Friday, October 7, 2016

De Camino a Sculptor Galaxy

While about 12 million light years separate us from this spiral galaxy, one doesn’t need more than a pair of binoculars on a good night to get a sight of it.

Star Hopping in Binoculars and 37.5x telescope view
I found the way to this galaxy pretty simply. Starting from the star Diphda (β Ceti), going south about 5 degrees to find two triangle shaped asterisms facing each other that easily stand out in the wide FOV. One degree below the last triangle and to the right of it, there is a streak patch of light framed by a parallelogram of very dim stars. 

With an apparent magnitude of 8 and surface brightness <13, NGC253 looks as bright or even more than Bode's nebulae (M81), in part thanks to its dense and bright core but also because it’s edgewise seeing.

After seeing it with binoculars on the night of the 2nd of October I decided to look for it with my telescope on the next night. Most of the sketch was made using only 37.5x with a Celestron Omni plossl eyepiece, but I dug inside the galaxy with 100x which allowed me to see four stars on top and below the mottled galactic disc.  

If you haven’t seen a galaxy yet or are stuck with Andromeda, this is a good time to escape to a dark sky with a pair of binoculars or a small telescope to catch a glance of this, the Silver Coin galaxy.

Clear skies,


Edited by Jennifer Steinberg (editor in chief)


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