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Old 14-05-2023, 09:35 AM
EpickCrom (Joe)
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Sights In Circinus And Virgo

Hello fellow stargazers!

Last night was a clear night after a week of clouds. I targeted the constellations of Circinus and Virgo for observations. Circinus is a quaint and small constellation with some interesting deep sky objects and Virgo is the queen of galaxies.

Conditions:
Sky: Bortle 6/7 backyard
Transparency: Good
Seeing: Good
Instrument: Saxon 10 inch dobsonian

Since it's been a week since my last session, I decided to warm up with some eye candy. Omega Centauri NGC 5319 globular cluster was chosen. It looked more wonderful than usual in my new Sky Rover XWA 100 eyepiece, the huge AFOV framing it nicely and giving the sensation of floating in space. It's elliptical shape was pronounced and I noticed a grouping of around 5 stars near its southern edge for the first time. The "eye of omega" was visible. Great start! It was now time to dive into my targeted constellations.

CIRCINUS

Alpha Circini: A fine double star of magnitudes 3 and 8 seperated by 15 ".
Pismis 20: A delightful tiny open cluster shaped like a little box. Charming!
NGC 5315: A tiny but reasonably bright planetary nebula. I could not detect any colour in this one, but it looked great at 534x. I must come back to it on a night of excellent seeing.
Gamma Circini: A tight double of almost equal 4th magnitude components seperated by 0.8". Alas, I was unable to split it.
Loden 1409: A large, sprawling open cluster not far from Alpha Centauri. Looks more like a moderately rich starfield than an open cluster!
CO Circini: A fine double star at the end of a line of stars. I like to call this asterism "The Rocket". A beautiful sight at low power.
NGC 5823: A nice scattering of stars. This open cluster is located right by the border with Lupus.

VIRGO

M87: My favourite elliptical galaxy! Seen a bright hazy spot, it's massive size of 120,000 light years always gets me.
NGC 4753: I observed this galaxy for the first time. Barely visible as a slight brightening of the background sky.
NGC 5634: Virgo's lone globular cluster, and another first sighting for me. Picked it up rather easily next to a 7th mag field star. I tried 534x on this globular but could not resolve any stars.
Porrima: Gamma Virginia is a beautiful double star with white or very pale yellowish equally matched components. A stunner!
M90: I saw this Messier galaxy for the first time. Seen as a hazy faint smudge, getting slightly brighter with averted vision.

I stopped at M90 and called it a night as I had spent considerable time enjoying each object. Thoroughly satisfying observing session which recharged my batteries after a week of clouds. I will be back at Virgo tonight if it stays clear as there is so much too see there. Thanks for making it this far and wishing you all clear skies and happy observing!

Joe
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  #2  
Old 14-05-2023, 01:16 PM
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Tinderboxsky (Steve)
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Great report, Joe. Thanks for sharing
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Old 14-05-2023, 02:34 PM
Dave882 (David)
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Thanks so much for sharing! Great report!!
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Old 14-05-2023, 02:37 PM
EpickCrom (Joe)
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Hi Steve. Thanks, I'm glad that you enjoyed my ramblings

I'm keen on exploring Virgo and Coma Berenices tonight. Forecast is holding up!
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Old 14-05-2023, 02:38 PM
EpickCrom (Joe)
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Thanks David
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Old 14-05-2023, 03:16 PM
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That's a good report.
If you haven't already done it
Why not give the Circinus galaxy a try?
ESO 97-G13 RA 14 13.2 Dec-65 20
It is an interesting galaxy very close by at
about 10 mly, but is partly obscured as it is only
4 from the galactic plain.
What is interesting is that it was only discovered
in 1977 at Mt Stromlo observatory in Canberra
ACT on a photographic plate.
It is visible in a 20cm scope.
I have observed it a few times with my 20cm
Celestron SCT.
Read up on it to get some idea what you're
looking for.
Good hunting and let us know how you got on.
Cheers
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Old 14-05-2023, 04:34 PM
EpickCrom (Joe)
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Thanks Ron.

I like your suggestion of the Circinus galaxy. I saw it on my star chart of Circinus but didn't try for it as I assumed it would be beyond my reach.

You have got me intrigued, I will try for it tonight or next clear night and let you know if I saw it. Cheers!
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Old 15-05-2023, 12:27 PM
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Zubenel (Wes)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EpickCrom View Post
Thanks Ron.

I like your suggestion of the Circinus galaxy. I saw it on my star chart of Circinus but didn't try for it as I assumed it would be beyond my reach.

You have got me intrigued, I will try for it tonight or next clear night and let you know if I saw it. Cheers!
The Circinus Dwarf is fascinating . I have viewed it a handful of times with my ATM 10 F5 From Rons and imaged it also . .
A definite curio given its home grown discovery history !
Cheers
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Old 15-05-2023, 05:52 PM
EpickCrom (Joe)
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Originally Posted by Zubenel View Post
The Circinus Dwarf is fascinating . I have viewed it a handful of times with my ATM 10 F5 From Rons and imaged it also . .
A definite curio given its home grown discovery history !
Cheers
Hi Wes

The fact that you have seen the Circinus Dwarf in a 10 inch gives me hope! I will hopefully give it a go tonight if it stays clear. Thanks
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Old 16-05-2023, 08:18 AM
EpickCrom (Joe)
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Success!

I'm pleased to report that I managed to see PGC 50779, the Circinus Dwarf galaxy last night!

It sure wasn't easy to observe from my bortle 6 backyard but with patience and some delicate star hopping I arrived at the correct location. Initially I couldn't make it out, but eventually using a hood over my head and averted vision I detected a faint hazy patch at the correct location! It grew slightly larger as time went on, tapping the tube helped as well. After several minutes I could see it clearly in direct vision. Overjoyed!

I had wrongly assumed that being a dwarf galaxy it would be beyond reach in my bortle 6 skies. You know what they say about assumptions! Thanks Ron and Wes for leading me down that path, it just goes to show you never really know what is possible until you try!
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Old 16-05-2023, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EpickCrom View Post
I'm pleased to report that I managed to see PGC 50779, the Circinus Dwarf galaxy last night!

It sure wasn't easy to observe from my bortle 6 backyard but with patience and some delicate star hopping I arrived at the correct location. Initially I couldn't make it out, but eventually using a hood over my head and averted vision I detected a faint hazy patch at the correct location! It grew slightly larger as time went on, tapping the tube helped as well. After several minutes I could see it clearly in direct vision. Overjoyed!

I had wrongly assumed that being a dwarf galaxy it would be beyond reach in my bortle 6 skies. You know what they say about assumptions! Thanks Ron and Wes for leading me down that path, it just goes to show you never really know what is possible until you try!
Glad you managed to find it Joe.
I like to find the faintest objects when I observe.
After 38 years observing, one can only look at the "Pretty Picture"
objects for so long then give the eyeballs a real workout.
Cheers
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Old 16-05-2023, 11:12 AM
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Ron taught me that a given magnitude , especially for Planetary nebula , which seem to be ludicrously faint for a given aperture may well be obtainable . He encouraged me to haveago ! Pluto through the 10 was one such memorable achievement . Cheers
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Old 16-05-2023, 07:55 PM
EpickCrom (Joe)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astroron View Post
Glad you managed to find it Joe.
I like to find the faintest objects when I observe.
After 38 years observing, one can only look at the "Pretty Picture"
objects for so long then give the eyeballs a real workout.
Cheers
Thanks Ron. You have a lot of experience and I regard your advice highly. I agree, seeking out faint objects to observe helps develop that eye brain connection. I'm seeing things now that I would have had no hope of seeing when I started in this great hobby three years ago

Cheers
Joe
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Old 16-05-2023, 08:03 PM
EpickCrom (Joe)
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Originally Posted by Zubenel View Post
Ron taught me that a given magnitude , especially for Planetary nebula , which seem to be ludicrously faint for a given aperture may well be obtainable . He encouraged me to haveago ! Pluto through the 10 was one such memorable achievement . Cheers
Hi Wes and congratulations on seeing Pluto with your 10 inch!

I find what you say is true regarding Planetary Nebulae. My limit for Galaxies that I can see from my backyard in my 10 inch dob is mag 11. For Planetary Nebulae I can get down to 12th mag, especially the smaller, more concentrated ones. Ron's advice is spot on! I will now have more confidence in tackling fainter objects and just have a go. You never know what you will see!

Cheers
Joe
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