(IAAC) Obj: NGC 4565, NGC 4555, NGC 4562 - Inst: 20" f/5 dob reflector

Observer: Lew Gramer
Your skills: Intermediate (some years)
Date/time of observation: 1998-05-24/25 02:45 UT
Location of site: Stinson Lake, NH, USA (Lat 44oN, Elev 330m)
Site classification: Rural
Sky darkness: 7.0 <Limiting magnitude>
Seeing: 4 <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)>
Moon presence: None - moon not in sky
Instrument: 20" f/5 dob reflector
Magnification: 70x, 210x, 360x
Filter(s): None
Object(s): NGC 4565, NGC 4555, NGC 4562
Category: External galaxy.
Class: SA(s)b?sp I, E3, SB(s)m?sp
Constellation: Com
Data: mag 9.6, 13p, 14  size 16'x2', 2'x1.5', 2'x1'
Position: RA 12:36  DEC +25:59
I had the chance to view this Monster of the Spring Skies at once with TWO
larger instruments - my 20", and Barrie Sawyer and Ralph Pass's 36" (see log
to follow).  I hopped to 4565 tonight by sweeping E of 17 Comae, the mag 5
white star at the "crook" of the three-legged asterism formed by the "hair" of
Coma. Immediately as the galaxy swam into view, my eyepiece field (23') was
nearly bisected by it's bright length and enchanting, tightly-spindled
shape. The dark lane showed quite clearly as a serrated-edge boundary between
two bright edge-on "hubcaps". Unlike with M104 or NGC 891, the two "pieces"
formed by 4565's dark lane BOTH appear to direct vision as extremely
striking. Also unlike those other edge-ons, n4565's dark lane readily gives up
its mottled and asymmetric nature, even at 70x. Aside from the stunning dark
lane, a bright stellar nucleus was readily visible in the core of the
southerly "hub". In addition two nearby companions were glimpsed just within
the same narrow field: both required averted vision, although the brighter
core of n4555 can be seen in direct vision. Otherwise '55 is featureless,
while '62 actually offers the prospect of yet another divided spiral to
careful use of concentrated vision, like a ghostly (and tiny) echo of mighty
NGC 4565 nearby.
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