2014 January 2 – NGC 2090


NGC 2090 is a grand-design type galaxy with two spiral arms in the constellation Columba. The highest this galaxy reaches in my central Texas location is 25 degrees above the southern horizon. That, combined with Austin’s sky glow to the south, made it a challenging target. To locate it, I dropped down from the constellation Lepus to find magnitude 2.7 Alpha Columbae in the constellation Columba. NCG 2090 makes a very shallow obtuse triangle with Alpha Columbae and Wezn, a 3rd magnitude star in the throat of the dove.

It was necessary for me to star hop from Alpha Columbae to detect NGC 2090. I nudged the scope 40 arcminutes eastward to find a 6-arcminute wide trapezoid. From there, I continued east another 50 arcminutes until I recognized a 5-star curved chain of 9th- to 11th- magnitude stars concave to the northeast. NGC 2090 is 7 arcminutes west of the chain. A magnitude 7.7 star lies 17 arcminutes southeast of the spiral galaxy.

Through a 16-inch reflector at 138x, the galaxy appeared as a faint south-southwest to north-northeast oval with a slightly brighter 1.5-arcminute elongated core. The spiral arms were weak but detectable in that I could see hints of dark lanes with averted vision within the faint, diffuse outer lens. Three stars flickered in and out of view just north of its core. Their magnitudes are 12.4, 13.7, and 13.45.


~ by Erika Rix on January 2, 2014.

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