(IAAC) Obj: ngc 6822 (Barnard's Galaxy) - Inst: 4" f/5.4 refractor


Observer: Lew Gramer
Your skills: Intermediate
Date and UT of Observation: 1997-07-5/6, 04:00 UT
Location: Savoy, MA, USA (42N, elev 700m)
Site classification: rural
Limiting magnitude: 7.3 (zenith)  6.8 (near object)
Seeing: 3 of 10 - pretty good
Moon up: no
Instrument: 4" f/5.4 Genesis SDF refractor
Magnification: 15x, 20x
Filters used: None
Object: ngc 6822 (Barnard's Galaxy)
Category: Dwarf Galaxy [IB(s)m IV-V]
Constellation: Sgr
Data: mag 9.31?  size 15'x13'
RA/DE: 19h45m  -14o48m
This famously elusive Local Group galaxy was invisible in a 35mm
Panoptic (15x). I used detailed charts to pinpoint the spot, and
tried every seeing trick I know: nothing. However, not giving up
hope (and knowing that a Genesis under dark skies gave the best
chance I would have for a while to spot this wiley animal), we
went on to try a 27mm Panoptic (20x). Barnard's faint haze-patch
suddenly popped into view! It was clearly apparent with averted
vision, NNE of a distinct triangle of Mag. 5-6 stars (including
55 and 54 Sgr), and NNW of a smaller, similarly-shaped triangle
of Mag. 9 stars. It appeared (to both our eyes independently) as
an extremely faint, elongated smear running roughly NE-SW, about
15' long and perhaps 7' at it's widest. Mottling was apparent to
my eyes near the N edge, and also near center. A subtle "elbow"
shape could be perceived with careful concentration, bending W.
The galaxy became somewhat brighter toward the center of this
elbow, with the highly irregular, nebulous "core" standing out
occasionally to DIRECT vision, showing apparent elongation E-W.
Some stellarings could be seen throughout, but at this power it
would have been difficult to distinguish HII regions from stars.
What a THRILL to see this mysterious object again after 15 yrs!