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Old 31-07-2014, 07:20 PM
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mental4astro (Alexander)
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: sydney, australia
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Polarissima Australis

This is one of the three sketches I managed to do at this year's Astrofest in Queensland.

While the northern sky has its distinct star Polaris, the Southern sky has no such similar beacon. The closest relatively bright star to the South Celestial Pole is Sigma Octanes, but it is a few degrees away, and is not a very bright star at all. There is one catalogued object that is actually closer to the SCP, a tiny magnitude 14 galaxy that has the beautiful name 'Polarissima Australis'. Yet despite having such a special place in the sky, and having its own distinct name, there are actually very few photos/images of NGC 2573.

I've been wanting to sketch this faint distant island universe since I first glimpsed it a few years ago. But it has proved to be very illusive. Being so faint and small, it demands good transparency to be seen otherwise its soft light just doesn't make it through to our instruments. At a distance of some 128million light years, it is not a surprise really. The very first time I spotted it, it was a much easier task. Other nights I looked for it, it was invisible, testament to poor transparency. This night it did reveal itself, it wasn't an easy exercise. Curiously though, I spotted two other fainter objects within the same field of view. While I've put them on the sketch, I've been struggling to gather any information about these two objects. I haven't been able to find anything at all about there being two faint fuzzies in the positions I've put these two on, even though other fellows during the night also spotted them, confirming my sightings.

It is not the most spectacular of objects in the sky. Far from it. But its special place in the heavens, and the challenge it presents to observe, certainly warrants its sketching.

Object: Polarissima Australis, NGC 2573
Telescope: 17.5" push-pull Karee dob
Gear: 13mm LVW, 154X
Location: Linville, Queensland, Australia
Date: 25th July, 2014
Media: Soft Pastel and white ink on A4 size black paper
Duration: approx 1/2hr.
Attached Thumbnails
Click for full-size image (Polarissima Australis - LR.JPG)
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