FUZZY SPOT,  March 2000, Sextans

Sextans is a small and faint constellation in between Leo and Hydra.  It is one of the few constellations named by Johannes Hevelius that is still in use, and is named after the large observatory sextant he used to measure star positions.

Deep sky objects are few and faint, consisting of galaxies.  There is one showpiece however, NGC 3115, also known as the Spindle Galaxy, is a nice bright treat that can probably even be viewed from town.

        NGC 2967 (09h42.1 +00 20) This galaxy was seen at 100X as slightly large, pretty faint, and very slightly brighter in the middle.  The shape appears to be round.  There is a faint star to the NE.

        NGC 2974 (09h42.6 -03 43) This galaxy is very hard to find next to bright star.  At 70X, the galaxy is almost stellar.  Increasing the power to 140X shows it as very small with a bright middle but no nucleus.  It is very elongated E/W with a bright star to W.  Going up one more step to 170X, it still shows up pretty well.  The halo is not quite so obvious but the bright center really stands out.

        NGC 2990 (09h46.3 +05 42) This galaxy is very small, pretty faint, round, and slightly brighter in the middle.  Even though it is faint, it does appear to be mottled.

        NGC 3044 (09h53.7 +01 35) This edge on galaxy is somewhat large, very faint, and slightly brighter in the middle.  It is very elongated, about 5:1 E/W.  The galaxy sits in a nice field of faint stars

        NGC 3055 (09h55.3 +04 16) Staying with faint galaxies, this one is somewhat small, pretty faint, and slightly elongated 1.2:1 E/W.  There is a very slight brightening in the middle.  Although the field stars are poor, the galaxy sits nicely in the middle of a triangle of stars.

        NGC 3115 (10h05.2 -07 43) This is the crown jewel of Sextans.  This very nice edge on galaxy is fairly bright, pretty large, has a very bright middle and a pretty bright halo, but without a nucleus in the 10" scope.  It is very elongated E/W, probably about 4:1.  It takes magnification quite well, at 170X the halo extends across the entire field of view.

        NGC 3156 (10h12.7 +03 08) Now that you've enjoyed a nice bright galaxy, it's back to the poor ones.  Here we have a very faint and pretty small galaxy, with possible elongation, but it is hard to tell.  I saw it as a little brighter in the middle and by using averted vision it appeared to grow somewhat.  There is a nice triangle of stars nearby.

        NGC 3166/3169 (10h13.8 +03 26)  These are a nice pair of galaxies, at 70X they both look pretty much the same, except that 3166 is elongated and 3169 is not.  At 100X, 3169 seems to have a stellar nucleus which comes and goes, 3166 does also, but not nearly as prominent. Going up one more step to 140X, the halos pretty much disappear but the middles/nuclei remain prominent.  3166 is fairly bright, pretty small, elongated NE/SW, has a bright middle and a very occasional stellar nucleus.  3169 is pretty bright, fairly small, no elongation, has a bright middle
and an occasional stellar nucleus.

        NGC 3423 (10h51.2 +05 50) The last galaxy of the month is pretty large, somewhat faint, and situated in the middle of a diamond of stars with the 2 closest stars being wide doubles, and with a fainter star just on the NE edge.  There is possibly a slightly elongation NNE/SSW.  Use averted vision to make this object grow quite a bit.

Herschel 400 Objects
2974, 3115, 3166, 3169
SAC's 110 Best of the NGC Objects