(IAAC) Obj: M 61 (NGC 4303) - Inst: 40" f/5 dob


Observer: Mark G.Birkmann
Your skills: Intermediate (some years)
Date/time of observation: 4-26-2000, 7:07 UT (2:07 CDT)
Location of site: New Haven, Missouri (Lat ~38, Elev ~700 feet)
Site classification: Rural
Sky darkness: 5 <1-10 Scale (10 best)>
Seeing: 4, sometimes 5 <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)>
Moon presence: None - moon not in sky
Instrument: 40" f/5 dob
Magnification: 385x
Filter(s): none
Object(s): M 61 (NGC 4303)
Category: External galaxy.
Class: SAB(rs)bc;HII  Sy2
Constellation: Virgo
Data: mag 10.18  size 6.5' x 5.8'
Position: RA 12h:21m 55s  DEC +4:28' 25"
The core of this barred spiral galaxy was bright and nonstellar.  From the north
west side of the bar an elongated bright patch extended a short distance to the
north.  A gap with a very faint star in it seperated this bright area from the
origin of the eastern arm which angled off to the south.  From the southeast
end of the bar another arm curved away to the west and north.  Immediately to the 
south of the origin of this arm another very faint star was seen.  As this arm
passed a bright star to the west of the galaxy it became faint and very broad
before narrowing and becoming very faint as it trailed away to the north.  An
even fainter arm was seen about 50% of the time originating at the bright patch
at the northwest end of the bar and extending a short distance to the east before
fading into the surrounding sky glow.  The end of my observation of M 61 was
signaled by a dull thud as the tube hit the wall of the observatory only 17
minutes after I began studying this beautiful galaxy.  A drawing can be seen at
Optional related URLs: http://www.fortunecity.com/greenfield/twyford/637/drawings.htm
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