NGC 55 – Galaxy In Sculptor – Recent Studies Indicate that this Galaxy Is A Part of The Local Group Of Galaxies – Observers Challenge Object For November 2012

November 9th 2012

When looking at my deep-sky list of objects observed, I was surprised that NGC 55 was not included.  My backyard has a very poor southern view, due to light pollution, so I loaded up my 10-inch in search of a better location.  I had been spying a grassy field which appeared to be a pretty good site for quite a few years and only a couple miles from my house.  

I could easily see (naked eye) my starting location star, Alpha Phoenix, just above the tree line.  After a quick polar alignment, I centered my scope on the location of NGC 55, but couldn’t see anything.  I tried low power to start, but to no avail, then moved up to medium, but again, no galaxy.  I did this for almost two hours and never once saw NGC 55, apparently due to the sky glow of Boiling Springs.  I don’t think that the conditions were that bad, however, this would suggest that a very dark sky is needed.  If you are planning to observe this galaxy, make sure that you have a good southern sky, devoid of any light pollution. 

Second attempt:  December 13th 2012

My wife Debbie agreed to go with me to a better site.  We started to drive to a true dark site, however, we got a late start and decided to stay a bit closer home. I picked another grassy field that had an excellent view of the southern sky.  Due to being sore from a recent bicycle accident, I decided to take a 4-inch refractor, which is much easier to set up than a 10-inch equatorial reflector.  

The sky and conditions were excellent, with a NELM of 6.0 or maybe a bit better.  We started out with low power, and then medium…still no galaxy.  Everything seemed to be perfect, but there was a faint light glow, just above the tree tops that seemed to obscure the view.  We attempted a variety of eyepieces, but after more than an hour of searching, we decided to give up.  

I’ll try to find a better location this year (2016) and attempt a sketch and some decent notes.  An excellent southern horizon without any light glow is a must!  

The following image of NGC 55 provided by Dr. James Dire of  Hawaii:  


Click on the following link for the complete Observers Challenge report.


Explore posts in the same categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

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