leo Minor
Date: 4/19/2010
Time: 02:22am MDT or 09:22 UT
Seeing: II Antoniadi Scale, Clear, Cool
RA 10h 32m 9s
Dec +28 31m
Mag: 11.7
Size: 2.2' x 2.0'
13mm Stratus @92x
5mm Hyperion @ 240x

This is an EXTREMELY faint galaxy unless your in a good dark site. At 92x and 240x I can discern a VERY small and stellar core and only with averted vision. Breathing helps to bring out the halo as does averted vision which is faint also, fainter than the core. This one took some time and patience to bring it out. I would not have sketched it figured perhaps my poor ability will help someone.

Object: NGC 3344 Mixed Spiral Galaxy in Leo Minor (FAVORITE OF THE NIGHT!).
Date: 4/19/2010
Time: 02:45am MDT or 09:45 UT
Seeing: II Antoniadi Scale, clear and mild, calm
RA 10h 43m 5s
Dec: +24 55m
Mag: 9.3
Size: 6.7' x 6.3'
13mm Stratus @ 92x
5mm Hyperion @ 240x

A beautiful non-Messier galaxy and one that I will be back for a return visit, and probably more than once. The galaxy takes magnification well. At 92x the outer halo has a somewhat milky or fuzzy appearance. At first this reminded me of M78 but the more I observed, the more stars I saw near the halo. There is a bright 10th mag (?) star is evident close to the core. At 240x there are more stars in and around the halo that are evident. Fun object, and I look forward to seeing more of this one.

Object: NGC 3414 Lenticular Galaxy in Leo Minor
Date: 4/19/2010
Seeing: II Antoniadi, Cool, Clear, no breeze
RA 10h 51m 3s
Dec +27 59m
Mag: 11.0
Size: 3.0' x 2.4
13mm Stratus @ 92x

This is another very faint galaxy to locate in LP skies. The core at 92x is very small, pin point to be exact. The core is also bright. I can discern a very faint and small halo around the object with averted vision. Not one to write home on.

Well, I fear that is it for the Herschel objects until we get to the waning phase of the moon, when it doesn't rise to late at night. I am going to be observing the moon in my 8 inch scope, doing some sketching and probably looking at Saturn for practice as well. If I do something I'll post it. I may get up early one morning in the next two weeks and try to squeeze a view in. Clear skies to you, may your equipment always work faithfully, and may you truly marvel as you explore the wonders of our universe.