Observing at Skyhound



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The Spindle Galaxy
aka NGC 3115, PGC 29265, MCG -1-26-18
RA: 10h05m14.1s, Dec: -0743'07" (2000) in Sextans
Galactic lon: +24747', Galactic lat: +3647'
Magnitude: 10.1
Size: 7.2'x 3.2'

Minimum requirements to detect: 4-inch scope under dark skies

This 10th magnitude edge-on spiral galaxy appears bright even in a 6-inch scope.  It features a bright, nearly stellar core.  Use averted vision to see the fainter outer parts, particularly on the long axis.  The nearby MCG -1-26-21 is just barely visible in a 6-inch as a tiny smudge of light.

This is one of many objects that look equally good in any size telescope.  The only difference is in how easy it is to see the outer regions.  For users of larger instruments (>16 inches) looking for a challenge, it may be possible to glimpse the tiny galaxy just to the right (as pictured in the bottom image).

I observed the Spindle in my 18-inch.  Here are my notes from that session:

This was my first look at this great edge-on galaxy in a large-aperture instrument. It looked very nice, although it didn't reveal any detail I hadn't seen in smaller scopes.  It appears as a thin, bright line that is slightly wider near the center.  At the center is a bright, stellar core.  The entire object is surrounded by a much larger, oval haze.

The view in a 6 inch at 50x. North is down and East is right.

This image was created with SkyView and shows a 0.5o x 0.5o  region oriented as above.

Millennium Star Atlas Vol II Chart 804
Sky Atlas 2000 Chart 13
Uranometria 2000 Vol II Chart 279
Uranometria 2nd Ed. Chart 133
Herald-Bobroff Astroatlas B-10 C-49