Local Group of Galaxies
NGC 147 Very faint, very Large, irregularly Round, gradually somewhat much brighter in the Middle Elongated in PA 25, Paired with NGC 185 at 58', Low surface brightness
The Sculptor Dwarf System is a dwarf galaxy discovered by Harlow Shapley on a photograph taken in 1937 with the 24 inch Bruce refractor in South Africa. It is essentially a globular cluster with 90 percent of it's stars removed. The Sculptor Dwarf Galaxy is about 300,000 light years away, about half again the distance to the Magellanic Clouds. At that distance the brightest stars in the system are 18th magnitude. There is a photograph of this strange object in the December 1964 Sky and Telescope.
The Sculptor System is one of the most difficult
objects we have ever observed. When Burham's says "eeF" for
extremely extremely faint, you know you are in trouble. Therefore, we
only tried to observe this object from our darkest site, 100 miles from
Phoenix in the middle of dark Arizona desert. Seeing as how this is such
a dim galaxy we surmised that the large instruments would be needed to
pick it out. After failing with the 16" at low power we decided to
try another angle. This object is also very large (75') and maybe what
is needed is a wide field of view to provide a dark area around the galaxy
for contrast. The next try came
Large Magellanic Cloud is one of the most fascinating objects in the heavens. Some friends and I travelled to Australia to observe Comet Halley and the southern skies in 1986. From Jim Barclay's back yard about 40 miles from Brisbane, Australia, the LMC appeared about 3rd magniude to my eye and was obviously brighter in the area of the Tarantula Nebula. Moving up to a pair of large 15X80 binocs was an overwhelming sight. The face of the galaxy was very mottled and dappled with bright areas of a variety of sizes and shapes. The bright bar structure that passes through the center of this object was unmistakable. Moving to Jim's 12.5" f/6 Newtonian brought out so much detail that it is difficult to describe. Many bright clusters are resolvable which are embedded in the LMC by using about 200X or so and the Nebulae seen are increased by using the UHC filter. A unique object.
Ursa Minor Dwarf (UGC 9749) Very faint, large, elongated 1.5 X 1 at 60X in a 38mm Giant Erfle eyepiece that gives a one degree field in the 13". This is a big, low surface brightness object, so save it for a dark site.
The Draco Dwarf ( UGC 10822 ) Very faint, large, elongated 1.5 X 1 at 60X. There are 10 stars involved across the face of the galaxy. I do not know if they are truly members of this nearby Local Group Galaxy. It is just a grainy lump at even this very low power and I was using a dark cloth over my head at an excellant site on a night rated at 8/10 for transparency. I was using a 38mm Erfle eyepiece in a 2" barrel. So, if you are going to chase this very low surface brightness object, put in your lowest power.
NGC 6822 is Barnard's Galaxy in
Sagittarius. It is listed as having a total magnitude of 11, but that
is very misleading. This is a very low surface brightness object and does
not respond to any telescope with a bright, easy to spot image. I can
see it in the 11X80 finder on my 13". This is only from the best