ngc 1023A and Saturn

by Jamie Dillon

Joe Bob sez: happy holidays, everyone!

and more and similar from DDK!

It was a jolly night out, with Sean McAuliff, James Ladam, Peter N, Pete the Moody Canadian, Joe Bob and myself. I was the moody one, actually. For some reason, at my end of the lot I got the worst of the dew. Stuff was literally dripping, no way to stay ahead of dewdrops on the optics. Not just mist but drops. So for a rare instance, I was the first out.

However, as mentioned, Saturn was amazing. Seeing was seriously top of the line. There's a dark band around the south polar region that's new to me, very distinct. Sure the rings were a knockout, but the disk had all kinds of surprising detail.

The other novel find for the night was a little satellite galaxy of ngc 1023. In between wiping and blowing, I sat and gazed at 1023 for a while. Knots and swirls for days in this great spiral. Had read descriptions of where to find the little companion, and finally are numerous tries over years, there it was, hanging to the south off the end of the eastern arm. Cool!

The sky had a limiting magnitude of around 5.5. No we forgot to do a scientific count of any sort, but the point is that there were heaps of stars, much more than anytime in Salinas, and it was very refreshing to gawk at a bright winter Milky Way. Oh yeah, and the curdling in the central regions of M42 was stunning.

It was great to have the lucky chance to get out. Company and the Peak were all gorgeous.

Merry Christmas to everybody!