Monthly Archives: May

OR: Lake San Antonio, 5/11, and Herschel 400

I went to Lake San Antonio on Tuesday, May 11, in order to wrap up the Herschel 400 list, which I have been working on for almost a year and a half. I was missing 15 targets, all of them in Virgo. To make the night worth the trip, I added a few interesting targets from the TAC Eye Candy list, which I had installed in SkyTools.

The conditions were actually pretty decent. The sky was perfectly clear and the transparency was good. It was a little windy early on, but it turned calm by 10pm. The seeing was average or slightly below average. The temperature dropped to 38F by 2am. There was very little humidity, and my paper charts and log paper remained pretty dry all night. I was the only person in the overflow parking lot, and I have to admit that it felt a little spooky at times…

After observing all the targets I had planned (around 1am), I decided to celebrate the completion of the Herschel 400 project by observing a few very bright targets (mostly Messier objects), and stared at the rising Summer Milky Way, trying to convince myself that warmer nights are in our near future…

Below is my log for the night. The entire Herschel 400 log can be found at:

Location: Lake San Antonio [Elevation 1082 ft]
Telescope: Meade Lightbridge 12″ F/5
Eyepieces used:
- Televue Panoptic 27mm (56x – 1.2° TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 16mm type 5 (95x – 52′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 9mm type 6 (169x – 29′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 7mm type 6 (217x – 22′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 5mm type 6 (305x – 16′ TFOV)
(All times are PDT)

NGC 4605 GX UMa 12 40 29 +61 33 11 10.8 09:30pm
3′x1′ elongated WNW-ESE. Fairly bright, relatively uniform with some subtle mottling throughout. Moderately faint (mag 15.0) star 1.5′ S.

NGC 4157 GX UMa 12 11 38 +50 25 42 12.1 09:40pm
Fairly faint halo, about 4′x40″ elongated WSW-ENE. Moderately bright elongated core, 1′x30″ (same orientation). A few fairly bright stars are visible in the same field of view.

NGC 4220 GX CVn 12 16 44 +47 49 34 12.2 09:55pm
Faint halo, 2′x45″ elongated NW-SE. Moderately bright core, about 30″ in diameter, very slightly elongated. Moderately faint (mag 14.8) star 1′ WSW. Faint (mag 15.7) star 1.5′ NE.

NGC 4450 GX Com 12 29 02 +17 01 33 10.8 10:05pm
Moderately faint halo, roughly 3′x1.5′ elongated NNE-SSW, with a small bright core. The halo gives extremely subtle hints of mottling. Located just 4′ ENE of a bright (mag 9.2) star.

NGC 4442 GX Vir 12 28 37 +09 44 38 11.4 10:20pm
Faint halo, 3′x45″ E-W. Bright core, 45″x30″ E-W. Moderately bright (mag 14.9) superimposed star at the eastern tip of the halo. Moderately bright star about 45″ SW of the core.

NGC 4526 GX Vir 12 34 36 +07 38 22 10.6 10:30pm
Located between two very bright (mag. 6.8 and 7.0) field stars separated by about 15′. Faint halo estimated to be 4′x1′ NW-SE using averted vision (photographs show that it extends even further). Bright core, about 1′ in diameter, slightly elongated NW-SE. Moderately bright (mag. 13.2) about 1′ SSW of the core.

NGC 4535 (Lost Galaxy) GX Vir 12 34 53 +08 08 17 10.5 10:40pm
Dim oval glow, roughly 5′x3′ NNE-SSW. Appears relatively uniform at low power. A few superimposed stars give the galaxy a “powdery” appearance. A small (< 1' diameter) core is barely visible, with a stellar nucleus. At higher magnification, dark patches in the halo are visible, but with great difficulty.

NGC 4783 GX Crv 12 55 11 -12 37 05 12.8 10:55pm
Moderately bright round core, about 30″ in diameter. Forms a very tight couple with NGC 4782, located less than 1′ SSW (both galaxies actually share the same halo). A moderately faint superimposed star is visible 30″ WSW.

NGC 4624 GX Vir 12 45 39 +02 59 46 11.5 11:10pm
Also known as NGC 4665. Moderately bright round core, 30″ in diameter. Faint halo 1.5′x45″ N-S. Moderately faint (mag. 15.2) star at the northern tip. Photographs show that what I refer to as the halo is actually a bar, and that this galaxy is a face on spiral.

NGC 4567 (member of the pair known as the “Siamese Twins”) GX Vir 12 37 06 +11 11 55 12.1 11:20pm
Moderately faint, fairly uniform, 2′x1′ E-W, faint stellar nucleus. Forms a very tight pair with NGC 4568 named the “Siamese Twins”. NGC 4564 is visible in the same field of view, just 10′ N.

NGC 4568 (member of the pair known as the “Siamese Twins”) GX Vir 12 37 07 +11 10 45 11.7 11:20pm
Moderately faint, fairly uniform, 3′x45″ NE-SW, small faint core. Forms a very tight pair with NGC 4567 named the “Siamese Twins”. NGC 4564 is visible in the same field of view, just 10′ N.

NGC 4698 GX Vir 12 48 56 +08 25 42 11.6 11:30pm
Faint halo, 2.5′x1′ N-S, gradually brighter to a small and fairly bright round core and a stellar nucleus. Shares the field of view with several fairly bright field stars.

NGC 4754 GX Vir 12 52 50 +11 15 19 11.5 11:40pm
Fairly bright, round, 1′ diameter, stellar nucleus. This is just the core. The halo, visible on photographs, was not detected. NGC 4762 is located just 10′ ESE.

NGC 4762 GX Vir 12 53 29 +11 10 19 11.1 11:45pm
Beautiful edge-on galaxy, moderately bright, 5′x30″ NE-SW, with a small bright core. A dust lane is visible on the SE side (Steve Gottlieb notes that the dust lane is along the W side?) This dust lane does not show on photographs I’ve seen of this object, most of which show the core overexposed. NGC 4754 is located just 10′ WNW.

NGC 4866 GX Vir 12 59 59 +14 06 45 12.0 11:50pm
Faint halo, 3′x45″ E-W. Fairly bright round core, 30″ diameter. Bright stellar nucleus. Moderately bright superimposed star about 1′ WNW of the nucleus.

NGC 5363 GX Vir 13 56 40 +05 12 05 11.1 12:10am
Faint diffuse halo surrounding a bright small core with a stellar nucleus or superimposed star that appears slightly offset to the WSW. Located 4′ WSW of a bright field star (HD 121605)

NGC 5364 GX Vir 13 56 45 +04 57 42 11.1 12:20am
Faint diffuse glow, about 4′x3′ NE-SW. Small (< 1' diameter) round faint core seen at high magnification (217x). Two moderately faint stars delimit the halo's NW boundary. NGC 5360, located 10' WSW, is barely visible in the same field of view.

NGC 5566 GX Vir 14 20 53 +03 53 01 11.4 12:30am
Small (30″ diameter) round bright core, surrounded by a faint diffuse halo. Located between a moderately bright (mag. 12.0) and a moderately faint (mag. 14.3) field star. Forms a nice trio with NGC 5560 and very faint NGC 5569.

NGC 5576 GX Vir 14 21 37 +03 13 15 11.8 12:40am
Fairly bright core, 45″x30″ E-W. Faint diffuse halo, maybe 1.5′x1′ E-W. Located just 1′ SE of a moderately faint (mag. 13.4) field star. Forms a nice pair with NGC 5574, located just 3′ SW. NGC 5577 can also be seen further north in the same field of view.

NGC 5746 GX Vir 14 45 29 +01 54 30 11.4 12:50am
Beautiful edge-on galaxy, 6′x30″ NNW-SSE, with a clearly visible central bulge about 1′ diameter. A dust lane is visible along the E edge. A faint (mag. 14.7) superimposed star is visible about 3′ SSE of the core.

NGC 5846 GX Vir 15 07 03 +01 33 47 11.1 01:00am
Faint round halo, maybe 1.5′ in diameter, gradually brighter to a fairly bright round core, 45″ in diameter. Faint superimposed star 45″ N. NGC 5846A is visible just 45″ S, superimposed over the halo of NGC 5846. NGC 5850 is visible just 10′ ESE.

david mejias