(IAAC) Obj: NGC 2537 ("Bear Paw"), NGC 2537a, IC 2233 ("Needle") - Inst: 20" f/5 Dob reflector

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Observer: Lew Gramer
Your skills: Intermediate (some years)
Date/time of observation: 16/17 Jan 1998  04:00 UT
Location of site: MIT Haystack Obs., Westford, MA, USA (Lat 43N, Elev 30m)
Site classification: Exurban
Sky darkness: 6.4 <Limiting magnitude>
Seeing: 3 <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)>
Moon presence: None - moon not in sky
Instrument: 20" f/5 Dob reflector
Magnification: 70x, 210x.
Filter(s): None.
Object(s): NGC 2537 ("Bear Paw"), NGC 2537a, IC 2233 ("Needle")
Object category: Galaxies.
Object class: IB(s)mP, SB(rs)c, SB(s)d:sp
Constellation: Lyn
Object data: mag 11.7, 15.4, 12.6  size 1.7x1.5, 0.7x0.6, 4.7x0.5 (!)
Position: 081315.1+455929
Neither of this fascinating group of galaxies were visible to me at first
pass this morning. My thanks to Steve Clougherty both for suggesting them
as targets, and for pointing out n2537 once I was on the low power field!
The search began off the front paw of Ursa Major (iota and kappa UMa), in
the "neck" of the Lynx. Midway between the mag 6 orangeish pair 25 and 26
Lyn, and the mag 5 yellow star 31 Lyn lies a pretty near-line of three mag
8 stars, evenly spaced and roughly oriented N-S. Just one wide-angle field
of view NNE of this trio lies a small right triangle of mag 8 and 9 stars.
Just inside the shortest edge of the right triangle lies an averted vision
haze, about 1' across and with elongation just barely noticeable. This is
n2537. Unfortunately the conditions this night (or my impatience) wouldn't
allow any of the bizarre details in this irregular to be noted, other than
a possible brightening to WNW of the seemingly even core. Perhaps this was
the only hint I saw of the interacting companion n2537a? With this minimal
report of the bright galaxy in this group, it can be imagined that fainter
i2233 was not overly impressive. It was NOT, although it was visible with
averted vision, and at higher power clearly showed its EXTREME elongation!
Though tonight's observation was disappointing, I definitely look forward
to returning to these extraordinary objects many times in the future.
Object data thanks to dObjects: http://www.eaglequest.com/~bondono/dObjects
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