FUZZY SPOT, October 1998, Pegasus

The great square of Pegasus is a sure sign of Fall.  The four stars, alpha, beta, gamma, and delta, form an almost perfect rectangle with delta being slightly out of place.  Delta is a “shared” star, now officially identified as alpha Andromeda.  This is a good constellations to work if you want a break from the Milky Way, as Pegasus is loaded with galaxies.  Don’t overlook globular cluster M-15 though.

For large scope owners, there is the companions of 7331 and Stephans Quintet.  Also, you get to see the first object in the NGC catalogue.  Don’t expect much from NGC-1, it was a toughie in the 20” scope.

Now that you’re ready to hunt down some galaxies, let’s jump into, as they call it in the old star charts, Pegafus.

        NGC 7078 (21h30.0 +12 10) M-15 is the only Messier Object in Pegasus, but it is a doosey!  At 100X, I saw this globular cluster as very large, pretty bright, resolving many stars in the halo, gradually brightening towards the middle, then suddenly very much brighter and more dense in the nucleus.  There is somewhat of a dark lane on the SE side of the cluster.  I estimated that at least 200 stars were resolved.  Absolutely beautiful cluster with so many stars.  If you want an extra challenge, hunt down the planetary nebula in the cluster, something I haven’t had the patients or courage to do yet.

        NGC 7217 (22h07.9 +31 22) In the 10” scope, I saw this galaxy as fairly small, round, containing a fairly bright middle with a bright sub-stellar nucleus which comes and goes with seeing.  Using averted vision make the halo pop out.  There is a fairly bright star to the SE.  In the 20” scope, I suspected some mottling in the halo, although the picture in Vickers shows it very even.

        NGC 7317, 7318A 7318B, 7319, 7320 (22h36.1 +33 57) Don’t think that Stephans Quintet is only for people with very large scopes.  In the 10” scope I was able to see 7320 and 7318A/B with certainty and could suspect 7319.  This was accomplished using a hood and really concentrating.  The area was best describes as lumpiness in the darkness.  The 20” scope was able to reveal all 5 galaxies.  7320 was the brightest, seen as somewhat small, somewhat faint, elongated NW/SE 2:1.  There is a star involved which is probably not the nucleus.  To the NW is 7318 A/B.  These are very small, pretty faint, with the halos merged into a single object but with separate brighter middles.  To the N of 7320 is 7319 which is very small, pretty faint, and very slightly brighter in the middle.  Finally, to the W of 7320 is 7317, the faintest of the galaxies, and a star on the NW doesn’t help with the viewing either.  This galaxy is very small, very faint, and slightly brighter in the middle.

        NGC 7331 (22h37.1 +34 25) This galaxy is really a beauty.  At 140X, it is very bright, pretty large, extremely elongated N/S with 2 fairly bright start on the E.  There is a bright core and an even brighter stellar nucleus.  The halo is more prominent on the E side indicating that the W side is probably cut of with a dust lane.  Try as I might, I couldn’t see any of the companions in the 10” scope.

        NGC 7448 (23h00.0 +15 59) A somewhat bright galaxy at 100X situated between 2 stars on the ESE and WNW, it is pretty small and is elongated N/S.   The galaxy is slightly brighter in the middle and a stellar nucleus comes and goes.  On the WNW is a faint star which appears fuzzy in the 10” scope.  Looking in Vickers Deep Space CCD Atlas, this star is a very close triple.

        NGC 7479 (23h04.9 +12 19) The last galaxy of the month is somewhat faint, pretty large, and very elongated NE/SW.  There is only a little brightening toward the middle with no nucleus seen.  Using averted vision, I did suspect some mottling.  Look for a faint star on NE and a brighter star on SW.  Little brightening toward the middle.  This is a nice galaxy in an out of the way place.

        NGC 7772 (23h51.8 +16 15) We’ll finish off the month with an open cluster.  This small grouping of stars is pretty small, fairly bright, very poor, and extremely loose.  There is a total of  6 stars in an “M” shape.  Since this is well out of the Milky Way it stands out quite well.

Herschel 400 Objects
7217, 7331, 7448, 7479
SAC’s 110 Best of the NGC Objects