(IAAC) Object: NGC891; Instrument: 16" Dob

Observer:  Todd Gross
Your skill:  Intermediate +
Date and UT of observation: 1/30/97 0030 GMT
Location & latitude: 22 miles west of Boston, Ma. 42.3N
Site classification: Suburban

Limiting magnitude (visual): 4.9 (estimated),  4.9 (est)  in vicinity of object
Seeing (1 to 5 - best to worst):  2
Moon up (phase?): No

Instrument: f/4.59 16" Dob, f.l. 1839mm, excellent optics, 
96-99% coating, 3.1"secondary

Magnifications: 175x,97x,75x
Filters used: none
Object:  Variable: NGC 891
Object data: 

This is one of the most fascinating objects I have ever observed. I caught it 
in a 14" SCT last year, but had a very hard time finding it. I did notice
the dark 
lane in that scope somehow, despite the weak appearance. In an 8" scope, it 
also was a bit hard to find, but was quite obvious with time, with no internal 
structure noted. 

In the 16" scope under suburban skies, true to form, NGC 891 tried to allude me.
However, knowing more about this object helped me find it right away after 
searching around the sky where my Digital Setting Circles had sent me.  This
is VERY GHOSTLY, it hangs like a ghost amongst a fairly dense sprinkling of
about 11
to 13th magnitude stars. The relative sky brightness in my suburban setting
led me to 
boost power to 175x for the best view. At 175x , a good portion of the field
was taken up
by the elongated shape of an edge-on galaxy (it looked approx. 17 arc
minutes long). 
Even though the object was still ghost-like and dim, I could clearly make
out a very 
sharp, long dark lane bisecting the Galaxy and running along it completely
from left
to right. It looked almost like someone took a ruler and made a pencil line
through the axis of this object. This is in contrast to M104, the Sombrero
for instance, where the dark lane seemed somewhat thicker. The central part
of the
Galaxy also clearly showed a "bulge". 

This object has made me think more about light pollution in my town. During the 
evenings, my limiting magnitude never really gets to 5, while late night, it
down to around 5.3 or so. If my town gets any worse, I could be shut out of
seeing such
a beautiful and delicate object as NGC 891.


- Todd
Weather/Astronomy Home Page: http://www.weatherman.com
Administrator, Meade Advanced Product User Group: mapug@shore.net
Administrator, New England Weather Observer Mail List, wxobs-sne@shore.net
IRC Channel Operator: #Weather, #Sciastro (Undernet)
Originator of the NE.WEATHER newsgroup
Email: toddg@weatherman.com    Work Phone# (617)725-0777