SSPM19. November New Moon at Wiruna ... continued
By Scott Mellish, 1999
To continue on from the last edition of post-mortem I would like to cover three more galaxies of note in the constellation of Cetus. The whole area of Cetus contains an almost endless supply of extremely interesting galaxies of all shapes and sizes. In the previous article we had a look at a couple of the less conspicuous objects but with this edition I will show a few of the better known galaxies that are a bit easier to locate with moderate size telescopes.
NGC 1068 (M-77)
A nice bright round object of about 12th mag. NGC 1068 appears in the eyepiece at 126x to be a face on spiral galaxy sporting a luminous core that is not exactly a point, but more of a soft dense spot inside a diffuse but compact outer halo. If you look at the Megastar chart of this object you will see that it is not a cluttered field full of other less notable galaxies which make NGC 1068 a bit of a loner. However, there are three MAC objects also plotted which might prove a challenge for the owners of very large light buckets. I for one did not see these galaxies, which without a doubt lie substantially further away than NGC 1068. 1068 is about 7'x6' in size and appears as almost face on.
A beautiful edgewise spiral galaxy of about 12th mag. I really enjoyed the view of this object as it is a soft luminous blob, elongated almost like the classic cigar shape, but not quite. By the time I got to observe this object it was very early in the morning and I was looking for something easy and this object fitted the bill nicely.
In the eyepiece at 210x, NGC 1090 appears as a somewhat diffuse galaxy with no visible core point at all. It is a relatively compact object with the faintest hint of some mottling present. The Megastar chart shows the immediate field of NGC 1090 is dotted with those pesky MGC Galaxies that can try your observing patience if, like me, you're gullible enough to try and observe some of them. All up though this is a very interesting galaxy, around 4"x2" in size and highly recommended.
As fuzzy blobs go, NGC 1087 is about as fuzzy and blobby as you can get. This does not mean however that it is uninteresting, quite the contrary. In the l6" at 210x this object appears as a quite evident, almost face-on spiral galaxy of yet again about 12th mag. It is around 4'x2' in size and little of the spiral arms can be seen, though owners of larger scopes may have a chance to pull some detail here.
I could not discern any core region of any note but the central region of the object does appear to be a touch brighter than the rest. I observed this Galaxy before NGC 1090 so it was a nice contrast to lead into the next object considering the different shapes.
In the Megastar field you can see NGC 1090 is just out of the 23 arc-min field of the 9mm Nagler eyepiece. Also in the field is a host of MAC Galaxies and the Abell Galaxy cluster A381. If you pop into this region, try for MAC 0245-0041 and NGC 1094 along with MCG +0-8-14 as they look to be fairly interesting objects. NGC 1087 is about 4'x3' in size.