FUZZY SPOT, June 1997, Virgo

Virgo is such a large constellation and contains so many objects that I like to split it up into three areas: Virgo (north) which is north of 0 degrees of declination and east of 13 hours of right ascension, Virgo (south) which is south of 0 degrees of declination and east of 13 hours of right ascension, and Virgo (west) which is west of 13 hours of right ascension.  This makes it slightly more manageable and much more approachable.

This month, instead of focusing on Best of the NGC or the Herschell 400 objects, I am going to focus on a group of 8 galaxies (as shown in Sky Atlas 2000) in the far east of the constellation of which 5846 is the only Herschell in the group.  For those of you with big aperture, Uranometeria 2000 shows 16 galaxies in this area.

All of these observations were made in my 10” telescope at Sentinel on a night I rated 7/10 for both seeing and transparency.  Before I get to this group, I have my observations for a couple of other object in the area that are fairly close by, and well worth the chase.

        NGC 5634 (14 29.6 -05 59) Yes, there is something in Virgo besides galaxies!  At 100X, this globular cluster is in the middle of the short leg of an isosceles triangle.  I saw it as pretty bright, round, with a granular center and a faint halo, and suspected resolution of a few stars.  Increasing power didn’t help much and I was unable to resolve any more stars at higher power.

        NGC 5740 (14 44.5 +01 41 14) and NGC 5746 (14 45.0 +01 49 14)  This pair of galaxies are fairly close together and make a nice comparison couple.  I recommend searching out 5746 first then go south to 5740.  5746 is a very nice edge on galaxy, pretty bright, pretty large, very nice bright bulging center, and a possible dust lane.  The elongation is N/S with the halo extending more to the S than the N.  Photographs show halo as even on both sides, so this may be an optical illusion due to a star on the N side.  5740 is not nearly as bright, somewhat small, slightly brighter middle.  Averted vision does make it grow slightly and shows some elongation NW/SE.

        NGC 5846 (15 06.5 +01 36 14) This Herschell 400 Galaxy is in a grouping of 8 galaxies shown on Sky Atlas 2000.  This galaxy is pretty bright, somewhat big, possible slight elongation N/S, with a bright middle and a sharp stellar nucleus that comes and goes.  There is a star immediately to the south, which upon investigation turns out to be galaxy 5846A.  The remaining objects are the other 7 galaxies shown on Sky Atlas 2000.

        NGC 5806 (15 00.1 +01 53 14).  This is a neat galaxy situated smack dab in the middle of a square of stars.  It is pretty small, somewhat faint with a very faint halo and a little brighter middle.  I was unable to tell if there was any elongation.

        NGC 5813 (15 01.2 +01 42 14).  This galaxy is pretty faint, not too small, elongated NW/SE, brighter middle, and a very faint halo.

        NGC 5831 (15 04.2 +01 13 14)  This galaxy is the only object in the group that I was unable to locate during my outing at Sentinel.  According to Christian Luginbuhl and Brian Skiff in the Observing Handbook and Catalogue of Deep-Sky Objects, this object is “...moderately faint in 15 cm, less than 1’ diameter, and has a small, nonstellar nucleus”.  The NGC descriptions is “pretty Bright ,Small ,much brighter Middle

        NGC 5838 (15 05.5 +02 06 14)  This galaxy is fairly bright, elongated NE/SW, has a bright middle, and a fairly faint halo.  An extra treat for observing this galaxy is a nearby white/blue double star.

        NGC 5850 (15 07.2 +01 32 14)  This galaxy is a neighbor to 5846, is much fainter, has a bright possibly stellar nucleus and a very faint halo.  No elongation was noted.

        NGC 5854 (15 07.9 +02 34 14)  This galaxy is somewhat bright, brighter middle, and elongated NW/SE.  It is in a quadrilateral of stars.

        NGC 5864 (15 09.6 +03 03 14)  The last of the galaxies in this group is somewhat bright, not very large, slightly elongated E/W, contains a pretty faint halo with a slightly brighter middle.  Averted vision tends to make the halo more round.

Herschell 400 Objects
4900, 4958, 4995, 5054, 5363, 5364, 5566, 5576, 5634, 5746, 5846
SAC’s 110 Best of the NGC Objects