An interacting pair of galaxies in Easter night

Date: 19./20.4.2014
Time: 23:00-02:30
Observing site: Ulvila observatory, Finland
Instrument: C280/2750mm

NELM: 6.0
SQM: 20.80
Darkness of the background sky: 3
Seeing: 3
Transparency: 1
Weather: Clear sky, calm, no Moon, pretty warm

Objects observed: T Cep, R Leo, NGC 5394-5

I travelled to my parent’s place to Ulvila for Easter holiday. Weather was absolutely fantastic during Easter, it was warm and sunny, and during one night I was also able to do some observing in Ulvila observatory! Nights are already quite short, and we don’t get real astronomical darkness here in Southern Finland anymore, but it is still possible to do some observing for couple of weeks before the white nights of summer.

During the night between Holy Saturday and Easter day I went to Ulvila observatory for observing session. First I did some variable star observing: I checked R Leo and T Cep to see, what they are up to! R Leo is near it’s minimum, about 9 magnitudes, whereas T Cep is around it’s maximum, about 5,7 magnitudes. And T Cep is now so bright, that I could see it with naked eye!

After doing the variable star routine observations, I decided to observe an interesting interacting pair of galaxies well visible in springtime in Northern hemisphere. This pair of galaxies was NGC 5395 and 5394 and the duo is located in the constellation of Canes Venatici, The Hunting Dogs!. This pair of galaxies is also known as as Arp 84 in the Arp catalogue of peculiar galaxies. Both of these galaxies are heavily distorted by tidal forces, and I’m sure they offer fascinating views for bigger telescopes!

NGC 5394-5 aka Arp 84. Photo: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona
NGC 5394-5 aka Arp 84. Photo: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona

With my instrument, Celestron C11, the brighter of the two, NGC 5395, was visible as an elongated, fuzzy nebula, whose long axis was oriented in NE-SW direction. I could quite easily see the relatively bright core of this galaxy, but unfortunately other detail’s weren’t visible with my instrument. The visual length of the long axis was about 2,7′. NGC 5394 was visible as a roundish, fuzzy spot just about 1′ north of NGC 5395. This galaxy seems to have a relatively bright, almost stellar core.

This observing session might be the last one for me during this observing season. But there is still slight chance for observing during coming two weeks before white nights! So keep yourselves tuned for next blogpost, I’m sure to write something before summer!

NGC 5395-4 observed with 11' Catadioptric.
NGC 5395-4 observed with 11′ Catadioptric.

2 thoughts on “An interacting pair of galaxies in Easter night

  1. 90 Millimeter Observatory April 23, 2014 / 14:27

    Interesting observation and sketch of the interacting galaxies NGC 5995 and 5394. Even more interesting, to me at least is your observations of T Cep and R Leo. I too observe variable stars althought those two stars are not on my list. Maybe they should be.

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