Sky Object of the Month – October 2016
(Courtesy LVAS Observer’s Challenge*)
NGC 7479 – Barred Spiral Galaxy in Pegasus (Mag 11.0, Size 4’ X 3’)
NGC 7479 (the 44th entry in Patrick Moore’s Caldwell Catalog) is a barred spiral galaxy located in the southwest corner of Pegasus. The accompanying finder chart shows its location about 2 ½ degrees south of the 2nd magnitude star Markab. It was discovered in 1784 by William Herschel, who described it as “Considerably bright, much extended, gradually brighter in the middle, 4’ long and 2’ broad.” NGC 7479 presents us with a pair of challenges. What is the smallest telescope that can capture the galaxy, and what is the least aperture that will reveal its barred structure? In modern times, NGC 7479 has spawned two supernovae – SN 1990U and SN 2009jf. This huge barred spiral is located about 105 million light years away and is perhaps 20% larger than our Milky Way.
Fort Lewis (CO) College Observatory 16″ Schmidt Cassegrain (www.ftlewis.edu)