(IAAC) Obj: M87, NGC4478, MAC1230+1224 (MCG02-32-101), MAC1230+1222 (UGC7858) - Inst: 20" Dobsonian

Observer: Nick Martin
Your skills: Intermediate
Date/time of observation: 20/04/2001 01:30 UT
Location of site: Bonnyton house drive, Ayrshire, Scotland
Site classification: rural
Sky darkness: 6 <zenithal limiting magnitude>
Seeing: III <I-V Seeing Scale (I best)>
Moon presence: None - moon not in sky
Instrument: 20" F4.4 Newton on Dobsonian mount
Magnification: X240
Filter(s): None,
Object: Obj: M87, NGC4478, MAC1230+1224 (MCG02-32-101), MAC1230+1222 (UGC7858)
Object type: External galaxy.
Class: E
Position: 12 28.3  +12.46
Constellation: Virgo
Data: Mag : 8.6   ;  Size 7.2' x 6.8'
Object Rating:B 
Description: A large round galaxy, it is strongly concentrated toward the
centre. There is a magnitude 12 star following the central core. There was a
very steep increase in brightness at the centre of the galaxy but no central
nucleus was seen. With averted vision the broad, diffuse halo covered nearly
half the field of a 9 mm. orthoscopic eyepiece before vanishing into the
brighter than usual sky.  Although the galaxy is a giant elliptical galaxy
my observing records note that the halo did not seem uniform. The preceding
edge seemed brighter to the south of the core and extended outward beyond
the apparent edge of the halo. There is no extension visible on the Digital
Sky Survey plates of this galaxy but there is a pair of faint galaxies (MAC
1230+1224 and MAC 1230+1222). It could be these that gave the impression of
a bulge. There also appeared to be an arm of nebulosity seemed to extend
about 40% of the distance to a magnitude11/12 star following the core of the
galaxy. Although deep exposures show that the brighter parts the outer halo
of the galaxy extend in this direction it is unlikely that these would have
been seen. There are some faint stars, though, on the same  side and it is
possible that the gave the impression that there was an extension  there.
M87 is half of a pleasant galaxy pair; in the opposite quadrant of the
eyepiece field is the much smaller galaxy NGC 4478, magnitude 11.2 and size
1.6'. This galaxy is somewhat elliptical in shape with a bright central core.
Nick Martin, Bonnyton House, By Ayr, Ayrshire KA6 7EW ,Scotland, UK.
 Latitude 55 24'56" Longitude 4 26' 00".
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