FUZZY SPOT, April 2000, Corvus
Corvus, the crow or raven, is a prominent grouping of 4 stars almost forming a square and sitting along the spine of Hydra. Legend has it that Apollo sent the crow along with a cup (Crater) to get pure water for a sacrifice to Jupiter. But the bird came upon a fig tree and delayed in it's branched until the figs ripened so he could have a snack. The crow brought the water serpent along with the cup back to Apollo, blaming the serpent for the delay. Apollo was not fooled and for punishment placed the crow, cup, and serpent in the sky, never allowing the crow to dip his beak in the cooling waters of the cup. This is the reason for the crows harsh, parched sound.
Corvus sits on the southern fringe of the Virgo cluster of
galaxies, and therefore is rich in galaxies, although most of
them are faint. Along with the galaxies, there is a nice
planetary nebula we will be looking at as well as a pretty
asterism of stars.
NGC 4027 (11h59.6 -19 15) We start this month with a galaxy, which I saw at 100X as somewhat large, very faint, and elongated 2.5:1 N/S. The extremely faint halo slightly brightens up to the middle in which there is no nucleus. Unlike most galaxies, the middle is only slightly brighter. The W side may be cut off indicating a possible dark lane. There are stars to the N and NE, and a fainter star to the S.
NGC 4038 (12h01.9 -18 51) along with NCG 4039 form the Ringtail Galaxy pair. I considered this pair as interesting, very unusual, quite nice, somewhat faint, and pretty large overall with 4038 being the brighter of the two. They form a `U' shape opening to the W, using averted vision makes the opening really shows up. Both galaxies are elongated 2:1, connecting on the E, with both about the same size. There are stars to the N and S. It is a spectacular pair of galaxies.
NGC 4361 (12h24.5 -18 48) We take a break from galaxies to look at a nice planetary in Corvus. My old notes are sparse, but I remember this as a very nice object. At 100X, it is very large (for a planetary), bright, and contains a nice bright center which fades out evenly. The UHC filter doesn't help much. My final note is "Very round", I guess if it was any more round, it would be extremely round!
NGC 4782/4783 (12h54.6 -12 34) These interacting galaxies were observed in the 20" scope at 180X. I noted them as a pair of galaxies, somewhat faint, somewhat small, and interacting, with each galaxy appearing round, but the pair forming an elongated figure 8 sort of shape oriented more or less N/S. Each one has a slightly brighter middle and an occasional stellar nucleus.
NGC 4802 (12h55.8 -12 03) The last galaxy of the month was also observed in the 20" scope as somewhat small and somewhat faint. The galaxy contains a pretty bright star involved to the ESE which interferes enough to make the shape undeterminable. There is a slightly brighter middle and a somewhat faint stellar nucleus. An even brighter star is positioned to the WNW. The view is very nice with the star involved.
Reeves-2 (12h35.7 -12 01) I'm really not being conceited, but I could find no designation for this prominent asterism of 6 stars. It is found while star-hopping to the Sombrero Galaxy in Virgo. It is a nice asterism of 6 stars, with 3 bright stars in a triangle surrounding three fainter stars in the center which form a triangle pointing the opposite direction.
Herschel 400 Objects
4027, 4038, 4361
SAC's 110 Best of the NGC Objects