OBSERVER’S CHALLENGE* – MARCH, 2019

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OBSERVER’S CHALLENGE* – MARCH, 2019

By Glenn Chaple

NGC 2300 – Elliptical Galaxy in Cepheus (Magnitude: 11.0 Size: 3.2” X 2.8’)
Ask a veteran deep-sky observer to name an NGC object close to Polaris, he or she will mention the open cluster NGC 188, located in Cepheus just 3½ degrees to its south. We can add this month’s Observer’s Challenge, the elliptical galaxy NGC 2300, which is equally close to the Pole Star.

Before zooming in on NGC 2300, we need to look at its neighbor – the distorted spiral NGC 2276, which lies just 6.5’ to the WNW. It’s slightly smaller (2.6’ X 2.3’) and fainter (magnitude 11.6) than NGC 2300. NGC 2276 sports an unusual lopsided shape, which prompted Halton Arp to enter it as Arp 25 in his Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies. We need to include it in our discussion of NGC 2300 because Arp considered the NGC 2276/2300 pair-up (an elliptical-like galaxy and perturbed spiral) so noteworthy that he catalogued the duo as Arp 114.

NGC 2300 was discovered by the French astronomer Alphonse Borrelly (of periodic comet 19P/Borrelly fame) in 1871. Its actual galactic type is debatable, some sources listing it as elliptical; others as lenticular (a spiral-less spiral). Under exceptionally dark skies, NGC 2300 may be glimpsed with a 6-inch telescope. Descriptive notes in Luginbuhl and Skiff’s Observing Handbook and Catalogue of Deep-sky Objects describe their visibility in a 10-inch scope – NGC 2300 “faintly” and NGC 2275 “barely”. The two lie an estimated 110 to 120 light years away.

Carlos & Crystal Acosta/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF) cseligman.com (north is up)

All finder charts for 2300 and NGC 2276 from bristolweather.org.uk/galaxies

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