Due to our recent cloudy skies, I was unable to make a new observation of M40, and galaxies NGC 4284 and NGC 4290. This forced to use a sketch and notes from an early morning observation on February 25th 2000. On that night I was using a 10-inch reflector from my moderately light polluted backyard with a 5.8 NELM. It was an especially good night with excellent transparency.
M40, a pair of 10th magnitude stars, also known as Winnecke 4 is very easy with a wide separation of about 50 seconds of arc. The pair is oriented mostly east-west and both appear as whitish-yellow in color.
Two faint galaxies are located very close to M40. All three objects are located within a 1/2º field-of-view.
Just to the west of M40, lies faint galaxy NGC 4290 at 12.0 magnitude, elongated NNE-WSW. A very subtle brightness could be seen in the central region. Very close and to the west of NGC 4290 is very faint 14th magnitude galaxy NGC 4284, which is extremely difficult, appearing as a faint mostly round blur. During a previous observation from the same location and in a side-by-side comparison with the 10-inch reflector, NGC 4284 could not be seen with an 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.
The following sketch was made using various graphite pencils and a blank 5 x 8 notecard with the colors inverted using a scanner.
Double click on the following sketch to enlarge and see very faint galaxy NGC 4284 toward the west.
Observers Challenge report: MAY 2014 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – NGC- 4284 – 4290