FUZZY SPOT, January 2003, Camelopardalis

Camelopardalis is a large faint constellation in the far north skies.  It is a fairly new constellation, first showing up in 1613.  This constellation sits on the fringe of the Milky Way, so there are some open clusters on the edge, and galaxies in the rest of it.  Most of the objects are faint or obscure, although there are a few show pieces.  Also, be sure to look for Kemble's Cascade, a fine arrangement of stars for binoculars.

        NGC 1501 (04 07.0 +60 55)  Our first object is a planetary nebula.  In the 10" scope, I saw it as not very big, pretty bright, and very obvious with the UHC filter.  Averted vision shows annularity.  I was unable to see a central star.  In the 20" scope, I saw it as pretty bright, pretty large, and round.  The central star was very obvious with averted vision, and I could hold it with direct vision.  There is annularity, but it is irregular.  There is a lot of mottling and patchiness going on in this object.  I possibly saw some  green coloring, but it is very subtle.  There is a bright star to E which does interfere somewhat, so keep it out of the field.

        NGC 1502 (04 07.7 +62 20)  This open cluster sits near the south end of Kemble's Cascade.  In the 10" scope, it is very bright, very large, but not at all concentrated.  I counted 25 stars with some nice doubles, including a double in the middle which is much brighter than the rest.  The shape is somewhat triangular.  In the 20" scope, it is very large, very bright, somewhat loose, and somewhat condensed.  The cluster is dominated by a bright pair of stars in the middle.  There are many pairs in the cluster.  The body of the cluster is triangular or arrow-head shaped pointing NW with a bright star at the tip.  A smaller grouping of stars is seen to the ENE, almost looks like a separate cluster.  There are 4 levels of stars with no background haze, and a count of about 60 stars not counting the separate group.  This cluster has the effect of specks of light against a black background.  There are many patterns, including a 'y' shape, a couple of crosses, and a group in the middle which looks like Aries.

        NGC 2146 (06 18.7 +78 21)  Now we are moving away from the Milky Way and getting into the galaxies.  This one is somewhat bright, slightly small, and contains a slightly brighter elongated middle.  The galaxy is elongated about 3:1 NW/SE.  There is a very nice star pattern to the ESE.

        NGC 2268 (07 14.0 +84 22)  This galaxy is somewhat small, somewhat bright, and elongated ENE/WSW 2.5:1. A stellar nucleus is definitely seen but not prominent. On the WSW side just in the halo is a star.  There are few other stars nearby.

        NGC 2403 (07 36.8 +65 37)  This is probably the best galaxy in Camelopardalis, better than many of the Messier galaxies.  It was seen as very large, pretty bright, containing a very very large faint halo with a somewhat brighter middle, and a stellar nucleus or perhaps a foreground star.  It is very elongated NW/SE.  There are 2 stars bordering the bright middle.  Using averted vision and moving the scope really makes the halo grow, with the halo filling 3/4 field of view (about 25’).  The middle is definitely mottled.  There are bordering stars on the WSW and SE, for a total of 5-6 stars involved.

        NGC 2655 (08 55.6 +78 13)  Our last NGC galaxy is somewhat bright, somewhat small, a little brighter in the middle, and contains a non-stellar nucleus.  There is no elongation seen.  It is situated between 2 fairly bright stars which somewhat interfere with the viewing.  The halo is pretty faint, by using averted vision, it helps bring out the halo.

        IC 342 (03 46.8 +68 06)  Most objects with an IC designation are hard to see, and IC 342 is no exception.  This galaxy is nearby, and therefore very large.  In the 10" scope, it is extremely faint and very large, even though I'm probably only seeing the middle.  It looks much like an unresolved open cluster with about 10 foreground stars.  Reducing the power to 35X, it is surprisingly hard to see.  Using the UHC helps bring it out since there are many H2 regions in this galaxy.  The halo is almost non-existent.

        Stock 23 (03 16.3 +60 02)  This last object is an open cluster in the Stock catalog.  It is very large, pretty bright, slightly rich, and quite loose.  There are  3 levels of stars with 27 stars counted in the main area.  The shape is unusual, kind of robot shaped with the left arm being poor and the head to the NW.  The head is the bright star and the right shoulder is a nice double.

Herschel 400 Objects
1501, 1502, 1961, 2403, 2655
SAC’s 110 Best of the NGC Objects
1501, 2403, 2655