FUZZY SPOT, October 1999, Andromeda
Andromeda is the chained maiden, the daughter of King Cephus and Queen Cassiopeia. According to legend, the Queen boasted that her daughter was more beautiful than the sea nymphs. Upon hearing this, Poseidon was so upset that he cast a raging flood upon the land and sent the sea monster to destroy everyone. The only way please Poseidon was to sacrifice Andromeda to the sea monster. To make a long story short, the warrior Perseus killed the sea monster using the stare from Medusa's severed head and saved Andromeda.
There are many great objects in Andromeda with the best known being the great Andromeda Nebula. Most objects are galaxies, but there are a few others including a great planetary and some open clusters. Don't forget the beautiful double star, Gamma.
NGC 205 (00h40.4 +41 41) Inclusion of this galaxy into the Messier list has long been controversial, but for me it is a great object to round off Charles' list. M-110 is somewhat bright, pretty large, and very elongated N/S. It has a somewhat brighter middle and a suspected occasional nucleus. Using averted vision extends the halo quite a bit. Of the two close by companions to the Andromeda Galaxy, this is my favorite.
NGC 221 (00 42.8 +40 52) M-32 is the close in companion to the Andromeda Galaxy and is quite overshadowed by it's neighbor. I saw it as very bright, pretty small, and round. It is much brighter in the middle, contains a non-stellar nucleus and a fairly even halo. There is a star immediately to E.
NGC 224 (00 42.8 +41 16) Although I list the objects in this column by increasing order in RA, M-31 will probably be your starting place. This object is so famous and so well photographed, it is difficult to describe it just on a visual basis. I saw it as very very large, very very bright, very much elongated NE/SW, and much brighter in the middle. In the 10" scope, well over 3 degrees of galaxy is obvious, and by following the galaxy out with the scope and panning across its axis, it extends quite a bit. The NW side has a definite obvious dark lane, At 100X much detail is seen, especially on the SW side, and I noticed a little dark spot to the E of the nucleus.
NGC 404 (01 09.5 +35 43) Now that we've finished the crown jewels of Andromeda, let's get on to some of the lesser known objects. This galaxy is right next to beta, and the trick is getting the glare from the star out of the way. Luckily this is a high surface brightness galaxy and you can really crank up the power. At 240X I saw this as small, pretty bright, much brighter in the middle and with an occasional non-stellar nucleus. The galaxy is possibly elongated E/W, but it is hard to tell with the glare from the star.
NGC 752 (01 57.8 +37 41) Here is a beautiful open cluster, very very large, pretty bright, with the concentration of stars being fairly even. I saw about 125 stars in 2 levels, with the stars being somewhat compressed, somewhat rich, and forming some nice arcs. To the SW are 2 nice stars, white and yellow.
NGC 891 (02 22.6 +42 21) This is a great edge on galaxy. I saw it as pretty large, somewhat faint, somewhat brighter in the middle, and elongated 4:1 NNE/SSW. In the 10" scope, the dark lane was not real easy, but in the 20" scope, it is obvious across the bulge and suspected into the halo. Aperture does a lot for this very nice galaxy.
NGC 7662 (23 25.9 +42 33) The Blue Snowball planetary nebula is very bright, somewhat small, round and obviously blue in the 10" scope. I did suspect some mottling and possibly saw some darkening in the middle. In the 20" scope it is definitely annular, almost helix shaped, with a star to E. The central star occasionally suspected. Wow!
7686 (23 30.2 +49 08) Our last object is an open
cluster. In the 10" scope, I saw a grouping around a
bright middle star with another set around the first group.
There are 5 levels of stars, with the central star being a very
bright yellow star. I counted 45 stars, all resolved
without any haze.
Herschel 400 Objects
205, 404, 752, 891, 7662, 7686
SAC's 110 Best of the NGC Objects