(IAAC) Obj: ngc2903 - Inst: 8" f/10 SCT

Observer: Lew Gramer
Your skills: Intermediate
Date and UT of Observation: 1997-11-29/30, 06:00 UT
Location: Miles Standish State Forest, Carver, MA, USA (41N)
Site classification: rural
Limiting magnitude: 6.6 (zenith), 6.1 (in SE)
Seeing: 2 of 10 - excellent
Moon up: no
Instrument: 8" f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain on fork equatorial, 8x50mm finder
Magnification: 80x, 170x, 340x
Filters used: None
Object: NGC 2903
Category: Spiral galaxy [SAB(rs)bc I-II]
Constellation: Leo
Data: mag 9.0  size 13'x6'
RA/DE: 09h32m  +21o30m
This lovely old friend in the Jaws of the Lion was quite prominent,
and readily found tonight by sweeping two or three eyepiece fields
due south of lambda Leo. The core of n2903 was very bright, though
surrounded by a fairly bright, complex halo as well. Certainly the
most striking feature in an 8" was the very prominent bar or core
extension in this galaxy. The bar, together with its innermost egg-
shaped core, seemed nearly as long as the entire halo, containing
at least four different "brightness steps" from its clumpy, outer
edges to the core, but not showing any hint of a stellar nucleus.
The beginnings of at least two nice tightly-wound spiral arms could
be traced off of the bar and through the halo. At the highest power
(340x) 2903 showed hints of yet more complexity in both core & halo,
while many fainter stars (and/or HII regions?) could be spotted with
averted vision, seemingly involved in this roiling mass. N2903 is a
stunning sight in even a fairly small scope under dark enough skies!