(IAAC) Obj: M 102 (NGC 5866) - Inst: 20" f/5 dob newt

Observer: Lew Gramer
Your skills: Intermediate
Date and UT of Observation: 1997-08-02/03, 02:00 UT
Location: Savoy, MA, USA (42N, elev 700m)
Site classification: rural
Limiting magnitude: 7.3 (zenith)
Seeing: 8 of 10 - quite good, occasional haze and lightning!
Moon up: no
Instrument: 20" f/5 Tectron truss-tube dob Newtonian reflector
Magnification: 70x, 210x, 420x
Filters used: None
Object: M102? (ngc5866 - The Spindle Galaxy)
Category: Spiral galaxy [SA0+spP]
Constellation: Dra
Data: mag 9.9  size 5'x2'
RA/DE: 15h07m  +55o46m
Fearing a cloud-out tonight, I whipped the truss-tube monster over
to Draco, just to be sure I'd see SOMETHING worth logging. (As it
happened, the Summer Star Party avoided Stellafane's watery fate
the entire night... But why take chances!) The Mystery Messier's
halo was clearly elongated NE-SW at 70x, spanning what appeared to
be more like 10' length than 5'. The core was very much brighter
than the surrounding pearly haze, seemed somewhat off-axis in its
N-S elongation, and appeared distinctly rectangular at both 70x
and 210x! A strong dark lane SE of the core was best seen at lower
powers than 420x, curving very gracefully to the S and then the W,
separating the S section of the halo from the core. A smaller and
more mottled dark lane (?) was noted W of the core, with a still
smaller but wider branch lane heading E to within 30" of the core.
At 210x and 420x, the halo stretched irregularly perhaps 6' to
the NE, and 5' to the SW. Above and below the core, the halo was
very diffuse and no larger than 2' in either direction.