Saturday, October 15, 2016

NGC1316 & NGC1317

Galaxies in Fornax 

Although not very popular in the Northern Hemisphere, the Fornax Cluster is the second richest galaxy cluster after Virgo Cluster.  Fornax A (NGC1316) is the brightest galaxy in the cluster, easy to see with a telescope under sub urban skies. If I had the opportunity to use a radio telescope, I will definitely want to aim it at Fornax A since is one of the strongest radio sources in our sky.

With 37.5x, Fornax A showing a ovalish core, surrounded by soft halo. The view I’ve had of this lenticular galaxy was very similar to some elliptical galaxies in the Virgo Cluster like M60, M58, and M87. It was really hard to make an accurate shape since I was using averted vision to get the most of the galaxy.

Fornax B, the shy neighbor is only about 5’ above Fornax A. With an apparent magnitude of 11 and a Surface brightness of 12.9 is really hard to see as a galaxy because it’s tiny angular size (2.8’). In 37.5x it looked just like puffy star of similar appearance than its 11th Mag stellar companions, making a equilateral triangle.

In my own experience, the best way to catch galactic objects like these, it has been to use low magnification in such way that can have enough magnification to differentiate DSO from the stars, but also allow enough background so the surface brightness smudges will stand out in the eyepiece.

Clear skies,


Edited by Jennifer Steinberg (editor in chief)


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