(IAAC) Obj: NGC 4565 - Inst: 36" f/5 Obsession dob

Observer: Lew Gramer
Your skills: Intermediate (some years)
Date/time of observation: 1998-05-24/25 04:00 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: 36" f/5 Obsession dob
Magnification: 130x, 380x
Filter(s): None
Object(s): NGC 4565
Category: External galaxy.
Class: SA(s)b?sp I
Constellation: Com
Data: mag 9.6  size 16'x2'
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" (see previous log), and Barrie Sawyer and Ralph Pass's 36".
Repeating my hop to 4565 from 17 Comae turned out to be difficult: the lack of a
Telrad on the Big Eye tonight meant I had to spend considerable time making sure
the mag 4-5 white star I kept pointing at was in fact 17! And once I was sure, the
more limited wide-angle field (30' vs. 55') made the actual sweep a little tougher
too - not to mention the sheer manual labor of slewing "Godzilla" vs. my own li'l
"Scopius Maximus". :) Once found however, the Great Coma Edge-on showed itself to
me as I've never seen it! Again, this was a friend's scope, so my log was far more
cursory than it would have otherwise been: but in the space of a few short minutes
I managed to trace the roiling edges of the central dark lane for what seemed to me
a full 20', could clearly distinguish some tiny bifurcations ("Great Rifts") within
the lane, distinguished a pinpoint-sharp nucleus surrounded by an inner core in the
bright S central bulge (with a matching inner core suspected in the N bulge), and
even some hints of mottling AWAY from center, in the SE extremity of the spindle.
This object in this instrument tonight appeared clearly superior to any image or
photograph I've ever seen: the breadth as well as depth of detail was staggering!
Thanks again to Barrie and Ralph for sharing the visual bounty that is Godzilla. :)
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