FUZZY SPOT,  October 2001, Piscis Austrinus

Piscis Austrinus, the Southern Fish,  is a small constellation in the southern skies.  The Greeks inherited this constellation from the Babylonians, who knew it simply as the fish.  It was sacred to the Mesopotamian god of the Fresh Waters and of Wisdom.

Other than its alpha star, Fomalhaut (which means the "Mouth of the Fish"), the constellation is poor in bright stars.  It likewise is poor in deep sky objects, containing no Messier, SAC's 110 Best of the NGC, or Herschel 400 objects.  What is here is a handful of small, faint galaxies.  All of these observations were made in my 10" F4.5 scope.

        NGC 7130 (21h48.3 -34 57)  Our first galaxy was seen at 100X as pretty faint, pretty small and brighter in the middle.  There is a possible elongation N/S, use averted vision to see this.  The galaxy is so faint, I was unable to really see anything else.

        NGC 7135 (21h49.8 -34 53)  This galaxy was seen at 100X as very faint, pretty small, and slightly brighter in the middle with no nucleus.  I had to use a hood to see it as barely visible with direct vision.  Due to its faintness, I couldn't tell if there was any elongation.  It is situated in the side of a triangle of stars.

        NGC 7172, 7173, 7174, 7176 (22h02.1 -31 59, for 7176)  This is an interesting but faint group of galaxies.  7173 and 7174/76 are close together between 2 stars.  There is a very sharp nucleus on both, faint halos on both, and no elongation noted on either. They are situated E/W of each other.  7172 is W of a star, and is pretty faint and pretty small, elongated NNW/SSE.  These galaxies are not that much individually, but are nice as a group and sit in a nice star pattern.

        NGC 7214 (22h09.1 -27 49)  Here we have a somewhat faint galaxy, small, and with 2 stars involved.  Using averted vision helps a little, possibly showing some elongation NE/SW and some more stars involved.

        NGC 7221 (22h11.3 -30 37) This galaxy is probably the faintest in this column.  At 100X, I saw it as extremely faint and pretty small.  When using the hood it is barely visible with direct vision, using averted vision helps.  It is was too faint to see any detail.

        NGC 7267 (22h24.3 -33 41) This object is very faint, pretty small, and with averted vision shows a little brightening in the middle.  I was unable to tell if there was any elongation.  There is a nice trio of stars to W.

        NGC 7314 (22h35.8 -26 03) The final object of this month is the brightest object I've seen so far in Piscis Austrinus.  I described this galaxy as bright, somewhat small, and containing a brighter middle.  It is very elongated N/S.  To the SW is NGC 7314, which I did not see.

Here are some other objects not covered that may be worth observing.  These all have a rating of 3 stars in The Night Sky Observer's Guide by George Robert Kepple and Glen W. Sanner:  NGC 7201, NGC 7204, NGC 7229, NGC 7361, IC 5156, IC 5269, and IC 5271.

Herschel 400 Objects
SAC’s 110 Best of the NGC Objects