(IAAC) Obj: NGC 660 - Inst: 8" f/10 SCT

Observer: Lew Gramer
Your skills: Intermediate
Date and UT of Observation: 1997-11-29/30, 03:40 UT
Location: Miles Standish State Forest, Carver, MA, USA (41N)
Site classification: rural
Limiting magnitude: 6.6 (zenith), 6.2 (in S)
Seeing: 2 of 10 - excellent
Moon up: no
Instrument: 8" f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain, fork equatorial, 8x50mm finder
Magnification: 80x, 170x, 340x
Filters used: None
Object: NGC660
Category: Spiral Galaxy [SB(s)aP]
Constellation: Psc
Data: mag 11.2  size 8.3'x3.2'
RA/DE: 01h43m  +13o39m
This relatively bright NGC spiral was picked up tonight as follows:
I began by following the pointer of alpha and beta Ari to eta Psc,
the bright star nearest  M74 (see previous observation this evening).
Forming the S vertex of an equilateral triangle with eta and M74 is
blue-white finder star 101 Psc. Eta and 101 in turn point S a finder
field or so to a contrasty (blue and orange) pair of mag. 7 stars.
Less than 1o beyond this pair is another fainter pair of mag. 8 stars
with PA 90o (oriented E-W). Switching to a wide-angle (80x) eyepiece
in the main scope, an averted-vision haze became apparent immediately
E of the Emost of these two stars. At higher powers (first 170x, then
with difficulty 340x), this haze was easily confirmed even becoming
occasionally visible to direct vision. However, even yet it required
averted vision to see elongation, and no further detail could be seen
at any power (in what is normally a fine sight for larger apertures).
Still, I was sufficiently encouraged by my success with n660 tonight,
to sweep up a whole group of other serious Challenge Galaxies in such
a small aperture... (See later observing logs.)