(IAAC) Obj: NGC 4754, NGC 4762 - Inst: 17.5" f/4.5 Dobsonian

Observer: Lew Gramer, Steve Clougherty
Your skills: Intermediate (some years), Advanced (many years)
Date/time of observation: 16/17 May 1999  0400 UT
Location of site: Myles Standish State Forest, MA, USA (Lat 42N, Elev 5m)
Site classification: Rural
Sky darkness: 6.9 <Limiting magnitude>
Seeing: variable 8 to 3 <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)>
Moon presence: None - moon not in sky
Instrument: 17.5" f/4.5 Dobsonian
Magnification: 125x, 220x
Filter(s): None
Object(s): NGC 4754, NGC 4762
Category: External galaxy.
Class: SB(r)0-:, SB(r)?sp
Constellation: Vir
Data: mag 10.6, 10.2  size 4'.7 x 3'.6, 8'.7 x 1'.6
Position: RA 12:52:17.7 DEC +11:18:49
(Nice to follow up Michael's recent observation of this pretty pair with
one of my own.) The "Spindle and Wool" is a nice pair of very different-
looking galaxies. They're easily swept up midway between eps Vir, better
known as Vindemiatrix, and the bright galactic Messier pair M58 and M60.
Thanks again(!) to Steve Clougherty for zeroing in on n4754 & 62 tonight!
Both galaxies fit in the same field of view, regardless of magnification.
So comparing them was easy, and the more striking of the pair by far was
certainly the razor-thin Spindle, n4762. Even a cursory glance with 125x
forced me to describe it as a lovely, elegant "wand" of light, 6' or more
in length. At high power it displayed a strong, fairly sudden brightening
near the center of the wand, as well as a pin-point stellar nucleus near
dead-center. No hint of obliquity was seen in any "stage" of brightening.
At neither power was a central bulge strongly evident, although a hint of
enlargement very near the center could be noted with averted vision. Per-
haps for this reason, the sudden sharp darkening frequently reported just
west of the nucleus was NOT striking in this view. In a more careful obs-
ervation next season, I'm sure it will be apparent. Also, due perhaps to
the last remnant of a dispersing thinning haze at the time, no sign could
be discerned of the diffuse "tufts" at the N and S ends of the Spindle!
By comparison,  n4754 ("Wool" is my own name) showed as a nearly feature-
less, slightly oblong halo, oriented more E-W to the Spindle's N-S. It was
fairly easy with averted vision to see a fainter haze around the main halo.
Other than that though, the "Wool" lived up to its (my) name: a bland tuft
of haze. Finally the pair lay in a lovely low-power field of 3-4 m10 stars.
What a fun pair, so easy to find when you're sweeping the Virgo cluster!

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