FUZZY SPOT, January 1999, Lepus

Lepus is a small constellation just under the feet of Orion.  The Rabbit or Hare is hard to distinguish, I see it as a lopsided and smaller version of Hercules with Alpha, Beta, Mu, and Epsilon making the keystone.  Also, don't confuse this with Lupus, the Wolf near Scorpius.  Since the names are so similar, I am always getting the two mixed up.

The Rabbit contains the nice globular cluster M-79 which is quite removed from the other Messier clusters, but other than this, there are not a lot of deep sky objects.  You'll mostly be looking at faint galaxies.  Some of my observations were taken in the 20" scope, but don't worry, I made sure that these objects were listed in Luginbuhl and Skiffs book (Observing Handbook and Catalogue of Deep-Sky Objects), so they should be accessible to most scopes.

        NGC 1904 (05h24.5 -24 33) The first object is M-79, a remote globular cluster and not to be skipped over!  At 100X in the 10" scope, it is very bright, pretty large, with a bright middle.  The straggler stars spread out pretty far, and the center is very condensed.  By cranking the power up to 170X, the middle is still unresolved, but there are many stars spread over the central haze.  At 240X a lot of the stars pop out using averted vision and the central haze is definitely granular.

        IC-418 (05h27.5 -12 42) I have yet to observe this planetary nebula.  According to Luginbuhl and Skiff, "This planetary is clearly visible in 6cm, appearing as an undistinguished mag. 9 star: longer focal lengths are required to show its nebular character....  With 30 cm the central star is prominent, especially at high power.  Here the nebula shows a slight elongation N-S."

        NGC 1954 (05h32.8 -14 04) This is the brightest galaxy in a group of 4.  According to Luginbuhl and Skiff, "eg 1954 is the brightest of this small group of galaxies.  It is faintly visible in 15cm, which shows a small patch elongated roughly E-W with two mag. 12.5 stars involved on the NW side."  The other 3 galaxies are listed as IC-2132, NGC 1957, and A0530-14.  IC-2132 is visible in 15cm, the other two are only visible in 30cm.

        NGC 1964 (05h32.8 -14 04) This galaxy was observed in the 10" scope as pretty small, fairly faint, containing a very much brighter middle, and there is either a star involved or perhaps it is a stellar nucleus, and there is another bright star or stellaring seen in the galaxy.  The galaxy is elongated NNE/SSW.  To the W of the galaxy is an isosceles triangle of stars.  These nearby stars do interfere with the viewing.

        NGC 2017 (05h39.4 -17 51) This open cluster is probably better classified as a multiple star.  It is very bright, pretty small, extremely poor, but the few stars are condensed.  There are 2 levels of stars, with a total of 6 stars counted.

        NGC 2179 (06h08.0 -21 44) This galaxy was observed in the 20" at 160X.  I saw it as little faint, somewhat small, very elongated 3:1 N/S with a star on either end.  These stars may enhance the elongated appearance.  I felt the stars were what made this observation interesting.

        NGC 2196 (06h12.2 -21 47) The last galaxy was also observed in the 20" at 160X.  Seen as somewhat bright and pretty small, it contained a much brighter middle, but no nucleus.  The object is round with some sort of mottling going on, possibly a spiral structure.  Using averted vision on this object helped a lot.  There is a star to W which may just be involved, and several other stars nearby form a nice string.

Herschel 400 Objects
SAC's 110 Best of the NGC Objects