FUZZY SPOT, March 1998, Camelopardalis

Take a blank area of the sky, throw in a name that no one can pronounce, and what do you get?  Camelopardalis.  Most constellations don’t look like their name-sake, this ones name is even all wrong... not a Camel, but a Giraffe.

Though pretty void in stars, this constellation contains some nice deep sky object including an incredible galaxy and a few Milky Way objects.

        NGC 1501 (04h07.0 +60 55)  Here is a small but bright planetary nebula.  I considered it as not very big, pretty bright, and with the UHC it is very obvious.  No central star is visible, but with averted vision, the annularity is visible.

        NGC 1502 (04h07.7 +62 20)  Here is a nice open cluster, at 100X it is very bright, very large, not at all concentrated, with 25 stars including some nice doubles.  The double in the middle is much brighter than all the rest.  The shape is kind of triangular  The open cluster sits in the middle of the asterism (or possibly another open cluster) called Kembles Cascade.  Definitely take a look at this in binoculars or the finder scope, it is a sight you won’t forget.

        NGC 1961 (05h42.2 +69 23)  We’ve now moved out of the Milky Way and into the springtime sky of galaxies.  This one is pretty faint, pretty large, brighter in the middle, and has a pretty faint halo.  At 100X, it seems to have a stellar nucleus, but the halo becomes very faint.  There are star to west and southeast.

        NGC 2403 (07h36.8 +65 37)  Here is a great galaxy that is better than most Messier Galaxies.  It is very large, pretty bright, has a very very large faint hale with a somewhat brighter middle.  The galaxy is very elongated northwest/southeast.  There is a stellar nucleus or perhaps a foreground star, and 2 more stars bordering the bright middle.  Averted vision and moving the scope really makes the halo grow.  The halo fills 3/4 field of view (about 25’).  The middle is definitely mottled, I tried using the UHC filter to bring out hydrogen regions, but wasn’t able to see any more.

        NGC 2655 (08h55.6 +78 13)  This last Herschel and Best of the NGC object is somewhat bright, somewhat small, a little brighter in the middle, contains a non-stellar nucleus, and is round.  The galaxy is between 2 fairly bright stars that interfere somewhat  with the viewing.  The halo is pretty faint, but averted vision helps.  There is a nice star pattern is around this object.

        Here is the toughie of the month,  Galaxy IC-342 (03h46.8 +68 06).  This galaxy may be a member of the local group, pictures show it as a very large and loose spiral, oriented almost face-on.  In the 10” scope on an 8 out of 10 night, I saw it as extremely faint and very large at 70X.  I probably was only seeing the middle portion.  With about 10 foreground stars, it looked like a faint unresolved open cluster.  Some surprising thing about this observation is that the galaxy became harder to see at 35x, but using the UHC filter helped bring it out.

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