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By Glenn Chaple

NGC 4036 – Lenticular Galaxy in Ursa Major (Mag: 10.7 Size: 3.8’ X 1.0’)

For the third month in a row, the Observer’s Challenge brings us face-to-face with a pair of galaxies – this time, in Ursa Major. Our main quest is the lenticular galaxy NGC 4036 (we’ll look at its field-of-view neighbor, NGC 4041 later). NGC 4036 was discovered by William Herschel in 1790 and in early star atlases bears the Herschel Catalog designation H I-253 – his 253rd Class I (Bright Nebulae) object. A potential catch in a 4-inch scope (dark skies a must!), NGC 4036 normally requires apertures 2 or 3 times greater, especially when viewed from average suburban skies. Look for a misty oval patch about a half degree NE of a row of three 6th and 7th magnitude stars.
NGC 4041 shares the same medium-power field with NGC 4036, ¼ degree to its NNE. Also discovered in 1790 by Herschel (Herschel Catalog number H I-252), it’s a magnitude 11.3 face-on spiral with 2.6’ X 2.6’ dimensions and is the more challenging of the two.
Both galaxies appear to be gravitationally connected and lie about 70 million light years away. Gaze at this distant pair, and the photons entering your eye left when dinosaurs still roamed the earth.

NGC 4036 Image by Mario Motta, MD, ATMoB

NGC 4036 (below center) and NGC 4041 (center, near top) Image by Doug Paul, ATMoB

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