(IAAC) Obj: Fornax Dwarf (ESO 356-004, Hodge 5, ESO 356-005 or Hodge 4, NGC 1049 or Hodge 3, ESO 356-008, Hodge 2 or ESO 356-001) - Inst: 20" f5 dobsonian
Observer: Andrew Murrell
Your skills: Advanced (many years)
Date/time of observation: 02 Feb 2000
Location of site: Ilford NSW Australia (Lat 32oS, Elev )
Site classification: Rural
Sky darkness: 7 <Limiting magnitude>
Seeing: 7-9.5 <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)>
Moon presence: None - moon not in sky
Instrument: 20" f5 dobsonian
Magnification: 100x through 700x
Object(s): Fornax Dwarf (ESO 356-004, Hodge 5, ESO 356-005 or Hodge 4,
NGC 1049 or Hodge 3, ESO 356-008, Hodge 2 or ESO 356-001)
Category: External galaxy. Extragalactic glob.
Class: dE2, Local Group member
Data: Mag 9.0,12.6,13.4,13.6,13.4,13.4; Size 17x13,0.8,1.3,0.6,0.8,1.3
Position: RA 02:39.59 DEC -34:27
The Fornax Dwarf is a very good challenge object for any observer.
For the novice wanting to develop their skills the trick is to see
the galaxy, and for the experienced observer is to track down it's
collection of globular clusters. I decided to finish an observing
project that I started some time ago to observe the local group
galaxies. I was able to locate the galaxy through my 20" scope
(Hector) at 100x. It appeared as a faint glow just above the sky
background covering an area of more than 50'. A 9th magnitude star
almost marks the middle of the galaxy. This star is missing for the
Mega Star data base. There were many 13th magnitude and fainter stars
scattered throughout the field. The finder on Hector is a 90mm f5.6
and I believed I could see the galaxy through the small instrument.
One of my observing companions had a Televue Traveller scope with him
and we tracked the galaxy down with this RFT. It was visible as a
faint haze about the 9th magnitude star.
The view through Hector immediately showed 3 globular clusters without
any trouble. Using the Mega star charts and a series of photos taken
from the ESO plates I started to look for the globulars. Using the
listings in Mega star...
1) Has a very low surface brightness and was the most challenging of
the 5 main clusters. The cluster had a diameter of about 1' and had no
central brightening. The low surface brightness made this a difficult
cluster to locate without a chart. It was best viewed at 300x, where it
could be seen easily with direct vision. This cluster lies to the NNW
of the Fornax Dwarf.
2) Is a 1' haze of even surface brightness much brighter than cluster
1. It was easily visible and well defined against the background sky.
The cluster was seen through a 12" scope with direct vision and could
be seen with averted vision in a 10". A 15th magnitude star lies just
off the SW edge of the cluster. Cluster 2 lies to the SW of the Dwarf.
3) Appears as a 40" patch with a bright almost stellar nucleus. The
main body of the cluster has an even surface brightness. This is
NGC1049, the brightest of the clusters associated with the Fornax
galaxy. The cluster was well detached from the background sky. It was
best viewed at 300x where it even looked like a faint globular when
viewed through a small telescope.
4) Lies just a few arc minutes SW of the 9th magnitude star. This
cluster appears very similar to NGC1049 in appearance with the bright
nucleus surrounded by an even surface brightness halo. This cluster is
fainter than NGC1049. It also has a 15th magnitude star just of the
northern edge of the cluster.
5) Appears as the smallest of the clusters at an apparent diameter of
just 30". It to appears like a smaller version of NGC1049 with the
nucleus and halo. This cluster is located away from the main body of
the galaxy toward the North East.
More observation notes on this object to come...
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