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Thread: Hickson 44 and Arp 94 Galaxies in Leo through the 6" Refractor

  1. #1
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    Default Hickson 44 and Arp 94 Galaxies in Leo through the 6" Refractor



    Hello friends of the galaxies hunting,

    the constellation of Leo passes the culmination, and its western part moves towards the SW light pollution dome over my backyard. This has been a good reason to check out some galaxies in this area of skies. The observing conditions have been fairly well, the Pleiades and the Beehive Cluster have been visible with unaided eyes. Regarding the general weather situation, which has not been very favourable during the first months of this year, the April the 7th has been a blue skies break between the atmospheric lows, most of them rich on cloudy and hazy weather, snow and rain.

    The NGC 2903, nicknamed as the Leo's Head Galaxy, is one of the best binocular galaxies in Leo, and an excellent starter for an observing session. Not easy, but still visible through the 10.5x70 binoculars with averted vision. The 6" refractor has revealed at the magnification of 75x a north-south aligned fairly bright oval, which is due to the tightly wound, but visually not resolved, spiral arms around the core. The light yellow filter #8 has improved the contrast of the small galaxy core. The use of the yellow filters for the galaxies observations is known as the 'old school trick' to improve the contrast of the cores, and of the structures around the cores, in some galaxies. The tests of the filters on the visual observations of the galaxies will be reported in an extra thread.

    The position of the group of galaxies Hickson 44 is easily located half way between the Gamma and Zeta Leonis, marked by an east-west stretched group of about five bright 8mag - 9mag stars, and some more fainter stars. The 6" refractor at the magnification of 75x has shown at the first glance the NGC 3190 (11.1 mag), as a non structured faint patch, more than 1 arcminute across, and a closer inspection of this area has further revealed the smaller diffuse NGC 3193 (10.8 mag), hanging on a faint foreground star. The Hickson 44 group of galaxies is about 70 million light years away, and hence one of the most remote groups of galaxies within the reach of the small scopes. The other galaxies in this group require larger scopes.

    The NGC 3227 has been easily found about 1/2deg east off the bright Gamma Leonis binary star at the magnification of 75x through the 6" refractor, moving the Gamma Leonis out of the field of view. This galaxy shows an extended patch of light, shining at 10.4mag. With quite a lot of patience and repeated observations, the fainter companion interacting dwarf galaxy NGC 3226 has been also resolved to the north-west off NGC 3227. The visual appearance has reminded me of the form of a 'dumbbell'. The interacting galaxies pair NGC 3227/3226 is known as peculiar, Arp 94. At the distance of 77 million light years, the NGC 3227/3226 is one of the most distant interacting galaxies pairs within the reach of the small scopes.

    The equipment used: 6" F/5 achromatic refractor, Pentax XW f=10mm and Swarovski (45x) f=10.22mm eyepieces. The both eyepieces have been repeatedly mounted during all observations. The shootout Pentax XW against Swarovski will be reported as soon as completed.

    Happy hunting,

    JG
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    Default Re: Hickson 44 and Arp 94 Galaxies in Leo through the 6" Refractor

    Thanks JG for the outstanding report on the NGC galaxies in the Leo area. I'm looking forward to trying the Hickson group.
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    Michael
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    Default Re: Hickson 44 and Arp 94 Galaxies in Leo through the 6" Refractor

    Excellent report JG. Your observations serve as an inspiration for those with smaller scopes, and shows what can be achieved with a 6 inch scope.
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    Default Re: Hickson 44 and Arp 94 Galaxies in Leo through the 6" Refractor

    Thanks Alan,

    I appreciate very much your experience and your comments.

    Best,

    JG
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    Default Re: Hickson 44 and Arp 94 Galaxies in Leo through the 6" Refractor

    Hello JG. This is a most excellent report. First using binoculars, and then relying on the old trusty 6" achromat refractor. This should serve as an inspiration to all amateur astronomers, to what can be seen in a modest telescope. Thanks for your fun read report, and best wishes for clear skies.
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    Default Re: Hickson 44 and Arp 94 Galaxies in Leo through the 6" Refractor

    Thanks Marshall,

    it is the curiousity, and the patience of repeated trials, driving me.

    Regards,

    JG
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    Default Re: Hickson 44 and Arp 94 Galaxies in Leo through the 6" Refractor

    Quote Originally Posted by j.gardavsky View Post
    Thanks Marshall,

    it is the curiousity, and the patience of repeated trials, driving me.

    Regards,

    JG
    Well said JG. There is a special curiosity and driving force that pushes us hardcore DSO hunters to continually challenge ourselves. I have found that often times beginners and casual observers are astounded by what others can see using smaller apertures under less than pristine conditions. It really does come down to spending time behind the eyepiece and training your eye to truly "see".
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    Default Re: Hickson 44 and Arp 94 Galaxies in Leo through the 6" Refractor

    Thanks Alan,

    I always remember S. Waldee, like in "Ninety Minutes with Leo 1" by S. Waldee, whenever my patience seems to go to the end, saying me, don't give up.

    Best,

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    Default Re: Hickson 44 and Arp 94 Galaxies in Leo through the 6" Refractor

    Thanks for that link JG. That is an excellent article and serves to highlight that at times it does take a lot of patience hunting down DSOs. Some of them are just not quick finds. Personally I like the fact that some objects can be difficult to locate. It makes finding them more rewarding, and makes me a better observer.
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