Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 57

dust lane on either side of the bulge is
likewise hard to trace. However, the dark
lane does impart a sharp southern edge
to M104. It's that well-defined edge, plus
the prominent northern portion of the
central bulge that makes the Mexican
hat, fuzzy flying saucer, or misty Saturn.
Alas, at my suburban home I get The
Blob - with apologies to the 1958 Steve
McQueen cult classic of the same name.
The movie was bad; this is worse.
Alas, the Sombrero does not suffer
Σ1664
M104
alone. Lots of well-known deep-sky
objects sporting evocative monikers
don't live up to their names when
viewed in small telescopes under lightpolluted
skies. But even if the destination
disappoints, the star-hop journey
can still be good fun. That's certainly
true for M104.
In the Neighborhood
Before taking down my gear, I decided
to check out two other local attractions.
For the first, I dipped 1½°
south-southeast of the Sombrero, back
into Corvus, to the superb double star
Σ1669. It's a " headlight binary " boasting
identical 5.9-magnitude components
5.3″ apart. Σ1669 is a great sight
at medium to high power.
If I backtrack to Σ1659 (my trianglewithin-a-triangle)
and place it in the
southern half of a 100× field of view,
I'm ready to make a 6½° sweep westward.
Along the way, there's a pair of
6th-magnitude stars ½° apart. The
more westerly of the two is the deep
orange variable TT Corvi, which is hard
to miss. The sweep ends at Σ1604, a
compact triple. The Σ1604 triplet presents
a teeny triangle formed by yellowy
stars of magnitudes 6.9, 8.1, and 10.0.
Fairly high magnification (100× in my
refractor) is needed to appreciate this
minuscule marvel because the primary
star is so dominant.
The good news with this Corvus hop
is that (with the possible exception of
Σ1604) you won't need a finderscope to
locate any of these objects. A red-dot
aiming device will set your scope on
Algorab. After that, you need only an
eyepiece yielding a wide field. You can
accomplish the hops by keeping your eye
Σ1659
pHOMING IN ON THE HAT The final few star-hops to the Sombrero Galaxy are interesting
because they include two little asterisms that are, in fact, the multiple-star systems Struve 1659
and Struve 1664. The former is a small triangle nestled within a larger one, while the latter is in the
shape of a minute hockey stick whose shaft aims toward the galaxy nearby.
glued to the telescope - then nudging
your way slowly and carefully in the
indicated directions.
As May opens, Virgo is approaching
the meridian at nightfall. When the
target area is due south, the star-hops
described here are easy to accomplish
using an alt-az or Dobsonian mount.
Sombrero Sights
Object
Type
M104
δ Crv
Σ1659 AB
Σ1659 AC
Σ1664 AB
Σ1664 AE
Σ1664 EF
Σ1669
Σ1604 AB
Σ1604 AC
Galaxy
Double star
Double star
Double star
Double star
Double star
Double star
Double star
Double star
Double star
There's no moonlight to spoil the view,
so early in the month is an ideal time to
try the Sombrero on for size.
¢Long-time Contributing Editor
KEN HEWITT-WHITE has never worn
a sombrero, but he has observed the
Sombrero Galaxy many times.
Mag(v)
8.0
3.0, 8.5
7.9, 8.3
7.9, 10.9
7.8, 9.2
7.8, 8.6
8.6, 8.9
5.9, 5.9
6.9, 10.0
6.9, 8.1
Size/Sep
8.6′ × 4.2′
24.2″
28.1″
43.8″
38.1″
121.4″
92.7″
5.3″
9.0″
10.5″
RA
12h 40.0m
12h 29.9m
12h 35.7m
12h 35.7m
12h 38.3m
12h 38.3m
12h 38.3m
12h 41.3m
12h 09.5m
12h 09.5m
Dec.
-11° 37′
-16° 31′
-12° 01′
-12° 01′
-11° 31′
-11° 31′
-11° 31′
-13° 01′
-11° 51′
-11° 51′
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.
sk yand tele scope .o r g * MAY 2024 57
DSS2 / SKY-MAP.ORG
http://www.SKY-MAP.ORG http://skyandtelescoper.org

Sky & Telescope - May 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sky & Telescope - May 2024

Contents
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - Cover1
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - Cover2
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 1
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - Contents
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 3
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