Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - 58

JANUARY 2017 OBSERVING
Going Deep

beyond it along the same line of sight.
We can imagine a region of unimaginable violence with powerful jets and
streamers of superheated plasma hundreds of light-years wide.
Through a telescope, NGC 1275 is
the brightest galaxy in the cluster of
galaxies designated Abell (ACO) 426,
which, containing thousands of galaxies, is one of the most massive objects
known. There are over 100 galaxies
within a 1° circle centered on NGC
1275, and a patient observer with a
large-aperture telescope should be
able to log 30 or more. More moderate
instruments can expect to detect up to
a dozen. NGC 1275 and its neighbor to
the west, NGC 1272, clearly dominate

NGC 1277

the grouping. Although NGC 1272 lies
much closer to us, both appear as round
ovals with much brighter cores.
To hunt galaxies in this distant cluster, you'll need a dark, transparent sky
and to employ the usual best practices
for detecting faint fuzzies. Meticulous
dark adaptation is most important; if
you use a computer as your sky atlas,
allow plenty of time for your eyes to
readjust after every glance at your screen,
even if you use a night-vision mode. I
find that a black towel draped over my
head is a great help, but there's no substitute for patience. It takes several minutes
for your eyes to readjust after looking at
your computer screen or even reading
a printed chart with a dim red flashlight. The longer you stay in near total
darkness the better; fainter and fainter

objects will come into view as you wait.
All the other usual advice also applies:
stay relaxed, stay hydrated, tap the scope
to enhance detection, and avert your
vision. If at all possible, take the time to
memorize the field before going to the
eyepiece. Many of the cluster's galaxies
are just tiny spots of nebulosity that yield
little more than a vague impression of
detection, but several of them will eventually reveal themselves.
The densest clump of visible galaxies forms a house-like shape not unlike
the asterism that underlies the constellation Cepheus. NGC 1272 represents
the peak of the roof and NGC 1275 the
southeast corner of the box-like base. A
pair of galaxies occupies the northeast
corner. NGC 1278 is the larger of the
two and appears round with a bright

MCG +7- 7- 61
NGC 1274

NGC 1278
NGC 1264

NGC 1273
NGC 1268
NGC 1275
NGC 1272
NGC 1270

PGC 12254
NGC 1267

PGC 12294
NGC 1260
NGC 1259
MCG +7- 7- 48

IC 310

p There are over 100 galaxies within a 1° circle centered on NGC 1275. This dense string of galaxies, approximately 37 arcminutes long, starts northeast of Algol and connects IC 310 in the southwest to NGC 1277 and NGC 1278 in the northeast.

58

J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 7 * SK Y & TELESCOPE

BOB FR A NK E, TOP BA NNER (PERSEUS): CH A NDR A X-R AY OBSERVATORY ACIS

PGC 12316



Sky and Telescope - January 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sky and Telescope - January 2017

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Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - Cover1
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - Cover2
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - 1
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Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - Cover3
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - Cover4
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - SGA17RAL
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - 90
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - SGA17R
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - SGA17RA
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - SGA17EAL
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - 94
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Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - SGA17S
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