Three members of the NGC 3190 group often known as Hickson 44 show nice range in type. From left: NGC 3193, NGC 3190, and NGC 3187. This group and others prefer it make their house in Leo. North is up on this and all photos besides the place famous.
PanSTARRS DR1 / Aladin Sky Atlas
Each time I watch a TV present or film filmed in pre-COVID instances I cringe at scenes that includes packed eating places, bars and live performance crowds. What was once regular actions now appear so alien. Hopefully, that may change quickly. There is no denying the proper crowd engenders power and pleasure; gathering in teams to fulfill and share concepts is the essence of being human. I can not wait to really feel that vibe once more.
Likewise within the sky. After we come throughout a discipline thick with stars or spilling over with galaxies our thrill-meter goes up. Seeing three, 4, or 5 deep-sky objects in the identical view looks like reaching the summit with a sweeping view of peaks throughout. Grander, actually. With galaxy teams, we’re stellar congregations as much as one million or extra light-years throughout, separated by tens of hundreds to thousands and thousands of light-years. What magic frames a lot area within the tidy circle of the eyepiece?
To seek out Leo use the Bowl of the Massive Dipper.
We will go to three such teams in Leo, all properly positioned within the southeastern sky round 10 p.m. native time within the latter half of March. The waxing Moon will intervene beginning concerning the 20th however will get out the best way once more by month’s finish. My observations have been made with a 15-inch reflector below Bortle three skies, rated as rural/suburban transition.
I intentionally chosen brighter teams (and the brighter galaxies inside these teams in some instances), so all of those must also be seen in an Eight-inch telescope and some in apertures as small as 6-inches.
Once you observe these clumps, image them as distant variations of our personal Native Group. Every group can also be a member of both the Leo I or Leo II galactic clouds, bigger assemblages of galaxies at distances of roughly 35 million light-years and 75 million light-years, respectively. Like nested matryoshka dolls these fold into the Virgo Supercluster which is a part of even vaster construction, the Laniakea Supercluster.
NGC 3227 Bunch — Leo II Group
Use this detailed map to navigate to our focused galaxy teams. Stars are proven to magnitude 9. Click on for a big model and save.
Stellarium with additions by the creator
One of many best teams to seek out, the NGC 3227 bunch is positioned ¾° east of 2nd-magnitude Gamma (γ) Leonis, often known as Algieba. In an excellent sky, even a 6-inch scope will present two galaxies involved — the spiral NGC 3227 and its companion NGC 3226, a dwarf elliptical. Also referred to as Arp 94 from astronomer Halton Arp’s Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, this interacting pair makes for a compelling sight. NGC 3227 is the brighter of the 2 at magnitude 10.three and clearly elongated northwest-southeast with a outstanding near-stellar nucleus.
Use magnifications north of 200× to understand its blazing depth and to image what lurks right here, a supermassive black gap some 14 million instances extra huge than the Solar — greater than 3 times the heft of the Milky Means’s darkish coronary heart.
NGC 3227 and NGC 3226 take staying in contact actually. The interacting pair, often known as Arp 94, make a hanging sight in Eight-inch or bigger telescopes.
SDSS9 / Aladin Sky Atlas
NGC 3227 is a Seyfert galaxy with an energetic, quasar-like nucleus that glints in X-rays on time scales of hours to months. Tidal interactions with NGC 3226 to the northwest have spawned blue knots of star formation inside their frequent envelope. NGC 3226 is about half as giant as its companion and a bit of fainter at magnitude 11.four. At first look it seems spherical however reveals a faint, outer envelope angled northeast-southwest with averted imaginative and prescient. It additionally possesses a shiny, nonstellar nucleus.
A 3rd a lot fainter member of the group, NGC 3213 (magnitude 13.5, measurement 1.1′ × zero.9′), sits 33′ off to the southwest of the duo on the fringe of Algieba’s glare zone. Use magnifications of 200× and better to catch this midge. One other unrelated, extra distant galaxy, NGC 3222 (magnitude 12.Eight, 1.three′ × 1.1′), lies 12′ west of the NGC 3226-27 pair. All 4 slot in a 1° discipline with room to spare.
NGC 3190 bunch — Leo I group
If NGC 3226-27 is your first cease you do not have to go far to seek out our subsequent batch of furry galactic catkins. The NGC 3190 group seems simply 2° north of Gamma (γ) Leonis on a line to Zeta (ζ) Leonis in a discipline peppered with shiny telescopic stars starting from magnitude 7.5 to 10.5. This tight clump of 4 galaxies spans simply 17′vast, which suggests you need to use magnifications of 200× or extra and maintain all of them in the identical discipline of view.
Comprising three spiral galaxies and one elliptical, the NGC 3190 group (Hickson 44) is wealthy in selection for the visible observer. The weird NGC 3187 seems at prime with NGC 3193, NGC 3190, and NGC 3185 in a row from left to proper. North is at higher proper.
The galaxy NGC 3193 (magnitude 10.9, 2.zero′ × 2.zero′) is a basic elliptical — spherical and fuzzy with a brighter core and near-stellar nucleus. A 9.6-magnitude star pins its northern border. Whereas the spiral NGC 3190 (magnitude 11.1, four.four′ × 1.5′) seems a tad fainter it was my favourite with an clearly elongated disk and a shiny, prolonged nuclear area that swaddled a bloated, starlike nucleus. NGC 3185 (magnitude 12, 2.three′ × 1.6′) was a small, faint oval oriented northwest-southeast with a stellar core and barely brighter internal disk.
I might hoped to see the barred spiral NGC 3187‘s (magnitude 13.four, three.6′ × 1.6′) wacky spiral arms, flung out on both facet like a swing dancer, however this can be a faint, diffuse object, and the perfect I might do was make out a misty, elongated disk tipped northwest-southeast at 257× with averted imaginative and prescient. Each NGC 3127 and neighboring NGC 3190 exhibited warped disks, proof of tidal interactions frequent amongst galaxies in compact clusters.
NGC 3607 bunch — Leo II group
Situated within the tail of Leo this group has two cores, one centered on NGC 3607 and the second on NGC 3684, some 2.7° to the southeast. NGC 3607, a spiral galaxy and the group’s brightest and member at magnitude 9.9 and four.7′ throughout, kinds a good trio with NGC 3608 (magnitude 10.Eight, three.2′ × 2.6′) and faint NGC 3605 (magnitude 12.three, 1.5′ × 1.zero′) in a north-south line. A fourth member, NGC 3626 (magnitude 11.zero, 2.7′ × 1.9′), lies 50′ to the northeast.
The 2 “eyes” of NGC 3607 and NGC 3608 dominate the western half of the NGC 3607 group. NGCs 3599 and 3605 aren’t members regardless of appearances.
SDSS9/ Aladin Sky Atlas
NGC 3607 and 3608 resemble a pair of eyes at first look, however NGC 3607 is clearly the brighter with a dense, luminous core and starlike nucleus set in a barely elongated disk oriented northwest-southeast. The elliptical galaxy NGC 3608 is second canine right here — a bit of smaller and fainter and prolonged east-west. Though NGC 3605, additionally an elliptical, seems prefer it belongs to the group as a result of its proximity to NGC 3607, it is really a lot nearer to us at 33 million light-years, making it a possible member of the Leo I group.
NGC 3626 (magnitude 11.zero, 2.7′ × 1.9′), a real member, sits off by its lonesome 48′ northeast of the primary bunch. It is a shiny spiral prolonged northwest-southeast with a shiny, stellar nucleus. Whilst you’re poking round you may additionally discover one other faint galaxy sharing the sphere with NGC 3607-08, round 20′ to the west. This delicate puff with a brighter core is NGC 3599 (magnitude 12.zero, 2.7′ × 2.1′), a spiral galaxy and one other potential member of the Leo I group.
4 galaxies within the form of an airplane (higher left) and NGC 3655 type a compact subgroup inside the NGC 3607 group.
PanSTARRS DR1 / Aladin Sky Atlas
Shifting east we arrive on the second core, composed of 4 relatively dim galaxies that comfortably match inside the sphere of view of my 142× Nagler eyepiece — three in an evenly-space northeast-southwest line with the faintest member, NGC 3691 (magnitude 11.Eight, 1.three′ × 1.zero′), shut by to the southeast. NGC 3686 (magnitude 11.three, three.2′ × 2.5′), a barred spiral, is the brightest and largest member of this engaging group.
In good seeing at 257× I might discern a faint, prolonged nuclear area inside a mottled disk elongated northeast-southwest. A 15.5-magnitude star seems contained in the barred galaxy’s southern edge. The extra tightly-wound spiral, NGC 3684 (magnitude 11.four, three.1′ × 2.1′), shows a brighter core however lacks a stellar nucleus like its neighbor NGC 3681 (magnitude 11.2, 2.zero′ × 2.zero′) instantly southwest.
NGC 3691 was a dab of faint, uncondensed mild. Farther afield, 1° west-southwest of the quartet, you may discover one other group member, NGC 3655 (magnitude 11.7, 1.5′ × 1.zero′) clearly elongated northeast-southwest with a shiny, prolonged core dotted with a nonstellar nucleus.
When you’re concerned about further galaxies within the area, akin to the intense M105 group and the Leo Triplet, please take a look at my earlier weblog and Howard Banich’s article on web page 18 of the April 2021 challenge of Sky & Telescope. One of many challenges in observing these teams is taking the time to differentiate particulars in what seems like simply one other faint fuzzy. That is why destiny positioned galaxies within the spring and fall skies, when temperatures are conducive to spending extra time on the telescope and the dreaded mosquitos are scarce.
Italian astronomer Gianluca Masi took this picture of 2001 FO32 on March 16, 2021. Masi will livestream views of the asteroid on March 22nd beginning at 04:00 UT (midnight EDT, March 21–22).
On March 21st at 16:03 UT (12:03 p.m. EDT), the doubtless hazardous asteroid 2001 FO32 will attain its minimal distance from Earth of about 2 million kilometers. Measuring between 440–680 meters (1,400–2,200 ft) throughout, this massive object will change into as shiny as magnitude 11.7 on the morning of March 21st because it speeds throughout southern Sagittarius. Touring at round 14′ per hour, you could even detect its movement in actual time at magnifications of 200× or extra. The asteroid shortly fades after the 21st however might be noticed earlier on March 20th in Lupus at magnitude 12.zero. For maps, go to astro.vanbuitenen.nl. As a consequence of its southerly declination it is best seen from the southern U.S.
Then, on March 17th, observers within the southwestern U.S. will witness among the best asteroidal occultations of 2021 when 10.7-magnitude Eight Flora covers a 7.2-magnitude star close to the Hyades in Taurus. Your observations of the occasion might be of nice worth in figuring out particulars of Flora’s form and different parameters. The occultation will last as long as 5 seconds with a 1.Eight-magnitude drop. It will usually be bigger, in line with David Dunham, with the Worldwide Occultation Timing Affiliation (IOTA), however the star’s 9.06-magnitude companion will stay seen throughout the occultation. You will discover finder charts and full particulars right here.