Observing site: Saarijärvi, Lavia, Finland
Instrument: N250/1200 mm (10” Newton)
SQM: 21.12 – 21.26
Darkness of the background sky: 1
Weather: Clear sky, moderate breeze, +4C to +2C, Aurora in the northern sky
Objects observed: NGC 5982, 1961, 5322, 5631, 5676 and 5689
Since I moved back to Ulvila in August 2016, I have been looking for a decent dark sky observing site here in Satakunta region. During the night between 3rd and 4th of October 2016, I was looking for a dark observing place in eastern Satakunta region, in Lavia which is part of Pori municipality. There in Lavia, I found a small gravel quarry near village of Saarijärvi. I stayed there for my observing session, and during the session, I was able to do 6 observations. This observing site seems to be pretty dark, and it takes 50 minutes to drive there. My maximum limit for driving time to my observing site is around one hour. So this place is still at acceptable distance. In terms of darkness of the sky, this place appears to be comparable with my Stormälö observing site in Parainen. I still have visited this Saarijärvi place only once, and I still need more data to make better conclusions.
NGC 5981, 5982, 5985
My first object of the session was a trio of galaxies: NGC 5981, NGC 5982, and 5985. This galaxy trio is located in Draco, less than two degrees NE from iota Draconis. All three galaxies fit easily in the same field with moderate magnification. Together these three galaxies are know as Draco Trio or Draco Group. This trio has not been catalogued as a compact galaxy cluster, but all of them are roughly at same distance from us, they reside about 100 million light years from Earth. My primary target in this trio was NGC 5982, which is one of the Herschel 400 -objects, but as a by-product I was able to observe also NGC 5981 and 5985. Of this trio, I wrote following notes:
@120x, NGC 5981: three galaxies in a row, NGC 5981 is the westernmost of them. This galaxy appeared as a thin, faint and elongated object, that apparently is in edge on -orientation, long axis of the galaxy is in NW-SE -orientation. NGC 5982: the galaxy in the middle, it appeared as a small, bright galaxy with bright core, roundish in shape, long axis in NW-SE -orientation. NGC 5985: the third galaxy in the row, the easternmost of them all. This galaxy appeared as a faint, elliptical, homogenous patch of light, no details visible. This galaxy is apparently the faintest of these three galaxies. It’s difficult to say anything about the orientation of this galaxy.
My next target was NGC 1961, a galaxy in Camelopardalis. This galaxy is located in rather empty region of the sky, it can be found when moving roughly 5,5 degrees NE from alpha Camelopardalis. Of this object, I wrote following notes:
@120x, this galaxy appeared as a roundish, faint, homogenous and diffuse patch of light, no details visible.
The third object for me during this night was NGC 5322, a galaxy located in the constellation of Ursa major. This object can be found about 6 degrees NE from Mizar (zeta Uma). Of this galaxy, I wrote following notes:
@120x, a small, bright galaxy with bright and compact core, the galaxy is elliptical in shape, long axis in W-E -orientation, easy one!
My fourth object for the session wa NGC 5631, a galaxy located in easternmost part of Ursa major, just at the boundary to Draco. The galaxy can be found for example when mving about 9 degrees ENE from Mizar. Of this object, I wrote as follows:
@120x, a small, moderately bright galaxy with pretty bright and compact core. The galaxy is slightly oval-shaped, long axis of the galaxy is in N-S orientation.
My second last object for this session was NGC 5676, a galaxy located in northern part of the constellation of Bootes. The galaxy can be found about 3 degrees SE from kappa Bootis. Of this galaxy, I wrote as follows:
@120x, a small and faint galaxy, the galaxy appears as a diffuse, homogenous, featureless patch of dim light, the galaxy is oval-shaped with long axis in W-E orientation. No details visible.
The sixth and last object for me during this session was NGC 5689, yet another galaxy in Bootes. This galaxy is located just 50′ SE from NGC 5676. Of this object, I wrote following notes:
@120x, a small and faint galaxy, the galaxy has a core that is slightly brighter than rest of the galaxy, oval-shaped, long axis in W-E -orientation.
So, that was my second observing session during October 2016. I will soon publish a post about my next observing session during October, so stay tuned for more posts!