FUZZY SPOT, May 1999, Coma Berenecies

One of the more difficult decisions when working in this galaxy rich portion of the sky is what to observe, or in my case, which items to include in the newsletter.  For Coma Berenecies, limiting myself to the Herschel 400 objects would be too many.  So I arbitrarily selected the Messier, Best of the NGC, and Herschel 400 objects on page 13 of SkyAtlas 2000.0 (with one exception).  Even this amounts to a lot of objects, so I'll keep the introduction short (my apologies Paul, this will probably make the map tough to create).

        NGC 4147 (12h10.1 +18 33 ) We'll start of with a globular cluster, which at 140X was seen as a little bright, pretty small, and irregularly round.  There is a good brightening toward the middle, almost forming a nucleus.  Using averted vision and waiting for moments of good seeing make 3 or 4 stars pop out along the periphery, with an overall very slight granular texture.  There is a star on the NE side which is best kept out of the field.

        NGC 4192 (12h13.9 +14 55) This galaxy is M-98, which I saw as big, somewhat bright, very elongated NW/SE, with a slightly brighter middle and an occasional nucleus.  To the N of the nucleus is a star.  Try using averted vision on this object, to me it does seem to extend it somewhat.

        NGC 4254 (12h18.9 +14 26) M-99 is a galaxy right next to a magnitude 7 star which does interfere slightly.  The galaxy is round, pretty big, fairly bright, and somewhat brighter in the middle.  Some mottling is seen in the halo using averted vision, even a counter-clockwise spiral structure is suspected.  There is an involved star to SE, and many stars are seen in the field.

        NGC 4321 (12h23.0 +15 50) The last Messier Galaxy for a while, M-100 is pretty big, somewhat faint, gradually brighter in the middle, and contains a pretty bright, non-stellar nucleus.  There may be a very slight elongation, if there is any it is WNW/ESE.  Averted vision makes it grow slightly, but other than this, there is no additional detail seen.

        NGC 4350 (12h24.0 +16 42)  This galaxy was seen as somewhat faint, pretty small, and slightly elongated 1.5:1 NE/SW.  There is a brighter middle with a non-stellar nucleus.  To the WSW is galaxy 4340, with these two galaxies almost forming twins.

        NGC 4419 (12h27.0 +15 03) At 100X, I saw this galaxy as a little faint, somewhat large, and very elongated 5:1 WNW/ESE.  The middle is suddenly brighter with a solid stellar nucleus.  The central bulge is slight and the halo thins down very nicely to points.  There is a faint star just to the S and a somewhat bright star to the WNW which do not interfere.

        NGC 4450 (12h28.6 +17 06) This is a very nice galaxy and fun to observe.  I saw it as pretty bright, somewhat large, elongated 3:1 with direct vision and about 5:1 with averted vision, NNW/SSE.  There is a pretty bright middle with a non-stellar nucleus, the middle bulges making a nice lenticular shape.  With averted vision, the halo thins down to nice points.  Nice star to the WSW and a bright star to NE which is best kept out of the field.

        NGC 4459 (12h29.1 +13 59) Here we have a pretty bright galaxy, somewhat small, and round in shape.  It slowly brightens up to a somewhat brighter middle with an occasional stellar nucleus which I could hold about 25% of the time.  There are 2 nice stars nearby, one to the SE, another a little further out to the WSW.

        NGC 4473 (12h29.9 +13 26) and NGC 4477 (12h30.1 +13 39)  These galaxies, form a nice pair with 4477 being  somewhat bright, somewhat large, and contains a somewhat brighter middle and a stellar nucleus.  I suspected an elongation E/W 2:1 with some mottling in the outer halo.  4473 is somewhat bright, somewhat small (a little smaller than 4477), and elongated 2:1 ENE/WSW.  A somewhat brighter elongated middle is seen with an occasional sub-stellar nucleus.  Look closely to the SE of 4477 and see if you can see galaxy 4479.

        NGC 4501 (12h32.1 +14 26) Back to some Messier objects, I saw M-88 as pretty bright, somewhat large, with a gradually brighter middle and a slightly brighter stellar nucleus.  It is very elongated NW/SE.  On the SE a faint star is involved in the halo.  The NE side darkens more suddenly than the SW side, perhaps this is a dark lane.  This is a nice galaxy in a nice star field.

        NGC 4548 (12h35.5 +14 30) Our last Messier object of the month, M-91 was seen as a little bright, somewhat large, and containing a slightly brighter middle.  Using averted vision, I was able to suspect a nucleus and a slight elongation suspected ENE/WSW.  Over all, the galaxy brightness is very even.

        NGC 4689 (12h47.9 +13 46) Our final galaxy has bright field stars nearby which necessitates using high power, I used 140X.  The galaxy is very faint, slightly brighter in the middle, with no nucleus seen and with the elongation uncertain.  There are 2 star to the N.  I consider this to be one of the more difficult Herschel 400 objects.  If I remember correctly, I was observing with Brian Workman on this night, and he found it easier in his 6 inch scope than I did in my 10 in scope.

        Mel-111 (12h25.0 +26 00, for those with setting circles embedded in their eyes :-)  After looking at all these faint fuzzy galaxies, kick back for a while, put your scope and binoculars aside and take a look at the Coma Star Cluster.  At 1X, I saw this cluster a very large, very loose, pretty bright, and somewhat condensed.  I counted about 20 stars in a triangular shape pointing N.  To me this cluster is one of the most beautiful naked eye sights in the night sky.

Herschel 400 Objects
4147, 4150, 4203, 4245, 4251, 4274, 4278, 4293, 4314, 4350, 4394, 4414, 4419, 4448, 4450, 4459, 4473, 4477, 4494, 4548, 4559, 4565, 4689, 4725
SAC's 110 Best of the NGC Objects
4274, 4414, 4494, 4559, 4565,4725