The Goassamers of Coma Berenices by Sue French: An observing session in Late March.

Well, the survey results have come in and I have 32 No's that I should end this blog. So I'll keep it going. Probably a good thing since I have so much here.

Well, I got out for one night over the last week on March 28th, 2017.  Roads going out to Forest Road 006 was wet, a little muddy at pots, with the usual winter ruts from those four wheeling in the mud of winter now apparent. The Outback had no problem getting there though so all was good. Juniper Grove observing site was dry, from exposure to the Sun for the day and there was a slight breeze during setup that went away as night arrived. There was no one else out there and all was quiet except for the usual (and return) of the coyotes welcoming the night.  The snow on the Sheeprock Mountains is still deep and low as it will take some time for the snow to be melted down.  That or a good hot spell!

Here are some pics of the drive in.

I decided this night to do something different and not just work my usual NGC/IC or Herschel 2500 list. I took Sue French's Deep-Sky Wonders from May, named The Goassamers of Coma Berenices. I did not get all the objects in that chapter but many and had a wonderful evening observing them.

Here is the information that is the same across all observations.

Date: March 28th to March 29th, 2017
Conditions: Antoniadi II
Temperature: Start 44 degrees F to 36 degrees F at the end.
17.5" dob f/4.4 Star Catcher
Paracorr Type II

1. NGC 4565 an edge on spiral galaxy in Coma Berenices.  10:35pm MDT; 10mm Pentax XW.  Long edge on spiral with a very bright inner core.  Dust lane easily visible with mottling in the lane. Excellent edge on spiral to take a look at.  Edges fade into the background and rich star field evident.

2. Abell 36 or PK 318 + 41.1 Planetary Nebula in Virgo.  11:30pm MDT with 22mm T4 Nagler and 10mm Pentax XW.  Thousand Oaks OIII Filter 1 1/2" and 2".  
Planetary nebula is quite easily observed as is the central star that is easily seen.  There is some mottling near the center and brightening on the edges hinting of structure there. 

3. Hickson 61 in Coma Berenices; 12:10am MDT; 22mm T4 Nagler, 20mm Pentax XW, 14mm Pentax XW.  
HIckson 61 is a fun box of galaxies. NGC 4169 is the brightest and an elliptical galaxy with a large inner core.  It is in the center of the sketch.  NGC 4174 is above 4169 and to the right the top galaxy. NGC 4174 is a compact and even surface brightness galaxy that is rather bright.  NGC 4175 is to the right of NGC 4174 and is a little bit fainter than its neighbor, even surface brightness.  NGC 4173 is the long, faint narrow galaxy on the far right and leaning to the bottom is a very faint halo/galaxy that took inverted vision to see. It was better with the 22mm T4 Nagler overall. A fun box of galaxies to view and NGC 4173 is the  challenge object here, aperture helps with that object. 

4. Longore -Tritton Planetary Nebula in Coma Berenices. 11:00pm MDT; 22mm T4 Nagler, 17.3mm Delos; DGM and Thousand Oaks OIII Filters, 1 1/4" and 2".  

This is a really large and faint PN with a 8.8mag. central star.  Not overly hard to observe but the top sketch is more like what I saw at the eyepiece but I had issues again with my camera in regards to the lightening. I made a second sketch trying to show the half brighter part and the quarter slice that was brighter and the two other quarter parts that are fainter, one being very faint (on the top left).  My Thousand Oaks OIII 1 1/4" and 2" filters provided the best view.  As I stated, half of the PN is easily seen and the other parts needed averted vision to pull them out and good dark adaptation.

5. NGC 4559 Spiral Galaxy in Coma Berenices 10:00pm MDT 10mm Pentax & 22mm T4 Nagler. 
I have observed this galaxy before back in 2010 Link. Lays Northwest to Southeast and has a bright inner core region and oval in shape.  

6. NGC 4725 Spiral Galaxies in Coma Berenices, also known as the Tie Fighter.  11:50pm MDT; 22mm T4 Nagler, 10mm Pentax XW.  
I have observed this before back on May 28th, 2012 on my blog here, and you can compare the views and sketch. That is with a 14" and this one is the 17.5"  This is a nice, large spiral galaxy with a good dark lane present. Two outer arms is easily seen.  Has a bright inner core with a stellar nucleus. There is mottling around the core with hints of structure.  Fun observation.