(IAAC) Obj: NGC 2976 - Inst: 20" f4.4 Newtonian on Dobsonian mount


Observer: Nick Martin
Your skills: Intermediate
Date/time of observation: 12/20/1998  04.30 UT
Location of site: Bonnyton house drive, Ayrshire, Scotland
Site classification: rural
Sky darkness: 5.5 <Limiting magnitude>
Seeing: II-III <I-V Seeing Scale (I best)>
Moon presence: None - moon not in sky
Instrument: 20" F4.4 Newton on Dobsonian mount
Magnification:X186, X240
Filter(s): None
Object(s):NGC 2976
Category: External galaxy.
Class: spiral
Constellation: U.Maj.
Data: mag 10.85 size 4.9' x 2.5'
Position: RA 9hr 47.3'  DEC +67 55'
At X186 (12 mm Nagler) the galaxy was a featureless glow with no central
nucleus with a faint lobe above it. More detail was visible using X240 ( 9
mm Orthoscopic). Initially the galaxy covered just under half the field of
view and showed two brighter patches near the centre and definite mottling
with detail flickering in and out of view. There is a brightish star
(BS)just below(north) of the galaxy which is not shown on the Megastar chart
but which is obvious in the DSS photograph (black mark for Megastar), a
faint field star above the top (south) of the galaxy and a group of three
stars to the right.
After more prolonged viewing the following picture emerged. About 2/3 way up
to the faint south star (SS) there was a faint bar of nebulosity ( ??
corresponding to the southern spiral arm of galaxy on subsequently viewed
DSS photo) with a darker region below it then the brighter part of the
galaxy. This is roughly lens shaped There is a slight V shape protrusion
towards BS. It is irregularily divided into three brighter regions by two
lanes of dark material (dust), which seem to radiate from a point just above
the bright star (BS) and run at angles of roughly 30 degrees to the line
from BS to SS. The right hand lane is more sharply defined. The left hand
lane more diffuse and widens towards the top of the bright region.  The
central bright region is the brightest but contains a darker cloud in its
upper right portion. The lower edge of the brighter region is quite sharply
defined but wavy with suggestions of dark streaks going into it. The right
hand edge of the bright part is quite sharply defined and cut off while the
left hand edge curls around more gradually.
There is a drawing available if anyone would like to e-mail me.
This is a galaxy well worth a visit with a lot of detail to see and
additionally, because of the brightness of the dusty part of the galaxy, it
offers an unusually excellent opportunity to compare perceived visual detail
with a photogrpahic record (preferably after observing it). 
Nick Martin, Bonnyton House, By Ayr, Ayrshire KA6 7EW ,Scotland, UK.
 Latitude 55 24'56" Longtitude 4 26' 00".
"Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
 Enwrought with golden and silver light,
 The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
 Of night and light and the half-light, ....." 
    He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven by W.B. Yeats

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