Observing 25./26.3.2017 in Stormälö

Date: 25./26.3.2017
Time: 22:00-00:00
Observing site: Stormälö, Parainen, Finland
Instrument: N250/1200 mm (10” Newton)

NELM: 6.6
SQM: 21.32 – 21.36
Darkness of the background sky: from 1  (a scale from 1 to 5, 1 best, 5 worst)
Seeing: – (a scale from 1 to 5, 1 best, 5 worst)
Transparency: –
Weather: Clear sky, calm, no Moon, no snow, -2 – -7C

Objects observed: 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak , NGC 2964, 2968; 3226, 3227; 3607, 3608, 3599; 3681, 3684, 3686, 3691

This night was my first observing night in March 2017. During the night, I observed several galaxies (all of them in Leo, many of the Herschel 400 objects), and also comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak. During the night, conditions were really good, NELM was about 6.6 in Ursa minor and SQM was better than 21.3!


My first target for the night was comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak, that was flying high in the sky in constellation of Ursa major. I wrote following notes of my encounter with this comet:

I easily found the comet with my finderscope, and it was visible as a fuzzy star in the finder. In the eyepiece @32x, I observed, that the coma of the comet is roundish in shape, and that it is very diffuse. There is a weak central brightening in the middle of the coma. No visual tail observable. Diameter of the coma is roughly 10′, measured from the sketch.

Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak observed with 10” Newton 25./26.3.2017.

NGC 2964, 2968

After having observed the comet, I started my journey in the starry heavens! During this night, I had galaxies in Leo on my list. My first target was pair of galaxies, NGC 2964 and 2968. This pair is located in northernmost part of Leo, close to Leo minor border. This is quite close pair, the distance between these galaxies is only 6′. NGC 2964 is of type SBbc R and 2968 is of type Sa. Of this pair of galaxies, I wrote following notes:

@71x: two galaxies in the field, NGC 2964 is the brighter of these two, 2968 is slightly fainter and more diffuse in appearance. Both galaxies are visible as a featureless nebulous patches.

170325-26_NGC 2964-2968
NGC 2964 and 2968 observed with 10” Newton

NGC 3226, 3227

My next stop during my journey was another pair of galaxies in Leo, NGC 3226 and 3227. This pair is located only 50′ E from gamma Leo. This pair is also very close, distance between them is only 2′. NGC 3226 is an elliptical galaxy and 3227 is SBa -barred spiral galaxy. Of this galaxy pair I wrote following lines:

@71x: two galaxies in the field, NGC 3227 is the southern one of these two, it seems to have a nearly stellar core, this galaxy is elongated, long axis in NW-SE. NGC 3226 is fainter and more diffuse in appearance, no visible core or other details.

170325-26_NGC 3226-3227
NGC 3226 and 3227 observed with 10” Newton

NGC 3607, 3608 and 3599

My third stop was at galaxy pair NGC 3607 and 3608. Besides these, there was also a third galaxy visible in the field, NGC 3599. These three galaxies can be located when moving 2,5 degrees SSE from delta Leo. NGC 3607 is classified as E-S0, which means that it is a hybrid between elliptical and lenticular galaxy, NGC 3608 is elliptical (E) galaxy and 3599 is lenticular (S0) galaxy. Of these three galaxies I wrote as follows:

@71x: Three galaxies in the field, NGC 3607, 3608 and 3599. NGC 3607 and 3608 are very close to each other, NGC 3607 is the southernmost of these two. NGC 3607 is a roundish and small galaxy with bright core that stands out clearly. NGC 3608 is also roundish in shape, and also it has a bright core. NGC 3599 is located farther away to NW from these two. It is visible as a rather faint and diffuse, featureless patch of light.

170325-26_NGC 3607-3608-3599
NGC 3607, 3608 and 3599 observed with 10” Newton

NGC 3686, 3684, 3681 and 3691

My fourth and last stop was a field with (at least) four galaxies. The main target of this field for me was NGC 3686, a galaxy listed in Herschel 400 observing list. Other galaxies in this field were NGC 3684, 3681 and 3691. All four galaxies were located in elliptical area which is about 30′ long and 20′ wide. NGC 3686 is SBbc spiral, 3684 is of type Sbc, 3681 is another SBbc spiral and 3691 is peculiar SB -spiral. Of these four galaxies I jotted down following notes:

@71x: four galaxies in the field: NGC 3686, 3684, 3681 and 3691. NGC 3686, 3684 and 3681 are in roughly NE-SW orientedline, 3691 is slightly to south from these three galaxies. NGC 3686 appears as a round, diffuse, featureless nebulous patch. NGC 3684 is elongated and featureless, long axis in NW-SE direction. NGC 3686 is small, round and faint featureless galaxy. NGC 3691 is small and rather faint, featureless patch of light, it is the faintest galaxy in the field.

NGC 3686-3684-3681-3691
NGC 3686, 3684, 3681 and 3691 observed with 10” Newton

So, that was my first observing session in March 2017! When counting individual catalogued objects, I observed during this night 11 deep sky objects and one comet! When counting sketches made, I made 4 sketches of deep sky objects and one of a comet. This night was a good one, and conditions were favorable! Only thing that I have been thinking that I could have done otherwise is, that I should have perhaps used more magnification with the galaxies, now I observed all galaxies with the same, rather small magnification. Conditions would have supported even larger magnifications! But nevertheless, I was quite satisfied with my results! During this march, I still had couple of more observing sessions, more about them later!


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