FUZZY SPOT,  June 2003, Bo÷tes

Bo÷tes is a late spring/early summer constellation containing the bright star Arcturus.  I see the constellation as a kite with a very funny tail.  The other classic description is that of an ice cream cone, where the second scoop of ice cream fell off, this scoop being Corona Borealis.

Though Bo÷tes contains no Messier objects, there are a number of galaxies in the constellations as well as a nice assortment of double stars.

NGC 5248 (13 37.4 +08 53)  This galaxy was seen in the 10" scope as pretty large, a little faint, and elongated 2:1 NW/SE.  The halo slowly brightens up to the middle which contains a somewhat bright but prominent stellar nucleus.  The NE side may be cut off.  In the 20" scope, it is somewhat bright, pretty large, has a faint halo, slowly brightening toward the middle which is suddenly much brighter.  There is a very slightly brighter non-stellar nucleus.  Stars are to N and SW, and there is a fainter star on the SSW just out of halo, and very faint star seen with averted vision involved on the N.  The galaxy is elongated about 3:1 WNW/ESE.  There may be some possible mottling but I was very unsure about this.
NGC 5466 (14 05.5 +28 32)  In the 10" scope, this globular cluster is very large, a little bright, very rich, and pretty loose with about 15 stars resolved over some granular haze.  There are many threshold stars that pop in and out with seeing.  The shape is very irregular, kind of triangular. To the SE is a fairly bright star which does interfere slightly.  In the 20" scope, it is somewhat faint, pretty large, very loose, and very poor.  There are one or two foreground level of stars over some very faint haze.  I was able to resolve about 35 stars.
NGC 5480/5481 (14 06.3 +50 44)  This galaxy pair straddles the Ursa Major/Bo÷tes boundary.  In the 20" scope, 5480 (which is in Ursa Major) is somewhat bright, pretty small, round, and is the brighter of the two.  It has a slightly brighter middle with an occasional stellar nucleus.  It may be slightly elongated N/S.  5481 (in Bo÷tes) is to the E.  It is somewhat bright, pretty small, with a somewhat faint halo, a slightly brighter middle with a much brighter substellar nucleus.
NGC 5490 (14 10.0 +17 33)  This galaxy was observed in the 20" scope as pretty bright, very small, round, with a much brighter middle and a non-stellar nucleus.  It sits in a triangle of stars.  A bright star to N interferes somewhat.  I suspected a faint spot to the N which may be 5490C.
NGC 5557 (14 18.3 +36 29)  In the 10" scope, this galaxy is fairly bright, pretty small, and has a pretty faint halo which suddenly brightens up to a good bright middle.  Occasionally, a stellar nucleus is seen.  There is a bight star to WNW which does not interfere.  I did suspect some possible mottling.
NGC 5676, with NGC 5660 and IC 1029 (14 32.8 +49 27) This interesting trio of galaxies was observed in the 10" scope.  5676 is the brightest of the three.  It is somewhat bright, somewhat small, has a fairly faint halo which brightens up slightly towards the middle.  A faint non-stellar nucleus is occasionally seen.  It is elongated 3:1 NNE/SSW. CH Bo÷tes is just out of field of view to E.  2 more bright stars on the W and S makes a nice framing for the galaxy.  5660 is somewhat faint, a little small, has a very faint halo with a slightly brighter middle and an occasional stellar nucleus. I was unable to tell if it is elongated. To NW is bright star, 24 Bo÷tes.  Keep it out of the field to avoid interference.  There is a nice triangle of stars to the SE.  IC 1029 is the third of the trio.  Originally, I thought I was observing 5673.  It is pretty faint, pretty small, and has an extremely faint halo with a much brighter middle and an occasional non-stellar nucleus.  The star to the E is a good guide star and doesn’t interfere. Use averted vision to bring out the halo.  The thinness of this galaxy makes it nice.
NGC 5689 (14 35.5 +48 44)  The last galaxy was seen in the 10" scope as somewhat bright, somewhat small, containing a halo which is a little faint but slightly brightens up to the middle, with a non-stellar, possibly binary nucleus.  It is elongated WNW/ESE 3:1.  Averted vision only helps slightly.  It is not that great for a Herschell 400 object.  Other galaxies (5682/83, 5693, 5700) were suspected, area of 5693 is most certain.

Herschel 400 Objects
5248, 5466, 5557, 5676, 5689
SAC’s 110 Best of the NGC Objects