SSPM22. July / August New Moon Weekend At Wiruna

By Scott Mellish, 2000

With this issue of post mortem there are three rather novel objects of interest that I observed from Wiruna over the July/August New Moon weekend. So to start the ball rolling I will go to the first object which is the oddly named Barbons Galaxy.
So what is so special about Barbons Galaxy?

When I first took a glimpse of it, I thought "so what". In the eyepiece at 191x mag Barbons Galaxy is a tiny little fuzzy dot of around 14.5 mag. I actually used a photograph from the NASA extra-galactic database to help locate this little number. Although it is plotted in the Millennium Star Atlas it would have been sheer luck to pick it in the eyepiece field. At some 0.4" size, as you would guess, it is small.

Barbons Galaxy is also known as Markarian 328, CGCG 497-42, Kara 1031 and UGCA 441. From what I gather it seems that it is an active galaxy of some description and appears to have been the subject of some intense study, hence the odd name which is probably the surname of the person who studied it.

R.A 23h 37' 39.3" Dec +30° 07' 47"

This planetary is a rather unique object in Pegasus that is quite easy to observe from a dark-sky site using an Oxy III filter despite its far northern location. Some of the photographs and sketches I have seen from northern observations show that we are not missing much from the south. In the September issue of Sky and Telescope Jay McNeil has a lovely sketch of Jones 1 done with his 16". It is interesting to note that he drew the object as a horseshoe shape, with the two brighter lobes either side, and a fainter arc joining them.

From Wiruna I could not see much at first without the OxyIII filter in place, but once that was brought on the scene the whole extent of Jones 1 became apparent. The two bright sections, or arcs, could be seen plus the fainter connecting piece, but I could also easily discern the faint curve at the other end (the left curve in the sketch). From my perspective Jones 1 is seen as a soft ghostly oval about 8' in diameter with two brighter portions at either side with the two far less conspicuous curves at either end joining to form a ring shape. It is unlikely that the print quality in the journal will show all the detail in the sketch, but at least you will get the idea. This planetary is one that I call into on occasions as the seeing conditions can improve the view if the moment is right. All up I find Jones 1 a very curious and enjoyable planetary to observe.

R.A. 23h 35' 53.5" Dec +30° 28' 02"

ABELL 2079
Now we move onto the objects that really tweak my curiosity. Abell 2079 is a remote cluster of galaxies in Corona Borealis which incidentally is the same constellation that houses that other famous Abell cluster, the exceedingly distant Abell 2065.

Abell 2079 however is nowhere near as challenging as the latter. Despite having the annoyingly bright Beta Cor Bor in the field, the galaxies that are visible are reasonably bright for what they are. In the 16" at 270x mag there are two close objects almost touching each other. These Galaxies form a close pair that together make an interesting duo to observe. They both sport dense elongated core regions that are surrounded by the soft haze of their outer regions. From what it looks like, we have two semi-edge-on spirals either interacting or simply aligned in the line of sight. From the mega star chart that I checked on, this pair appears to be PGC 55149 at bottom, and UGC 9861 at top. There are considerably more objects scattered about, but none that I could discern with any degree of certainty. When you observe the fainter Abell clusters you tend to expect to see a mass of faint Galaxies strewn across the field, but most, if not all the time, all you get to see is one or two of the brighter members of what are basically extremely remote groups of Galaxies.

I guess this is the main reason why they fascinate me so much. Abell 2079 is one of a number of such clusters that inhabit Corona Borealis, so if you're in that region of sky, then look them up.

ABELL 2079
R.A. 15h 28' 6.0" Dec 28° 52' 00"

Clear Skies.