Sunday, April 03, 2011

Galaxy hunting with a 4 inch scope.

On April 2nd, 2011 Holger and me saddled up my FS-102 telescope on his Losmandy Gemini G11 mount to go for galaxy gazing. Holger made a special adapter to mount my Takahashi on his Losmandy mount, since he is able to manufacture such customized astronomical parts in his workshop. Holger receives orders and delivers in all european countries.
Ok, let's go back to the scope. At the beginning I was wondering, what could we observe with only 4 inches of aperture, but I was surprised to see that all galaxies (in high altitudes) brighter that 10 mag were observable from our village in Germany!
First, we visited the constellation of Virgo...

The galaxy M100 in Virgo looked like a dusty disk with a clear oval form. I invoked the software SkySafari on the iPhone to get some information about this object since we hadn't a laptop with us. Yes, it should have a bulky structure.. "I think, I see some structure now" Holger said!

Some of the brightest galaxies of the well known Marcarian Chain in the Virgo constellation were also easy to observe.

The galaxies M65, M66 were visible on the FS-102 even using a cheap chinese 20mm UW eyepiece. As I increased the magnification by putting a japanese 12mm TakLE eyepiece on the APO everything changed. Both galaxies stood up, yes they were there indeed! Even their faint companion NGC3628 with its elongated form was observable. Note, NGC3628 was practical invisible through the cheap eyepiece.

Therefore we decided to continue our observation with the Takahashi eyepiece. We hadn't time to loose with the cheap eyepieces.

M95, M96 and their companions M105 and NGC3384 were all observable.

The double star Algieba showed nice difraction rings at 283x magnification.

After that, we visited the constellation of Coma Berenices...

M64 - The Black Eye Galaxy: The black eye was visible (looking indirectly at it) by using the TakLE 12mm eyepiece (magnification 68x). It was towards the bright star in the same FOV. Several photos in the web confirmed this.

Saturn was high in the south so we decided to visit it as well. Its rings were marvelous through the doublet. A small part of the Cassini division was visible at the sides of the rings at a magnification of 283x. Two bands were clearly visible, but we couldn't detect the Serpent storm circling the planet.

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