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Old 04-05-2013, 01:22 PM
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shelltree (Shelley)
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Observation Report 03.05.13

Well, it sure has been awhile since I got out the telescope and did some observing. I had to dust cobwebs off Berenice

Made a trip to Lake Maroon which isn't the best observing wise (trees etc) but was keen to get a timelapse set up that I started the last time we were there and wanted to try it again. So, got the camera running and off to observe...

Boy am I rusty! But I did far better than I thought. I had a feeling I'd be staring up at the sky like but most of it came back to me with a little refresher

I decided I wanted to find Centaurus A again as the first time I saw it was through my horrid 10mm plossl, so I popped in my beautiful Pentax 10mm and off I went. Well, I remembered that to find Cent A, I first had to find the triangle in Centaurus but I saw a few and got a bit bamboozled After a couple of tries and back and forth with the binoculars, there it was!

My reaction was something akin to followed by a ridiculous happy dance And WOW! The 10mm sure did it justice, even with the less than good seeing that night. It was so big in the eyepiece with a definite dark lane of dust cutting through the galaxy. On one side it appeared to be tendrils of dust but the detail faded in and out. There was also two bright stars I could see, one diagonally above the dark lane and one below. I was so blown away by how incredible it was!

Next I had a look at 47 Tuc but the seeing was so shocking in the direction of the Magellanic Clouds, that it literally looked like an out of focus blob of nothing. I was disappointed I couldn't get to see it through the new eyepiece but decided another galaxy was on the cards.

After fumbling around with StarMapPro and making silly mistakes like mistaking Arcturus for Spica , I realised Saturn was up and focused my attention on that. Oh my goodness! The detail was mind boggling! The rings were so detailed and crisp and you could even see a lovely band of colour along the southern hemisphere.

After that, I went back to my original subject that I'd wanted to find and the reason why I was looking for Spica. M104! I have found it before and vaguely remembered the hop and the asterism to find it. I found Algorab and followed it down to a triangle of stars then the two small clusters of stars that had me right on the money! A much better view than I'd had of it previously, with a large bulging centre that was so very bright against the rest of the galaxy. It was wispy elsewhere and slightly defined but not fantastic. One to go back to though for sure!

Seeing as I was on a roll with galaxies, I decided to go for NGC5102. Once I got iota cen lined up in the eyepiece, it wasn't too hard to find Very faint this one, almost just looks like a star but it's definitely got that fuzzy galaxy thing going on Woohoo, 3 galaxies in one night! No new objects but it was a chance to put my skills to practise again as I was very, very rusty!

I had a look at Omega Cen as well, old faithful The seeing was rubbish so it wasn't pin sharp but it filled up the 10mm beautifully, so stunning even in rubbish conditions!

I did try for blue planetary AGAIN but no luck This object continues to elude me and it's very frustrating! I will try again tonight

I also tried for M87 but the LP was really bad in that direction and I just couldn't get my bearings so instead I took a finally quick peak at Centaurus A again (surely one of my favourite objects now!) and called it a night

Feeling rather sore and sleepy so I think a nap is in order before I head out again tonight!
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:33 PM
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Way to go Shell- what an awesome night it sounds like you had and what a fabulous, excitable obs report- I had this huge grin on my face as I was reading it , thank you for sharing your night. That 10mm XW sure is a dream isn't it *sigh*.

I've spent my last 3 sessions straight exploring Canis Major to the max, so when I get myself into action, I plan to pop up a report (most of it typed out already)- been ages for me too (doing a report here!). There's so many delights in CM and as I don't ever seem to hear much about that area, I decided to delve in there and take a look-see for myself!

I should be out there tonight, but it's 9.30pm and Russ has just left for an overseas trip for a midnight flight, so I donated precious astro time to him (yes, I'm an overly generous astro chick lol ). Contemplating now if I want to wait the hour for my scope to cool and set up... hmmm it's late... so I'll see. Hmmm just had a thought 4" might come out to play... It's always a fun time doing obs notes against that and a 10" . It's 9.30pm now, so I'll have dinner and see I go. Wonder how it stacks up with M104 against the 10"
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:45 PM
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Sounds like a good night out Shelly. There is something special about M104 and the XW 10....sigh is the only word really. I left some photons as I had a brief look on Thursday night with my XW 10. I love mine, and all the rest of em...see my siggy. It's mostly because of Suzy's long and very informative threads Have also joined the 10" reflector crowd (thanks Lars) and hope to have it up and running soon.
Matt
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Old 05-05-2013, 04:47 AM
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glenc (Glen)
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Well down Shelley. Paul and I saw lots of DSO last night to.
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by MattT View Post
. It's mostly because of Suzy's long and very informative threads
Awwwww shucks! *blush*
Ultimately the credit goes to John Bambury and the incredible input by him (in particular) and others that steered me in the right direction. The eyepiece threads were fed so well with information and I'm really proud of them actually, and so thankful to all those who contributed.
I don't normally observe with glasses (tho one day I think it may end up being that way), but I have tried to observe with my glasses on using a 15mm eye relief ep (Orion Expanse plossl I use on the 4")). Could be just me, but I couldn't get it to happen. Perhaps a wide view ep would've helped somewhat, or a scope that I didn't have to manually move (dob) to keep the object within the fov and look for things. I had to keep moving by head around the ep and kept knocking it with my glasses. That's just my experience anyway. I actually thought I might be just okay with it. Just can't beat that 20mm eye relief for comfort, with or without glasses. Oh gosh... this is my weakness, talking about eyepieces- I'm waffling! One day, I would love to observe through a Ziess ortho! Yep.. still waffling.

Hubby says I ask too many questions but works in my favour sometimes. He reckons I should have been a cop or a lawyer but I'm afraid of getting hurt and as for lawyer well I cry easily. Tho I always did fancy myself writing those jingles for commercials, I could do a telescope commercial that'd make MoJo proud.... .

Btw, I noticed you have one more XW than me.
Jealous!
All the best Matt!
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:51 AM
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astroron (Ron)
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Awwwww shucks! *blush*
Ultimately the credit goes to John Bambury and the incredible input by him (in particular) and others that steered me in the right direction. The eyepiece threads were fed so well with information and I'm really proud of them actually, and so thankful to all those who contributed.
I don't normally observe with glasses (tho one day I think it may end up being that way), but I have tried to observe with my glasses on using a 15mm eye relief ep (Orion Expanse plossl I use on the 4")). Could be just me, but I couldn't get it to happen. Perhaps a wide view ep would've helped somewhat, or a scope that I didn't have to manually move (dob) to keep the object within the fov and look for things. I had to keep moving by head around the ep and kept knocking it with my glasses. That's just my experience anyway. I actually thought I might be just okay with it. Just can't beat that 20mm eye relief for comfort, with or without glasses. Oh gosh... this is my weakness, talking about eyepieces- I'm waffling! One day, I would love to observe through a Ziess ortho! Yep.. still waffling.

Hubby says I ask too many questions but works in my favour sometimes. He reckons I should have been a cop or a lawyer but I'm afraid of getting hurt and as for lawyer well I cry easily. Tho I always did fancy myself writing those jingles for commercials, I could do a telescope commercial that'd make MoJo proud.... .

Btw, I noticed you have one more XW than me.
Jealous!
All the best Matt!
Definitely Waffling there Suzy
Bit Early for the Sauce isn't it
Cheers
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:03 AM
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Good report Shelley, here's hoping you get to add to your tally next weekend
Cheers
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:09 AM
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shelltree (Shelley)
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Originally Posted by Suzy View Post
Way to go Shell- what an awesome night it sounds like you had and what a fabulous, excitable obs report- I had this huge grin on my face as I was reading it , thank you for sharing your night. That 10mm XW sure is a dream isn't it *sigh*.

I've spent my last 3 sessions straight exploring Canis Major to the max, so when I get myself into action, I plan to pop up a report (most of it typed out already)- been ages for me too (doing a report here!). There's so many delights in CM and as I don't ever seem to hear much about that area, I decided to delve in there and take a look-see for myself!

I should be out there tonight, but it's 9.30pm and Russ has just left for an overseas trip for a midnight flight, so I donated precious astro time to him (yes, I'm an overly generous astro chick lol ). Contemplating now if I want to wait the hour for my scope to cool and set up... hmmm it's late... so I'll see. Hmmm just had a thought 4" might come out to play... It's always a fun time doing obs notes against that and a 10" . It's 9.30pm now, so I'll have dinner and see I go. Wonder how it stacks up with M104 against the 10"
It sure is a dream! When I first saw Centaurus A through it, I nearly cried! I think Jase thought I'd actually finally lost the plot

Oh yes, please do Suz! I love to read other people's views on observing, it always inspires me to get out there again

I've gotta say, I was really pumped afterwards and assured myself I'd go out again Saturday night and give it another crack but boy, I was tired. I even had a nap at about 3pm and was still sleepy! So I stayed in and watched a show, saying to myself "I'll be well rested Sunday so maybe Sunday night" and now it's cloudy

The 4" would be so much fun to use and a challenge too! And definitely a good comparison to the 10" I hope you got out there and had some fun!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattT View Post
Sounds like a good night out Shelly. There is something special about M104 and the XW 10....sigh is the only word really. I left some photons as I had a brief look on Thursday night with my XW 10. I love mine, and all the rest of em...see my siggy. It's mostly because of Suzy's long and very informative threads Have also joined the 10" reflector crowd (thanks Lars) and hope to have it up and running soon.
Matt
*sigh* is definitely a perfect explanation. That and giggling like a crazy person but maybe that's just the astro chick way That eyepiece is a beauty and I haven't even used it in fantastic conditions yet! I definitely have to thank Suz as well for making the decision to get the 10mm. Being the lovely, helpful astro chick she is, she invited me over to take a peak through her collection so I could decide for myself. Seeing Orion Neb and Jupiter through it made me almost cry with awe!

I definitely want more but alas, building a house this year so no new toys for me!

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Originally Posted by glenc View Post
Well down Shelley. Paul and I saw lots of DSO last night to.
Cheers Glen! It was a bit of a fumble because I'm out of practise but great to get back out there! Glad you got to see a heap of sky goodies too, it was a great night for it

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Good report Shelley, here's hoping you get to add to your tally next weekend
Cheers
Thanks Ron I'm really hoping the weather holds up for next weekend, it's been far too long!
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:10 AM
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shelltree (Shelley)
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Definitely Waffling there Suzy
Bit Early for the Sauce isn't it
Cheers
Hahaha! Waffling is what astro chicks do best Once the astro talk starts, it truly never stops!
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Old 05-05-2013, 08:18 PM
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Sounds like a great night and fun with a top eyepiece. Saturn is looking such a treat as the rings open up. Good to see some observing happening again up north!
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Old 06-05-2013, 07:06 AM
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shelltree (Shelley)
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Sounds like a great night and fun with a top eyepiece. Saturn is looking such a treat as the rings open up. Good to see some observing happening again up north!
It was certainly great to get back out there, I had loads of fun It definitely is, I was absolutely gobsmacked at the detail, especially in the rings! I'm so very glad we've had some clear weather lately after all this cloudy/rainy yuckiness.

And thankful it's getting into the cooler months, I always end up observing more during Autumn/Winter than Summer and Spring. Generally better conditions, better seeing and no pesky mosquitos/ripply wobbly observing from the heat. Plus the sun sets sooner so I don't feel like I've just set up and it's time for bed! Hard when I need to be up at 5:30am for work everyday but I'd prefer that than getting home at 6:30pm and being rushed.

Half the time I don't end up sleeping til late anyway Damn things distracting me! Anyway, the purpose of that rant was, this observing sesh got me craving astronomy again so hoping to get out there more often again!
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:11 PM
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Seeing as I was on a roll with galaxies, I decided to go for NGC5102. Once I got iota cen lined up in the eyepiece, it wasn't too hard to find Very faint this one, almost just looks like a star but it's definitely got that fuzzy galaxy thing going on Woohoo, 3 galaxies in one night! No new objects but it was a chance to put my skills to practise again as I was very, very rusty!
Shelley,

NGC 5102 is a remarkably tough object for visual observers, especially considering that its total visual magnitude is around 9.6!!

It is a very extended object, so its extremely-diffuse and Low Surface Brightness appearance is equivalent to smearing a 9.6 magnitude star over a large area of sky (about 9 by 3 arcminutes, or even larger to fainter levels of surface brightness)

So keep on trying!

I have been able to see the actual outline of this galaxy with 8-10 inches of aperture, but the sky needs to be very dark and very transparent.

In poorer skies, it is only possible to see the brightest & very centralmost part of this galaxy.

Admittedly, the below image of NGC 5102 is in the near-infrared, but because the stars in this galaxy are mostly old, a visual-wavelengths image would look similar.
This image is from the 2MASS survey, which were all short exposures;
in my view, this is a fair representation of what this galaxy would look like visually, under absolutely perfect conditions:

Click image for larger version

Name:	2MASS_NGC_5102_JHK.jpg
Views:	20
Size:	34.0 KB
ID:	138865

Cheers,
Robert
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Old 10-05-2013, 01:58 PM
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Shelley,

NGC 5102 is a remarkably tough object for visual observers, especially considering that its total visual magnitude is around 9.6!!

It is a very extended object, so its extremely-diffuse and Low Surface Brightness appearance is equivalent to smearing a 9.6 magnitude star over a large area of sky (about 9 by 3 arcminutes, or even larger to fainter levels of surface brightness)

So keep on trying!

I have been able to see the actual outline of this galaxy with 8-10 inches of aperture, but the sky needs to be very dark and very transparent.

In poorer skies, it is only possible to see the brightest & very centralmost part of this galaxy.

Admittedly, the below image of NGC 5102 is in the near-infrared, but because the stars in this galaxy are mostly old, a visual-wavelengths image would look similar.
This image is from the 2MASS survey, which were all short exposures;
in my view, this is a fair representation of what this galaxy would look like visually, under absolutely perfect conditions:

Attachment 138865

Cheers,
Robert
Hmmm do you think maybe I was looking at something else then? Seemed to be in the right spot and had the slightest amount of fuzz. No detail at all, just seemed like a star that was smudged so I knew it wasn't "just a star". The picture you've provided seems spot on the money too, so I'm really confused now haha. And I've found it a few times now in the same spot.
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Old 10-05-2013, 03:23 PM
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Shelley,Weather permitting we will find it again together,so you can put your mind at rest.
BTW I never found it a problem in my 8" SCT from Burpengary, and is a cinch here at Cambroon.
No problems with the 16"
Cheers
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Old 10-05-2013, 04:44 PM
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Definitely Waffling there Suzy
Bit Early for the Sauce isn't it
Cheers
You're just lucky I deleted a fair wack off that post then arent ya!

Btw I nabbed M104 and NGC 5102 in my 4" dob- juuuuuust! Intsy Wintsy spots of fuzz they were. But awesome that the little scope was capable of it nevertheless . I really need to remind myself that I have a bigger telescope. 4" is getting way too much use lately. But I do enjoy it as it's a challenge.


It's an easy catch Shell, it sounds like that's it. There is no other bright-ish galaxy right next to iota Centaurus, so I'm fairly certain that's it. Sometimes only the core is visible but on occasions of better seeing conditions I've seen the faint extensions quite easily (not the outline tho as Robert was talking about). It looks like a brick, rectangle in appearance. I hadn't noticed that shape until an fb buddy told me to look for it and there it was!

Did you use the XW10? That's what I use to observe it with. It's within the same f.o.v. as iota. Perhaps pop iota out the way to get a bit more detail on it.

Robert,
As usual your posts are very educational, thank you!
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Old 10-05-2013, 10:05 PM
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shelltree (Shelley)
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Shelley,Weather permitting we will find it again together,so you can put your mind at rest.
BTW I never found it a problem in my 8" SCT from Burpengary, and is a cinch here at Cambroon.
No problems with the 16"
Cheers
Sounds great Ron I'm fairly certain I'm on the money but would like to know for sure Weather is SO clear tonight, can it be this clear tomorrow night too!?

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Originally Posted by Suzy View Post
You're just lucky I deleted a fair wack off that post then arent ya!

Btw I nabbed M104 and NGC 5102 in my 4" dob- juuuuuust! Intsy Wintsy spots of fuzz they were. But awesome that the little scope was capable of it nevertheless . I really need to remind myself that I have a bigger telescope. 4" is getting way too much use lately. But I do enjoy it as it's a challenge.


It's an easy catch Shell, it sounds like that's it. There is no other bright-ish galaxy right next to iota Centaurus, so I'm fairly certain that's it. Sometimes only the core is visible but on occasions of better seeing conditions I've seen the faint extensions quite easily (not the outline tho as Robert was talking about). It looks like a brick, rectangle in appearance. I hadn't noticed that shape until an fb buddy told me to look for it and there it was!

Did you use the XW10? That's what I use to observe it with. It's within the same f.o.v. as iota. Perhaps pop iota out the way to get a bit more detail on it.

Robert,
As usual your posts are very educational, thank you!
But I do so enjoy your astro rants Suzy! LOL, you're really into using the 4", aren't you!? Although, I can't blame you as it'd be easy to set up and pack away, plonk it down and off you go Plus a challenge as you say

I have to say I'm fairly certain it is NGC5102 that I found, in my conditions it was a star with the slightest fuzziness, just enough to tell it was a galaxy, not a star. Not much in the way of detail but hopefully better luck tomorrow night, weather pending! I've been looking forward to this all week, I hope it stays clear!

Yep, I used the XW10 Been using it most of the time, it's so beautiful

I also did try checking it out with iota cen just out of view, it's quite bright when trying to see something next to it that's relatively dim. Still not great detail but then not the best conditions really. Will have to jog my memory!

Thanks everyone for the great comments and help
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Old 10-05-2013, 10:52 PM
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Hmmm do you think maybe I was looking at something else then? Seemed to be in the right spot and had the slightest amount of fuzz. No detail at all, just seemed like a star that was smudged so I knew it wasn't "just a star". The picture you've provided seems spot on the money too, so I'm really confused now haha. And I've found it a few times now in the same spot.
Shelley (and Suzy),
I shall try to explain a little more clearly how an Elliptical Galaxy or an S0 galaxy looks to the visual observer in many and various viewing conditions, so as to get a better handle on what we can actually hope to see in this quite bright - but large and extremely diffuse - object;
(I used to come back to this galaxy every time I observed, when I was regularly using a Celestron C8 and also a 10 inch Newt, so I have seen it under many different sky qualities)

The picture of NGC 5102 which I previously attached in this thread is displayed to faint levels (fainter than we normally see with the eye!). So nearly all of the extent of this galaxy that is shown in this picture is not visible to the eye, except in a very good dark sky.......However, I am quite sure that Shelley has seen at least the very central part of this galaxy in her recent observation;
The light which is diffused throughout a Moderately Light Polluted sky actually overwhelms all but the fuzzy/star-like centre of this galaxy, so what Shelley is probably seeing visually is just the fuzzy starlike area which can be seen at the very centre of the galaxy image that I provided. (call this the "core" of NGC 5102, if you like)

Shelley, I have little doubt that you are seeing this galaxy(!), , because there is nothing much else that is diffuse (looking like an extended object) near to its coordinates in our sky. A lot of galaxies have a small central part that is intense, somewhat star-like, or "fuzzy ball" in appearance......so if the sky is not good enough, then that is all that the visual observer sees.

If we consider the observed intensity of the light coming from a galaxy (any galaxy), the observed surface brightness (at a particular distance from the centre of a galaxy) decreases with progressively increasing radius from the centre of that galaxy
[ surface brightness is similar in a way to the observed intensity of a stellar object, except the concept of surface brightness applies to an extended (non-stellar) object;
in other words, the surface brightness of a particular area of a nebula or galaxy is the total observed brightness of that area divided by the actual area over which that brightness is spread)

The better the sky, the fainter the surface brightness that your eye can detect;
- so if the sky is real bad, then maybe you only see the point-like centre of a galaxy
- but if the sky is good, you can see out to a significant radius.
- If the sky is superb and you can see to a really faint surface brightness, then a galaxy can look very very extended.

Over the actual image of any galaxy, it is possible to draw lines of equal surface brightness, which are usually shaped like circles or ovals. (these lines are called isophotes).
The innermost ovals are all that can be seen in a poor sky, whereas, we see more and more of the fainter and outer ovals in better and better skies.
To illustrate this, here are the isophotes (ovals of equal brightness) in an image of NGC 5102:

Click image for larger version

Name:	N5102_V band_w. CTIO 4m_(J.Tonry & SBF team)_(online de Vaucouleurs Atlas).jpg
Views:	5
Size:	161.6 KB
ID:	138995

The isophotes (ovals of equal surface brightness) get successively fainter and fainter, with increased distance from the centre of the galaxy, so it is easy to see how the galaxy looks progressively larger with better and better observations.''

cheers, Rob

P.S.
Suzy, I do agree that this galaxy can look somewhat rectangular at times.

Hey there folks, I just found some isophotes for NGC 5102 which are actually published ones (unlike my above crude attempt at displaying lines of equal brightness). Here are the isophotes of NGC 5102 from a Korean paper by Sohn, Chun, and Byun:

Click image for larger version

Name:	N5102_isophotes.jpg
Views:	7
Size:	97.2 KB
ID:	138996

Last edited by madbadgalaxyman; 11-05-2013 at 08:49 AM.
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Old 10-05-2013, 11:23 PM
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Oh, and just one more thing, here is a recent image of this very interesting galaxy, from the Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey:

Click image for larger version

Name:	N5102_CINGS.jpg
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ID:	138997

The outer parts of the faint envelope look like a very difficult observing challenge, even in real dark sky conditions.

[[[ Another dwarf galaxy in the nearby Centaurus Group of galaxies is NGC 5253, which is rather similar to NGC 5102, in that it is a physically small galaxy of type S0
However, NGC 5253 is a pec. galaxy, in that it has recent star formation near its centre (hot & young & massive stars).
(Actually, N5102 also had a star formation episode at one time, as it is very blue for an S0 galaxy.)
]]]


Note Added, in a later edit:
Also, to aid in finding this galaxy, I attach a DSS photograph of the field of NGC 5102, which I got from wikisky.org
These wikisky images can be useful for finding galaxies, if the star chart does not do the trick;
however, one must get used to mentally 'editing out' the multitudes of very faint stars that are invisible in the finder, or alternatively, use an image (bitmap) editing program to try to get rid of the really faint stars that can cause confusion.

Click image for larger version

Name:	N5102 field.jpg
Views:	7
Size:	195.8 KB
ID:	139014

Last edited by madbadgalaxyman; 11-05-2013 at 09:11 AM. Reason: more info
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Old 15-05-2013, 05:46 PM
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Oh my gosh what a fantastic education- thank you so much Robert!
You've gone to some trouble here and it's very much appreciated.

For some reason, NGC5102 is one of my favourite galaxies. Perhaps because I bumped into it by accident on the way to finding M83 (using those triangle of stars that sits between iota Centauri and gamma Hydrae) Okay, so I over shot the mark a bit . It could also possibly be that I was so disappointed with my light polluted view of M83, that NGC5102 looked magnificent in comparison. But one thing's for sure, it's very easy to find and if one feels like showing off (that'd be moi given half the chance lol) one can go... now lets view a galaxy, out with the those maps I say chap, don't need them, and... *plonk* & voila!. A reliable quick fix and one that always performs with a brightish centre (& sometimes more!). Trying to find M83 did my head in. Trying to observing anything but a bright central spot in it finished me off. Is it just me... does anyone else out there have a "I hate these galaxies" list?! NGC 4945, The Needle & Black Eye galaxies also joined M83 a long time ago. I've seen two of these in dark skies, and it became very apparent why I have trouble at home.

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But I do so enjoy your astro rants Suzy! LOL
*Ahemmm* read that and weep Ron!
Thanks Shell, you're very kind.
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  #20  
Old 16-05-2013, 10:36 AM
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ZeroID (Brent)
Lost in Space ....

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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Auckland, NZ
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Cool, new target, thanks guys for all the info. Now all I got to do is get PHD to behave itself.
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