Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 59

Contributing Editor Ted Forte observes from his home near Sierra Vista, Arizona.
He pens a monthly astronomy column for his local newspaper, the Sierra Vista Herald.

A Small Swarm of Galaxies
Object

Alternate ID

Surface
Brightness

Mag(v)

Size

RA

Dec.

Distance

NGC 2647

PGC 24463

13.2

14.3

48″ × 30″

08h 42.7m

+19° 39′

720 million l-y

NGC 2643

PGC 24434

13.3

14.9

42″ × 24″

08h 41.9m

+19° 42′

210 million l-y

NGC 2637

PGC 24409

14.2

15.4

48″ × 30″

08h 41.2m

+19° 41′

430 million l-y

-

15.8

34″ × 19″

08h

40.0m

+19° 39′

446 million l-y

IC 2388

PGC 24365

NGC 2625

Markarian 625

12.9

15.0

24″ × 24″

08h 38.4m

+19° 43′

200 million l-y

NGC 2624

MCG +3-22-21

12.6

14.1

36″ × 30″

08h 38.2m

+19° 44′

190 million l-y

PGC 24284

Leda 24284

-

15.0

29″ × 07″

08h 38.4m

+19° 36′

210 million l-y

39.2m

+19° 29′

500 million l-y

+19° 21′

200 million l-y

PGC 24335

Leda 24335

-

15.9

23″ × 20″

08h

MCG +3-22-21

UGC 4526

13.2

13.9

1.5′ × 0.4′

08h 40.9m

Angular sizes and separations are from recent catalogs. Visually, an object's size is often smaller than the cataloged value and varies according to the aperture and magnification of the viewing instrument. Right ascension and declination are for equinox 2000.0.

by E. E. Barnard. Marth discovered NGC 2637 on the
same night as NGC 2643. He recorded an offset position
for it as well, which lends more weight to the NGC 2643/
IC 2390 equivalence.
Lying 1′ 14″ northwest of an 11th-magnitude star,
NGC 2643 is small and mostly round. It appears evenly
illuminated, but after longer study, I saw hints of a
slightly brighter core. I couldn't detect it at 177×; however, it made an appearance at 300× and looked its best at
390×. NGC 2637, about 9′ to the west in the same field of
view, displays a similar size and brightness. I could just
distinguish its faint, round shape at 177×. It was easier to
see at 300× but showed no variations in brightness.
I used averted vision to detect IC 2388, and I was
unable to hold it with direct vision even after spending several minutes under a black towel to eliminate all
extraneous light. This small, faint spot of nebulosity sits
rather close to the center of the cluster, so the field of
view is populated with several 6th- and 7th-magnitude
stars. The galaxy itself lies 1.5′ south of a 10th-magnitude star. I couldn't make out the elongation implied
by the listed dimensions; its form remained round and
smooth at all powers.
At the western edge of M44, three galaxies occupy
the same small field of view. Just 3′ 13″ separate NGC
2625 and NGC 2624, with the former to the east of
the latter. The roundish NGC 2625 is probably a spiral
seen nearly face-on. It appears small and dim and only
slightly brighter toward its center. NGC 2624 was easier
to detect. Its 30″ halo is elongated northeast-southwest
and contains a considerably brighter core. I used a range
of magnifications on the pair but had the most pleasing
view at 300×.

The third galaxy here was a chore to find. I completely
missed it on my first exploration of the area and had to
revisit it a couple of nights later. Look 5′ directly south of
NGC 2625 for a pair of 12.5-magnitude stars lying in a
north-south line; they point the way to the 15th-magnitude edge-on galaxy PGC 24284. Small and slender, its
dimensions inhibit detection even though it has a higher
surface brightness than its more open-faced neighbors.
Averted vision and 650× revealed its location, and once
located, 390× provided a better view. Still, it's no more
than a streak of light angled very nearly north-south.
Deep Sky Survey images show an even fainter, slimmer
companion at a right angle to it, but I saw no trace of it.
Moving 13′ 40″ southeast back across the cluster, you
come to the tiny, faint, and round face-on spiral, PGC
24335. I detected it at 177×, but it took 300× for me to
see it well. Just beyond the galaxy, another 50″ farther
east, is a string of three 15th- and 16th-magnitude stars
in a nearly north-south line.
A hop about 25′ southeast will center the most southern of M44's galaxies, MCG +3-22-21, in your eyepiece.
This edge-on spiral stretches northeast-southwest and
shares the field with a 14th-magnitude star about 30″
to the south. I had to pump up the power to detect this
streak of light, but at 390× it was fairly easy to see.
Peeking between the stars of this well-known showpiece to discover the galaxies concealed behind it is a bit
like pushing the coats aside in C. S. Lewis's wardrobe
and finding a passage to a hidden world. Perhaps there
are other observable galaxies behind the cluster. I don't
yet know, but I'm certain that once you've explored these
nine objects, the Beehive will never again seem ordinary
or unchallenging. ✦
Sk yandTelescope.com March 2016

59


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Sky and Telescope - March 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sky and Telescope - March 2016

Contents
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - Cover1
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - Cover2
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 1
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - Contents
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 3
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - A
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - B
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 4
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 5
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 6
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 7
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 8
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 9
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 10
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 11
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 12
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 13
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 14
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 15
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 16
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 17
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 18
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 19
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 20
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 21
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 22
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 23
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 24
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 25
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 26
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 27
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 28
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 29
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 30
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 31
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Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 33
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 34
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 35
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 36
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 37
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 38
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 39
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 40
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 41
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 42
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 43
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 44
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 45
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 46
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 47
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Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 49
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Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 59
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 60
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Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 76
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 77
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 78
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 79
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Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 83
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - 84
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - Cover3
Sky and Telescope - March 2016 - Cover4
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