EAA Observing Report – Some Spring Galaxies & Hickson Compact Groups Apr 14, 2020

Spring is definitely one of my favorite observing season as I love observing galaxies or the faint fuzzies as amateur astronomers affectionately refer to them. There is just something about capturing light from these distant island universes that has traveled incomprehensible distances measured in millions of light years.

Since I was not able to make it out to the club’s dark site I decided to use my trusty ASI290MM mono CMOS camera and my EdgeHD 8 to observe from home which is in a Bortle 8 Red LP zone (see Bortle scale here).

The evening was relatively clear, just the usual ocean moisture. A rare event these days as we have had non stop rain and clouds for over a month.

My plan for the evening was to observe some of my favorite galaxies and groups.

Make sure you click the images to see the full resolution versions.

NGC4449

Started the evening with a very interesting irregular galaxy NGC4449 in the constellation of Canes Venatici. It is about 12 million light years away and part of the M94 group. It has a lot going on. There is significant star formation going on likely due to an interaction in the past although I cannot see a suspect in the field. Such galaxies are also referred to as starburst galaxies. In the Hubble image below you can see the chaos in all its glory.

Link to the observation / live stacking video: https://youtu.be/PrIcQBfLleQ

Here is a Hubble image of NGC4449:

HCG56 and ARP214

One of my favorite galaxy fields. You have a Hickson Compact Group and a large ARP in the same field. ARP214 at the top reminds me of a hard candy I used have as a child. For HCG56, managed to capture all the 5 members which I have labelled. Also in HCG56 you can see what seems like tidal tails from an interaction between components B and C. Whether this is real or now I am not sure.

Live observing video here: https://youtu.be/7he8hhHtVck

HCG68

Another superb Hickson Compact Group. From a dark site in my 14″ Dob visually it looks exactly like this. The group is about 100 million light years away in the constellation of Canes Venatici. As soon as I started stacking I could see most of the members with with more total exposure time the arms of the face on spiral galaxy became clearer and more defined.

Link to the observation / live stacking video: https://youtu.be/RRGltxnKRzc

HCG57

Another very nice Hickson Compact Group. Also known as Copeland’s Septet. It has quite a few members that have labelled in the image (a to f). This compact group is in the constellation of Leo. They all have similar redshifts and it is assumed that these are interacting and potentially merging.

M106

Live observing video here: https://youtu.be/hS-blvY3t5U

NGC4565 Needle Galaxy

Abell 1656 – Coma Galaxy Cluster

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